About Me

  • Respectful, innovative, compassionate therapist known for my collaborative work with clients
  • Extensive experience as a therapist and manager in various community settings and private practice
  • Highly respected by colleagues and other professionals
  • Extensive experience working with diverse communities including the Deaf community
  • Life Long Learner

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) – Ryerson University
  • Certificate Alternative Dispute Resolution – York University
  • Certificate Cybercounselling – University of Toronto
  • Certificate Restorative Justice Facilitator

Professional Memberships

  • Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (registration #814886)
  • Ontario Association of Social Workers

On a Personal Note

After living and working my entire life in the GTA, in 2016 I decided to expand my private practice and move to Wasaga Beach.  My husband and I live on a small pond in a park-like setting close to hiking and snowshoeing trails and a five-minute walk to the Beach.  I am truly surrounded by nature – which is quite a contrast to living in a metropolitan area.   I have two adult sons – one living in the GTA and one in Newfoundland.

Professional Experience – Highlights

  • Online Therapy – Faculty member and Senior Clinician for World Wide Therapy Online

 

  • Managed a Specialized Children’s Mental Health Program for Deaf and hard of hearing children, youth and families Developed a culturally sensitive, linguistically accessible counselling program for the Deaf community.

 

  • Individual, Family, Couple and Group Therapy – extensive experience working with diverse communities and problems using a client centred and collaborative approach

 

  • Provided individual and family therapy at Walk-In Clinics (single session) in the Children’s Mental Health sector

 

  • Championed the implementation of Family Centred Care across the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)

 

  • Supervised and expanded a peer support program -Family Resource Centre (families helping families) at CAMH

 

  • Developed creative and innovative residential treatment program for street-involved youth

 

  • Co-ordinated Narrative Therapy Training in three children’s mental health centres

My Approach

Firstly I believe that everyone should be treated with respect and dignity – this is the experience I want all of my clients to have in the work we do together.

Secondly, my work is influenced by Narrative Therapy.   Soooo……. you say what is Narrative Therapy?   Good question.  I will do my best to explain.

Narrative therapy is about stories – and particularly how these stories shape the way we think about things, other people and more importantly ourselves.  So, an example might be – you are doing something for the first time (a presentation at work, running a marathon, cooking dinner for new friends) and feeling confident and self-assured  BUT  *the day of* you are feeling stressed.  Perhaps you did not sleep well the night before, maybe you feel unprepared, something creeps up at the last minute that influences your ability to concentrate, and the list goes on.  So you go from feeling confident to….. thinking “I’m a loser, this won’t work out”,  “I’m an imposter and will be found out”, etc, etc, etc.  Perhaps you even start to have some feelings of anxiety, fear, anger and that list goes on.  So you have gone from feeling confident and self-assured to maybe feeling like a looser or incompetent.

And here the problem begins.

Narrative therapy separates the problem from the person.  So in the above example anxiety, fear or anger become the problem.  Narrative therapy asks questions to understand the problem, the influence it has on your life and what you can do to reduce this influence.  Questions might include – How did anxiety creep into your life?  What is anxiety getting you thinking and doing?  How much control does anxiety have right now?  Are you able to give anxiety the slip at all?  Do you have any ideas of how to take back your confidence and self-assuredness from anxiety?

I work alongside of clients to help them understand the problem(s) they are experiencing, the influence these problems are having on their life and what they want to be different.  This might include different ways of thinking, strategies, involving a group of supportive people, really it is whatever the client thinks will be best.  Again I work alongside clients to figure this out – there is no one way.

I would like to quote a client who was talking to their partner in a session about feelings of incompetence at work.  I think it summarizes what I have been trying to say.

My work is influenced by Mindfulness Based Strategies and Narrative Therapy.

 

“Don’t let feelings of incompetence define you”

Sue Allen Counselling Services