A kind, compassionate supervisor once said to me, "Have you ever met anyone who had enough validation today"? No matter how you look at the research on human experience of challenges, problem solving behaviors, personality, mental health services, methods, etc. there is a ton of evidence that having social support is a key factor in overcoming hardship. Yet we are living in a world where social connection is in competition with internet connection, where we log on, hook up, swipe and sometimes seek attention rather than connection. As per the famous author Gabor Mate we are all living in a world that is progressively more focused on material wealth, competition and greed and less on living in harmony with nature and one another. Therapy is not friendship or community, but can offer a caring, attentive and healing space for a person to be seen heard and understood. Therapy can help a person understand what makes them feel connected and whole and get back to a healthier life with a more satisfying and meaningful experience. Reach out.
It is not news that the pandemic created a huge market for mental health services. People began needing more help but also on a positive note, realizing that its ok to not be ok. At the same time some mental health regulatory bodies reduced their requirements to make it easier for people to get membership or licenses to meet the needs of the public. More problematic than reduced standards for qualifications is the social media trend of discussing mental health problems with no education at all. Some people with limited or no training or expertise are popular on social media talking about symptoms of mental health diagnostic categories and giving out coping tips. Anyone and everyone is suddenly an expert. Most disturbing to me as a mental health professional with 25 yrs of experience and three degrees, are all the videos telling people what unknown or little known symptoms of mental illness are. Everyone is self diagnosing.
What you need to know is that only a Clinical Psychologist that is licensed or a Psychiatrist that is a Medical Doctor, or sometimes a Medical Doctor untrained in Psychology can decide if you have a diagnosis. They can also treat mental health conditions with therapy. Only a medical doctor can prescribe medication. There are often higher fees and longer wait lists to see a Registered Psychologist since they are able to provide a diagnosis when needed. A Psychiatrist is a medical specialist and unless in an Emergency setting, most often require a referral from your Family Doctor. Wait lists can be excessive. They often offer short appointments that are focused on making sure a patient has the right medication for their condition.
A Registered Psychotherapist in Ontario is licensed to provide ethical and competent care that is relational, boundaries and contractual aiming to bring about positive change in thinking, feeling, behaviours and social functioning when one or any of these factors has adversely impacted a persons day-to-day quality of life or relationships. Registered Psychotherapists are bound by standards of practice set out by their college, in Ontario its the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. The public can look to see if a member is regulated, has any conditions on their license or are still in the Qualifying category requiring supervision. They can also look at the site to know what to expect, for example a clear goal setting process and evidence based practice that helps people make progress.
A Registered Social Worker and some other professionals such as Occupational Therapists or Doctors can also provide Psychotherapy in Ontario though their training in methods may be different. The Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (the College) is the regulatory body for social workers that assesses their qualifications for membership and protects the public. A Social Worker may look at an individual's wellbeing more in the context of the systems they live in and interact with, assessing their functioning as an interaction of biology, social factors, cultural or spiritual factors and offer a perspective or suggestions that connects outside factors to the cause and solution to challenges.
There are also unregulated professionals in Ontario that have training in Marriage and Family Therapy that may be a member of an Association that sets a standard of qualifications and training. A Counsellor may be trained and a member of an Association but not regulated. These professionals may have background and training that is helpful to an individual however they are not accountable to a regulatory body nor licensed and there may not be a complaint process or registry to ensure they have no history of problematic or unprofessional behavior.
What is important in this is to ensure that you seek out the person qualified for your needs. Also that the person be willing to work with other practitioners taking care of you, with your expressed consent.
What is also important is to recognize that the theoretical orientation of the therapist - the way they do therapy - is not tied to outcomes. There are many ways to get to a goal. However, relationship with the therapist is primary. If you do not feel heard, understood, comfortable and hopeful with a therapist they are not going to be able to help you.
At our clinic we are all licensed and regulated professionals. We use different methods, including ACT, CBT, EFT, Systemic Therapy, Psychoanalytic, Attachment Focused, DBT and more. The intake coordinator or Clinic Director will help you find a fit to your expectations, personality and needs. You are welcome to have a free consultation with several therapists to see who feels like a good match for you. Reach out.
In Nunavik the Inuit have many ways to describe the snow, including both its element and the way it impacts or interacts with the one experiencing the snow. There is anik, for snow falling down, or aputi for snow on the ground, aniu for snow used to make water, or nilak freshwater ice, for drinking for example. Then there is maujaq the snow in which one sinks.
