Psychologist Specializations

BE KIND TO YOUR MIND

Psychological Assessment & Evaluation

The more we know about our clients, the better we can serve them. Our comprehensive psychological assessments provide a thorough exploration of your family history and your social, emotional, personality, and cognitive functioning. During the initial interview with one of our highly qualified psychologists, the assessment plan is customized based on your specific wants, needs and situation. We have an extensive array of assessment tools available and will tailor your assessment to your unique situation to gain as much insight as possible. The results of the comprehensive assessment will be compiled into a thorough written report to provide you with an overview of your psychological health. Our practitioners will discuss this report with you in detail and use it to develop next steps for treatment if necessary and desired.

Comprehensive psychological assessments can help you:
● In providing an opportunity for early intervention if you are experiencing multiple difficulties
● Identify any possible psychological, emotional, behavioural, and cognitive issues
● Identify your strengths and any barriers to treatment
● Develop a collaborative treatment plan if you continue to seek psychological treatment
● Understand possible academic strengths and weaknesses if you are struggling in school
● Understand your unique personality strengths and challenges

Assessments include:

  • Psychoeducational Evaluation (including WISC, WYAT, BASC-3, Vineland Behavioural Scale, and Adaptive Behavioural Scale)
  • Multidisciplinary Evaluation
  • Vocational Assessment
  • ADHD Assessment

Anxiety

Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, nervousness and/or physical changes. Occasional anxiety is a normal part of life, however, an individual’s anxiety can sometimes become disproportionate to what is happening around them. In other words, an individual can find themselves experiencing anxiety without there being any clear trigger. Many factors can lead to the onset of an anxiety disorder including genetic vulnerability, environment, personal history, personality traits, diet, and lifestyle. At Nova, we offer several ways to cope with this anxiety, and with the right treatment plan, individuals can often overcome their anxious states, to live a more mindful and present life.

Depression

Feeling down from time to time is a normal part of the human experience. However, if this feeling persists for a prolonged period of time, symptoms of depression may develop. There are many factors that contribute to the onset of depression including genetics, chemical imbalances, side effects of medications, healthcare issues, and personal history. Many individuals who struggle with depression also indicate feelings of hopelessness. With the right support and treatments available at Nova, individuals can combat depressive symptoms and gain a sense of hope and empowerment to live a more sustainable life.

Relationship Difficulties

Human beings are hardwired for connection. A central part of an individual’s well-being is their ability to establish and maintain healthy relationships with others in their lives. Oftentimes, these relationships can falter and cause significant strain on our lives and our overall well-being. Nova Psychology offers a multitude of therapeutic interventions that can be helpful in identifying the root causes of our relational distress, and assist in developing appropriate resources to bridge emotional distance, limit miscommunications, address negative feelings, restore meaningful connection, and guide individuals towards establishing and maintaining a sense of peace and contentment with others.

Stress & Burnout

Stress is a feeling of emotional, physical or psychological tension. Stress is a normal human reaction that is experienced by all individuals to some degree. The right amount of stress can be healthy and can motivate an individual in reaching their goals. However, stress can also become overwhelming and unhealthy when it disrupts an individual’s day-to-day functioning. How an individual copes with their life stressors will have a significant impact on their overall well-being. Extended periods of stress can often lead to burnout and cause complete physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. Burnout can often lead to the development of further issues such as weakening of the immune system, sleep difficulties, feelings of helplessness, numbness, and disillusionment. Nova Psychology offers several treatment interventions that can  allow individuals experiencing stress and burnout to institute the right coping skills and strategies in place to advance the way they respond to stress.

Trauma & PTSD

Trauma is a lasting emotional response associated with experiencing a distressing event. Following a traumatic event, an individual can experience harm to their sense of self, sense of safety, and their ability to regulate emotions and manage relationships. Trauma can manifest differently for each individual; the same event can be more or less traumatic for some individuals than others. Sometimes, experiencing a traumatic event can lead to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). At Nova Psychology, we believe it is possible to heal from emotional and psychological trauma. Our treatments exist to help individuals regain a sense of control over their lives, teach skills to address their symptoms, learn ways to identify triggers and cope with symptoms, and treat other issues related to trauma including depression and anxiety.

