Tanya Barnett: A Fine Balance!

Tanya Barnett: Wife, mother (of three), grandmother (of two). Those are the basics about this extraordinary woman, but Tanya is also a counselor, mediator, seeker of knowledge, and lover of all endeavours creative. To me, having just got to know Tanya through this profile, it is clear that she is a light for many, an inspiration to many more, and one of the bravest and strongest people I’ve ever written about.

Tanya moved to this area from B.C. 17 years ago. She loves the generous community here that surrounds her and her family! Tanya came to my attention through simple email correspondence, a small chat at the café where I work and (the small world we live in) I realized I knew her husband Phil, of Barnett Construction, from many years of doing projects with him. A lot of this profile will be in Tanya’s own words… because I couldn’t find a way to say them without missing the genuine love of her life and career that came across in our interview.

Tanya is a counselor with a private practice, and considers herself an “integrated” therapist, working with bits and pieces of different counseling models to create a tailor-made plan for each of her clients. Tanya works with adults individuals, groups and couples in all areas of counseling, including bereavement, addiction, Emotionally Focused Therapy for individuals and couples, life transitions, trauma (sexual and physical, and emotional abuse), medically induced trauma (issues of medical harm), personal growth and wellness, and end-of-life issues for caregivers and those actively dying.

Tanya says, “I think that my job as counselor is not to provide you, the client, with the answers you seek, but to assure you that you already have all the answers hidden within yourself. My job is that of guide, someone who holds the light aloft, helping you see the pitfalls, the rewards and the forks in the road upon which you are journeying. “I will rejoice in your successes, encourage you along the way, and reframe your defeats to be used in positive and opportunistic ways. But what I must always do is hear you, not only with my ears but with my heart, as well.”


Tanya has a great passion for helping those with medically induced trauma. She discussed losing her 17-year-old daughter Jessica to a series of medical mistakes, and from this experience and through her own healing she has chosen to help heal others. “I became a counselor after a period of personal counseling where I gained such insight, balance and an awareness of my inner strength that I wanted to offer the gift of therapy to others, as my own therapist has offered it to me. Thank you, Carol Dimock!”


Tanya says, “I am a very ardent patient-safety advocate, working with a national group [Patients For Patient Safety Canada] within healthcare, and an international group [Empowered Patient Coalition], to bring awareness of the extent of medical harm, but more importantly, to create safer health care.” Check out www.projectjessica.ca for more details on this very important part of Tanya’s career and life.


Tanya loves helping clients process their life’s challenges, journeying with them on this small stretch of road, to stand witness to their pain, their struggle and their joys, and finally watch as they bloom! I feel blessed to even have the opportunity to write about someone as strong as Tanya. I encourage those seeking help and a friendly, professional ear from someone who has lived through a tragedy and come out with this focus on helping others to give Tanya a call or send her an email. Call 691-6648, email Tanya@seekbalance.ca, and check out her website www.seekbalance.ca for more information. This website will show you upcoming specific workshops that might fit your needs: seekbalanceca.ipage.com/workshops.html


Before a life of counseling, Tanya owned and operated the Sunflour Bakery in Greenwich. Some days she misses it terribly, the bakery and all the folks she worked with. But her calling has come to her in the form of helping others. In her spare time, to separate herself from her heavy work world, Tanya plays in a Brazilian percussion band called Samba Nova (drumming and dancing) and takes refuge in reading and creativity through poetry writing, photography, photo-editing and art-making, as well as sewing, cooking and baking (yes, she still bakes!)


And what does the future hold? Well, Tanya doesn’t know, but she hopes it includes continuing to grow her private practice and balancing it with her personal life—because life is all about balance! That’s where her business name comes from: Seek Balance Counseling and Mediation. Tanya is looking forward to offering art-therapy workshops and perhaps fostering a community of people who desire to better understand themselves and those around them through creative expression. I know I’m game! To be connected to someone who has overcome such a loss and found balance and been able to pass along that balance to others is truly inspirational and uplifting. To your strength and your family’s strength, to their health of heart and mind, I wish you all the best, Tanya!


Mike Butler