Drs. Doering, Torrance-Perks, Drugovic, Lawrence, Aquino and Associates

Services


The goal of our practice is to provide psychological services tailored to meet the unique needs of each client. Our services include assessment, treatment, and consultation for individuals, couples, and families. Our clients range in age from children, adolescents, adults, and seniors. The following describes in greater detail the various services provided.

Consultation
Psychotherapy
Psycho-Educational Assessment
CBT Groups for Anxiety
Hypnosis
Meditation and Mindfulness Meditation
Clinical Supervision and Training

Consultation


The first appointment with your Psychologist will be a consultation. The goal of this 90-minute session is to get to know you, learn about your concerns and problems and develop a plan for helping you. If you are having problems that fit a particular diagnosis, this will be discussed. If psychotherapy or counselling is recommended, your Psychologist will explain the scope and anticipated time frame of these services.

An open discussion of the proposed plan is welcomed, and any concerns will be addressed. If you have a problem that is not within the psychologist's area of expertise, we are often able to refer you to a colleague. We also call upon our knowledge of other resources in the community to help our clients find the right resource.

Psychotherapy


Psychotherapy and counselling are general terms used to describe a variety of treatment methods intended to assist the client work through their concerns and problems. The goal of psychotherapy is for you to come to your own decisions about the best course of action for you. While direct suggestions are sometimes made, it is not typically the psychologist's job to tell you what to do. The Psychologist's task is to listen to whatever concern you bring to the session, to identify patterns in your thinking and behaviour, to point out alternative interpretations of events or strategies for problem solving, and to ask you questions to stimulate your thinking. A client's unique situation and needs will play a key role in determining which therapeutic approach will be most effective. This practice offers a range of approaches, including cognitive-behaviour therapy, insight-oriented therapy, interpersonal therapy, hypnotherapy, meditation and mindfulness-based therapy, and supportive counselling.

To summarize, psychotherapy involves a warm collaborative relationship. Clients achieve their goals by working with the psychologist in an active partnership, using the Psychologist's skills to assist them with the problem solving process. There is never any negative judgment made if you decide not to try any suggestions or strategies. You are able to say absolutely anything without any expectation of criticism and judgment. As psychologists, we are trained and knowledgeable therapists who seek to provide you with an objective sounding board.

Psycho-Educational Assessment


A psycho-educational assessment helps determine the presence or absence of possible learning difficulties or disabilities that may affect academic and personal functioning, and provides recommendations for treatment (if required). Diagnosing the presence of a Learning Disorder (LD) and/or Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) requires an evaluation of the client's current cognitive functioning and the academic skills they have acquired to date, and information about their educational, developmental and mental health history.

Making and communicating a diagnosis in Ontario is a controlled act governed by the Regulated Health Professions Act of Ontario, and is restricted to certain professions. Psychologists and some Psychological Associates are trained to make a diagnosis and to discuss its implications. Unregistered counsellors, consultants and assessors are prohibited from doing so. Educational assessments by teachers or counsellors may help describe a problem but cannot diagnose the cause in order to choose the best treatment.

The typical process for conducting a psycho-educational assessment is as follows:

      • 1) Clinical interviews and standardized questionnaires. The psychologist uses the first session to explore concerns and relevant history with the client or parents. Information about the client's history is important because LD or ADHD are chronic conditions often recognized during a child's early school years. Interviews and questionnaires are also used to evaluate other factors that can affect academic functioning, including anxiety or mood problems.
      • 2) Formal testing. The psychologist uses standardized measurement tools to compare a client's test performance to that of a reference group of people in the same age group or at a similar educational level.
      • 3) Scoring and interpretation. The psychologist evaluates historical information, questionnaires, and test results to arrive at an understanding of the source of the client's learning difficulty. This understanding may lead to a formal diagnosis. It is often just as important to rule out potential diagnoses that do not apply as it is to identify any diagnoses that do apply.
      • 4) Report and recommendations. The psychologist prepares a detailed written report with a list of recommendations. If difficulties are identified, treatment recommendations and/or accommodations are provided. These address the client's areas of disability and provide a fair opportunity for the client to progress in their academic program to the best of their ability. The report is written to facilitate understanding and acceptance of both challenges and opportunities, and enables clients (or parents) to address learning needs and needs for advocacy. It is the right of the client (or for children, the parents) to decide who, if anyone, should see the report.
      • 5) Feedback interview. The psychologist shares the report with the client (and/or parents). Findings and recommendations are explored in detail.


CBT Groups for Anxiety: Dr. Jennifer Aquino


Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based approach that is highly effective in the treatment of anxiety. CBT reduces anxiety by targeting its component parts: thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. CBT will help you identify the thoughts, feelings, and behaviours involved in maintaining your anxiety. Because the three components are interrelated, when we change any one of these components, there are resulting changes in the other areas. CBT includes strategies designed to help you identify and challenge negative thoughts and change behaviours that are maintaining problematic anxiety.