Grief & Loss

Grief is a natural part of humanhood. Grief, or the loss of someone or something that we love, can be an extremely painful event that can facilitate an emotional crisis. Bereavement refers to the period of time characterized by grief and mourning after a loss. Although bereavement is a normal process that many individuals will experience in their lifetime, it can become an overwhelming experience that brings up unmanageable feelings for some individuals. When this happens, the painful emotions of loss do not improve with time and can have adverse effects like becoming socially withdrawn, angry or depressed. Nova Psychology offers specific treatment interventions that can allow individuals to manage healthy ways of coping with grief and assist with the healing process.

Adolescent Issues

Adolescence is one of the most fascinating and complex transitions in the life span– a time of accelerated growth and change; a time of expanding horizons, self-discovery, and emerging independence; a time of metamorphosis from childhood to adulthood. As teenagers mature, their responsibilities, demands of their environment, and social pressures increase which can often be difficult to manage.

Adolescent counselling is designed to assist teens in navigating the inevitable and difficult demands that emerge during this transitory phase of life.  Talk therapy is often used as an effective support service that can help teens understand changes that occur cognitively, physically, and emotionally with maturation. This supportive service can aid in communication, conflict resolution, and emotional identification and management. Ongoing therapy can help teens understand the root cause of their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors, and gives adolescents the tools to make beneficial changes to help them feel and function better. Additionally, counselling helps teens work through issues and empowers them to use what they learn to find solutions to the issues they face. Attending counselling sessions at Nova Psychology can help improve a teen’s self-confidence, overall mood, and self-esteem. Through therapy, teens learn and strengthen vital skills such as emotion regulation, effective communication, empathy, assertiveness, and self-awareness. Nova Psychology offers treatment services to address common mental health issues in teenagers.

Key Challenges include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Suicidal Ideation
  • Bullying
  • Relational difficulties
  • Homelife struggles
  • Low self-esteem
  • Substance dependence
  • Social anxiety
  • Sexuality
  • Academic pressure
  • Stress
  • Trauma
  • Abuse (emotional, physical, sexual)
  • Peer relationships
  • Communication skills

Personality Disorders

When we speak of ‘personality,’ we are referring to the patterns of behavior, thoughts, and emotions that make a person who they are. Our personality is molded throughout our lives, influenced by our experiences, our childhood, and our biology, and is never wholly consistent. Instead, our personality is that core sense of ourselves, which allows us to understand why we are different from others and how to adapt to life’s stressors.

When someone has a personality disorder, they do not have this stable sense of who they are and can find it difficult to respond to reality. They will also find it difficult to differentiate their own emotions from those around them which can lead to long-term patterns of behavior, emotions, and thoughts that are unhealthy and inflexible.

There is no single cause of a personality disorder but childhood trauma plays a substantial role in its development. If a child experiences a traumatic event, it will impact all areas of their development. The intense emotions invoked by trauma can shape elements of their personality and influence how they perceive themselves, others, and the world.

Nova Psychology’s treatment program will depend on each individual’s unique circumstances, lifestyle, and personal history. Our treatment programs for personality disorders are centered on intensive psychotherapy. Our expert psychologists will use the most cutting-edge techniques to help you overcome any related traumas and to develop healthier ways of responding to your emotions. Therapy sessions will also include psychoeducation to help you become more aware of how the personality disorder has impacted your life.

Parenting Issues

Parenting can be full of ups and downs, no matter your child’s age. While happy moments may make you love your role as a caretaker, challenging times may lead to stress and questioning your ability to care for your children adequately. Parenting can be challenging, and many parents put pressure on themselves daily.

Nova Psychology provides parents with a safe space to discuss their parenting experience, including highlights and challenges. A professional therapist may listen to a parent and ask thoughtful questions while gaining a greater understanding of the individual’s role in their family. Parenting therapy can also help parents identify, address, and manage their own past or present experiences that may be affecting the way they relate to their child.

As the parent and psychologist interact during sessions, the parent may learn more about their parenting style and how their actions affect their children. In doing so, they may understand how to better face challenges and parent in a healthy way for the whole family. Parents do not necessarily need to be experiencing challenges to seek therapy or parenting advice.

Self-Esteem & Body Image

Self-esteem refers to how we value and perceive ourselves. It is often based on our opinions and beliefs about ourselves, which can feel difficult to change. We might also think of this as self-confidence. Self-esteem plays a significant role in all parts of an individuals’ life: it affects their trust in others, their relationships, their work, etc. A low or diminished self-esteem is often associated with self-doubt, self-criticism, social isolation, anger and shame. If not addressed, it can often lead to depression and anxiety. Therapy at Nova Psychology can help individuals heal from their painful past and rebuild their perceptions to aid in creating a strong self-image.

