Toronto Team

Jess A.L. Erb, D.Psychotherapy, R.P. (Qualifying)

Seeking help can often feel both overwhelming and scary – yet, if you are reading this message you have already taken one of the biggest and bravest steps in the journey towards health! Being able to meet weekly with a psychotherapist and grant yourself a chance to discuss issues of distress – whether it is personal issues, relational/social problems, or even work related stress – in a safe, confidential and non-judgmental space can be transformative and indeed life changing. I commend you for taking this step.

I am primarily based within a relational psychodynamic framework, which means that when we work together you will not have a removed or overly clinical counsellor, but a real person who meets you not simply as a ‘patient’ but as the expert of your own life! Together, we can delve into even the toughest, scariest, and unspeakable topics in a safe, non-judgmental and confidential space. I believe that the best therapy happens when a deep trust can form between counsellor and client. With me you will find a warm, compassionate counsellor who feels honoured to meet you in all aspects of your life.

Broadly speaking, I work with adults and adolescents in an array of issues such as depression/suicidal ideation, anxiety/panic disorders, grief and loneliness, as well as all forms of abuse – emotional, physical, sexual, self-harm, and eating disorders. I have extensive experience researching body positivity and helping clients overcome struggles with appearance and gender conformity – helping clients seek ways to express their ‘true’ selves and come to a more positive body image. I have a passion for promoting and caring for those who often are over-looked and marginalised in society and have therefore worked as an ally and advocate for clients from diverse populations. I have often been sought out to counsel those from the LGBTQI2SA+ community, as well as ethnically and economically diverse populations. I welcome all to my practice and believe that anyone – regardless of issue, ethnicity, gender / sexuality orientation, spiritual belief, economic standing – is valuable and I seek to provide the best care to all I see.

As your therapist, I believe that there is no such thing as a ‘band-aid’ approach to counselling; therefore, instead of providing quick-fixes, I welcome us to dive into issues together. From the first session with me we will start to talk about the issues that have brought you to counselling and where these might have originated – granting us insight into patterns of behaviour that may have been useful in the past that now may be actually getting in the way of your health. In our second phase of therapy we will start to see patterns emerge that have arisen based upon your past history. There is nothing taboo with me, and as we learn more about your past, we can start to make connections as to specific problem areas you might want to change. In our third phase of therapy we will then start to make these changes – often using the therapy session as a safe place to try these out. Through looking at the past and the larger context of your social world we can start to get a clearer picture as to why you may be facing distress and with this insight we can work together in overcoming these issues.

As I have trained in many paradigms the process of therapy will be an integration of psychodynamic, person-centred and emotion-focussed therapy, as well as CBT, interpersonal and mindfulness practices. I believe that as my client, you deserve a treatment plan that fits you! Therefore, by getting to know you and your unique needs, the therapy I provide will be an approach the seems most suitable for you.

Before working as an associate at CFIR, I trained as a doctor in psychotherapy at the University of Edinburgh, UK. For the past decade, I have worked with at-risk youth in both Canada and the UK, working specifically with issues such as depression, suicidal ideation, low self-esteem/body image, anxiety, sexuality and sexual trauma. I have also worked as a qualified psychotherapist providing psychoanalysis with adults regarding work related stress, relationships / family functioning, depression, and personality disorders. I have also provided ‘Life Review’ work with elderly clients. For the past four years I have supervised and trained new counsellors and currently work as a supervisor at CFIR for those in training.

I have published in journals related to research and psychotherapy and currently have several projects in press. I am the co-founder of the ‘Bodies Collective’ that collaborates with scholars around the globe at bringing the physical body back into recognition within the academy. Through the Bodies Collective, we have created a new way of doing research called ‘Bodyography’. I have given numerous presentations at conferences in both North America and Europe and am also an active public speaker on mental health for universities in the UK and Canada. Through all this I am also an active pottery and oil painting instructor and am currently working on a book chapter showing the intersection between wheel-based pottery and mindfulness.