Are you living with HIV/AIDS and struggling to manage the stress of chronic illness or HIV-related stigma? Mental and emotional distress often accompanies the experience of living with HIV/AIDS, particularly in the context of persistent, intense discrimination and prejudice. As a result, people living with HIV/AIDS can be at a higher risk of experiencing depression and anxiety, exacerbated by systemic inequities such as heterosexism, poverty or inadequate access to health care. Are you struggling with the trauma of being diagnosed with HIV/AIDS? Feeling rejected, isolated, afraid, numb, “damaged” or overwhelmed? Are you a long-term survivor struggling with taking medications, finding direction or maintaining a healthy sex life? I can help you bolster your connections to self, others and community by addressing the current manifestations and root causes of your mental distress, including the trauma of living with chronic illness and persistent stigma.
Are you a man who is struggling with an obsessive preoccupation with sex or porn, worries about sexual performance, relationship problems, dating difficulties, negative body image, past sexual trauma or doubts about your masculinity? Are you struggling with the pressures of your role and responsibility as a father, brother or husband? Men tend to be socialized to believe that talking about their problems or expressing emotions other than anger is weak and unmanly, or to believe that success in life is achieved through competition and conquest rather than cooperation and connection. These aspects of toxic masculinity can run counter to developing the personal resources, such as emotional intelligence and interpersonal effectiveness, that are essential to mental health. At NC, I provide a non-judgmental space for you to explore your issues with a male counsellor, overcome what is uniquely bothering you as a man and develop strategies for improving your mental health.
Healthy sexuality is an important component of mental health. Thriving in your sexuality, no matter how that might look for you, is important to your overall well-being. Concerns about sex and intimacy are often linked to stress, anxiety and depression. Sex therapy is a legitimate and professional therapeutic approach that involves discussing the sexual problems that you or your partner(s) might be experiencing then working toward enhanced communication and a resolution of your concerns. Do unrealistic physical ideals or expectations leave you feeling inadequate or unhappy about your sex life? Being bombarded with hyper-sexualized imagery from media sources, you might believe that others have better sex lives than you. Such unrealistic ideals can undermine your self-confidence and pleasure, as well as your connection to sexual partners. Are you experiencing sexual malaise or boredom in your relationship? Do you experience difficulties with arousal and/or orgasm? Would you like to explore consensual non-monogamy such as open relationships? Sex therapy will help you overcome the barriers that get in your way of enjoying a healthy sex life. At NC, I discuss sex in a culturally informed, open and nonjudgmental manner, while still providing effective and respectful counselling. Sex therapy can be beneficial either individually or relationally and is often a component of couples counselling.
Are you spending too much time on social media to the detriment of your work, your education, your health or your relationships with loved ones? Are you spending a good part of every day obsessively engaged with apps on your phone? Do you frequently compare yourself to others on social media and wind up feeling anxious, empty, unattractive or envious? Many refer to sites such as Facebook and Instagram as the anti-social media because, while online connections can be enjoyable and beneficial, they are filtered through a device that reduces human interaction to a limited, two-dimensional world of often unrealistic ideals, which can produce a distancing effect between yourself and others. As human beings, we are hard-wired neurologically for in-person face-to-face connections with others, and excessive use of social media can make such connections less present in our lives. Do you often feel depressed, isolated and lonely after being engaged in social media? I can help you to explore the impacts of social media on your mental health and to develop strategies that will facilitate new connections, both online and in the real world, to healthier, active engagement in your life.
The image that you have of your body is an essential part of your self-concept, of how you see yourself and how you conceptualize your identity. We are constantly inundated by media representations of the human body that narrowly define the ideals of beauty, gender, sexuality, masculinity and health. Going to the gym, dating, shopping or socializing can become anxiety-inducing when you are constantly worried about your physical appearance or what other people might think about how you look. Are you held back from physical exercise by self-defeating thoughts such as “I’m too out-of-shape”? Are you obsessed with becoming thinner or more muscular, spending too much money on expensive diets or excessive time at the gym? Do you never feel satisfied or at peace with your body? Does your body image negatively affect your dating or sex life? Making external changes to our bodies such as losing fat or building muscle can yield tangible benefits such as better health or improved athletic performance, but they cannot resolve the underlying issues at the root of a distressed body image, issues such as past physical or sexual trauma, injury or bullying. NC can help you explore what is at the roots of your body image issues, as well as reprocess relevant experiences that keep you stuck in negative ways of thinking about your body. I can also help you develop healthier connections to your body through enhanced body awareness and positivity, rational physical exercise and healthy eating that incorporates self-acceptance and self-compassion.
Chronic substance use and addictions represent a silent pandemic in our society. Too many people continue to lose their lives or experience severe functional impairment and compromised health as a result of a substance addiction. People who struggle with chronic mental distress often turn to substances such as alcohol, cocaine, tobacco or food to cope with anxiety, depression and PTSD. Using substances to numb out or escape can become a maladaptive solution to coping with problems in life. For many people, such problems are rooted deeply in childhood trauma and encompass abuse, abandonment and neglect. Is your substance use making you unable to function at work, at home or at school? At NC, I provide an open, non-judgmental space for you to explore what is at the root of your substance use, as well as the connections between substance use and your mental health. Using a harm reduction approach, I can help you to (re)connect to your reasons for making positive changes in your substance use, as well as strategies for making and sustaining those changes. No matter at what stage in your recovery process, I can help you to regain control over the substances that are undermining your vitality, health and prosperity.
Freedom is what you do with what has been done to you.
- Jean-Paul Sartre