Welcome. I provide embodied trauma, attachment, and nervous-system informed psychotherapy from an intersectional lens as well as gender-affirming transition-related counselling to individuals and families. I work virtually with clients living in Ontario.
As of late April 2022 my practice is full and my waitlist is closed. I will post an update here in the spring about when I might next open my waitlist.
Areas of Expertise
I provide individual psychotherapy to clients struggling with depression, anxiety, trauma symptoms, boundary-related issues, dissociation, relationship and work-related problems, gender identity-related issues, LGBTQI2S+ issues, grief, developmental/attachment trauma, healing from the traumas of oppression (intergenerational, systemic, interpersonal, internalized), grief, executive functioning challenges / ADHD-related struggles, struggles in academia and with dissertation writing, parenting challenges (including breaking intergenerational patterns in parenting and implementing respectful parenting strategies), self-esteem, vicarious trauma and more.
I provide family services to adolescents/young adults and their parents wishing to have support with all aspects of gender transition, improve communication, strengthen relationships and a felt sense of belonging at home, improve mental health and reduce tension in the family. This initially involves individual sessions with the youth/young adult and separate parent sessions. Later, parents and young people come together for a number of structured family therapy sessions. Family work can also include siblings and other family members.
I provide services to couples (and other relationship configurations) working through the complexities of gender identity/transition/navigating transphobia, transmisogyny and cissexism and other intersecting oppressions on their relationship. I also specialize in supporting parents of gender independent/trans/non-binary children and youth to support their child by building knowledge about gender-related issues, working through fears and misinformation and strengthening their relationship. I enjoy working with parents and couples to support them to better understand how their nervous systems – shaped by systems of oppression and early patterns of relating – impact their interactions with their loved ones, how to repair past hurts, and how to grow a rich and meaningful life together.
Therapeutic Approach, Modalities and Framework
My style is warm, grounded and practical. I believe that by sharing knowledge about trauma, dissociation, attachment, the nervous system, the brain, and oppression (systemic, interpersonal, intergenerational and internalized), my clients can better understand and contextualize the symptoms that bring them to therapy and feel more empowered in our work together. However, my practice is not focused on “talk therapy”. In fact, many of my clients have tried talk-focused therapy for years before beginning to work with me. My work draws from the latest developments in the fields of neuroscience, attachment and trauma that points to the brain/nervous system/body’s innate wisdom and ability to heal and change. These central tenets of somatic psychotherapy are in no way “new” – my engagement with this work is grounded in the recognition that Indigenous knowledge has always centered the body in healing and that “neurobiology is finally catching up”.
I am grateful to use the following modalities in my work:
Sensorimotor Psychotherapy – a mindfulness-based, somatic, attachment- and trauma-focused approach which uses the body as a pathway for healing, developed by Pat Ogden, PhD. (Level 2 complete, with consultation from certified Sensorimotor Psychotherapists)
Trauma Informed Stabilization Treatment (TIST)- a parts oriented approach aimed at finding safety in the body and promoting internal secure attachment, developed by Janina Fisher, PhD. TIST integrates Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy techniques, structural dissociation theory, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (Certified; consultation from Janina Fisher)
Brainspotting – a brain-body/nervous system approach developed by David Grand, PhD, that harnesses the brain’s innate ability to self-heal in the context of a neurobiologically- and relationally-attuned therapeutic relationship (Certified; consultation from certified Brainspotting Consultants)
Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) – a short term, music/acoustic intervention based on Polyvagal theory and developed by Dr. Stephen Porges that uses the middle ear muscles and the vagus nerve to shift the client’s nervous system out of defensive states (fight/flight/freeze) and into more regulation. Once a more balanced physiological state is achieved, clients can better use and integrate other therapies. (Certified)
Attachment-Based Family Therapy (ABFT) – an evidence-based approach developed by Guy Diamond, PhD, Gary Diamond, PhD and Suzanne Levy, PhD for improving youth mental health issues such as depression, self-harm and suicidal thoughts by repairing attachment ruptures and increasing parental attunement and sensitivity to their adolescent’s struggles (Advanced training complete; consultation with Dr. Suzanne Levy)
I work from a gender affirming, harm reduction, anti-oppressive, embodied anti-racist, neurodiversity-affirming framework, which recognizes and engages with the impact of intersecting oppressions (colonization, racism, sexism, transphobia, transmisogyny, homophobia, fat phobia, ableism etc.) on my clients’ lives and in our work together. I developed this framework in community – from living, loving, organizing, working and learning from and with brilliant queer / trans / disabled / fat / neurodivergent / femme BIPOC and white folks committed to working through the traumas of white supremacy and patriarchy together over the past 20+ years. I find meaning in supporting others to interrupt cycles of intergenerational and societal trauma and to create space within and between us for more collective healing and joy.
Expertise working with LGBTQI2S+ communities
I bring personal and professional experience to my work around sexual orientation and gender identity, and enjoy supporting LGBTQI2S+ clients, their partners and families my practice.
- I have worked with trans / non-binary communities for the past 20 years. I provide exploratory counselling for people considering questions about their gender identity, and can provide transition-related supports (including OHIP approval/”Second Assessor” surgical readiness assessments and letters), and referrals to Ontario-based services.
- I specialize in parent support/ education/ consultation with caregivers wishing to be more knowledgeable and supportive of their trans/non-binary child.
- I see partners, siblings and children of transgender/ non-binary people who may be struggling with the impact of their loved one’s transition, and/or wanting to learn to be more supportive.
- I have expertise in supporting LGBTQI2S+people to work through painful and/or traumatic experiences related to their parents’/partners’ reactions to their coming out and build self-compassion and self love.
- I work comfortably and competently around issues including: negotiating and nurturing diverse relationship models (open relationships, polyamory, non-monogamy, intentional monogamy, etc.), sex, sexuality, sex work, BDSM, kink and intimacy issues.
When clients’ needs fall outside the scope of my practice and training, I am pleased to provide referrals to other qualified counsellors, psychotherapists or community agencies. I am always happy to provide a list of trans/non-binary/QTBIPOC therapists also working around these issues.
How could therapy help?
In my work with individuals, I support my clients to gain deeper understanding about themselves and their relationships, build skills to relate to difficult emotions or trauma symptoms, process painful childhood experiences, improve their capacity for self compassion, to set boundaries and to gain access to more choice when it comes to using survival coping skills (self injury, addictive behaviours etc.). I love helping people learn skills to become more embodied, to better understand and relate with their nervous systems, become better partners and parents, become kinder towards themselves, let go of shame and build lives that feel meaningful.
In my parenting, family and couples work, I support families/partners to improve their capacity to communicate honestly about emotionally charged issues, work through challenges in their relationship, repair relationship “ruptures” (painful conflicts, misunderstandings, or experiences of disconnection) and to build emotional skills to relate differently to each other — particularly in the face of strong emotions such as anger, fear and hurt. I enjoy supporting parents to break intergenerational patterns of trauma and to parent in ways that are different than how they may have been parented. My approaches are rooted in a deep respect for children and are attachment-informed and polyvagal/neuroscience-informed.
I would be honoured to support you and/or your family through life’s challenges and transitions. Please do not hesitate to contact me for a free telephone consultation to discuss how I can be of support to you.
Lindsay Elin (she/her)