psychotherapy toronto

Psychotherapy in Toronto - Downtown

psychotherapist toronto

individual and couples counselling

Trying to find the best fit with a Toronto psychotherapist or counsellor?
I offer counselling, psychotherapy and Gestalt therapy for:

  • relationships
  • communication
  • life transition
  • relationship break-up
  • life transitions
  • relationship issues
  • marital issues
  • premarital concerns
  • self-esteem
  • confidence
  • stress
  • anxiety

I am Lisa Kelly, a Registered Psychotherapist in downtown Toronto serving LGBT and straight clients from Riverdale, Cabbagetown, Yorkville, St. Lawrence Market, Distillery, Rosedale, Leslieville, central Toronto and the GTA.

Therapy Counselling Toronto

a warm hello and welcome ~ how can I help?

In looking for a therapist, you are likely one step closer to support and relief.

People seek therapists for a variety of reasons. You could be looking for a safe haven from the overwhelming stresses of life - a place where you can take time to reflect and be the focus of attention. You might want insight into your needs, feelings, thoughts and reactions or to work on self-esteem, important relationships and ways to communicate more effectively. Or it could be that you want to process difficult experiences and find ways to cope as you navigate a life transition. There are countless possibilities.

Regardless of your hopes for therapy, you might feel both anxious and excited about getting started. That's perfectly understandable. Know that I aim to be accepting, emotionally present and to work at a pace that is comfortable for you. Collaborating with you, while you share your concerns, I offer my heartfelt attention and respectful challenge.

Being with people as they experience some of the most profound moments in their lives is a true privilege. I have been humbled to see that as clients heal and grow, they make the world a better place.

I work with people who are dealing with an array of emotional, personal and relational issues. My clients are busy professionals like you - lawyers, realtors, financial advisors, teachers, physicians, paramedics, actors, advertising executives, television and film producers, athletes, business owners, digital media experts, architects, surgeons, dentists, professors, project managers, artists, designers, physiotherapists, accountants, art dealers, public service employees etc.

Best therapy outcomes? Find the best fit with a Toronto therapist.

Psychological research indicates that the best predictor of successful therapy outcomes is the quality of the client-therapist relationship. Consider finding a therapist you feel comfortable with - someone who is sincere, empathetic and who express unconditional positive regard. Please scroll down to read more about relationship issues, life transitions, self-esteem and anxiety.

relationship issues

Relationship issues therapy:

psychotherapy in toronto

Could the quality of our relationships - with family, friends, colleagues and partners - influence our personal growth, degree of self-actualization or whether we thrive in life? Could our emotional well-being depend on having satisfying relationships with others? Do small moments and our feelings about them define the quality of our lives? I encourage individuals and couples to contemplate these questions - to consider how they connect with themselves and others.

While we do our best, our relationships remain fraught with challenges. No relationship gets off scot-free. Great relating comes down to how we negotiate our inevitable differences. Issues - which arise intra-personally, inter-personally and externally - wreak havoc on our interactions with loved ones. Beliefs - about ourselves and others - are very much alive in our relational dynamics. What to do? How to make sense of or deal with all the variables? You wonder what, if any, your part in it all is. You ask yourself whether - and how - to move on or stay. You contemplate the impact on your self-esteem and future. If you are troubled by these or other questions, I encourage you to get in touch with me.

Toronto relationship issues therapist:

As a relationship issues therapist, I hope to understand how you have been impacted by your unique relational experiences and social context. With you, I hope to create a relationship that you will find supportive, transforming and energizing. I am passionate about offering you a space in which to express your feelings, be heard, gain insights, explore possibilities, tap into your strengths, hone communication skills, catalyze change and develop valuable relational skills with which to make the most of your life and relationships.

Recognizing your individuality, or your unique dynamic as a couple, I will tailor my knowledge to you. Being emotionally present to your feelings, needs and concerns as they arise, I aim to help you to gain insight, communicate genuinely and engage deeply.

