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  • What is therapy? How can it help me?
    ​ Seeking therapy is often deeply stigmatized in South Asian culture, with symptoms of mental health being invalidated, ignored or trivialized. Only you can decide if therapy is something you want to try. Therapy can help you manage many things such as coping with crisis and life changes, complex personal issues and relationships, death of a loved one, mental health issues like PTSD, anxiety, depression etc. or trauma that was either an event like a car accident, assault or witnessing a crime or from trauma that was chronic in nature such as family violence, bullying, academic pressures, etc. Therapy can help you work through your memories, emotions, body responses, negative thinking or beliefs that were rooted in the past, in order to support you to develop skills and coping abilities so you can unburden yourself and thrive. A successful therapy experience is rooted in understanding that it is not about fixing or curing, but instead about increasing both a person's internal and external resources and supports so they can better cope with the ups and downs of life.
  • My family and I have never considered therapy before and worry about talking about our problems with strangers. Should I still book a session?
    There is a strong stigma associated with professional counseling as well as with discussing personal issues with others outside of the realms of the family within South Asian culture. A value system of keeping issues within the family and secrecy lead to feelings of isolation and mental health challenges. Additionally, there is an expectation that South Asian women reflect honour upon their family, meaning they should not engage in behaviours that will bring shame to the family’s name and reputation. There is no worry that any of your family members could ever find out that we are working together. We work to relieve you of the burden of secrecy and managing everything on your own. Through your healing, you may even become more confident to share the value of therapy with others, but of course that is completely up to you. Sessions are completely confidential, as guided by Canadian Privacy Laws (PHIPA - Your right to privacy and the ability to speak openly and honestly is of utmost importance. Information that you share directly or indirectly will be confidential and can only be released by your expressed written consent or the written consent of your legal guardian. This consent can also be withdrawn at any time. In rare circumstances, there are certain laws that pertain to the limits of confidentiality. Your rights and the limits of confidentiality will be reviewed fully in the initial consultation session.
  • Will my therapist share my South Asian culture?
    South Asians seeking mental health services often feel misunderstood by their health-care providers which then discourages them from seeking further help. All of our therapists are South Asian or have a very high level of cultural competence to support the needs of our community and help you feel understood.
  • There has been and continues to be a strong need for culturally competent therapy. Will this be my experience?
    That is the entire goal of Shanti Psychotherapy. As there is diversity within mental health conditions of South Asian communities, this requires non Euro-centric frameworks, specific therapeutic care, affinity and greater awareness on how to find resources within our community - which we have created.
  • Would therapy be helpful for my teenager?
    Absolutely. South Asian children and youth experience pressure and resentment regarding family expectations. However, South Asian youth living in the dominant culture might feel caught between perceived benefits of close family ties and individualistic views of closeness posing a lack of boundaries and restraining individuals from developing their own ideas. This clash between individualistic and collectivistic values can lead to decreased autonomy and create feelings of entrapment for South Asian youth.
  • What is Trauma?
    Trauma is a mind-body reaction. It occurs when events overwhelm an individual’s ability to cope with emotions, sensations, and other information connected with the experience. Trauma is not a reaction of choice. There are two categories relating to trauma. "Big T" Trauma: “Big T” trauma might include sexual assault and abuse, natural disaster, car crash, death of a loved one (particularly if sudden), medical emergency or serious diagnosis, job loss, violence (enduring, witnessing or perpetrating), betrayal or breach of trust. ​ "Little t" Trauma: “Little t” trauma might include bullying, troubled relationships and breakups, poverty or money worries, addictions (yours or someone you love), racism, homophobia and other forms of chronic oppression.
  • What is Attachment and Why is it so Important?
    Attachment is an emotional bond that forms in early childhood and based on our parents’ behavior. Unconscious patterns become set in place, biologically wired into us, by the time we are two years old. Our attachment style is at the core of how we form adult relation ships whether they are romantic or friendships. Attachment disturbance is dysfunctional relationship pattern, learned in early childhood that we repeat as adults. These patterns are a consequence of conditioning during early childhood from our parents or caregivers. Attachment based therapy is about bringing these unconscious patterns into the conscious, in order to heal and shift to healthier relationship patterns in adulthood.
  • What is Intergenerational Trauma?
    Trauma can leave a chemical mark on a person's genes, which can then be passed down to future generations. Epigenetics is how events in someone’s lifetime can change the way their DNA is expressed, and how that change can be passed on to the next generation. When we consider the history of the South Asian communities we need to start talking about the legacy burdens passed down generationally; colonialism, poverty, war, religious discourse, patriarchy and various other issues that widely affect the culture and shared experience.
  • What about OHIP or Insurance Coverage?
    The initial 15 minute consultation call is free of charge. Unfortunately Psychotherapy and Social Work, both regulated professions, are not currently covered by OHIP. Most insurance providers cover either full or partial costs for sessions. Since the COVID-19 pandemic and associated increase in mental health needs within all communities, many insurance companies have increased their coverage for mental health services. Please check with your insurance provider to learn more about your options for coverage. Psychotherapy services provided by Registered Social Workers are now a tax deductible. medical expense as issued by Revenue Canada since 2012
  • What is the payment process?
    Payments are by credit card and processed following each session. Clients can then access their receipt to provide to their insurance company for reimbursement. We do not do direct billing to insurance companies. If you do not use a credit card please let us know and we can try to work out an accommodation.
  • Who Can Benefit From Therapy?
    Everyone! Psychologist and writer Ryan Howes, Ph.D states " the benefits of therapy extend far beyond the periods of crisis. Many people want more than to be 'not depressed'. They wonder what they can do to be the happiest, most productive, most loving versions of themselves." Therapy provides a way to increase self awareness, perspective, heal from trauma and literally shift feedback loops within the brain to more adaptive thinking and coping no matter what their age and stage of life. See this short video on neuroplasticity to understand more about therapy and rewiring the brain.
  • What do I do if I am not happy with the service or my therapist?
    Your care and comfort is of utmost importance. For any issues please contact Owner/Founder Angie Agrawal Holstein at

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