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Reasons for starting therapy are many: shame, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, feelings of emptiness or overwhelming feelings that make you feel you might go crazy. Sometimes it's simply feeling unsafe in the world. Even everyday struggles may be enough for you to decide you'd like a shoulder to lean on.
Simply talking can be a powerful experience and having a therapist listen without judgement or an agenda can be transformative. Therapy as a unique conversation between two people can aid growth in many ways. It facilitates the ability to reflect on the self, deepens our relationship to our internal and external realities to better cope with difficult feelings, helps quiet our internal critic, increases our spontaneity, and provides hope that our lives can change. Therapy also can help improve relationships by distinguishing "old" feelings (i.e., feelings which have their roots in the past and have become patterns of reaction rather than conscious choices) from the present; reducing our reactivity, and opening us to more perspectives.
Why Integral? Integral Psychotherapy is based on integral theory as formulated by Ken Wilber. Please http://integrallife.com/integral-post/overview-integral-theory for a summary of the important aspects of this working model of therapy.
Shame: I am particularly interested in the issue of shame, the sense that our very core is defective. Shame makes us fear exposing this vulnerable, hidden part of ourselves. I believe shame underlies much of our suffering, and due to its very nature, we are adverse to talking about it. Shame, of course, helps teach us how to fit into society, but far too often it casts a deep shadow, constricting the expression of who we truly are and limiting our enjoyment of life. Therapy can release the bonds of shame and allow spontaneity to arise. I have read and studied Pat DeYoung's book, Chronic Shame, which gave me a new understanding of the dynamics of shame, and attended two workshops by Pat; she is a gifted author and presenter. Another approach I find helpful is working with the voices or parts within: the wise inner voice, adult states and child states.
Theoretical orientation: My work is informed by the theories of self and intersubjective psychologists, attachment theory, Janina Fisher's trauma research, and Fosha's accelerated emotional dynamic psychotherapy. I also am informed by the findings of trauma researchers such as Pat Ogden, Daniel Siegel and Stephen Porges.
Therapy is a unique space where a therapist and client, with their own particular past and present experiences, enter into a dialogue in which the therapist commits to appreciating, understanding and valuing the reality of the client. This process is not the same as two friends who get together to chat. The therapist listens more than talks, is present solely for the client and not for his or her own issues, and pays attention to the patterns and distorted beliefs that influence the client but are unseen by the client. Therapy can change these patterns and help us lead happier lives with a greater ease of being.
With clients who are interested in Buddhism, I incorporate Buddhist philosophy, and its various types of meditation, such as metta or loving kindness, mindfulness, tonglen and nondual inquiry.
The therapist cannot be an objective observer. Who the therapist is, with his or her own past experiences, affects the conversation. To reduce the chances that one's personal biases and limited views restrict the client's ability to talk freely, ongoing or long-term therapy for the therapist is essential. I have had years of intensive personal and group psychotherapy. I also attend supervision sessions with colleagues to keep my perspective as clear as possible. A therapist's not being completely objective, however, does not mean that the therapist cannot understand someone who has had a very different life.
Empathy is an important quality in a therapist, and I have cultivated my listening and empathic skills throughout my years of training and in group therapy. My more than 25 years of Buddhist training and meditation has helped me to calm my mind, and enter stillness of the mind more easily.
Rapport is a very important aspect of therapy. If you do not feel comfortable with me during our first session - or at any time in the future if you decide to continue working with me - please say so. You will not hurt my feelings. It is crucial that you feel you can trust me enough to speak freely, and that you feel I understand and can be empathetic to your struggles.
Robert Kegan's model of self-development has also contributed to my understanding. His explanation of the "family religion" (the profound impact that our parents' values and ideals have on our growth and belief systems, both conscious and unconscious) is a powerful metaphor in my work with clients.
Office: 316 Dupont Street, Toronto (just west of Spadina)
(sorry, no wheelchair access yet)
Phone: 416 926 8776
I offer a sliding scale fee for clients who are financially disadvantaged.
OHIP does not cover psychotherapists. However, some insurance companies cover a percentage of fees.