My Training/Education and Professional Certification
Therapy Training: M.Ed. Counselling Psychology, OISE University of Toronto. Electives: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT); Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT); Indigenous Healing.
Gestalt Therapist Certification: 4-year Training Program in Group and Individual Therapy, The Gestalt Institute of Toronto. Followed by two years of Practicum work under Supervision.
Higher Education: University of Cambridge BA(Hons.) and MA
License: College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) #3018
What Does This Mean For You?
It means I am pretty well trained - both in depth and in breadth - where 'in breadth' i a measure of the ability to operate across disciplines in a productive way; and 'in depth' denotes mastery of a particular approach. The breadth I got via the M.Ed. at OISE/UofT: meaning I am up-to-date with evidence-based developments in the field and can therefore integrate therapeutically effective ideas from other approaches into my work. But, way more importantly as far as your therapy experience is concerned, was the a long and in-depth training to acquire mastery of process-oriented work in gestalt.
This blend of training is somewhat unusual and will be central to your experience as a client for various reasons. First, it means I have done my own personal work. Much academic (university-based) counselling/therapy training, like my M.Ed., "highly recommend" that students undergo therapy themselves, but it is NOT a prerequisite. In gestalt doing one's own personal work is the most important prerequisite for going on to learn how to help others (a form of "physician heal thyself" so to speak). It also means that you can rest assured that about most anything you go through in your own therapy, I can say to you, "I've been there and done that." In other words I will not subject you to anything that I wouldn't do myself, and do not already understand myself from the inside out
Secondly, my M.Ed. training confers an essential and broad intellectual understanding of the vast range of therapies, key common principles, ethics and professional standards. Along with an a basic but sketchy induction into how to do therapy. But the in-depth, on the job, experiential training, in gestalt really teaches one how to do therapy...
And why is experiential so important? Many modern day psychotherapies take a 'medical model approach.' Meaning they diagnose you with a particular issue. This then determines the treatment you undergo with by referral to a manual which outlines the pre-determined steps to take to treat your issue. You may even be given a manual to work with as part of the therapy. In contrast, my approach is to tailored the work to you and your circumstances as a unique individual - in other word to create a manual that is for you and you alone. This way of working calls upon the therapist's creativity to create experiments for you to engage in. It is talk therapy, but talk therapy with less talk and more action. These experiments allow you to experience yourself in new ways; and by means of engaging in these experiments you gain an insight into other, more useful, ways of being. You can thereby gain the chance to choose whether or not to change based upon your felt experience and the sense and meaning you make of the experiences. This allows you to find new ways of being (to choose change) that is in accordance with a 'truth that is true for me' (Kierkegaard). Note how it is you who makes the choice - for gestalt is an existential approach - meaning you are in the driving seat as the "expert" in your own life
Another good way to envisage the difference between gestalt and other (manual-based) therapeutic approaches, is to see gestalt as offering a kind of bespoke therapy immaculately tailored to you as an individual, rather than a ready-to-wear, off-the-peg garment that is shaped more by what your issue shares in common with everyone else who has suffered in the same way as you. The crucial difference being that no one else has suffered in the same way as you, because you are unique. Hence the need for an individually tailored process to fit your unique context and life experience.
Lastly, my Cambridge education has contributed greatly to my ability to carry on intelligent conversations across diverse fields. This grants me extra advantage in getting to know and understand you better and thereby establish rapport quicker. Or in other words, you can be more confident that you will be clearly both seen and heard. It also makes for more vibrant interaction in sessions. I cannot guarantee it will all be fun, but you can expect to be understood, met on your level, and share some humour in the face of your existential dilemmas.
Finally, my CRPO registration means I've met the requirements (hours of experience, training, and Supervision) to practice psychotherapy. And that your interests are protected and guaranteed by the oversight of the CRPO.
Workshops and Group Therapy Experience
I've included this list because it gives you a fairly good snapshot of me as a person and my interests and concerns:
- “Being Human” – navigating a course between the pursuit of happiness and doing the right thing (2008).
- “I am a Man” - Workshop series, Informed Parent Centre (2007)
- “Sexual Intimacy For Couples” - Workshop series, Informed Parent Centre (2007)
- Co-leader of six-day intensive, “Introduction to Experiential Therapy.” Guangzhou, China (July 2007) - in association with the Satir Institute of China.
- “The Joy of Poetry”: about joy and experiencing it through reading and writing poetry (2006).
- “Man’s Inhumanity to Man” – a workshop series for concerned and decent people in an indecent world (2006)
- “Self-Esteem for Women” Public groups (twice in 2005)
- “Advanced Self-Esteem” Public groups (twice in 2005)
- “The Gestalt Interview” – listening and interviewing skills (2004)
- Co-leader, with a GP-Psychotherapist, OHIP groups, 2004-2005
- “Self-Esteem” YWCA, REACH Program, 2003-2005 (volunteer)