Expertise

Adoption

Families formed through adoption, and adopted children in particular, encounter issues which may increase their vulnerability to developmental, emotional and behavioural difficulties. There are many variables in the adoptive experience. Children, even infants, can come into their new families having experienced multiple caregivers and possibly trauma. Adoptive families can feel isolated and overwhelmed.

International and inter-racial adoptions are complex. How do children from a different race and culture transfer to strangers who look, sound, and smell very different from their original caregivers? How do children learn a new language? How does this process affect functioning in school? How do adoptive parents explain why a child’s biological parents were unable to raise them? How do we assist adolescents who have been adopted to develop a solid sense of identity? Adolescence can generate a new set of questions and obstacles that can impact on overall family functioning.

Therapists at The Counselling Group have extensive experience and training in post-adoption counselling, parent-child attachment, child development, family therapy, attachment therapy and various play therapy modalities.

Anger Management

The Counselling Group currently offers a group counselling program called Transformations. This program runs for 10-weeks  and provides tools and techniques to transform anger.

The program addresses a number of topics, including:

  • Emotions and Anger Arousal Management
  • Stress and Relaxation
  • Cognitive Strategies and Out-Thinking Anger
  • Self-Monitoring of Anger
  • Self-Esteem
  • Relationships
  • Parenting
  • Assertive Communication
  • Responding to Anger and Criticism
  • Problem-solving

TRANSFORMATIONS is NOT appropriate for individuals who have been charged with domestic abuse. Click here to register for Transformations or contact Reina McSheffrey at 613-722-2225 ext. 407.

Anxiety / Panic

Anxiety is a normal response to stress which may arise due to pressures at home, work, school, or in any number of relationships. While it is common to feel anxious at times, when anxiety becomes excessive and interferes with work, family life, and one’s own happiness, it’s time to get help.

Anxiety can be accompanied by physical symptoms such as heart palpitations or chest pains, fatigue, nausea, shortness of breath, stomach or headaches, and poor sleep. Emotional symptoms may include feelings of apprehension or dread, difficulty concentrating, feelings of irritability, restlessness, and constantly watching for signs of danger.

Panic attacks are episodes of extreme anxiety lasting from 1 or 2 minutes, up to 20 minutes. Common symptoms of a panic attack include rapid heartbeat, perspiration, dizziness, trembling, uncontrollable fear, and hyperventilation.

Our Therapists can help decrease or eliminate symptoms of anxiety and panic by helping you develop techniques to reduce future anxiety and stress.

Bereavement & Loss

Grief is a difficult, complicated, and emotional response to bereavement or loss. It is a private, personal experience that might also be expressed in a public, communal way. For some, it may take a long time to come to terms with a loss. Physical and emotional pain can be profound and might occur immediately, or happen much later, possibly even as a response to an unrelated situation.

Our grief counselling solutions promote the well-being of bereaved people, enable clients to understand their grief and help them cope with feelings of loss. Where appropriate and when demand warrants, bereavement groups are organized to offer support in a group setting, sometimes in addition to individual counselling.

Childhood Sexual Abuse & Trauma

If you experienced sexual abuse as a child or adolescent, it can be helpful to have a safe space where you can sort through your feelings and better understand your experiences/emotions. By its nature, sexual abuse can change the way people think about themselves and the world around them, often resulting in unwarranted feelings of self-blame and shame. Our trained therapists compassionately support children, adolescents, and adults in their efforts to heal from childhood trauma and to arrive at a new, healthier understanding of themselves.

Chronic Pain / Illness

Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts for more than 6 months. Chronic pain affects daily functioning and may appear as fibromyalgia, back pain, tension headaches, or other painful disorders. Symptoms may include:

  • pain
  • fatigue
  • muscle aches and weakness
  • disturbances in vision
  • cognitive difficulty
  • issues of mobility

Chronic pain affects all areas of life. Tasks may take longer to accomplish, physical environments may have to be altered, and diminished workability may cause financial problems. Anxiety and fear about the future may aggravate your physical and emotional suffering, making relationships more difficult to manage effectively.

Our therapists can help you develop strategies to regain a sense of control and improve the quality of your life. We can also provide assistance with advocacy and referrals to other services.

Couples Counselling

Emotionally fulfilling relationships are central to mental and physical health however, creating and maintaining a healthy couple relationship can be a challenge with all of today’s life stressors. Communication styles that individuals learned while growing up may influence a couple’s relationship.

