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.
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