I provide psychotherapy, Brainspotting therapy, Dr. Stephen Porges’ Safe and Sound Protocol and gender/transitioning-related coaching/counselling to adults, youth, parents, couples and families in Ontario. I focus on trauma-, attachment- and nervous-system informed work, gender identity related / LGBTQI2S+ issues and in supporting parents to break intergenerational patterns in their own parenting. I specialize in working with parents of trans/non-binary youth from an attachment-focused lens. For clinical supervision, please see my “Supervision/Clinical Consultation” page.
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 (internalized and ongoing), my clients can better understand their symptoms and feel more empowered in our work together. However, my practice is not focused exclusively on “talk therapy” in the more traditional sense. In fact, many of my clients have tried more cognitive therapies for years before beginning to work with me. My work draws from the latest developments in the fields of neuroscience, attachment and trauma that point to the brain/nervous system/body’s innate wisdom and ability to heal and change. (For more information about the nervous system’s role in mental health issues, please see the “Understanding Trauma and the Nervous system” video at the bottom of this page.)
My work is particularly influenced by Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (a mindfulness-based, somatic, attachment- and trauma-focused modality – Level 2 in progress with ongoing consultation from certified Sensorimotor Psychotherapists), Janina Fisher’s Trauma Informed Stabilization Treatment (a parts oriented approach that integrates IFS therapy techniques, structural dissociation theory and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy – advanced training complete with ongoing consultation from Dr. Fisher) and Brainspotting (an approach rooted in the nervous system, which harnesses the brain’s ability to self-scan and self-heal in the context of a neurobiologically- and relationally-attuned therapeutic relationship – certification in progress). I am also certified to provide the Safe and Sound Protocol remotely (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/collapse) and into more regulation. Once a more balanced physiological state is achieved, clients can better use and integrate other therapies.) My family therapy work is based on Attachment-Based Family Therapy (ABFT) (an evidence-based approach for improving youth mental health issues such as depression, self-harm and suicidal thoughts by strengthening parent-child relationships, repairing attachment ruptures and increasing parental attunement to their adolescent’s struggles – advanced training complete with as-needed consultation with the developer, Dr. Suzanne Levy).
I work from a gender affirming, harm reduction, anti-oppressive, anti-racist, neurodiversity affirming framework, which recognizes and engages with the impact of intersecting oppressions (racism, sexism, transphobia, transmisogyny, homophobia, ableism etc.) on my clients’ lives, as relevant to them and to our work together.
Areas of Expertise
I provide individual psychotherapy to clients struggling with depression, anxiety, trauma symptoms, relationship problems, gender identity-related concerns, LGBTQI2S+ issues, healing from single incident or developmental/attachment trauma, grief, ADHD symptoms, parenting challenges, substance use, self-esteem, life transitions, compassion fatigue/burn-out, struggles with fertility and perinatal issues.
I provide family services to tweens/adolescents/young adults and their parents wishing to improve communication, strengthen relationships, improve mental health, build positive coping skills, and reduce conflict and tension in the family. This often 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 and/or transmisogyny 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 trans/gender 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 impact their interactions with their loved ones, how to repair past hurts, and how to grow a rich and meaningful life together and/or with their children.
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 18 years from a gender-affirming, anti-oppressive, anti-racist and trauma-informed lens. 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 other services.
- I specialize in parent support/ education/ consultation with caregivers wishing to be more knowledgeable and supportive of their trans/non-binary child, or those struggling to understand or accept their child’s gender identity.
- I see partners, siblings and children of transgender/ non-binary people who may be struggling with the impact of their loved one’s transition on them, 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 and/or 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, free themselves of long-standing limiting beliefs, improve their capacity for self compassion and to set boundaries, gain access to more choice when it comes to using survival coping skills (self injury, substance use, addictive behaviours etc.) and to use the body as a pathway to understanding themselves and to healing. I love helping people learn skills to better regulate their nervous systems, heal from trauma, 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)