“Psychotherapy can be one of the greatest and most rewarding adventures, it can bring with it the deepest feelings of personal worth, of purpose and richness in living.” Eda LeShan
As a psychotherapist located in Burlington, Ontario, with three decades of experience, I am used to responding to people’s first inquiries seeking therapy services. I feel incredibly honoured to be someone they rely on to share what brings them to therapy, sometimes for the first time. I know that it takes courage to make that first step of reaching out for help and support.
One of my deepest intentions as a psychotherapist is to offer solace and hope to those navigating complex and sometimes overwhelming life experiences. I work with experienced and seasoned psychotherapists; we are constantly working towards providing a safe space for self-discovery to help people move through challenging mental health, trauma, identity, relationship or life transition issues.
Life involves constant change, and for that reason, as humans, we have learned to adapt and adjust to being able to navigate and ‘surf’ the waves of the vast ocean of life.
Some changes are joyous yet challenging, such as the birth of a child, getting married, graduating from school or starting a new job. Other transitions, such as career shifts, divorce, breaking up, adolescence, grief, or retirement, are more complicated.
Some people reach out to psychotherapy, hoping to find the tools and a life compass to help them navigate uncertainties and new endeavours. Others want to rediscover parts of themselves as they move into new roles and identities.
Stress, Burnout and Anxiety:
As humans, having the capacity to recognize stress and unsafe situations is a survival skill. We must be active in events that require our attention to keep us safe; otherwise, dullness might lead us to unsafety and stuckness. The challenge for many people is that life feels chaotic and overwhelming, fast-paced, triggering worries and fears about the future.
Anxiety and burnout often manifest as experiencing difficulties with slowing down, mental saturation, fatigue, loss of motivation and interest in spending time with family and friends, and trouble sleeping.
Most people seeking psychotherapy want to regain a sense of self-agency during times of high-stress levels and feeling overtaxed emotionally and mentally.
Grief and Loss:
Loss is unavoidable within the spectrum of human experiences. We experience grief, whether through the loss of loved ones, relationship breaks, identity and role changes, career and job transitions, loss of health and abilities or moving.
Psychotherapy provides a safe and supportive space in which people can reflect on the impact of such losses on their lives and, most significantly, a more grounded sense of self and identity. When we experience loss, we will likely lose parts of ourselves connected to that past. Psychotherapy can help people explore and rediscover parts of themselves to move forward.
We are social beings, and consequently, we rely on initiating and maintaining healthy and safe interconnections. The vast range of relationships can include romantic, familial, friendly, sexual or platonic connections.
Relationships can be a source of joy, growth and conflict. The more intimate and close the relationships, the more intense the chance of experiencing conflicts, turmoil, and disagreements.
Most people find individual, couple or family therapy
helpful for learning better communication and navigating transitions, disagreements or conflicts.
Some couples wish to explore ethical non-monogamy relationships and polyamory. An experienced therapist is crucial in promoting a therapy environment that invites reflecting on issues such as navigating and communicating boundaries, co-creating consensual decision-making, and expanding people’s capacity to connect with their loved ones.
A psychotherapy process focusing on relationship issues allows people to understand themselves and others’ perspectives better and gain new insights.
Some people seek support to become more assertive in identifying and communicating needs, wants, and boundaries or breaking old patterns of connecting with others that are no longer beneficial or conducive to personal growth.
Traumatic experiences can disrupt our capacity to develop healthy connections with ourselves, our bodies, others and the world around us. From recent unexpected tragedies to old stories of abuse, trauma can leave long-lasting scars and injuries in people’s minds, bodies and sense of self.
Trauma is one of the most untreated and unexamined causes of human mental health and spiritual suffering. The often debilitating symptoms we experience in the aftermath of perceived life-threatening or overwhelming experiences of abuse, rejection and abandonment are unique to each person.
Trauma-informed approaches to psychotherapy create a trusting and structured environment that allows people to process and integrate a narrative of their lives in which shame, confusion and unsafe coping mechanisms are present. Trauma therapy can help people reclaim their most desired sense of control, self-worth, agency and ways of being in the world.
A quote assigned to Aristotle says, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” Conscious knowledge of one’s character, feelings, intentions, and desires is a right to which humans are entitled.
Knowing ourselves is not a linear process, and it evolves throughout life. Sometimes, it manifests through identity crises, gender and sexual self-inquiries and explorations, confusion, uncertainties and ambiguity.
Often, people seeking psychotherapy crave a non-judgmental relationship that allows them to explore their early childhood conditioning, beliefs, and personal identity. They wish to develop and foster a more authentic portrait of themselves.
Mental Health Conditions:
It is possible to experience good mental health even when we have a diagnosis such as a mood disorder, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, etc. In my experience as a psychotherapist, some of the mental health disorders can be episodic and often are a response to a way of life that does not align with our more profound sense of meaning and authenticity or to unexamined early traumas.
Anxiety, depression, mood or personality disorders can have a significant impact on our daily functioning, relationships and hopes for the future. Some of these mental health issues can lead people to feel hopeless, isolated and powerless, including self-harming behaviours.
Psychotherapy allows people to relate to emotions and impulses with curiosity and openness. A gentle therapy approach can help uncover the valuable inner resources that difficult life experiences have distorted and ignored.
Our team is aware that people in the 2SLGBTQIA+ are 2 to 4 times more likely to experience mental health challenges compared to non-LGBTQ+ people.
In the past years, an increasing number of individuals and couples have reached out to therapy intending to be proactive in exploring and having a deeper understanding of their strengths, life goals and life purpose.
These individuals seek therapy when they are not experiencing significant stressors or crises, which allows them to invest in their emotional, spiritual and relational aspects.