TCG can help you overcome challenges that may arise in your intimate relationships. Our therapists can help you understand how unhealthy communication patterns impact your relationships and provide you with an opportunity to develop new methods of communicating that support your relationship. Conflict, unhappiness or dissatisfaction in relationships may be addressed in individual or couple sessions.

Depression

Depression can range from times of sadness to lingering and chronic depths of despair. Left untreated, depression can interfere significantly with day-to-day living. If some of the symptoms listed below are affecting you for more than a few weeks, you may benefit from speaking to a therapist:

  • fatigue
  • low energy
  • overwhelming grief and/or sadness
  • poor concentration
  • difficulty making decisions
  • low self-esteem
  • feeling worthless, hopeless or helpless
  • disturbed sleeping patterns
  • disturbed eating patterns
  • anxiety
  • avoidance
  • loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed

There are many forms of counselling and treatment that can alleviate symptoms of depression in very little time. The therapists at TCG provide a safe place to talk, explore and understand contributing factors to depression while helping to develop coping strategies.

Domestic Violence & Abuse

Abuse touches the lives of people from every cultural, socio-economic, age and ethnic group. Abuse can be physical, verbal, emotional, financial and/or sexual and the effects can be devastating, not only to victims but also to those who love and care for them.

TCG therapists understand that abuse can have an immediate and/or long-term impact that affects how a person thinks, feels and acts. A person may even completely block out memories of abuse, sometimes only recognizing it happened many years later.

Therapists provide confidential services that can help you:

  • learn to deal with the emotional impacts of abuse
  • learn to recognize warning signs of abuse
  • overcome nightmares and flashbacks
  • re-build your self-esteem
  • make positive relationship choices
  • develop a safety plan

Intimate Partner Violence (Domestic Violence) is widespread and poses serious health threats to the physical and emotional health and well-being of its victims. Intimate Partner Violence tends to increase in frequency and severity over time.

Our  therapists can help you:

  • evaluate choices and options
  • develop a safety plan
  • learn to deal with the emotional impacts of abuse
  • re-build your self-esteem
  • make positive relationship choices

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a form of psychotherapy that is highly effective in the treatment of trauma. EMDR utilizes rapid eye movements or bilateral stimulation while a traumatic memory is recalled and processed. Research has shown that this technique reduces the amount of therapeutic time needed to process and resolve traumatic memories. It is also useful in treating anxiety, phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

If you have recently or historically experienced trauma, The Counselling Group’s therapists trained in EMDR, can help you develop coping strategies and reduce the pain left behind so that you are able to start living your life to the fullest.

Family Therapy & Transitions

Family life is joyous, challenging and ever-changing but whether it’s the birth of your first child, supporting a teenager through mental health issues or experiencing separation and divorce, families encounter barriers. Our team of registered mental health professionals is specifically trained to support families navigating the many possible transitions and problems that may arise. We support all types of families including families with young children, old children, blended families, queer families, single families, families in conflict and families facing loss. Our team can offer your unique family a safe confidential space to be supported and learn new ways to overcome problems and move towards more peace and well-being.

Inter-racial and Inter-cultural Relationships

Interracial dating and relationships bring together different values, views, and experiences that can result in a rich and diverse assortment of shared traditions but in some instances, these same traditions can become sources of conflict. The needs of extended families, questions about how to raise children, and decisions regarding holidays are all opportunities for stress and tension. Over time, these stressors can develop into serious relationship issues.

While there are no rules that fit all inter-faith couples, the experienced therapists at TCG can help you learn how to build a foundation for a successful relationship, how to deal with family pressures and be resolute in your decisions, and how to find a compromise so that your partnership is a long-lasting source of support.

Isolation / Interpersonal Difficulties

Sometimes life events can impair our sense of basic safety and trust, which in turn can affect the way we view both the world and relationships. Sometimes these life events can also make forming relationships and maintaining connections very difficult. Some people may experience severe distress in social situations. Social anxiety, where one experiences significant anxiety and discomfort in social situations often stems from a fear of being embarrassed, humiliated or scorned by others in social or performance situations.

The therapists at The Counselling Group have extensive experience working with adults and children who experience social anxiety and/or have issues related to attachment and interpersonal connection. With counselling and support, you can learn to create and maintain healthier relationships.

LGBTTIQQ Issues

Therapists at TCG offer a queer-friendly environment, allowing you to explore thoughts and feelings about relationships, family of origin issues, school / work place difficulties, coming out and parenting. Questions about gender identity, sexual orientation, and the impact of homophobia may be explored in an open and respectful environment.

