• Britt-Mari Sykes has worked in private practice as an individual and vocational counselor for the past 6 years. She is based in Ottawa, Canada but works with clients nationally and internationally. She earned her PhD from the University of Ottawa and specializes in existential and humanistic psychotherapies. Britt-Mari is the author of Questioning Psychological Health and Well-Being (2010), a historical and contemporary examination of the meaning of psychological health and development. She is currently working on her second book: a collection of essays on education and vocation from an existential analytic perspective. For the past 12 years Britt-Mari has guest-lectured extensively in classrooms and at conferences in Canada, the USA and Europe on the history of existential psychology, the theory of Existential Analysis, meaningful and fulfilling living and on creating vocation. She has served on panels at international conferences on human development, ethics in everyday life and the value of work.

    Britt-Mari Sykes PhD
    Existential Psychology
    Individual & Vocational Counseling


  • Empowering our Unique Skills and Capacities


    Many of my clients have lost jobs and are experiencing unemployment, some are facing impending job transition or experiencing “space” between contractual employment while others are pursuing entirely new vocational directions. Whatever the circumstances or specific contexts my clients are currently experiencing, I continue to notice a similar entrenched belief about their skills and expertise. Being employed is equated with active skill development and relevant expertise while any shift or change in our standardized notion of full-time employment is perceived as a diminished skill set, the loss of job equated with a loss of skill. This bleak view is further entrenched by the professional world and hiring departments who look skeptically upon the abilities of job seekers and candidates who are currently unemployed and/or have gaps of time in their employment history. I see these attitudes internalized by clients who then experience further distress and a lack of confidence in their capacities and skills; all this at a time of transition marked by many additional stressors including financial ones. The notion that our abilities and skills are only relevant and enhanced in a context of uninterrupted employment makes no sense given the continuous experiencing, and therefore the continuous amassing of skills, abilities and expertise human beings are designed for and which constitute daily living.

The Interview

  • Jennifer Brewin


    How do you bring a creative idea to life? Jennifer Brewin, artistic director of Common Boots Theatre, talks with me about the interweaving of dialogue, collaboration and contributions required for moving an idea to the stage. As she states, “It’s an equation for me: the creative and social value of an idea, the method for bringing it to life and the distinct skills and personalities of the individual team members give a work a fighting chance to make it to public view”.