In over 2 decades of practice as a Counsellor and Psychotherapist I have encountered many ways people experience what they all call anxiety, or stress. Yet the terms are often used to describe both the state of being and the interactive element or context that the person is experiencing. Often the struggle is worse when people are unable to see the way in which the qualities of the environment, past or present is impacting them. Sometimes they also need to reveal the ways in which they experience the anxiety or stress from within may be impacting the ways they are interacting with their environment. Stress responses can be normal and helpful, or severe, stuck and maladaptive. Trauma responses deeply rooted in our survival system are often the most severe and require the most caution.
At our mental health clinic we work collaboratively, we seek supervision or consultation and continue to train on an ongoing basis in evidence based practices for effective therapy. We know that a good therapist needs to help differentiate and understand the person and their environments, co-creating goals and being clear about the process and pace for change. We talk about therapy with our clients and measure progress. We know the value of being genuine, real and warm and we do not hide who we are as human beings because trust in therapy also involves trusting the therapist.
Sometimes clients are impatient about change because they are suffering. If stress or anxiety problems are recent and external, and/or a person has good coping and motivation, therapy can help in a short time. However, moving too quickly without being informed about trauma, a therapist can cause, literally, a flood – much like melting an iceberg. The older and deeper the learning is, the more frozen patterns are and the more risk is involved. Our therapists working with anxiety are trauma informed, assessing the nature and the nurture of the client and their concerns. What happened, when, what are the resources, what are the supports in their environments, how can we chip away at old stuck things in a way that is controlled and empowering and reduces risk of harm? We work in psychotherapy with caution and warmth to the help illuminate what is stored in the ice blocks of the mind and body, to melt down patterned responses that can be strong and unrelenting and create new responses that are more helpful, and fluid.
Sometimes its just a little stormy weather, and sometimes the issues clients bring to therapy are the tip of the iceberg. Whether a person wants short or long-term therapy, we meet clients where they are at and agree on a plan that works with their needs. Nobody needs to feel alone and stuck. Effective psychotherapy helps whether short or long term. Reach out.
Seeking help for your mental health? It has never been more acceptable to do so. However, there are so many options out there. It can be overwhelming to know how to find someone. At Creative Transitions Psychotherapy group we all have at least a Masters' degree in Mental Health with additional training and supervision in providing Psychotherapy. We are all licensed and ethical therapists. We do not work in areas where we do not have training to help. We know good fit with your counsellor is important. You want to take advantage of free consultations with psychotherapists online or in person in order to determine who would be a good choice to provide mental health help. You may want to ask questions about psychotherapy methods and what to expect from the intake process. A psychotherapist should have training and experience in the mental health issues you are dealing with as well as having a personality that is a good fit. Together you should be able to determine some therapy goals to get you started on your wellness journey. At our mental health clinic we welcome you to work with another therapist if you meet with your choice and do not feel it is a great fit.
Counselling and Psychotherapy clinics like ours have seen a huge influx in clients looking for help with symptoms of ADHD since the pandemic. ADHD is actually a chronic neurological condition that usually is diagnosed in childhood. Its prevalence has not necessarily increased but there is a lot of interest in the topic. Symptom like problems with focusing, organizing and being motivated are common to a lot of mental health issues. Sometimes over use of devices, lack of proper sleep, vitamin and nutrient deficiencies, anxiety, trauma and other issues may be the source of the problem. Please do not self diagnose. Talk to a therapist or counsellor and explore what is troubling you and how to make improvements. If you need a diagnosis, a psychotherapist in Toronto can direct you to places to determine if you have or do not have ADHD.
Meet the Team
- Shirley Katz, Ph.D., Clinic Director
- Alexa Haslecker, M.A., M.A.C.P, RP
- Victoria (Seun) Tuyo, M.A., MACP, RP Qualifying
- Ella Rebanks, MA, RP.
- Audette Rose, MSW, RSW, Nurse
- Christy Doran, M.A. Art Therapist DTATI (Cand), RP (Qualifying, ECE
- Maria Ahmed, M.A., RP(Qualifying))
- Elissa McGillivray, M.A., MACP, RP Qualifying
- Yael Leon, Admin
- Psychotherapy Services
- Interns/Low Cost Services
- Clinical Supervision