Marsha Berniker BA, BSc, BSW, MSW, RSW, ACIPT, CIPT, CFT

"If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?"

I wish I were talking to you in person so that I could answer all your questions. Since this is not possible, I will try to give you a sense of who I am and how I work.

My Approach

As a member of the Ontario College of Social Workers I am permitted to provide psychotherapy services. I work primarily as a psychodynamic therapist. Though I believe that your present problem is often connected to your past, I do not think you are to blame. Anyone with your experiences would feel and behave as you do.

Understandably, if in your early years you were treated as a ‘bother’ if you were ‘not listened to and responded to in a caring manner’ made to feel you ‘were not good enough’ or you were not ‘competent’, experienced ‘emotional or physical abuse’ it would be difficult to feel good about yourself. After all, our family gives us a sense of who we are, even if this is an erroneous perception. Sometimes we intellectually realize this, but the voice inside of us continues to tell us what we learned so long ago. This inaccurate perception of ourselves is the basis of how we feel and behave. It is the fuel for disliking ourselves, self-destructive patterns, relationship problems and our moods and emotions.

When you go to a doctor and you have an infection you want him to get rid of it. In addition, you expect him to make sure that there is not a more serious problem. That is what I do. Our job is to determine if there are issues or patterns, not in your awareness, that are important to address. Let me give you an example. You want therapy because you are depressed as your partner left you. We need to determine if this is a situational depression or if there is more underlying it. As I speak to you, I learn that you have never felt you were ‘good enough’ or ‘lovable’ and have an ‘abandonment issue’. In addition to getting rid of the depression, I would suggest we work on these larger issues. If you do not, you remain very vulnerable to anxiety, depression and continued unhappiness.

Another example is that you continuously form unhappy relationships .You may unconsciously be repeating what you saw at home. You are not aware of this ‘repetition compulsion’ My job is to make you aware of this and help you relate in healthier ways.

It can take a while for a sound assessment. Here are but a few examples of core issues or patterns that may come out of the assessment.

  • You were treated as though you were selfish as a child, whenever you had a normal need or desire. Now, when you want something, you feel selfish. You negate your own needs and take care of everybody else.
  • You see the world in black and white. Whenever you are not perfect, you become anxious and/or depressed. We need to create the grey area for you to reduce stress.
  • You try to control others because you become highly anxious if you do not.
  • You have been cut off from your emotions. Your relationships suffer because of this. You often feel empty and lonely.
  • You often feel like a bother. This keeps you anxious and prevents you from asking others for what you need. Your car broke down and you need a lift. You cannot ask for that because you feel you will be a bother.

About Me

I hope that giving you a sense of who I am as a person will help you in choosing a therapist. I take my work seriously and I am there for you, not only during the session, but also when something comes up. At times it is very difficult to wait under stress.

I am easy-going, definitely non-judgemental, and see my job as understanding the unique experiences that you have had. I am a very caring person and extremely empathetic. I listen closely and let you share as much, or as little, as you want. Trust takes time to build. I understand suffering, because I too have suffered.You do not have to feel bad inside.

This is why I specialize in pre-marital, marriage, divorce, anxiety and depression.

Therapy helped me and I know it can help you too. There really is a choice.

Accidents and Injury

Did you know that if you are involved in an auto accident or personal injury, counselling is part of your insured benefits?

The psychological problems associated with this trauma are not always evident immediately. If other family members are affected, directly or indirectly, they also may be eligible for counselling. Post-traumatic stress, depression; anxiety, sleep problems and excessive worry over your future are the most common signs.

I also specialize in this area and will meet with you to see if you (and/or a family member) have accident-caused stress based symptoms and are eligible for insurance benefits.

My Credentials

When I decided to become a therapist, I realized that people were going to trust me with a significant, often life-changing, problem. I knew I had to have the best training in order to feel that their trust was warranted. I had experienced both effective and non-effective treatment in my own life and knew the difference. In the pursuit of excellence, I studied at several of the best universities in the U.S.A. After emigrating to Toronto, I received supervision at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry. In order to continue my studies I regularly attend seminars and read current books on therapy. I am particularly interested in attachment and self-psychology.;

I have been a psychotherapist for over 30 years. I hold an M.S.W. and R.S.W. and have completed further post-graduate work. I have supervised students for over 20 years. I have worked with different ethnic groups, with many men as well as women. You can learn more about me here.

I look forward to meeting with you for a free consultation; do contact me by email or by phone if you have any questions. My offices are in the Bathurst and Steeles area. My hours of work are flexible. I accept most private health care plans. Please feel free to get in touch by email or by phone.


The psychotherapists appearing on this site are independent. They are not employed nor controlled by therapytoronto.ca. therapytoronto.ca is acting solely as a listing service for the convenience of those seeking the services of psychotherapists.

The psychotherapists appearing on this site are independent. They are not employed nor controlled by therapytoronto.ca. therapytoronto.ca is acting solely as a listing service for the convenience of those seeking the services of psychotherapists.