Why NorthStar?

The name, NorthStar, came to mind and just wouldn’t go away, no matter how many other ideas surfaced. Something drew me to it, both literally and metaphorically.


The North Star, also known as Polaris, is called a Pole Star because it sits almost exactly above the North Pole. As a point of reference, the North Star lies at the end of the handle in the Little Dipper. If you find yourself lost on a clear night, without a compass, it is a reliable gauge of North. 


Whether on stormy seas or in dense forest, sometimes we stray off course and need direction. Rather than looking down, we need to look up and connect with something or someone outside ourselves. This is also a metaphor for life. That’s how NorthStar Wellness was born.


NorthStar Wellness approaches mental health from a practical, wholistic, creative perspective, taking into consideration the individual’s mind, body, and spirit. 


Life can be full of joy and hope, but it also has moments that are challenging to navigate. Asking for help and choosing to change takes great courage and a willingness to try new things or move in another direction. It also shows that, even in the midst of pain or confusion, we have an innate desire for reflection, awareness, healing, meaning, and growth.


NorthStar Wellness strives to be constant and dependable in an ever-changing world. This is your journey, but you don’t have to walk it alone

NorthStar Wellness strives to be constant and dependable in an ever-changing world.

About Allyson

  

I really enjoy connecting with people, whether they are at the beginning of their life journey, near the end, or somewhere in between. 


In my free time, I love swimming, photography, woodwork, cooking feasts for friends, and creating beautiful things. Personally, I am warm, insightful, creative and humourous. I also bring these attributes to my practice.


Holding a Master of Divinity degree in Counselling and extensive training and experience in chaplaincy, I am a Registered Psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO). I am also a member in good standing with the Ontario Association of Consultants, Counsellors, Psychometrists and Psychotherapists (OCCAPP). 


My professional background includes positions in municipal, provincial, for-profit, and non-profit organizations. Areas in which I have worked include: correctional services, healthcare, education, faith-based, community development, and social services.


Client groups have included those who have experienced: poverty, marginalization, mental illness, social isolation, immigration, incarceration, racial discrimination, under-employment, homelessness and … the average person, just looking for help.

Why I do What I Do

In early adulthood, I faced emotional and spiritual challenges, along with a number of deaths of loved ones. I didn’t know where to turn, or that I even needed help, so I navigated these waters alone. 


Not until later in life, did I realize that many things that had happened to me as a child and youth impacted how I viewed the world and interacted with others. I needed help to change so I sought out healers (physical, emotional, spiritual) to help me get back on track. They were patient, insightful, nurturing and held me accountable … just what I needed. And … that led me to further education and a career in social services.


Compassion is my nature, which has been the foundation while working and living among diverse people groups: Deaf, Indigenous, African-American, impoverished, those in conflict with the law and their families, hospital patients, faith groups, children, youth, teen parents, and adults. Personal caregiving has given me additional insight into both the needs of aging parents as well as the needs of caregivers.


What do all these people have in common? Many feel misunderstood and experience social isolation, loneliness, depression, anxiety, fear, grief … Being human, we try to deal with life the best we can and, sometimes, we need a little help along the way.


Through NorthStar Wellness, I commit to supporting others on their healing journeys.


I am passionate about the work I do. I believe it is my responsibility, as a psychotherapist, to create a safe environment where you can be supported as you take risks while both joy and suffering are explored.

How I Do What I Do

Often growth does not occur during smooth sailing. Frequently, we face a lot of storms and turbulent waters along the way. For these reasons, it’s helpful to find a trusted source for guidance.


Because I view each person as unique, I gravitate toward an integrative approach to psychotherapy that takes into consideration your needs and which modality might be best suited to your personality and circumstances. There are reasons why I do what I do during the therapy session. If that’s unclear to you, or you would like to have a better understanding, please ask.


Some longstanding issues may require prolonged or intense sessions. We hope to explore not just the symptoms, but root causes. Personal growth is often facilitated by crisis and it may require hard work to transform the situation by responding in healthier ways than before.


In therapy, we make a commitment to work together to help you address issues of concern and create a plan to achieve your goals. Priorities and perspectives may change during our time together and, therefore, must also be considered.


Being human means we are comprised of mind, body, and spirit. When one of those areas is impacted (either positively or negatively), it influences the others. That is why mental health is interwoven with physical, emotional, social, and spiritual health.


You know yourself better than anyone else. I promise to be with you on the journey and to help you discover inherent inner strengths, gifts, abilities, resilience and resources.


I believe humour, self-acceptance, and social connection provide the best framework for successful healing and meaningful learning. By balancing acceptance and change, I strive to increase your skills to enhance your capacity for both.


One of the major goals of therapy is to bring hope. It is my hope that you will honour me by journeying with you on your path toward healing.

Services

  

  • Psychotherapy/Counselling (child/youth/adult)
  • Small group facilitation (child/youth/adult)
  • Workshop facilitation
  • Education consultant (outreach to elementary and secondary schools)
  • Retreat facilitation
  • Community support group facilitation
  • Networking with complementary wholistic practitioners