Through counselling you can look at what your relationship expectations are and how to achieve what you want and need wherever you identify on the queer continuum. Individual and couple relationship counselling can help with communication and sorting out feelings. The dynamics of relationship violence can also be examined through the unique lens that is specific to queer relationships.

Loss / Grief

Grief is a difficult, complicated, and emotional response to loss. It is a private, personal experience that might also be expressed in a public, communal way. For some, it may take a long time to come to terms with a loss. Physical and emotional pain can be profound and might occur immediately, or happen much later, possibly even as a response to an unrelated situation.

Our grief counselling solutions promote the well-being of bereaved people, enable clients to understand their grief, and help them cope with feelings of loss. Where appropriate and when demand warrants, Bereavement Groups are organized to offer support in a group setting, sometimes as an addition to individual counselling.

Mental Health

As we talk more openly about mental health and well-being, people are increasingly seeking targeted or ongoing support to establish and maintain positive mental health practices. Depression and anxiety have become common by-products of everyday living and sometimes we just need a safe and non-judgemental space to sort things out. Our knowledgeable therapists have the experience and flexibility to support you in identifying and working towards your greater mental health goals.

Moral Injury

Moral injury (MI) is closely related to Post Traumatic Stress, but differs from it. It develops when people are repeatedly exposed to events which violate deeply held moral values and expectations. These are situations where they were unable to prevent harm or believe they have caused harm to others. Often, it is the most compassionate and principled people that are most vulnerable to moral injury, as the very qualities that help them excel, are also what makes them more vulnerable to these wounds. Untreated MI can contribute to fatigue, burnout, substance abuse, long term disabilities, family instability and costly mistakes on the job.

Newcomer & Refugee Mental Health

The Counselling Group offers newcomers to Canada extensive social support, counselling, advocacy and referral services that help ease the transition to their new home. In addition to being culturally-responsive and providing services in multiple languages including Arabic, English, French, Spanish, and Creole, we also have a multi-disciplinary team that includes everyone from social workers and psychotherapists to settlement workers and play therapists. And depending on a client’s unique needs, we are well-connected to other supports and services in the city and can refer clients to these resources as needed.

To learn more about the services we offer to newcomers, visit Counselling For Newcomers.

Parenting

The role of a parent can be fulfilling, rewarding and enjoyable, as well as filled with challenges and frustration. The demands and stresses of daily life, coupled with raising and caring for a child, can sometimes leave parents feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and anxious. Conversely, healthy parent-child relationships are the key to a child’s success in every sphere of life.

Understanding a child’s stage of development and what to expect both physically and emotionally is empowering. Discussing issues that arise with one of our therapists can help develop effective parenting strategies, provide tools to manage stress, and reaffirm what works for your particular family with its unique dynamics.

Parenting Children with Special Needs

Parenting a child with special needs adds challenges that can be overwhelming for any or all members of the family. It demands understanding, skills, and advocacy that have hence been uncharted. Feelings of anger, frustration, resentment, helplessness, and the like are highly common, as is over-exhaustion. Couples can grow apart as each tries to cope with the added pressures and demands on their time and finances. Siblings can rebel against the other receiving more time and attention.

Individual, couple, and/or family counselling can help sort through overwhelming feelings, rebuild relationships, and direct you to other resources. Partners can develop positive ways to communicate, resolve conflict, and make the relationship a priority. Other family members can learn strategies to build successful relationships, develop empathy, and deal with negative feelings.

Personal Injury (Motor Vehicle/Automobile Injury & Trauma)

Automobile accidents can impact your life in a variety of ways. You may be dealing with a physical injury from an accident and experiencing emotional trauma. Dealing with insurance companies, medical forms, and sick leave procedures add levels of stress that can be overwhelming. It is common for people who have been in an automobile accident to:

  • experience anxiety
  • become afraid of driving
  • suffer nightmares and flashbacks
  • have panic attacks
  • experience other stress-related symptoms

Individuals seriously injured in an automobile accident may be coping with additional physical and emotions issues, such as:

  • acute or chronic pain
  • grief and loss
  • feelings of guilt about those injured or lost in the accident
  • loss of self-esteem
  • financial hardships
  • difficulties dealing with insurance companies

Counselling sessions for victims of automobile accidents, their partners or family members can be beneficial in providing the tools and strategies necessary to heal.

Prenatal & Post-Partum Issues

Popular opinion tells us that pregnancy is a happy time for women however, the reality is that it is also a time full of changes, questions, and challenges. A large percentage of women experience the so-called “baby blues” during or after pregnancy. Prenatal depression is difficult to diagnose due to its symptoms the similarity of its symptoms with general symptoms of pregnancy including low energy, changes in sleep and eating patterns, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, etc. Early detection and treatment of prenatal depression is critical to a woman and her baby’s health and ensures the best beginning for both of them. It also helps prevent or decrease postpartum depression.

