Toronto Team

Simran Chahal, M.A.

In our lives we may find ourselves feeling “stuck” sometimes. Overwhelming feelings can become a barrier in our personal and professional growth. These difficulties may include distressing thoughts, anxiety, depression, grief, loss of a loved one, low self-esteem, difficulty being vulnerable with others, feeling stuck in unsatisfying relationships, fear of abandonment, ideas of perfectionism and hyper-criticality towards yourself. The work we do in therapy will be aimed at observing and reflecting on the challenges you are experiencing. We shall work towards removing the roadblocks that stand in the way of your growth and move you toward a sense of fulfillment and well-being over time. I look forward to commencing our therapeutic journey together. Below you will find more information about how I work with my clients.

I work with a broad range of issues including complex trauma (e.g., emotional, physical, psychological, sexual abuse) and relationship problems. Therapy does not come with a ‘one-size-fits all’ approach. The work we do in therapy will be informed by an understanding of your general difficulties and the symptoms you are experiencing. I work using an integrative approach and will draw from the various therapeutic models that I have been trained and worked with like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), attachment-based, mindfulness-based approach, as well as psychodynamically-informed psychotherapy. I also incorporate my understanding of child development, family dynamics and socio-cultural factors to guide my understanding of your concerns and needs. We will work collaboratively to set out the goals that you wish to achieve in our work together.

In the initial sessions we will focus on the concerns that have brought you to the doorstep of therapy. Feelings of nervousness or anxiousness may be common when you are deciding to seek support for your symptoms and difficult experiences. The thoughts may range from “How can I open myself to an absolute stranger?” to “Will this person be able to help me?”. I encourage you to bring these feelings into our work as they can be used as a guide to understanding your worries. A battery of assessment questionnaires will allow us to gain further information about the distress you are experiencing. The assessment may be beneficial in ways that will help you to share your most challenging thoughts, memories, and feelings. In my thorough and attentive assessment of your symptoms, I will also be asking relevant information about your family and your medical history to understand you better. This will be used to create a treatment plan that will be suited to your needs and concerns. Based on our discussions we can look at the benefit of either working in a short-term or a long-term manner.

Over the past 13 years, I have worked in a variety of settings, ranging from clinical to corporate, while providing psychotherapy to individuals. I worked as a Psychological Associate in India for several years before pursuing my current residency in Psychoanalysis at the Toronto Institute of Psychoanalysis which has allowed me to enrich my knowledge and experience as a clinician. I provide a safe, non-judgemental space, paying full attention while listening to what you have to say and seek in therapy. I offer you a therapeutic space filled with compassion, empathy and an emphasis on authentic engagement. We will work collaboratively in your journey to meet your goals and to support you to deal both in the ‘here and now’ present-day issues and issues that may be stemming from earlier life experiences, including your childhood. The work we do in therapy will help you develop an understanding that promotes a more resilient self-image, healthy interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships and may lead to a better and fulfilling quality of life. I am fluent in English, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu and offer therapy in these languages.

At CFIR, my clinical work is supervised by Dr. Lila Z. Hakim, C. Psych.