Psychotherapist (RP) in Toronto: about changehappens
education & training
My name is Natalie Gold — a Registered Psychotherapist (RP) in Toronto, Canada, certified in Gestalt Therapy as a post-graduate of the 4-year Training Program for psychotherapists at the Gestalt Institute of Toronto (GIT). But I have over 7 years of Gestalt training, including 2 with the GIT’s Jorge Rosner in the 1980s.
I hold an Honors B.A. in Psychology (Ryerson University, 2011 – now Toronto Metropolitan University), and a one-year Graduate Certificate in Addictions and Mental Health Counseling (Durham College, 2012).
In the past, I attended the State University of New York at Buffalo, majoring in Honors English and Theatre Arts, and later Toronto’s Ryerson Institute, majoring in Radio/TV Arts.
Professional memberships include:
Learning is a constant, and ongoing workshops and seminars are essential for a therapist to stay up-to-date. But it is my clients who teach me the most.
work: current & historical
As a curious Sagittarius, I began asking “good questions” when I was a child (a good question was usually one that adults couldn’t answer!).
This tendency served me well in my 25-years as a qualitative researcher, consultant and trainer, whose job was to ask questions (in focus groups and in-depth interviews), carefully listen and observe, then write about what happened.
It also helps as a psychotherapist. I work intuitively, using Gestalt techniques, and draw from other modalities. These include: CBT (cognitive behavior therapy); DBT (dialectical behavior therapy); emotion-focused therapy; art therapy; psychodrama; dream interpretation; mindfulness and spirituality; the wisdom in 12-step programs; harm reduction; and the bio-psycho-social approach.
My job is to be with you and support you—to listen, to guide you to some awareness, and with your permission, to suggest things to try (experiments). The aim is to find what works for you.
I started developing workshops based on what was important for me to learn in my own recovery. The ‘No’ series of boundary-setting workshops began in 2002 via Toronto’s Learning Annex (2002-2003), the North York Women’s Centre (2007-2008), and the Gestalt Institute of Toronto (2007-2009).
Between 2011 and 2015, I co-lead various groups and workshops with colleagues on emotional eating (Hungry or Not, at the Gestalt Institute and Vanity & Sanity, and then Love, Hate & Mirrors at Sheena’s Place.)
The idea for a women’s support group started at Christmas in 2014, with Holiday Blues. This progressed to various Talk-it-Out support groups and workshops for women lasting from 4-to-6 weeks, and included FADES: Food addiction and disordered eating support, which became ongoing. When the pandemic began, FADES continued online until summer 2023.
Most recently, during the pandemic I created an online training workshop for therapists on disordered eating, a lifelong goal. There is such a need for help in this area.
My main area of specialization comes from my own lifelong experience and recovery process.
Namely: eating disorders, ranging from binge-eating, compulsive eating, bulimia, food addiction, emotional eating and other disordered eating behaviors – along with the accompanying body image, weight and obesity concerns.
Below are just some of the main issues clients and I have worked through:
- Anxiety, anger, grief, depression
- Past or recent trauma or abuse
- Addiction to alcohol, cannabis, work, spending, internet porn
- Self-esteem, perfectionism, self-sabotage
- codependency, boundaries
- Dysfunctional family background, adult children of alcoholics
- Fear of failure or success, creative blocks, procrastination
- Life transitions
In the appendix of my book Binge Crazy, I list 93 issues that clients have faced during therapy.
Before becoming a Certified Gestalt Psychotherapist and opening my psychotherapy practice in Toronto in 2007, I was involved in the pursuit and struggle to find out what I really wanted to do with my life.
Since age 20, I have been working on personal issues. My life has taken a long and winding road towards personal growth and healing.
Over the years, I have worked individually, in groups, workshops and seminars with different therapists, which exposed me to a range of modalities. So I have been there, groped in the dark, grasped at straws, tried, fallen down, and picked myself up again. And again.
(You can find a detailed version of this in my book, written over a 14 year span, which tells my personal story and struggles with binge eating disorder, Binge Crazy: A Psychotherapist’s Memoir of Food Addiction, Mental Illness, Obesity and Recovery, was published in 2015.)
As the book states, Gestalt and a 12-step program have been the two major influences of my recovery. Both take a holistic approach to change where what you think, how you feel, what you do and what you believe are all important, as is the society we live in and the pressures we all face in this changing world.
The 12-step program has influenced my understanding of addiction, mental and emotional health, and the personal importance of developing a spiritual outlook on life.
Gestalt has brought me awareness and acceptance of who and what I am, what I want and need, how to recognize and feel my emotions, understand their impact on my body and in my life, and use them in a constructive way.
Both have helped me see that we each must find our own path.
change isn’t easy
even when we’re totally committed.
we naturally resist what change invites:
the new, the strange, the unfamiliar.
we can end up
compromising our lives
not pursuing our dreams
and settling for just okay.
but with some skilled support
change can lead to
a different journey and outcome.
it is possible.