While therapy is less stigmatized than it used to be, you might feel a sense of shame about the idea of seeing a therapist - shame that you haven't quite managed to solve your relationship issues or shame that you may not have made the best choices for yourself. Maybe you would like to learn how to reach out for and respond to others. Have past experiences or recent events overwhelmed your ability to cope? Know that we all get stuck at times and stand to benefit from working with a professional.

life transitions

Life purpose or life transition therapy:

You may be going through a life transition or struggling to forge a sense of identity, purpose or belonging. Your quest might be to find your place in the world. Perhaps you would like to take stock of your life to date and be steadily supported in your efforts to create a fulfilling future. A person's greatest challenge is often to live an enriched and meaningful life despite his or her beginnings and current circumstances. What if you were to care for yourself in ways you've cared for others? What if you were to prioritize your own needs, interests, passions and talents just a little more?

If we don't envision and act on our hopes for a brighter future, we end up settling for a life that happens to us - a life of potential regrets. Whether we realize it or not, some regrets stem from our daily habits - from choices we make each day. (Do you watch two hours of TV instead of pursuing a longstanding interest?) Contemplate the extent to which your various habits are helping you to actualize your ideal future. What if each moment is an opportunity that can be used to shape the rest of your life?

Life transitions or mid-life crises include:

  • moving and relocation
  • career changes
  • a shift into a long term relationship or family
  • separation or divorce
  • death of a spouse or family member or loved one
  • traumatic events - chronic or acute

The above are just a few of numerous possible life changes. Many of my clients have grappled with moving from place to place or with leaving a partner or employer. Some lose family and friends and struggle to find ways to move on. The deep and sometimes painful feelings that emerge in response to big change understandably prompt self-reflection and concerns about the road ahead. It may be in your best interests to contact a psychotherapist.

My approach as a life transitions therapist:

I try to provide clients with a safe space in which to connect with feelings and needs triggered by big shifts in their lives. I begin with taking a thorough history. From there, I help clients explore answers to their own important questions as well as to discover which choices, adjustments and steps might lead to improvements in quality of life.

If your life transition evokes questions about your life purpose, I can help you to clarify your values, connect with your true desires, turn wishes into plans and actualize your vision for the future. If you are grappling with a big decision, you might wish to use sessions for exploration. I offer emotional support - helping clients identify as well take action around their specific needs.

anxiety and self-esteem

Therapy for anxiety and low self-esteem:

If you've been experiencing anxiety and low self-esteem, I imagine you would like to be heard, understood and validated - all in a confidential and non-judgmental atmosphere. Maybe you are looking for for a fresh perspective or for someone who will be responsive to your concerns in ways friends and family haven't been. Possibly you have no one else to talk to and have struggled with people-pleasing, perfectionism, saying "no," setting boundaries, being assertive or relentlessly comparing yourself to others.

Suffering from low self-confidence, self-worth or self-esteem?

For most of us, self-esteem fluctuates through time, yet may have a frustrating tendency to drop. What is self-esteem? Some might define it as our own evaluation self-worth. How do you measure your worth? Are you more concerned about other peoples' opinions than your own? Do you relentlessly compare yourself to others? Have you internalized someone else's critical voice? Is the life you have constructed a response to that criticism more so than it is an expresion of your true values? Which of your skills and qualities are you assured of - and not?

If you grew up in surroundings where your feelings, needs and opinions were not valued, you may have understandably developed low self-esteem. You may have taken messages from the ways others treated you that now negatively influence your core beliefs, self-talk and ways of interacting.

How you feel about yourself - whether you respect yourself - influences the quality of your life. Your capacity to make important, timely decisions about a partner or career can be affected by your confidence. Consider this: The relationship you have with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship you have. Therefore, the most important challenge you face may be to develop positive self-regard.

If we do not like ourselves, we will not assert ourselves, make requests, take action on our own behalf or even follow our dreams. Instead we will defer to someone we want to please or impress. People who experience feelings of low self-esteem may stay in relationships and jobs that reflect and reinforce their low self-worth.

