Grace Nostbakken MA, RP, CYW, Member CAPT

I am a Registered Psychotherapist and a member of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario.

You are exploring the idea of psychotherapy either for yourself or for someone you are concerned about. Even people who consider themselves to be relatively strong, successful and happy may go through periods of particular stress or upheaval when they are stretched beyond their own capacity. At these times, therapy may provide help.

Therapy may be short term or long term depending on the need and purpose. Help in facing and working through immediate issues such as job loss, retirement, a health crisis or a relationship breakdown may need to be only relatively short term.

Facing longer term issues such as depression, anxiety, chronic stress, lack of meaning in life, difficulty in handling anger, unhealthy patterns of relationships at work or in one’s personal life may need to be worked with for a longer time.

Usually, therapy begins with the present and the stresses of the present. Then if these stresses have links to other experiences from the past that haven’t been digested and moved on from, it is helpful to explore them. These old experiences may go back as far as earliest childhood and one’s first attachments. They have a deep impact on us and influence how we handle our current life. They set the pattern for how we feel about ourselves and how we relate to others. Psychotherapy can help us to understand and break free from these negative patterns.

Many of these patterns stem from old hurts, traumas and losses that cripple a person’s ability to work creatively and to love freely. We may carry these hurts within ourselves for years, never acknowledging them to anyone. It is one thing to hold them inside and experience them alone; it is another to have these feelings heard, understood, believed and accepted. The therapist goes with clients to their most desolate, fearful, hopeless places, but also to their places of hope and joy. This is a healing encounter.

Therapy and the therapeutic relationship can help people to emerge from depression, anxiety and their paralyzing effects. That in turn can help them to feel deeply, live with greater confidence and gain access to their creative energy and joy in life.

I have been working as a psychotherapist for over twenty years with children, youth and adults. My training began with my own intensive experience in individual and group therapy. It also included specific training with children and youth, first as a front line Child and Youth Worker and later as a psychotherapist with particular training in the use of art and play therapy. I also received training in the physical modalities of massage, reflexology, cranio-sacral and visceral massage, and biodynamic massage therapy as well as psychosynthesis, spiritual psychology and psychodynamic psychotherapy. I founded, coordinated, then for over thirty years taught in the Child and Youth Worker Program at Humber College, training people to work with children and adolescents with emotional and behavioural problems.

My background of training and experience gives me a particular awareness of the importance of the early years, going right back to birth or even pre-natal development and earliest infancy. The areas that I list as particular specialties reflect this. Difficulties with attachment and bonding, lack of nurturance and acceptance, abusive relationships and early trauma get carried forward into later childhood and adult life. This can be true whether a person is raised in one's biological family or in a foster or adoptive one. Just as physical hurts and traumas can be healed over time, so can emotional and psychological wounds. Psychotherapy and the therapeutic relationship can be healing and transforming.

My practice includes working with issues such as the following:

  • lack of direction or meaning to life
  • separation, loss or grief
  • loneliness, depression, disappointment, failures
  • difficulty with intimate relationships
  • emotional, physical or sexual abuse
  • interpersonal conflicts, relationship breakdown
  • emotional upheaval, personal tragedy, trauma
  • attachment, bonding
  • parenting, adoption
  • aging, infirmity long term illness, retirement
  • behavioural and emotional issues with children and teens
  • blocks to creativity
  • difficulties with work and play

Although in my current practice the majority of people that I see are adults, I do still work with children and adolescents and their parents. My office is set up to accommodate children as well as adults. In addition to a general practice, I have particular interest and experience in working with all members of the adoption circle: children of adoption, adult adoptees, adoptive parents, couples or individuals preparing to adopt and birth parents.

If you would like to arrange an appointment for an initial consultation, I would be happy to meet with you. There is no charge for this. I work in the St. Clair and Bathurst St. area. Here's my map.

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