For many women, childbirth can be a traumatic and overwhelming experience, with blame belonging to hormonal changes. Following childbirth, most women experience hormonal changes and may feel weepy, moody, and exhausted. If these symptoms do not decrease on their own, this can be an indicator of postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is often experienced as profound sadness, feelings of failure and confusion, crying spells, agitation, rapid mood swings, suicidal thoughts, and/or the desire to hurt the baby.

The Counselling Group offers individual or couples counselling sessions for those struggling with prenatal or postpartum issues. Our specially-trained therapists provide a safe environment to discuss issues and develop coping skills to deal with the changes of parenthood.

Psychological Assessment

The Counseling Group (TCG) currently provides psychological assessment and evaluation in conjunction with specific services and agencies.  These include, for example, The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) Community Mental Health Program and referrals from Community Legal Services of Ottawa (CLSO) for individuals appealing an ODSP decision and requiring an updated psychological evaluation.  The WSIB related evaluation precedes and informs therapy that also can be completed at TCG.  The psychological evaluation involves some combination of the following: clinical interview and observations, review of referral information, collateral interview, self-report measures, and other standardized testing.

All psychological testing is completed by licensed providers and supervised by Clinical Psychologists.  The psychological assessments always include:  initial session to clarify purpose and process of the psychological assessment, and feedback session to review results and recommendations.

PTSD & Trauma

Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible and extraordinary life event. It can shatter your sense of security and safety, and cause you to feel vulnerable and helpless. Typically, trauma victims experience both physical and emotional issues that disrupt and impede the ability to function. Examples include:

  • anger
  • shock
  • depression and/or anxiety
  • flashbacks
  • guilt
  • unpredictable emotions
  • low self-esteem
  • phobias
  • panic attacks
  • strained relationships
  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • insomnia

Our trauma Therapists are experienced in a variety of methodologies and approaches. They can work with you to help you in the process of overcoming traumatic experiences, whether they are from childhood, assault, war or other causes. Traumatized children often see the world differently, and can experience excessive feelings of fear and danger. The Counselling Group can help your child process trauma, develop coping mechanisms, and teach you new techniques to support their recovery.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that follows a traumatic event. It is characterized by such symptoms as:

  • persistent and frightening thoughts and/or memories
  • flashbacks of the event
  • dreams/nightmares
  • emotional Irritability
  • numbness
  • survivor’s guilt
  • anger

Those with PTSD may feel as if they are re-experiencing the traumatic event as though it was just happening although the precipitating trauma may have occurred many months or years in the past. The symptoms may be so severe that the person with PTSD withdraws from family and friends and may be unable to work or attend school.

Trauma therapists at TCG have up-to-date training and utilize a wide range of therapeutic techniques. They can help clients process their experience, develop strategies and resources to eliminate triggers, and reduce or resolve trauma symptoms.

Self-esteem

Self-esteem may be best described as how we perceive our worthiness as a person. Our sense of self is developed during childhood and continues throughout life, affected by a variety of factors. A person’s self-esteem can impact their day-to-day functioning, including their ability to make choices and their overall health.

A person with low self-esteem may experience such symptoms as:

  • fear
  • anxiety
  • emotional turmoil
  • helplessness
  • social withdrawal
  • poor body image
  • depression
  • perfectionism
  • feeling worthless, helpless to change life for the better

Our therapists can help you reframe negative, exaggerated, and inaccurate beliefs about yourself and encourage you to work towards changing self-defeating behaviours.

Separation & Divorce

The end of a relationship can be one of life’s most stressful events. Whether the relationship ended suddenly or fell apart gradually, it can bring about feelings of loss on many levels including the loss of companionship, the loss of dreams for the future, the loss of identity. There may also be a host of other losses, such as the loss of the family home, time with children, extended family members, financial security, pets, and a whole host of other familiarities.

Separation and divorce often require you to face multiple practical issues that carry strong emotional consequences. You may need to deal with the division of property and assets, spousal and/or child support, court and legal systems, changes in residence and schooling, and changes in care and custody arrangements.