So here's the crux of it: Self-esteem can be intrinsic or extrinsic. If you were loved unconditionally growing up, you likely feel satisfied with yourself as you are today. That is, you love yourself regardless of the ways others treat you and regardless of your so-called imperfections and failures. Unlike someone with extrinsically-based self-esteem, you do not need the approval or praise of authority figures or of society in order to feel good about yourself. You have not bought into the myth that you are of value only in so far as you produce and consume. You do not need external measures of success - such as high income, educational credentials, a model's body or skin tone etc. to feel good about yourself.

In my practice, I help clients strengthen their intrinsic self-worth. I do this relationally rather than than by putting them through self-esteem boot camp. Perhaps you grew up in a family in which love came with strings attached: You had to keep your needs and feelings to yourself or look after others to be accepted. Is it any surprise that you now look outside yourself for acceptance - that you depend on external measures of success or on another person to feel validated?

Maybe you have jumped through hoops for most of your life believing that achievements will breed self-worth. You might now be accomplished, but not necessarily confident. Right? Perhaps you feel pride at times, but it is short-lived. Wondering where you went wrong? Would you like to work on feeling more at ease with who you are? If so, please get in touch with me. I would love to work with you.

free consultation call

counselling in toronto

Towards the possibility of working together, I would be happy to answer your questions.
Feeling stuck and taking steps to change can bring relief.
Contact me to get a sense of who I am and of how I can be of support.
(Consultation calls are up to 15 minutes.)

For a free consultation call, contact me at
Or copy into your email address bar.

Therapy and counselling fee for individuals:

  • 60 mins: $119.47 + $15.53 HST

Fees are rarely covered by work/health insurance.
Ask your provider if "registered psychotherapists" are covered.

Therapy is a process-oriented investment in personal growth.
Develop your ability to take risks, communicate effectively, engage people, pursue your dreams and lead a fulfilling life.
Weekly or bi-weekly sessions are recommended for creating lasting change in your self-esteem, career and relationships.

Weekday day and evening sessions are at 211 Carlton St. in Cabbagetown - downtown Toronto.
Psychotherapy Counselling in Toronto Therapy and relationship issues counselling for individuals is also available by phone and Skype.

8 signs that psychotherapy or counselling might help you

If you answer yes to any of the following, consider finding a therapist or counsellor in Toronto:

  • Is an important connection - with a partner, spouse, friend or family member - a repeated source of pain? Are your interpersonal issues affecting your self-esteem?

  • Are you coping with a major life event - such as a divorce or relationship break-up, the death of a loved one, job loss or a financial crisis, an illness or accident?

  • Are you feeling that your life is not meaningful, fulfilling or purposeful? Are you going through the motions with little happiness? Have you lost touch with the hopes and dreams that once inspired or motivated you?

  • Are you grappling with a big decision? Have you lost that spark for the person you were once in love with? Do you love your partner enough to keep investing over the long run? Are you settling for less than you would like? Has someone else caught your interest? Are you afraid to go life alone? Do you fear never finding a better partner?

  • Are you avoiding talking to your partner, friends or family about your struggles? Are you feeling isolated? Do you fear being judged? Is there no one to confide in?

  • Are you repeating the same negative patterns at work, with family, friends, your partner or personal pursuits? Are unresolved issues from your past affecting your relationships and self-esteem?

  • Do you feel as though you've lost touch with vital aspects of yourself? Are you hoping to reclaim and develop one or more of those parts - such as creative, intellectual, athletic or extrovert parts etc.?

  • Are you at a loss for words and searching for a better way to say what needs to be said? Are you looking for a "nice" way to tell the truth or to ask an important question? Communication skills are essential to well-being.

