I am a registered psychotherapist and Canadian certified counsellor based in Toronto. In addition to my mental health work, I have volunteered at a local non-profit mental health organization on the front lines and on the board. Before COVID, for several years I provided Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training and training in Suicide Alertness for Everyone. I am a pancreatic cancer peer support volunteer with Wellspring Cancer Support Foundation. I also have a teenage son who I adore.
For years, I practised as a lawyer at top tier law firms in Downtown Toronto and London (England). I gained a practical edge in a legal department at a financial institution in England. I followed this by working on the trading floor at a financial institution in the financial district of New York during 9/11 before moving back to Toronto to practice law. Then I decided to bring more of what I loved about the practice of law into my work days. In 2010, I began a series of changes with life-altering impact that continue today as I transitioned from practising law to practising psychotherapy, counselling and training.
I earned a master of education in counselling psychology and a bachelor of arts degree at the University of Toronto as well as a bachelor of laws at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University. Since then, I completed post-graduate training in narrative therapy at The Hincks-Dellcrest Centre/Gail Appel Institute, suicide intervention and suicide alertness at LivingWorks Education and cybercounselling at the University of Toronto and Worldwide Therapy Online Inc., internal family systems therapy at Pesi, Inc., internal family systems skills and competencies with Derek Scott, IFS-informed EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) with Bruce Hersey, IFS Level 1 with IFS Institute, EMDR basic training approved by EMDR International Association, attachment-focussed EMDR with Laurel Parnell through Pesi, Inc., Philip Manfield’s memory reconsolidation, the flash technique and EMDR, clinical applications of the polyvagal theory with Stephen Porges, PhD: trauma, attachment, self-regulation and emotions through Pesi, Inc., polyvagal theory informed trauma assessment and interventions: an autonomic roadmap to safety, connection and healing with Deborah Dana through Pesi, Inc. and image transformation therapy with Robert Miller.
I take an internal family systems-informed, strengths-based and collaboratively curious approach. If it makes sense, I may also suggest we bring in some cognitive behavioural therapy, image transformation therapy and EMDR to help you with your healing. Together we will consider how your behaviours, emotions and thoughts connect so you make more space for your own Self in your own life. This will mean exploring skills you want to grow or skills you lost touch with. We will consider what life might look like if the problem that brought you to therapy were gone. Of course, we will also talk about where you want to go and how you might get there.
“We can always take a different path, retrace our steps, go back, repeat a track, or stay on the same road for some time. At the beginning of the journey we are not sure where it will end, nor what will be discovered.” – Alice Morgan
Sometimes you don’t know what’s wrong … you just know something is wrong. You may feel determined to make some of your behaviours, emotions and thoughts go away, once and for all. Maybe you are tired of feeling stuck, unloveable, ashamed, afraid, anxious or depressed. I work with men and women who want to better cope and who are ready to be heard and validated, with calm compassion and patient persistence.
I take an internal family systems-informed, strengths-based and collaboratively curious approach. If it makes sense, I may suggest we bring in some cognitive behavioural therapy, image transformation therapy and EMDR to help you with your healing. Together we will consider how your behaviours, emotions and thoughts connect so you make more space for your own Self in your own life.
You may begin with a focused problem and then decide you would like to go deeper with psychotherapy. Or you may start deep, realize you aren’t quite ready for that, and then move into counselling. Or maybe we will blend the two from time to time, depending on what you need. Either way, we will work to develop a collaborative, empathetic and therapeutic relationship with you in a safe space. This will help you feel free to say and do whatever you need as you learn to more fully engage in life again.
Psychotherapy is risky. You may have blocked out or downplayed feelings and thoughts for a long time. Discussing these can bring up uncomfortable feelings like sadness, guilt, anger and loneliness. In fact, that is probably why you’ve worked so hard to block them out or downplayed them. What you are thinking, feeling and doing worked so well they got you here, alive. Now you might feel stuck but things have been buried so deep you don’t know why you are stuck or how to get unstuck. Maybe you can’t find the words to explain what is going on. Making changes to what you think, do, say or feel can disrupt your relationships and can be scary. Taking these risks might be helpful for you. Only you will know whether the possibility of a positive change and hope is right for you and is worth risking therapy at any point in your life. Like most things in life, therapy does not come with a guarantee.
“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” – M. Scott Peck
How long therapy takes is as varied as the reasons people come to therapy. It will depend on your goals and the complexity of the problem that brought you to therapy. Some clients see change quickly (perhaps in 6 to 8 sessions) and others see the change they want after many more sessions (perhaps at least 12 to 20 sessions). Some people change their goals throughout therapy. Some people begin with weekly sessions but taper off as they near completion of their goals. Some people step away from therapy and come back after several weeks. Usually people commit to a number of weekly sessions and regularly evaluate how the therapy is unfolding. There is no hard-and-fast rule other than the number and frequency of sessions is open to discussion.
Psychotherapy is not one-way-fits-all. It takes creativity. There are many different methods we might use to deal with what has brought you to therapy. These might include dialogue, exploration of meanings, noticing and doing experiments, visualization or relaxation. You have the right to refuse to do anything I suggest. Psychotherapy works better when you work on the things we talk about between sessions, keeping in mind that the things we talk about will be geared towards what is reasonable for you in your process of change and hope.
What happens in our sessions and our therapeutic relationship may mirror what happens for you outside of the sessions. It can give you an opportunity to experiment with different ways of being in a safe, non-judgmental environment. We can look at how your past experiences may be affecting your present relationships. Therapy works better when you feel safe enough to be able to say anything. You need to feel heard and accepted as you are in the moment.
Fees are payable by the end of each in-person session and before each online counselling session. You may pay using email money transfer of funds before the start of the session or credit card. I have a limited number of sliding scale spots available from time to time for clients who cannot afford my regular fee. Please note that you may be able to submit your receipts to your insurance provider for reimbursement. If you have extended health care benefits that you hope to use for any session, please confirm the extent to which your insurer will reimburse you for your payment of my fees before you make an appointment. I typically raise fees annually (usually in January) by $5 to $10. I offer an introductory discount rate for the first session rather than free consultations. My regular fees are set out in the Online Portal.
You will get more from therapy if you attend your regular appointments. If you cancel with less than 24 hours’ notice or miss a scheduled session, then you will be charged the full fee for that session. If you arrive late for a session, then we will use the remaining time in our scheduled session and you will be charged the full fee for that session.
If you are in crisis, please contact your local distress centre, your local mobile crisis unit or 911 or go to your nearest hospital. Please also note that:
During COVID, I am meeting clients by phone or by video only because you matter to me as a whole person and I want to do what I can to support the recommendations of public health to reduce the spread of COVID-19. As the pandemic continues, I am leaning more and more to continuing to work remotely only after the pandemic. It turns out that I do love a short commute!
You are very welcome to book an appointment online using the Online Portal. If you find that you cannot open an account on the Online Portal, that means that I am not accepting clients at the moment – sometimes I need to close the calendar to new clients so that my existing clients have a chance to book appointments. Please note that I offer an introductory discount rate for the first session, set out in the Online Portal, instead of free consultations. My regular fees are also set out in the Online Portal and are $25 more than the discount rate. If you have extended health care benefits that you hope to use for any session, please confirm the extent to which your insurer will reimburse you for your payment of my fees before you make an appointment. Thank you!
I appreciate you connecting with me. I hope to meet you soon!