Personal Growth & Development

Personal development is also known as self-development or personal growth.  It involves the growth and enhancement of all aspects of the person, the feelings the person has about himself or herself, and their effectiveness in living.  It includes the development of positive life skills and the development of a realistic and healthy self-esteem.

There is no one way or one program to help a person grow emotionally and personally.  It may involve periodic counselling and coaching or it may involve a much longer and more intense type of therapy.  The approach to help must be individually assessed and applied on a personal basis.  It may include a variety of interventions, ideas skills, and behavioral techniques.  In personal and emotional growth, the “fit” between the psychologist and yourself is critical.  This “fit” is best assessed not by reviewing the professional’s credentials, but by your ability to relate to them. Reaching out to Nova Psychology for more information and assistance can help you live a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Life Transitions

Change is an inevitable and necessary part of life. However, major life transitions can often feel foreign, uncomfortable, and distressing as they often disrupt our routines and comfort zones. Sometimes, individuals can become so overwhelmed by transition that it begins to impact their mood, emotions and daily functioning. This can lead to several symptoms including: insomnia, low energy, loss of appetite, increased anxiety and increased stress, etc. Although life transitions can be difficult to navigate, treatment can help ease the process for individuals. Seeking support through Nova Psychology can help individuals become more resilient and better able to cope with the changes that life brings.

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is pain that extends over a prolonged period of time. This persistent pain can affect an individual on more than just a physical level, but on a psychological and emotional level as well. Chronic pain can often lead to disbelief, despair, anxiety, anger and a lack of control in one’s life. Nova Psychology offers an effective treatment for chronic pain that involves addressing the physical, emotional and psychological aspects related to the pain, understanding the root cause of discomfort, and learning how to manage symptoms effectively through evidence-based modalities.

2SLGBTQI+

It is important to recognize how your experience of sexual orientation and gender identity relates to your mental health. At Nova Psychology, we understand the special needs of 2SLGBTQI+ clients, their partners, and family members. While the 2SLGBTQI+ community faces the same issues around mental health, addiction, co-occurring disorders, and chronic pain that other populations experience, many of these issues are amplified and include unique challenges due to the population’s marginalized status within our society. Symptoms can include feelings of fear, shame, guilt, and post-traumatic stress.

Seeking support through Nova Psychology can allow individuals to feel heard and understood; to gain a sense of connection and a safe space to explore complex feelings without judgment. Support can often help in building an individual’s resilience so they can live openly, without discrimination, and enjoy personal autonomy and life satisfaction.

Gender & Sexuality

Gender therapy focuses on the social, mental, emotional, and physical needs of those who:

  • are questioning gender
  • are uncomfortable with aspects of their gender or body
  • are experiencing gender dysphoria
  • are seeking gender-affirming interventions
  • do not exclusively identify with their designated sex at birth

Our psychologists at Nova implement a gender-affirming approach and recognize that gender diversity is a naturally occurring part of being human and not an indication of mental illness. Having a nonconforming gender presentation or a non-cisgender identity does not, unto itself, necessitate diagnosis, a structured mental health evaluation, or ongoing psychotherapy.

Cultural Identity

Cultural identity is an individual’s feeling of belonging within a specific group and can include factors such as race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or even their ability status. Research has demonstrated the significant impact that systemic oppression can have on an individual’s life and cultural identity. This can include contributing to feelings of anxiety, depression, weakened self-confidence or self-esteem, stress and uncertainty of identity. Therapy at Nova Psychology can present a valuable source of information about what individuals are going through and provide them with a more holistic understanding of self. In addition, seeking help can also provide individuals a valuable opportunity for healing, shaping one’s identity, and celebrating the beauty of their cultural and racial identities.

Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders can disrupt the essential balance of rest and wakefulness, affecting the overall well-being of individuals. These disorders encompass a range of conditions that impact the quality, duration, and patterns of sleep. From insomnia and sleep apnea to restless legs syndrome and narcolepsy, each disorder presents unique challenges, potentially leading to daytime fatigue, impaired cognitive function, and a diminished quality of life. Seeking professional guidance and understanding the underlying causes are crucial steps towards managing and alleviating the effects of sleep disorders, promoting healthier sleep habits, and ultimately fostering improved overall health.