Relationship Therapy Toronto

11 benefits of relationship therapy and counselling

Relationship therapy and counselling can:

  • give you a non-judgmental space in which to tell your story, express your feelings, be heard and feel understood
  • offer you a safe or neutral place to talk about concerns, memories, experiences, situations, dilemmas or fears
  • psychotherapists in toronto
  • help you process unresolved experiences, gain insights, explore possibilities and catalyze change
  • raise your awareness of how your beliefs are influencing your decisions and limiting your potential
  • help you adjust behaviour patterns that are blocking you from living fully and feeling satisfied
  • support you in becoming the director of your life
  • help you to know, accept and value yourself in relation to others
  • empower you to find your voice, assert yourself, make requests and set boundaries
  • help you identify and experience your feelings as well as get your needs met
  • develop your ability to engage others genuinely and live in a way that reflects the real you
  • empower you with communication skills that enrich your relationships and build self-esteem

Since everyone changes in their own unique way and at their own pace, a therapist or counsellor will tailor their approach to each client's needs. While offering my heartfelt attention, I aim to facilitate your journey toward a more fulfilling life. In time, with the insights and the skills you gain, you will likely feel more at ease and be better equipped to handle life - acting on your own behalf and relating to others more effectively. I welcome you to get in touch and experience the benefits of psychotherapy and counselling.

toronto psychotherapist

psychotherapy and counselling for relationship issues

I am a relationship issues therapist and counsellor.

Chatelaine and Canadian Living magazines as well as the Canadian Tamil Youth Leadership Program have interviewed me about relationship issues. More recently, I was approached by the BBC and the Toronto Star about my work with married couples.

Relationships - whether with romantic partners, friends, family, co-workers, or pets - are fundamental to our lives. They provide us with companionship and a sense of belonging. They can also be a source of support and self-esteem. They significantly influence who we are - how we think, feel and act. Without a doubt, relationships are the most important aspect of being human.

Most of us are wired to connect - to feel seen, heard, understood, known, valued and loved. When relationship issues - essentially unmet needs - inevitably arise, we feel disconnected and suffer. How to re-connect? How to soothe the suffering? These are important questions.

Relationship skills were not taught at school and we subscribe to the myth that we can figure everything out as we go along. We don’t think twice about getting professional training to drive a car or about investing in a good education towards establishing a career. So why do we think twice about consulting a relationship expert re: improving our relationships?

Communication for relationship issues:

Interpersonal and communication skills weren't taught at school. Yet, most of us need guidance, support and practice to communicate effectively. Communication skills not only help to resolve relationship issues, but to preempt them. They help us to clearly express our feelings, needs and wishes and to inquire about those of others.

Would you like to develop your ability to express feelings, communicate assertively, make requests, engage others, resolve conflict, negotiate and respond calmly? A relationship counsellor or therapist can provide invaluable training and support.

In addition to helping with communication skills, relationship therapists can help you to develop the self-awareness and courage needed to address relationship issues, deepen emotional intimacy, rekindle passion and improve the quality of your bonds.

Relationships - especially with significant others - often mirror our relationship to ourselves. For example, if you tend be dismissive of your feelings (as a perhaps a parent was), you may discover that you gravitate to partners who disregard your feelings. Or if you are self-scrutinizing, it may be you find yourself with a partner who criticizes you.

Allow a relationship therapist to support you in exploring the ways in which you avoid your true self and other people. It would be my pleasure to help you develop emotional presence and to discover effective means of connecting.

aspects of healthy love relationships:

What is healthy for one couple may not be for the next. Generally however, there are a few essentials:

  • you are clear about your relationship vision
  • you take initiative to do what matters most for each other
  • you grow your relational skills together from the start
  • you offer each other your full attention
  • you are responsive to one another's needs as well as to your own

Too often, we find ourselves fairly far into a relationship and realize we have not been clear - with ourselves or our partner - about what we want and need. Only when we feel dissatisfied, do our most important desires become apparent. Most of us then complain, try to change the person we are with (to a great degree), seethe silently or get our needs met on the sly. Few of us know how to make small specific requests. Even fewer of us know when to give up and move on. Most of see the red flags and stick around.

