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  • Writer's pictureangie holstein

Letter From the Founder

For me, the Sanskrit symbol 'Breathe' represents all that Shanti Psychotherapy is for our community. A place to feel safe and take a breath - literally. To have a moment to heal and process our lives and receive support from a culturally competent therapist.

Shanti Psychotherapy is my passion project. 

My formal name is Anjali. My father, a religious man,  named me as a way of making amends for forgetting his prayers the morning of my birth. Growing up in small town Ontario to immigrant parents, they always called me Angie and that’s how I’ve identified ever since. But I still love and hold close my birth name, it connects me to my heritage.


My journey as a first generation Canadian started with my father. Many Asian Indian immigrants arrived in Canada and the U.S. due to the Immigration acts in 1965, when Visas were offered to Asian Indians for professional careers and those who pursued graduate degrees. When my father  was selected, he immigrated to a little town in Southern Ontario to pursue a new life, his career as a chemical engineer and start his family with my mother.  

My childhood was full of joy, conflict and the typical stressors of growing up as a first generation kid in a South Asian family; academic pressure, stressed parents, trying to fit in as one of the few brown kids in school and strict rules that made fitting in difficult in contrast to my peers. 

Although my parents didn’t fully understand my career choice and would have preferred a different path for me, they supported my endeavour towards the career that I truly love.  My twenty-five year long career in mental health services has brought me to this point, creating Shanti Psychotherapy, Inc.

In private practice, I have noticed that South Asian clients of all ages were self-referring with the goal of working with a therapist of their own cultural background. They were seeking to feel truly understood within their unique backgrounds and experiences.

Through this healing work with clients from my own South Asian heritage, I’ve been able to explore all that has been stored within me, learned from both my professional life and personal lived experience. Issues such as the growing up first generation Canadian, survival, resilience, enmeshment, trauma, chronic shame, “I'm not good enough” beliefs, stressed parents, delayed adulting, academic pressure, patriarchy, cultural discourse, anxiety, depression, racism, intergenerational trauma and the legacy burdens of colonialism.

Shanti Psychotherapy has been founded as a way to channel my years of experience, skills and most importantly my dedication to the support of South Asian Mental Health, by creating a collective of like minded and skilled therapists, learning together and  supporting a larger portion of the community beyond what is the capacity of a single practitioner.  The need is great and the resources for culturally sound therapy is limited. 

We specialize in South Asian Mental Health, care is inclusive to all other communities and aims to make therapy accessible, private, culturally sound, de-stigmatizing, compassionate and comfortable for those struggling with mental health issues, wellness or any of life’s challenges. 

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