Kerry Gordon PhD, RP, Clinical Member OSP
"The most common form of despair is not being who you are." - Soren Kierkegaard.
If you are here, looking for a psychotherapist, it is likely because, in some way, your life and relationships are in crisis. Crisis is like having the rug pulled out from under you so that it feels like no matter what you do, you can't seem to regain your footing. While crisis offers the possibility for real transformative change we very often experience it as suffering.
At the bottom of most of our suffering is how we do relationships. If I'm feeling chronically depressed or anxious that speaks to the relationship I have with myself. If I'm struggling to communicate and connect with my spouse or partner, parents, children or friends that speaks to the relationship I have with others. And if I'm hitting a wall in my career, feeling dissatisfied, not reaching my potential or caught in the feeling that I am continuously struggling just to keep my head above water, that speaks to my relationship with the world. There are times in all our lives when our relationships, whether with self, other or the world, seem to break down. We are left feeling disconnected, isolated and alone. We may feel depressed, angry or frustrated and those feelings begin to overwhelm us to the point where we feel like we've come to the end of the line.
And that's not necessarily a bad thing. Coming to the end of the line simply means that if we want to get where we're going we have to get off the train we're on and board a different one that's on the right track. It's not necessarily an easy or comfortable thing to do but, with help, it is a real possibility.
The healing response to suffering is care. That may sound obvious but most of us don't really know what care is much less how to offer or receive it. When I see partners in couples therapy more often than not they report their suffering as, "You don't see me," "You don't listen to me," or "You're not there for me." But at the core, the heartfelt feeling is, "I don't feel cared for."
While it is very easy to say, "I care," care is more than a word; it's an experience. And whether with regards to ourselves or someone else, care is something that needs to be demonstrated and practiced in an ongoing, committed way.
Learning to care is central to my approach to therapy. It means learning how to be present: how to listen in a way that connects us deeply to ourselves as well as others. If we don't know how to care for ourselves how can we expect to recognize and receive care from someone else?
It took me a long time to learn what it means to care. But I've come to realize that that's what the years of doing my own therapy were about for me. It was about learning to listen, to actually be interested in and accepting of my own experience. I came to understand that my suffering and pain was not what was wrong with me but rather an expression of a deep part of myself that was calling out for my attention. As I began to listen and accept my own pain and suffering as meaningful and true, my life began to change. As I learned to care for myself I discovered that, not only could I receive care but that I was able to offer it more deeply and connectively to others as well. As my relationship with myself began to transform so did my relationship with my partner, family and friends. Even my career, my relationship with the world, began to shift and blossom in remarkable and wonderful ways. If life is relationship then care is the glue that holds it together.
As infants, we don't come into the world with the capacity to care. It is, rather, acquired through skillful means as part of our maturing process. It is something that needs to be learned and practiced. Regardless of the nature of your suffering, whether you are burdened with anxiety, depression or low self esteem, whether you are struggling in your intimate relationships with your spouse, partner, family or friends or whether you feel stifled or dissatisfied with your career, bringing care to the experience can help break through the log-jam of frustration and suffering and lend a sense of fulfillment, purpose and meaning to your life and relationships.
If you feel it's time for change in your life, please give me a call. A simple conversation on the telephone can be the first step in a transformative journey.
My office is located at Dufferin and St. Clair with easy access by TTC and free parking for those driving. Here's my map. Please feel free to contact me by e-mail for an initial consultation where we can meet and see if there is a good fit for continuing work.
I look forward to speaking with you.
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