Some common red flags in a partner:

  • his/her actions and words don't meet
  • s/he is rarely able to calmly discuss issues
  • s/he is dismissive of or minimizes your feelings and needs
  • s/he reacts defensively and makes blaming statements

Most people can benefit from developing their relational and communication skills. If you are interested in cultivating healthier relationships, I welcome you to contact me.

relationship issues therapist in Toronto

Click the following link to learn more about couples counselling therapy for relationship issues.

Ask a relationship expert in Toronto

Gain insights and effective tools for communicating and connecting.
Are you going around in circles, repeatedly disagreeing about the same issues?
Are your fears - of rejection, abandonment, dependency, failure, conflict, of hurting your partner's feelings, or of being suffocated, used or controlled - getting in the way?
Professional and caring support is one step away: Please email me.
I encourage you to book a relationship counselling session - for you and your partner, or just for you.

It's possible to work through interpersonal issues and make small adjustments that lead to positive change. Whether you would like to grow closer to your partner, process current issues, reflect on what happened in the past or find a way to move on, I would be happy to help.

finding a psychotherapist in toronto

tips on looking for psychotherapists, counsellors & relationship therapists

Looking for the best Toronto psychotherapist, counsellor or relationship therapist for you?

Toronto is home to many exceptional mental health professionals with unique training and experience. Interestingly, research has shown that an essential factor in the "success" of therapy or counselling is the rapport a client feels with his or her therapist or counsellor. Since "success" is not entirely based on on the expert's credentials, pay attention to how you feel when first consulting with the professional.

To find the best Toronto psychotherapist, counsellor or relationship expert for you, answer these questions: Best Psychotherapist Toronto

  • What would you like from psychotherapy or counselling?
  • What is important to you in a mental health professional?
  • What do you want the psychotherapist or counsellor to know about working with you?
  • What is most important to you - fit, location, cost, hours, approach, gender?

During your consultation, ask yourself whether you feel comfortable talking to the professional. Do you feel seen, heard, understood, accepted and respected? Do you sense that he or she cares about you, or empathizes with your needs and concerns? If your answer is yes, you may want to book an appointment.

Once in session - and on an ongoing basis - try to be aware of what does and doesn't work for you. Are you looking for someone who mainly listens or for someone who is responsive? Do you want a therapist to be directive, passive or collaborative? Do you enjoy being asked questions? Or are you hoping for a sounding board? Are you looking for tools? Your satisfaction from the process is in part determined by your ability to express your needs.

looking for the best psychotherapist in toronto

psychotherapy and counselling

Psychotherapy and counselling are processes of personal growth that potentially lead to meaningful change in your self-esteem, career and relationships.

A psychotherapist or counsellor can support you through challenging circumstances and ease the way to a more fulfilling life.
Working together rather than struggling in isolation can give you new perspectives, open up possibilities for healing and change, and help you find satisfying solutions to your problems.

A client and mental health expert meet regularly with the goal of exploring and understanding the client's inner and outer worlds - such as feelings, experiences, difficulties, hopes and relationships. A psychotherapist or therapist will not give advice so much as help you explore options and resolve inner conflict so that you can arrive at your own insights and decisions. Psychotherapists and counsellors have training in a wide variety of areas and therefore take unique approaches to their work with clients. The ultimate aim, though, is to assist you in living with more purpose, authenticity, effectiveness, creativity and spontaneity. Your self-awareness, health and well-being are of interest in all approaches to psychotherapy and counselling.

psychotherapy self-esteem in toronto

psychotherapy and counselling for low self esteem

We build self-confidence and self-esteem when we:

  • experience a meaningful sense of connection to ourselves and others
  • act in accordance with our true feelings, needs and values
  • contribute something we value which others in turn appreaciate
  • feel some degree of control or influence over our lives
  • psychotherapists self-esteem toronto
  • are able to embrace ourselves lovingly - flaws and all

Self-esteem therapy and self-esteem counselling can help build confidence.

