Michelle Kerslake

Michelle Kerslake

Registered Psychologist, MEd

Services Offered: Counselling, Assessment, Staff Training, Workshops

Client Focus: Families, parents, children (starting at 6+), individuals (teens and adults), assessment (starting at 6+)

Issues: Depression, anxiety, bipolar, ASD, AD/HD, Learning Disabilities, Tics/Tourette’s Disorder, social anxiety, phobia, grief/loss, relationships, parenting, trauma

Types of Therapy: Psychosensory Therapies (EMDR), Play Therapy (EMDR Sand Tray Therapy), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Attachment parenting (including Circle of Security-P), Exposure/Response Prevention (ERP), Ego State Therapy, Gottman Therapy (for couples), interventions for neurodiverse populations (AD/HD and ASD), Chrisitan counselling

How would you explain your style and approach to therapy when working with clients? 

My focus of practice is caring for the whole family. I provide support for individuals within the family system, supports within specific relationships within the family system (e.g., parent-child; sibling-sibling), and supports for the collective family unit. I am committed to supporting families in building strong relationships through the powerful science of Attachment. Once I get to know my clients and their families, I explain the “how and why” of additional therapy modalities we will incorporate to help clients progress and meet their goals. I also have an expertise in working with families where one member has complex needs – I provide direct support to the family member with complex needs and additional support to parents and siblings. I also provide support for individuals who are experiencing anxiety, depression, trauma, and grief/loss. Finally, neurodiversity (AD/HD and ASD), developmental disabilities, phobias, tic disorders (including Tourette Syndrome), OCD, and bipolar disorder are areas of specialization. 

I strive to create a welcoming and supportive environment, no matter where you are on your personal journey. When you engage in sessions with me, you can expect a level of dedication to both you and your family. I deeply empathize with the challenges you face and genuinely care about your well-being. Clients often appreciate my ability to provide clear insights and effective planning. I excel in simplifying complex situations and outlining a strategic course of action that addresses all relevant factors, identifies desired changes, and lays out a collaborative plan. Drawing from my extensive professional development, I offer a range of therapeutic approaches and techniques to assist clients in realizing the positive changes they have long sought. Through the creation of a tailored treatment plan, I outline the supportive measures and diverse modalities that will be employed. For instance, individuals dealing with anxiety may require attention to underlying traumas in addition to managing persistent intrusive thoughts. My role is select the best therapeutic approach, helping you reach your objectives and navigate the path toward meaningful transformation.

In my practice with children, I am dedicated to establishing an enjoyable and nurturing environment where we can address and conquer the challenges commonly experienced in childhood. Our playroom is equipped with interactive tools such as a sand tray and a variety of figurines, offering diverse means of support and expression. I focus on enhancing children’s emotional intelligence, empowering them to manage their emotions effectively and cultivate resilience. To achieve these goals, I integrate various therapeutic approaches including play therapy, sand tray therapy, EMDR therapy adapted for children, child-friendly cognitive behavioral therapy, and emotional literacy tools. These methodologies serve as valuable resources for children participating in counseling, aiding them in navigating their emotional well-being and personal growth.

In my counseling practice, I also offer faith-based counseling from a Christian perspective for clients seeking support within this framework. I aim to cultivate a warm and inclusive environment where individuals can safely explore their faith and spirituality, encompassing blessings, uncertainties, and questions. Regardless of the unique narrative of my clients’ faith journeys, my priority is to ensure they feel acknowledged and valued. The integration of spiritual practices within therapy sessions is always guided by the client’s preferences and comfort level. In Christian counseling, I recognize that individuals may be at different junctures in their spiritual journey, and I approach each person with understanding and acceptance, meeting them wherever they may be. I hold deep respect for diverse denominational and faith backgrounds, acknowledging and addressing the distinct challenges that can arise along one’s path of faith.

With regards to neurodiverse populations, I again have the training and needed expertise to support and promote self-understanding for my clients so they can flourish as their authentic self. I also support clients with the skills they need for understanding and navigating a neurotypical world. Finally, I help parents, educators and support workers better understand neurodiverse individuals. I provide staff trainings for schools and agencies educating them on the needs of neurodiverse people and neurodiverse affirming practices. Given my expertise and experience, I am able to teach and help families, educators, and support workers apply proven techniques and strategies. My suggestions are practical, easy to follow, and science based. 

What is a psychoeducational assessment?

A psychoeducational assessment can identify learning challenges in students of all ages, from young children to adults.

Learning disabilities, ADHD, ASD, anxiety, or depression often stay hidden and impact a student’s performance and behaviour both in and outside of the classroom. Gifted students may find themselves under stimulated and once identified, can receive enriched programming. 

A psychoeducational assessment identifies areas of strength and weakness in a student’s learning profile and provides a deeper understanding of their educational abilities. It can also identify Gifted Abilities, Learning Disabilities, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Intellectual Disabilities, reading (dyslexia), writing (dysgraphia) and mathematic (dyscalculia) challenges and other mental health issues that can interfere with learning.

We pride ourselves on providing comprehensive assessment services. Myself, and my team of experienced psychologists utilize state-of-the-art assessment tools, provide clear written reports, and ensure our clients have a positive experience during the whole process. 

Our reports act as a road map for adult learners, parents and/or teachers, providing clear ideas on learning strategies, social/emotional supports, academic accommodations, and assistive technology needed to help the student thrive.

What training and expertise do you bring to your sessions? 

I have been a Registered Psychologist since 2016 and I hold a Master of Education in School and Applied Child Psychology. I began my career working with individuals with various unique needs and have a firm basis in cognitive behavioural therapy and attachment-based parenting. I have expanded my practice over the last decade to include psychosensory therapies which address trauma from a neurological level and support children, teens, and adults with complex trauma backgrounds and dissociation (Ego State Therapy). I also have an expertise in psychoeducational and psychological assessments, including the unique presentation of AD/HD and Autism in women.

Outside of your therapist role, what are some ways in which you express your uniqueness as a person?

I have a longstanding passion for ringette, which I have played since I was a young child. I have now played in an adult rec league for two decades and I hope I make it another two! I also enjoy skiing with my family during the winter months. 

In another life I would have been a philosopher and I wholeheartedly agree with Socrates when he stated that “The unexamined life is not worth living.”