CBT in a group setting offers the opportunity for people with anxiety to learn from one another in a therapeutic atmosphere. The group will be appropriate for a wide range of anxiety problems, including social anxiety, phobias, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety, among others. Each group of 5 to 8 adults will meet for 8 weekly 2-hour sessions. Each session is structured, as there is a specific set of topics to cover in each session. There will also be lots of opportunity to practice the skills you learn in session. Because CBT is a skills-based approach, the skills you learn in session each week also need to be practiced throughout the week.

For more information, or to explore whether this group may be helpful for you, contact Dr. Jennifer Aquino at 519-725-1748 ext. 16.

Hypnosis: Dr. Julie Torrance-Perks


Hypnosis is a natural state of absorption and heightened or focused attention. Our ability to enter this unique state of consciousness opens the door to many possibilities for healing, self-exploration and change. Most of us have had brief hypnotic-like episodes without even realizing it. Every time we are absorbed in thought to the point where we fail to notice what is happening around us we are experiencing something similar to hypnosis (e.g., driving a car on a long trip).

When we enter into a state of hypnosis, we can utilize our thoughts and experiences in ways not usually accessible to us. When hypnotized, we are more open to suggestions that can enhance our physical and psychological well-being. Hypnotherapy, by a well-trained, licensed health care professional, can help to make desired changes in thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviours. Hypnosis has been used to treat numerous problems and conditions such as pain disorders, habit disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, stress, anxiety and depression.

When considering hypnotherapy, selecting a health care provider who is fully trained in treating health care problems and in hypnotic interventions is critical. Hypnosis, even with the best intentions, can be misused by people without the proper background. Dr. Torrance-Perks received her training in hypnosis at the University of Waterloo and the Toronto General Hospital and is a member of the Ontario Division of the Canadian Society of Clinical Hypnosis.

Mindfulness Meditation: Dr. Bob Doering

Many meditation techniques are easily learned and useful in allowing us to better focus attention and relax our bodies. The goal of these techniques is often to focus attention in a manner which promotes a state of enhanced concentration and triggers relaxation.

In mindfulness meditation, the aim is not only to be more relaxed during a period of meditation but also to generally improve one's baseline state of awareness of mind and body processes. Initially, one strives to maintain this level of awareness during periods of formal practice. The intention is to gradually develop the capacityfor this mode of mindful awareness to be countnuously available throughout the day, in the course of ordinary living.

There is considerable common ground between mindfulness meditation training and psychotherapeutic approaches such as insight-oriented psychotherapy, cognitive therapy and behavioural therapy. All of these approaches recognize that that the process of freeing oneself from negative states (such as low moods, and preoccupation with anxiety, worry and stress) involves increased awareness of how negative thought patterns interact with emotions. Mindfulness meditation helps us become aware of how thought patterns and habitual feelings can entrench us in problematic moods, anxieties, unhealthy behaviour patterns and compromise our ability to feel happy. Building from this awareness, we can increasingly learn how to reduce or become free of these difficulties. Psychologists are increasingly using techniques developed and refined by practitioners of mindfulness meditation. Dr. Doering and Dr. Vaerum have trained intensively in mindfulness meditation and offer meditation-based and mindfulness-based approaches based on client needs and preferences. Examples of situations where meditation training and mindfulness-based psychotherapy can be helpful include:

      • treatment and relapse prevention of depression or anxiety

      • stress management, trauma, illness and pain

      • dealing with challenging life transitions

      • avoiding burnout when caring for others

      • attention training for attention disorders or AD/HD

      • improved connection and communication in relationships

      • improved mental focus, emotional intelligence and self-control.

      • increased capacity to be compassionate to ourselves and others.


Evidence for the benefits of mindfulness in improving mental health issues has been well documented and is currently the focus of considerable scientific research. Easy access to this quickly growing body of evidence is available online as the Mindfulness Research Monthly. This website also provides the following definition and overview of mindfulness: Mindfulness is a quality of human consciousness characterized by an accepting awareness of and enhanced attention to the constant stream of lived experience. Being mindful increases engagement with the present moment and allows for a clearer understanding of how thoughts and emotions can impact our health and quality of life. Mindfulness can be cultivated through meditation practice. Mindfulness meditation practices have been formalized in programs such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) as well as other programs. Although mindfulness is an inherent human capacity that has been examined introspectively for millennia, scientific interest in mindfulness is burgeoning in the fields of medicine, psychology, social work, and business, as well as other areas.

Clinical Supervision and Training


We provide clinical supervision and training for graduate students in psychology and candidates becoming registered Psychologists. We also run workshops and training sessions for agencies and the general public.