St Catharines Team

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Christien Garcia, Ph.D.

If you are interested in therapy, it is likely because you are ready for change. Reaching out to a therapist is a powerful first step in creating a space for yourself where you can face the questions and challenges you have about your life and relationships. 

In my psychotherapy practice, I work one-on-one with adults of all ages including young adults experiencing anxiety, depression, pain, grief, anger, trauma, and relationship struggles. If you are looking for a space where you are free to explore and define your needs without worrying about saying the right and wrong things, then I might be a good fit. My role as a therapist is to learn how best to listen to my clients rather than imposing one-size-fits-all solutions. With this support, my clients not only learn to speak more openly and freely, but also to listen to themselves in new ways, and with the kind of openness that leads to transformative change. It is a space to approach life’s difficulties with a profound sense of non-judgement and openness. I work from culturally reflexive and harm reduction perspectives, recognizing how intersecting identities of race, class, gender, culture, and sexuality shape what trauma, resilience, and healing means for different people. I welcome and affirm the experiences of those in or interested in alternative communities and non-traditional relationships.

During your first session, you will have a chance to tell me what brings you here and what your expectations are for therapy. Early on, we will also conduct a comprehensive scientific-based assessment of your difficulties, which will provide a foundation for understanding the root of your challenges. Based on this assessment period, we will develop a treatment plan that works for you and your needs. This treatment plan will integrate a variety of therapeutic models such as, attachment theory, ego psychology, self psychology, psychoanalysis, emotion-focused, cognitive behavioural and dream analysis. Child development, family dynamics and socio-cultural factors will play a crucial role in shaping my understanding of your concerns and treatment needs. In our sessions it is also essential that you have the opportunity to share whatever it is that comes up for you at the moment. This is because the ways our minds associate freely offers a powerful way to access feelings and motivations. That is why a supportive, collaborative, and creative therapeutic environment has been so helpful to so many people.

In addition to working with CFIR, my practice is affiliated with the Toronto Institute of Psychoanalysis and I am also a member of the Ontario Association of Mental Health Professionals. Before starting my clinical practice in 2021, I worked as a researcher and instructor in the Humanities. I have held research positions at the University of Toronto, McMaster University and the University of Cambridge in the UK where I taught various literature courses from social and cultural perspectives. This background in the Humanities provided me with a unique and powerful foundation for understanding the inner workings of the mind. We tend to think about fiction in terms of “making stuff up” but it is also the art of representing the complexity of our internal dialogues and human interactions. This understanding of literature underscores the value I place as a clinician in thinking carefully, deeply, and creatively about the stories we tell (and sometimes don’t tell) about ourselves. By learning to tell their stories, and perhaps learning to tell their stories differently, my clients are able to find balance, take risks, and centre healing in their lives.