I began practicing psychotherapy in 1986, after finishing an MSW at the University of Toronto and a year of psychotherapy internship at the Toronto Institute of Human Relations. I continued as an intern at TIHR for two more years, and returned to TIHR to work as a Director of Training from 1989 until 1996.
In my years as a psychotherapist and clinical social worker with the Toronto Salvation Army Family Services, I met many consumer/survivors of the mental health system. I learned from them how to listen with empathy and respect to terribly difficult life stories. I saw how this careful kind of listening can calm acute symptoms of anxiety and foster inner strength, even when the wounds of abuse and neglect run very deep.
I have been in full-time private practice since 1996. I work mostly with adult individuals and with couples. Quite a few of my clients would consider themselves part of the LGBTQ community. I think of myself as a general practitioner of psychotherapy, moving comfortably between individual and couple work, both short-term and long-term, with a wide variety of presenting problems and issues.
The hallmark of my work, constant across the modalities of my practice, is that I do my best to understand my clients in terms of their own experience, offering my genuine presence and empathy as we work collaboratively.
In 1992, I was part of a group of therapists who founded the Toronto Institute for Relational Psychotherapy (www.tirp.ca). I still teach there, and I also supervise psychotherapists and clinical social workers in the community. In 2000, I completed work for a PhD in Philosophy of Education from the University of Toronto, linking contemporary educational and psychoanalytic theories. I’ve written two books, one called Relational Psychotherapy: A Primer (first edition, 2003, current edition 2015), and the other, also published in 2015, called Understanding and Treating Chronic Shame: A Relational/Neurobiological Approach.
Because I believe that therapists must know themselves well in order to practice well, I have spent years in my own personal psychotherapy, which has also been its own reward. Because I believe that therapists should not practice in isolation, I seek consultation regularly.
I'm a Registered Psychotherapist and a Registered Social Worker. With my memberships in the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (www.crpo.ca) and in the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (www.ocswssw.org), I embrace my commitment to professional Codes of Ethics, professional Standards of Practice, and professional Complaints and Discipline processes.