Substance Misuse

Substance misuse is a complex and pervasive issue that involves the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances, including alcohol and illicit drugs. It poses significant risks to both physical and mental health, impacting individuals, families, and communities. Substance misuse can lead to a range of consequences, from impaired judgment and increased accidents to addiction and long-term health issues. Addressing this challenge involves a multidimensional approach, incorporating prevention, intervention, and treatment strategies. Creating awareness, reducing stigma, and providing support for those affected are essential steps toward building a healthier, more resilient society.

Post Natal Depression

Postnatal depression, also known as postpartum depression, is a mental health condition that affects individuals after childbirth. It goes beyond the typical “baby blues” and can manifest as persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion. This condition can impact the ability to bond with the newborn and interfere with daily functioning. Recognizing the signs and seeking support is crucial for both the well-being of the parent and the child. With proper intervention, including counselling, support groups, and sometimes medication, individuals experiencing postnatal depression can find the help they need to navigate this challenging period and foster a healthy parent-child relationship. It’s important to promote understanding and empathy around postnatal depression, reducing stigma and encouraging an open dialogue about mental health in the postpartum period.

Self Harm

Self-harm is a deeply concerning and complex behaviour that individuals may engage in as a way to cope with emotional pain, stress, or overwhelming feelings. It involves intentionally causing harm to one’s own body, often through cutting, burning, or other destructive methods. This behavior is typically a manifestation of underlying emotional distress or mental health challenges. Recognizing the signs and providing support is crucial for those struggling with self-harm. Compassionate understanding, professional intervention, and a supportive network can play pivotal roles in helping individuals address the root causes of self-harming behaviours, fostering healing, and promoting healthier coping mechanisms. Encouraging open conversations about mental health is key to reducing stigma and providing a safe space for those affected to seek assistance.

Phobias

Phobias are intense and irrational fears that can significantly impact an individual’s daily life. These fears often go beyond normal concerns, leading to overwhelming anxiety and avoidance behaviours. Common phobias include fears of specific objects, situations, or activities, ranging from heights and flying to animals or social interactions. Phobias can create significant distress, hindering personal and professional pursuits. Fortunately, effective treatments, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy, exposure therapy, and medication, exist to help individuals manage and overcome their phobias. Acknowledging these fears, seeking support, and gradually facing them in a controlled environment are crucial steps towards regaining control and living a more fulfilling life.

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is a mental health condition characterized by recurring, unexpected panic attacks. These sudden and intense episodes of fear and anxiety can be accompanied by physical symptoms such as a racing heart, shortness of breath, and trembling. The unpredictability of these attacks can lead to ongoing worry about when the next one might occur, contributing to a cycle of anxiety. Seeking professional help, such as therapy and medication, can provide effective strategies for managing panic disorder. With proper support, individuals can learn to identify triggers, cope with symptoms, and regain control over their lives, fostering a path towards long-term well-being. Early recognition and intervention are essential steps toward overcoming the challenges associated with panic disorder.

Psychosexual Issues

Psychosexual issues encompass a broad range of challenges related to an individual’s emotional, psychological, and sexual well-being. These concerns may involve difficulties with sexual functioning, body image, intimacy, or navigating sexual relationships. Psychosexual issues can affect individuals of all genders and orientations, impacting overall quality of life and relationships. Seeking professional support, such as therapy or counselling, provides a safe space to explore and address these concerns. Through open communication and therapeutic interventions, individuals can work towards understanding and resolving psychosexual issues, fostering healthier relationships with themselves and their partners. Reducing stigma and encouraging open dialogue about psychosexual well-being are essential steps towards promoting a more inclusive and supportive environment.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are complex mental health conditions that involve unhealthy relationships with food, body weight, and shape. Conditions like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder can significantly impact physical and emotional well-being. Individuals with eating disorders may exhibit extreme behaviours related to food restriction, purging, or excessive eating, often driven by distorted body image and deep-seated psychological factors.

Recognizing the signs of an eating disorder is crucial for early intervention. Seeking professional help, including therapy, nutritional counselling, and medical support, is vital in addressing the root causes and promoting recovery. A multidisciplinary approach that addresses both the physical and psychological aspects of the disorder is often necessary for long-term success.

Reducing stigma surrounding eating disorders and fostering open conversations about body positivity, self-esteem, and mental health are essential steps in creating a supportive environment for individuals on their journey to recovery.

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