Do you lack pride in yourself or a basic sense of self-confidence?
Does your self-esteem plummet based on someone else's inability to see your worth?
Do you overvalue what others are and meanwhile undervalue what you are?
Are you missing joie de vivre - that spark for living?
I want to understand how you got to where you're at - how you see and experience yourself and your world.
Email me. I would be happy to help you get on track and feel better about yourself.

Psychotherapist Self-Esteem in Toronto

tips for building self-esteem

Counselling and psychotherapy for low self-esteem.

To a significant degree, your future is based on your current day habits and choices. Consider creating a personal routine from the following list - one that supports your intellectual development, physical health, creativity and emotional well-being. A regime will help you meet life's challenges as well as learn from and move beyond its inevitable disappointments.

  • Acknowledge the wisdom you've gained through first-hand experience.
  • Focus on your growth, effort, commitment & perseverance vs. results.
  • Spend time with people who value and support you.
  • Regularly do things you enjoy and which you do well.
  • List your skills, strengths, qualities, values and achievements.
  • Share your skills and love; mentor someone, volunteer.
  • Identify 5 things each day that you did well the day prior.
  • Learn from motivational speakers on YouTube.
  • Break bigger goals down into smaller achievable steps.
  • Collect photos of and quotes from people you admire.
  • build self esteem Toronto
  • Compliment yourself at least once per day.
  • Find or create the circumstances in which you can flourish.
  • Name things you are grateful for.
  • Choose 5 inspirational affirmations to recite daily.
  • Solicit advice from those you admire. Find a mentor.
  • Get the support you need. No one makes it alone.
  • Ask friends to list special qualities you have.
  • Envision your ideal future as though it's happening now.
  • Do something you truly enjoy - something you find uplifting.
  • Get physical: exercise, dance or clean.
  • Pursue a new interest.
  • Speak back to the critical judge in your head.
  • Give yourself the compassion and positive regard you give to others.
  • Ask the wise part of you to support the struggling part of you.

relational therapists and relational therapy in toronto

relational therapy for relationship issues

I am a registered psychotherapist and certified gestalt therapist.
To find out about gestalt therapy (relational therapy), see my about me page.

Are you interested in directing your life?
Gestalt therapy encourages you to take increased responsibility for shaping your life.
Little by little, you can take steps to create more of the life you want.
Gestalt therapists want to know how you feel, what you need and how you can get your needs met.
Let me support you in taking the risks necessary for personal development and fulfillment.
Find your edges of growth and improve the way you engage yourself others.
It is possible to be more authentic, effective, creative, spontaneous and satisfied.

the costs of not getting psychotherapy or counselling

There are many exceptional psychotherapists, counsellors and relational therapists in Toronto.

Therapists and counsellors can give you the support to make changes that will alter the course and quality of your life. The trick is to find a professional you feel comfortable with. The more you stick with your process of personal growth, the more you will develop your ability to handle challenging situations effectively and confidently. The skills and insights you gain will likely transfer beyond your current circumstances to the rest of your life. Imagine communicating more assertively at work, in your personal pursuits and romantic relationships, as well as with friends and family. Consider psychotherapy and counselling to be an investment in your personal development that pays off over time by enriching your quality of life.
counsellors in toronto

What is the cost of not seeing a psychotherapist or counsellor?

  • more time spent ruminating and feeling stuck?
  • emotional pain that leaves you distracted at work and sleepless at night?
  • unresolved baggage that you carry into future relationships?
  • unwelcome advice from family and friends that leaves you feeling judged?
  • living a regret-filled life?
  • chronically low self-esteem?

  • Psychotherapy Toronto, Relational Therapy Toronto
Relationship Issues Therapist in Toronto

Toronto Psychotherapist and Relationship Issues Therapist serving downtown Toronto, Cabbagetown, Yorkville, Riverdale, Leslieville, St. Lawrence Market, the Distillery, Rosedale, the GTA.


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