Dufferin-St. Clair West
Johanna Beyers PhD, RP, CAST-ISST Certified Sandplay Therapist, ATC, Member CAPT
Hello and thank you for visiting my profile page.
I am a Registered Psychotherapist and a member of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. I am a Registered Psychotherapist and a member of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario.Once upon a time, when I was a geologist, I used to look for the unique in each rock. Now I like to help people find and develop their inner ore.
One of the best lessons from that period of my life was to see how much a person's inner nature is reflected all around in outer nature. Our body's cells originated in the earliest microbial cells and with every breath we relive the pathways of that ancient Earth. Right inside us is the pulse of the universe. Right inside us we know the mystery of the eternal now.
An important dimension of therapy is its potential to put us in touch with that inner pulse so that we may learn how to live in greater harmony with our own nature. It is all about growth and change, about becoming more open to life. It's about coming to value and love oneself, to grow in compassion and perspective. Another of therapy's gifts and potential goals is to enjoy a deeper sense of kinship with the community of life, to appreciate the flow of the universe inside and outside. Nurturing a connection of this sort makes a path of compassion and beauty and is the foundation of happiness.
How change happens varies for everyone, because we are all different and because each of us has different needs. And as therapy progresses, those needs will continue to change in a very personal way.
The therapeutic relationship is a relationship between two people, between therapist and client. My part as a therapist is to be by your side during your journey of personal exploration towards a more rewarding life.
You can count on me to
It is easier to go forward together than alone. Sharing your struggles and feelings in a safe and comfortable setting makes confronting your challenges easier, and also can help you discover new possibilities for growth and healing.
What will we talk about? We will talk about whatever you want to talk about: work, life, school, family, childhood, relationships, memories, feelings, values, and much, much more. It's at once open and private between us. Often, it's astonishing to see what can come from looking closely at what may seem to be really very simple things – a word here, an image there, or a dream. Some of my clients like to work sometimes with sandplay, a modality that adds a uniquely tactile dimension to the therapy and promotes body-mind connectivity.
The rhythm of human life includes a series of transitions as we move from one phase to another, from one experience to another, from one challenge to another.
I too have experienced many transitions, which eventually led me to become a therapist. And while transitions often cause stress and anxiety, I know they can also be a gateway to a new, fuller version of ourselves, a rich ground for seeding hope, inspiration, meaning, vitality and joy.
Perhaps you are weighing a transition or going through one right now. Perhaps you are struggling with a relationship or workplace issue, dealing with health, infertility, aging or loss, in the grip of creative block, feeling a lack of direction, are overcome by a sense of futility or struggle with motivation and low self-esteem.
We can work together through issues like these: relationship, marriage, divorce; career change, aging and retirement; health/illness; pregnancy; creative stagnation and development; direction, vocation, a meaningful spiritual path; and issues around motivation, money, valuing and self-esteem. I also enjoy working with adolescents on a variety of concerns.
End of Life
Is there a more profound and challenging transition than the one that takes us out of life? Grief and uncertainty accompany this final stage, adding stress and anxiety to what is already a difficult time, not only for the dying person, but for caregivers, family and friends. Ordinary life is disrupted and we may be overcome by unusually intense feelings. We may feel utterly alone, abandoned, helpless, angry, confused, unsure how to be present, unsure what a relationship to death is like. Silence and denial often prevail at a time when people may feel an urgent need to explore the reality of what is happening.
What can psychotherapy do for the dying and their circle? The verb 'to die' is active: it is something that each person does. Despite everything, this makes dying an act, a very special, potentially rich and tender rite of passage. Regardless of one's beliefs, therapy for the end of life can help people rediscover themselves in the completely new way imposed by illness, reconnect with what they value most and reach an inner sense of harmony or completion. Even in the extraordinary circumstances at the end of life, new experiences of love, community and creativity can enter.
Caregivers, family and friends may also look to therapy to help them figure out how to be present, reduce anxiety and stress, and grieve the loss, or to communicate at a time when words are inadequate to express what is experienced. A spouse may wonder who s/he will be now that s/he is alone and feel the need to discover a new path, a new identity.
My Training and Experience
The question of what happens at the end of life caught my attention at a young age. Since those days I have gained personal experience as a caregiver; professionally, I have begun a course of study and research in psycho-social oncology.
My first experience working with people under stress was as a volunteer with the Red Cross; later I counselled abused women. I spent the next two decades learning about the earth and ancient life, studying forest policy and teaching science, policy and environmental education. My interest in group process and change was rekindled during this time and built on my previous involvement with community groups and exposure to the world/process school of Arnold Mindell. This led me to train in facilitation and conflict mediation.
I have always been deeply interested in people's connectedness to inner life and nature. Through my personal therapeutic work, I learnt about the parts of myself I had trouble owning; I found that paying attention to my dreams, to the dynamic between my inner and outer life and its connection to body and creative energy was healing and invigorating. These experiences became the basis for my decision to study Jungian-oriented therapy formally.
I am a Certified Sandplay Therapist (CAST-ISST), a member of the Canadian Association for Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, and Secretary of CAST (Canadian Association for Sandplay Therapy). I am an Adler Trained Coach and a Collaborative Practice divorce coach. Professional development is important to me (see my PD page here).
My workshops provide opportunities to explore change, transitions, threshold experiences and end of life issues, through participants' personal narrative, dreams and expressive means. I'm the author of a book of poems, Sandbar Islands, and of the non-fiction narrative work, Wearing my Feathered Hat: Engaging Change through Seven Dreams. It is a reflective exploration of the place of dreams and mythology in one's life journey.
What I offer
My therapeutic practice is a combination of talk, mind-body awareness and creative expression. I am a seasoned dream and process facilitator and value intuition. For those who would like a deeper, body-felt experience, sandplay can prove highly rewarding. Other experience I draw on includes voice training, Solutions Focus and meditation. I developed the meditative practice, Ancient Earth, while I was a geology student. Its aim is to reconnect us with ancient dimensions of our present life, to develop compassion and heal our relationship with nature. I teach seminars in dream intuition, sustainability, spirituality and creative process.
I have a long-standing interest in the psychodynamic connections between health/illness and the interior life of emotions and images, particularly as they are expressed through cancer and chronic disease. A large literature going back decades suggests connections between events registered by the unconscious inner world and onset of illness. The format for my work in this area, which is strictly complementary to medical care and does not replace it, typically integrates talk with dream work and Sandstories™, a narrative and less open-ended approach than traditional sandplay.
Sessions are an hour. I reserve some spots for sliding scale fees.
I work in English as well as in Netherlandic (Flemish and Dutch).
My office is located at Dufferin and St.Clair West. There is easy TTC access on the westbound TTC streetcar line. You may reach me confidentially by e-mail if you would like more information for yourself or an adolescent.