As a psychotherapist, coach, and facilitator of personal development workshops and support groups, I use Gestalt therapy as a foundation along with a range of other research-based methods to find the best way to help my clients.
As a curious Sagittarius, I began asking “good questions” when I was a child (a good question was most often one that adults could not answer!).
This tendency served me well in my over 25-year professional life as a qualitative researcher and consultant, whose job involved asking questions (in focus groups and in-depth interviews), listening carefully, then observing and writing about how people responded.
As a psychotherapist
As a graduate and post-graduate of the Gestalt Institute of Toronto (GIT), I have over 7 years of Gestalt training—2 in the 1980s and 5 in the 2000s–which has helped me further develop and refine empathic listening and observational skills.
I also have a Graduate Certificate in Addictions and Mental Health Counseling which has informed my practice and deepened my understanding and expanded my knowledge of addiction-related issues.
Individual Gestalt therapy involves a relationship between the therapist and client, where you, the client, are always in charge. I work intuitively, using Gestalt techniques based on Gestalt theories of perception, awareness and change. I also draw from a wide range of cognitive, behavioral, humanistic, experiential and spiritual influences including: CBT (cognitive behavior therapy), emotion-focused therapy; art therapy; dream interpretation; psychodrama; body movement; mindfulness and spirituality; SFT (solution-focused therapy); the 12 steps (of Alcoholics Anonymous); harm reduction; and the biopsychosocial approach.
My job is to support you—to listen, to guide you to some awareness with skillful questions, and with your permission, to suggest things to try (experiments) so you can see whether a particular idea is true for you, or not. With awareness comes the potential for change, and emotionally healthier ways to live your life.
Individual psychotherapy sessions last an hour and are conducted in person, at my office in Toronto, located near the Spadina subway line and the Allen expressway. My office is adjacent to Forest Hill,not too far from the Hillcrest, Davenport and Annex areas to the south, and Yorkdale to the north.
As a coach
Coaching the Gestalt way means that Gestalt techniques and learning applies. You are always in charge. As a coach, I work intuitively, and pose questions that will help you discover what you need and want, focus on what’s important to you, and choose your best course of action.
Individual sessions can be 30 minutes or longer, depending on the client’s needs, and can be conducted in person or on the phone. The first session is usually one hour and conducted in person.
The difference between psychotherapy and coaching
Gestalt psychotherapy is a natural, holistic, organic process that involves healing and confronting aspects of our personality and behaviour that don’t serve our best interests. Sometimes it can be fun, and other times not.
Psychotherapy helps us get out of our own way, so we can live our best lives.
Coaching focuses on setting and reaching goals, and is usually much shorter-term.