Counselling, Psychotherapy and Reduced Fees Services

Ottawa, Ontario 343-887-5222

Issues Treated

Issues Treated

Depression and Depressed Mood

Sometimes, our mood becomes low. We may feel very sad, hopeless and guilty. We may experience a diminished interest in activities that usually interest us. Sometimes, we may even have thoughts of suicide. Often, fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, difficulties with concentration and focus accompany this condition. The central feature of depressed mood is a breakdown of self-esteem; a feeling of worthlessness coming from a loss, disappointment, hurt, or some other significant painful experience.

Psychotherapy is very helpful in treating depressed mood as it can help the individual clarify what is leading to their low mood. Our treatment approach centers on attending to the individual’s feelings of inadequacy and hopelessness. Through the support of our psychotherapeutic relationship, you can sort out and express your complex feelings about experiences affecting your mood. The therapeutic benefits of feeling understood, empathy and clarifications lead to increased self-esteem, action and positive changes. Therapy provides hope that you can move on and feel better again.


When we are overcome with anxiety, we feel fearful, worried and we might ruminate. Anxiety is fear experienced in the nonexistence of an obvious danger. Anxiety is actually a response to an internal or unconscious danger. Fears of abandonment, rejection, loss of our health, and loss of control may inform our problems with anxiety. Increased heart rate and breathing, sweating, diarrhea, muscle tension along with other fight-or-flight symptoms are common signs of anxiety.

Our psychotherapy treatment aims to help you to more effectively manage your anxious thoughts and bodily symptoms. It also helps you to understand the origins of your anxiety. This self-knowledge combined with the development of healthy coping strategies work to diminish the negative effects of the anxiety. We learn to help ourselves to contain our anxious thoughts. When we are less burdened by anxiety, we can think more clearly, feel more calm and function with contentment and greater ease.

Family of Origin Issues and Abuse

Childhood is an extremely important time in our lives. The emotional, social, intellectual, moral and physical development of young children has a direct effect on their overall development and on the adult they will become.

However, sadly, many children grow up with neglect, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and physical abuse. Others may also be raised without structure, reasonable rules, and unclear and unrealistic expectations. When your upbringing is confusing, painful or difficult, understandably you will be hurt and affected by this. You will likely struggle with feelings of being unlovable, underserving, and inadequate. As you grow up, you may rely on unhealthy coping strategies such as disordered eating, or the misuse of substances to cope with your difficult and mixed up feelings. You might find yourself in unhealthy relationships where you are not valued. You might find yourself repeating destructive patterns over and over again only reinforcing your painful feelings of shame.

Our therapy offers a safe, supportive and non-judgmental space where you can talk openly about your childhood and upbringing as well as any current crises and problems that you are facing. Our work is cooperative and helps you to identify the ways you have been affected by the dynamics of your family or other traumatic childhood experiences. You can begin to clarify and express your feelings about your past experiences. The safety and compassionate nature of our therapeutic relationship helps to nurture your self-esteem and lessen the impact of your past on you. You can change old patterns, learn new ways of coping and unburden yourself from painful feelings of shame and loss. We believe in the words of George Eliot, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

Trauma, Sexual Assault and Posttraumatic Stress

Trauma is an experience that is deeply distressing and disturbing. Some individuals might experience one sudden, traumatic experience in their lifetime such as dealing with a date rape, a cancer diagnosis or the death of a child. Some individuals grow up with trauma day in and day out perhaps experiencing daily domestic abuse or living in a war-torn environment where danger and violence surrounds them. First responders and veterans of war often confront horrific ordeals relating to their work that lead to emotional turmoil and posttraumatic stress. Also, unfortunately it is common that survivors of childhood abuse are often faced with future victimizations. These survivors of complex trauma are left reeling with the horrendous effects of long-term, layered and cumulative traumas.

Fear and anxiety are the hallmark features of posttraumatic stress. Flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia, intrusive memories, feelings of anger, hypervigilance, and reckless behaviors are some common symptoms of post traumatic stress. Trauma and sexual assault survivors often relive their traumas and struggle with the ways that they are changed by their experiences.

Healing from Trauma

“Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tiptoe if you must, but take a step.” 
Naeem Callaway

Joanna has extensive experience working with trauma survivors. At Centretown Psychotherapy, we are sensitive to our clients’ need to feel safe, their understandable difficulties with trust, and their fears of expressing the depth of their feelings relating to their traumatic experiences. Our therapeutic approach is slow, gentle, and compassionate first and foremost. Building our therapeutic relationship is key and stabilizing our clients’ world is a priority. We attend to pressing concerns and personal issues affecting you in the present. The present and the past are connected. By helping you to develop structure and routine in your life, healthy coping and self-care practices as well as nurturing support systems, you begin to heal. You can learn to value yourself. Trauma begins to lose its power and hold on you. In our work, we may or may not discuss the traumatic events. This is not a necessity for healing. It is through empathy and our expression of the emotions connected to the traumas that we grow, heal and shed the power of the past.