Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

A Slave Lake psychologist is offering both English and French services across Alberta.

“I opened my practice during the pandemic, so my entire practice is online at this time,” says Audrey Kodye.
Kodye is a registered psychologist. Her practice is called Overcoming Anxiety Psychological.

Kodye moved to Slave Lake in May 2018 to head the Northern Lakes College counselling department. Shortly after moving to town, she found out she was pregnant.

When Kodye finished her maternity leave, she decided to go into private practice. She wanted a more flexible schedule. Also, during her time at NLC, she noticed that the private psychologists in the area had wait lists, so there was a need.

The plan was to open at the beginning of 2020. By the time she opened in March the pandemic started, so she decided to offer counselling online.

Kodye’s practice is bilingual.

“I speak English and French fluently,” she says. Kodye grew up in Mauritius. This is a volcanic tropical island in the Indian Ocean. It was a French colony, then a British one. It became independent in 1968.

English is the formal language of government, says Kodye. French is the language of school and the press. Her first language is Mauritian Creole.

The people of Mauritius were brought together from different parts of the world, she says. Creole was how they communicated.

Unlike Canada, Mauritius has no clear rural and urban divide, says Kodye. It’s a small island, with no clear boundaries between cities and villages.

Kodye did her undergraduate degree in Manitoba. Before getting a scholarship to study in Canada, she hadn’t really thought about coming here.

“If you look at the globe, it’s the opposite end of the world,” she says.

The choice of psychology had to do with “understanding myself and other people,” says Kodye. As she learned more, she realized that many people have mental health issues. This was something not talked about when she grew up, and she wanted to help.

With this in mind, Kodye did a masters in France. The French system is different from Canada. The first year, everyone who graduates with a bachelors gets in. There were around 300-400 people. Kodye did her first year in Tours, in central France. The second year only about 25 spots are available. Kodye got into her first choice which was a cognitive behavioral therapy program (CBT) in Lille (northern France).

CBT is the most effective treatment for mental illness, says Kodye. “People get better as soon as possible.”

Kodye uses a style of CBT she calls TEAM CBT.

TEAM stands for testing, empathy, assessment of motivation, and motivation.

Audrey Kodye, registered psychologist, runs Overcoming Anxiety Psychological out of Slave Lake. Photo courtesy of Kodye.