It is typical to feel a loss of self-esteem, failure, sadness, anger, frustration, hopelessness, confusion, or even a sense of relief. Our counsellors can help you and your family members clarify what happened and explore ways to deal with the new situation. Together we can look at coping skills, options, and solutions to the issues that may arise, as well as working through any painful or emotional issues, re-examining the future, and making positive life changes.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is a violent crime committed by a stranger, acquaintance, friend, present/past partner, or another person. Our therapists provide support to any person who has been sexually assaulted, recently or in the past.

Sexual assault may have long-lasting effects on your health and well-being. How you respond to this trauma will depend on many circumstances including your support system of friends and family, the reaction of people you encounter after the assault and your life experiences prior to the assault.

You may feel fear, shame, guilt, self-blame, and anger. At times, you may feel out of control. You may also feel suicidal. These feelings are normal and often temporary.

Our therapists can help you understand and process the event and your feelings about having been sexually assaulted. Counselling can help you work towards rebuilding your sense of strength and self-worth.

Information and support are also provided to parents, family members and partners of those who have been assaulted.

Sexuality

Sexuality refers to how we experience ourselves as sexual beings, the importance of sex in our life, how we express our sexuality, and who we choose as a sexual partner. Our intimate relationships may be on-going sources of happiness, pleasure, support and excitement, or carry trepidation, anxiety, and stress.

Many factors affect our intimate lives, some of which are rooted in childhood, while others stem from experiences of adolescence or adulthood. Low self-esteem, poor body image, abuse, and similar issues can negatively affect sexual intimacy. Our sexuality may be full of questions around sexual orientation or gender identity, or of concerns regarding sexual behaviours, fantasies, and preferences. Lack of desire, inability to achieve orgasm, or sexual dysfunction may make it difficult to enjoy any kind of physical intimacy.

Our therapists are trained to help with a wide range of sexual issues, whether individually or as a couple, within a relationship or as a single person.

Special Needs & Behavioural Disorders

Our therapists have experience working with clients who are coping with many lifelong challenges including special needs and behavioural disorders.

Individuals with developmental disabilities find themselves facing many unique challenges. For some clients, moving from their family home into independent and/or permanent group home settings that lack the privacy and intimacy which they were accustomed, can be a very difficult transition. Additionally, they may be facing the loss of aging parents, and experiencing a sense of isolation and lack of family support as their siblings move away or move on with their own lives. Our staff can provide supportive, individual counselling for these clients, as well as meeting with them and their new staff members to discuss ways in which they can be assisted to make adjustments and live rich and fulfilling lives in their new circumstances.

Individuals who have issues such as developmental delay, impaired vision, brain injury, disabling migraines, seizure disorders, etc. may find that navigating their world becomes increasingly overwhelming and difficult. Life stresses, in addition to these chronic issues, may be overwhelming at times. Our trained therapists are here to help.

Our therapists have experience working with clients who are coping with many lifelong challenges including special needs and behavioural disorders.

Individuals with developmental disabilities find themselves facing many unique challenges. For some clients, moving from their family home into independent and/or permanent group home settings which lack the privacy and intimacy to which they were accustomed, can be a very difficult transition. Additionally, they may be facing the loss of ageing parents, and experience a sense of isolation and lack of family support as their siblings move away or move on with their own lives. Our staff can provide supportive individual counselling for these clients, as well as meeting with them and their new staff members to discuss ways in which they can be assisted to make adjustments and live rich and fulfilling lives in their new circumstances.

Individuals who have issues such as developmental delay, impaired vision, brain injury, disabling migraines, seizure disorders, etc. may find that navigating their world becomes increasingly overwhelming and difficult. Life stresses, in addition to these chronic issues, maybe overwhelming at times. Our trained therapists are here to help.

Stress

Everyone experiences stress. It is a healthy reaction to the demands of our lives. However, stress can build and influence how you feel about life. Prolonged stress can lead to frustration, anger, hopelessness, and, at times, depression. Other symptoms of stress may include:

  • disturbed sleep
  • fatigue
  • headaches
  • body aches
  • pain
  • anxiety
  • irritability
  • tension

Workplace Stress

The effects of workplace stress can spill over into family life and other important relationships. Often, we are so drained from our efforts to manage this particular stress that we have little energy left over at the end of the day. Symptoms such as sleep disturbance and excessive worry can also interfere with our ability to rest and recharge. Our caring therapists can work collaboratively with you to find ways to respond to the challenges that you face and support you in finding a way forward.

Youth Counselling & Counselling for Young Adults

Youth and young adults encounter social, emotional and mental health problems that can be overwhelming and frightening. Our registered social workers and psychotherapists understand are trained to provide services that meet the specialized needs of youth and young adults. If you are concerned about yourself or a young adult, please reach out. We can help.