IMPORTANT NOTE: I have now retired from private practice, and I am not taking any new clients, in either Hamilton or Toronto. If you are reading this page and looking for a therapist, I am sorry that I am not available. I will be glad to send you information about colleagues I respect who are taking new referrals, and you can contact them. I am leaving the page up, in case people want to know about this aspect of my work and background.
I studied Child Psychotherapist at the Tavistock Clinic in London, U.K., an intensive 4-year course with both theoretical work and practical internships, and is certified as a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist. I have also trained to work with adults, and am sensitive to issues of gender and orientation. I am particularly interested in working with grief (past and present), issues relating to parenting, fertility issues and pregnancy (including loss), and recovery from trauma, as well as helping artists in all media deal with creative blocks and issues affecting their art/life balance.
As both a working, published writer and a psychotherapist, I think it is important for you to tell your story, in your own words — and, when you are ready, explore the untold secrets, possibilities, and various points of view in this story of your life. I also think that the growing relationship between “client” and “therapist” is a vital part of treatment. This relationship is non-judgemental, though structured, and helps you recognize the positive aspects of your life as well as deal with problems.
Counseling and psychotherapy can help people cope better with past trauma (personal, family, and cultural), with current trauma, grief, and loss, and with issues of everyday life, including parenting, self-esteem, caring for aging parents, and relationship issues. Sometimes a good friend or family member can help you find solutions to your distress, and provide comfort and nurturing, but sometimes you need the help of a professional, who can act like a “wilderness guide” as you explore your inner world, your thoughts and your feelings. I also work with children and adolescents in the context of their family or other living situation, to help deal with problems in this formative part of life.
I use an eclectic approach, combining narrative therapy, cognitive-behavioural and mindfulness work, methods effective in recovery from trauma, psychodynamic insights (e.g. ways past experience impinge on the present), play therapy with children, and other relevant techniques. I would like to help you become more able to face the past, enjoy the present, and look to the future with confidence. With children, I use play and art therapy as well as talk.
A four-year-old boy whom I saw remarked, at the end of therapy: “When there were monsters, we couldn’t talk about them. But now that there are no monsters, we can talk about them.” This is the essence of therapy: we cannot undo the monsters and traumas of the past or present, but we can make them bearable to think and talk about, help you find better ways to overcome them, and take away their power over your mind and heart.
I am a member of the Canadian Association of Psychoanalytic Child Psychotherapists, #1219 and a member of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW), #778380.