Andrea Charendoff BSc.(OT), BA (Psych), Dip TATI, CATA, OATA
"Hiding in this cage of visible matter is the invisible lifebird.
Pay attention to her, she is singing your song"
My Registered Psychotherapist designation from the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario is being processed now, and I am authorized to practice as a psychotherapist in the meantime.
We tend to seek the help of therapists when we feel unhappy, when we become overwhelmed by our emotions and behaviours, and when we are unable to function effectively. Our inner wisdom, or insight, which can steer us through crises, can become obscured by the turmoil of our distress. In order to improve, we need help to sort-out and process deep emotions; we need to be listened to, supported, and understood, and we need guidance navigating our relationships.
At various times, over the course of my life, I have enlisted the help of a therapist, and, as a result, I have learned more about myself and the ways in which I react to my environment. In my late thirties, for example, I struggled with symptoms of anxiety. After working with a therapist, I came to understand that my anxiety was exacerbated by thoughts and fears which I had been attempting to suppress. Once I brought them into consciousness, with the help of my therapist, I was able to face them, understand and accept them, and then make positive changes in my life.
In my forties, I worked with a professionally trained Jungian psychotherapist who included dream work in her approach to therapy. I recorded my dreams in a journal and brought them to my therapy sessions. We examined the symbolic images in my dreams, and used them as a platform for discussions about my real-life situations. She did not attempt to interpret my dreams; rather, she helped me to find my own meaning in them. I felt empowered by this process. I gained self-confidence and insight.
As your therapist, I will facilitate the process of healing by providing a safe and supportive environment in which you can openly express yourself, gain personal insight, and learn to experience a sense of well-being.
My approach to psychotherapy often involves the use of art-making (known as art therapy) as well as talking. In art therapy, your thoughts and feelings are initially communicated through your artwork. Unlike traditional talk-therapy, the process of creating art naturally reaches beyond verbal thoughts. It taps into deep psychological information by actively engaging the right side of the brain (intuition, implicit memory, emotions, creativity, and imagination), providing information which is sometimes hidden from conscious awareness. Some of the benefits of art therapy include: the release of strong emotions, increased personal insight into life issues, anger management, stress relief, mood elevation, increased self-esteem, the development of coping skills, improved problem solving skills, and a sense of joy and vitality. No experience is necessary in order to benefit from art therapy, and the quality of the artwork is not important; it is not made to be seen by others. The symbolic content and personal expression are the focus of art therapy.
More about Art Therapy
Each art therapy session begins with a brief check-in, during which you will have the opportunity to raise important issues that have come up during the week. This is generally followed by a period of art-making, which can last from 20 to 40 minutes. Basic art supplies (markers, pastels, paints, clay, and collage materials) are provided, and you are free to use any or all of them to create a piece of artwork. Sometimes I will offer a guided theme or topic for the artwork, called a "directive". At other times, you will create artwork freely without a directive.
The art-making is usually followed by an art review, which involves an in-depth discussion about the art-piece. During the art review, you may choose to make connections to the images, and describe any emotions or thoughts that arose during their creation. As your therapist, I will guide the review by making relevant observations and asking questions. The artwork is a reflection of your innermost thoughts and feelings, and therefore cannot be interpreted by anyone other than you. My role is to help you to determine what the images mean to you, and empower you to gain insight into your personal issues. There may be occasions when you prefer to talk, and not create artwork. This is perfectly acceptable and is your decision at all times. Each session lasts roughly one hour.
I work with individuals who experience the following: Adult ADHD, anxiety, depression, grief and loss, anger management problems, relationship issues, low self-esteem, eating disorders, and medical illness.
I obtained a master's Diploma in Art Therapy from the Toronto Art Therapy Institute, where I recently conducted an exciting pilot study on the effects of art therapy on adults who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). I am a Professional Member of both the Canadian and Ontario Art Therapy Associations. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from York University. I am also a 'papiér mâché' artist, and have exhibited at national and regional art shows since 1998.
Please feel free to contact me for more information. I provide therapy services in Toronto, and in the Niagara Region. My office in Toronto is located downtown, at Bloor and Christie. I have recently moved to St. Catharines, and am in the process of establishing suitable office space. I also provide home and workplace visits, if the setting is appropriate.
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