As a Toronto-based social worker and psychotherapist I have practiced in a variety of settings for more than 15 years.
I started out working with hard-to-serve youth, in youth corrections, both outpatient as well as inside a correctional institution. I quickly realized that underneath the acting-out behaviours, these youth struggled with the impact of trauma.
This led me to my next chapter, working in a specialized outpatient clinic with children and teens who had been sexually abused in their families and teens who had sexually offended, providing assessment and treatment.
Following this chapter, I moved to working primarily with adults, providing trauma-informed psychotherapy. I have also been an intersession lecturer at McMaster University teaching CBT and Mindfulness to undergraduate students, and have been supervising graduate-level students (MSW and MACP) completing their clinical internships for the past 7 years. I have additional training in mindfulness, CBT as well as trauma-based approaches such as EMDR.
Over the course of the years of my practice as a psychotherapist, and in my personal life, I have come to witness the great healing capacity of self-compassion, as it helps us to safely face all the parts of our experiences, even those painful parts we may have been avoiding or suppressing for some time.
My personal experiences with addiction and recovery, intensive meditation training, blended family-life, and psychotherapy help me appreciate the critical role a safe therapeutic environment plays in helping people effectively encounter the emotions and long-standing narratives keeping them stuck in disempowering cycles of behaviour and thought.
I have found that by helping clients build a deeper awareness of their mind-body connection, they develop greater self-regulation, a healthier sense of self and more satisfying interpersonal relationships. While I help clients connect with their present-moment experience, my approach is very much trauma-informed and psychodynamic. I seek to provide you with the room you need to explore how your past may be impacting, or even overwhelming your present.
I am a Registered Psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO). After receiving my MA in journalism, I worked in corporate and non-profit communications for 10 years before returning to complete a master’s in counselling psychology for a second career as a psychotherapist. I have also served in the military. I am married with four step-kids, a baby boy, and cocker spaniel.
KRISTEN NEFF, PH.D.
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