John NeuminMy Practice Who am I?
The Way I Work
The Power of Speaking and ListeningI believe that the two most powerful catalysts for growth are awareness and relationship. While techniques such as dream analysis, hypnosis, relaxation, body-work, focusing, active imagination etc. can at times be helpful - usually by enhancing awareness - the most important therapeutic process, and the center of the way I work, is engaged conversation. I am not trying to suggest that this is another technique, rather, the opposite. Speaking, or not speaking, from as natural, authentic, honest and open a place as possible will help to form the centre from which you grow and heal.
People often ask, "How can 'just talking' help me?"
Words can be very powerful and their affects on us are very real. Imagine how you would feel hearing "You have two months to live." Or "I never loved you. I'm leaving you." Or "You've just won the lottery." Or "You're going to have a baby." In each case, how you feel and how you act would be radically affected.
Now imagine yourself telling someone about a powerful dream you had last night. Or a funny story about something that happened to you the other day. Or the details of a defining moment in your childhood. Or imagine telling someone something you had always been afraid to tell anyone. Each of these 'tellings', these 'words', move us into a different place in ourselves and a different relationship to the one with whom we're speaking. Each telling has a different affect on the person we are with, on how they respond to us, how we feel with them, on how we feel and act after we leave them.
In therapy your listening and speaking have a great deal of potential power. If you are open and courageous, if you push against the envelope of comfort into the deeper layers of honesty, what you say, and how you listen, will start to change you in surprisingly fundamental ways. Your being listened to and spoken to by someone who cares, who is authentically present, who works hard to understand exactly what you are trying to say, and is trained to listen to and speak from the implicit, deeper levels of what is being revealed, will give you the medium in which you can dare to let your own words, and your therapist's understandings of what you are saying, affect you.
The Shadows of WordsOf course, speaking can be used defensively. Listening can be faked. We can (and do) hide behind words. We can speak in a distracted way, in a disembodied way, in a habitual and repetitive way. We can use words in ways that will ensure that we will not change, and we will not grow. Working with these self-defeating ways of protecting ourselves is also an important part of the therapeutic process. Working with how 'mere' words can trap or defeat us is also part of opening up the power of words.
Like the finger pointing at the moon, words should never be mistaken for the truth of what they are trying to express. Speaking and listening are not the goals of psychotherapy, only the most powerful tools for helping you along. Sometimes five minutes of silence can say much more than an hour's worth of words.
To do well in therapy you do not need to have a large vocabulary, or a talent for oration. Usually simple heartfelt words are the best ones. To listen and speak in ways that are helpful to you in therapy you simply need to be open to who you are, notice what comes to mind (especially if it is unexpected, scary, taboo, or feels embarrassing), be honest with your therapist (say what you are thinking and feeling, if it is difficult to say it, talk about how it is difficult), and finally be aware of how you feel after you have spoken or after you therapist has. This seemingly simple circular process can lead you to discover and transform who you are.
My PracticeA Graduate of the Centre for Training in Psychotherapy and a member of the Canadian Association for Psychodynamic Therapy, I have been in private practice in central Toronto since 1995. Because I respect the power and intensity of psychotherapy and in order to help maintain the focus and balance I believe is necessary to do this work well, I limit my practice to 30 client hours a week. I work with clients in individual, couples and group therapy contexts, in both intensive and ongoing therapies.
My TrainingAfter exploring over a dozen programs offered in the city of Toronto, I chose to attend the Centre for Training in Psychotherapy. I believe that this program, where I graduated with a Dip. CTP, offers an exceptional training experience. The dedicated faculty have fashioned a balanced theoretical and experiential approach that also grounds itself in the participants' growth through their own therapy. Years after graduating, I am still impressed by the quality of the program, and the integrity and generosity of its faculty. Visit the CTP web-site for more information.
ClientsI have worked with clients ranging in age from 18 to 70. It's been my experience that age makes little difference in how far or how fast someone will grow in therapy. Young or old, if you make an earnest and committed effort you will undoubtedly benefit.
I have worked with clients struggling with a spectrum of issues, in both short term and ongoing therapies. Regardless if you are working with a seemingly specific issue like impotence or bulimia, or trying to change broader more chronic ways of being in the world like depression or anxiety, the process of healing and growth is similar. If you are open to the unexpected in yourself, and honest with yourself when you find it, therapy can make a difference.
I have worked with clients beginning their first therapy, and I have worked with clients who are very experienced with the process. How much you get from therapy depends less on how long you are in it than on how much courage and effort you bring to your work.
If you are thinking about exploring therapy with me, feel free to give me a call. We can talk briefly to make sure that psychotherapy is what you are looking for, you can ask me any questions that might help you decide, and we can set up an appointment. The initial interview is free. There you can tell me about yourself in more detail, we can start to explore who you are and the reasons you are seeking therapy, and you can get a feel for what it will be like to work with me.
SpecializationBecause I work with whole persons, not diseases or disorders, I do not specialize. For example: though I have worked with many people struggling with substance abuse, each person has been unique in why they have turned to self-medicating, as well as how they eventually found better ways of engaging their pain and moving past it.
SessionsI usually meet with clients once or twice a week, for fifty-minute sessions. Therapy is open ended in duration, though sometimes clients know that they can only stay a limited amount of time when they begin (because they are moving etc.).
ConfidentialityYour therapy is completely confidential. Anything you say to me stays with me.
Telephone ContactYou can reach me at 416 817-1212 throughout the day and evening. If I am unavailable, this number does take messages and I check them regularly. I will usually return your call by the next day at the latest. I am the only person who has access to my voice-mail, so you can feel secure that anything you say will be treated with the same confidentiality as a session. You can leave messages at this number any time (including late evenings and weekends).
FeesI believe that it is important to meet regularly (usually once or twice a week), and so I try to keep my fees affordable. I am currently charging $110.00 (including HST) for a 50-minute session. While I do see a few clients on a sliding scale, this option depends both on how many people I am currently seeing (at a reduced fee), as well as your financial situation. I always require 24 hours notice for a cancellation or the session is charged the regular fee. I am not covered by OHIP or most insurance policies. To find out whether your policy will cover therapy with me you will have to call your insurance provider.
Who am I?
BiographyI was born in Czechoslovakia in 1964 and as a result of the Soviet invasion that stopped the popular uprising of the Prague Spring, moved with my family to Canada in 1968. I grew up in and around downtown Toronto until I left for University. After my undergraduate studies in Psychology and Philosophy, I spent several years working as a technical writer for a computer software developer, where I quickly learned I craved more personally engaged work. In 1992 I began my training at the Centre for Training in Psychotherapy (Dip. CTP), and I have been in private practice as a therapist.
I currently divide my time between my practice, my family, and writing, both creatively and professionally camping, canoeing, hiking, and working outdoors. Playing guitar and singing. Playing hockey and continuously learning and discovering.
My ValuesI believe that to work well as a therapist it is important to continue to explore, to grow, and to live a creative, balanced, and full life. As a perpetual student and explorer I am insatiably curious about the world, continuously impressed by the unique dignity of everyone I meet, and humbled by the teachers and guides I have met both in person and in books. As a father of three children, I am thankful for the joy, love and strength of our ever-deepening connections. As a fellow traveler, I am amazed at the bottomless complexity of a moment
As a psychotherapist, I am honoured to work with people consciously, courageously and intentionally trying to live fuller, more authentic, and happier lives. It is a privilege to be able to share such deep and meaningful journeys with all of my clients.
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