How does counselling work?

Peoples’ issues are a lot like icebergs. The surface issues are visible to us, but the iceberg’s mass is mostly hidden beneath the water’s surface. We start at the surface (the issue that is sticking out and grabbing our attention right now) and then start to look at what lies underneath, supporting this surface condition.

Counselling starts exactly where you are and with an acceptance of who you are. In a safe space, the counsellor will accompany you to compassionately and non-judgmentally take a good look at the situation, with all its aspects. Guided in this way, we develop a gentle curiosity about ourselves and become interested in what is happening rather than judging and criticizing.

You will get to work on the issues that are causing you pain, and that are triggering you in your present life. From this snapshot in present time, we are able to bring to light the beliefs, reactions and self talk that have developed over a long time.

The role of the therapist and facilitator is to guide you deeper into you own self awareness and help you to gain access to this wise inner self. You are truly your own expert!


All individual counselling is provided by Leena Sarkar, MSW, RSW. I am a registered social worker and a member of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers ( OCSWSSW) and the Ontario Association of Social Workers ( OASW). As a social work therapist, I adhere to a strict code of ethics and practice guidelines. I take your confidentiality, your privacy and your trust very seriously and strive to create an environment where you can feel safe to do your inner work.


I have a vast repertoire of tools and approaches that I use with my clients, depending on personality, needs and issues. I recognize that each client is unique and I tailor the sessions to help you get what you need. I will bring many tools and techniques to our sessions to help you to develop this awareness. Some of these tools are guided meditation, awareness of breathing, focusing,Gestalt therapy and sensorimotor exercises and journal exercises.

On-site sessions and phone counselling are also available.

Day and evening appointments are available .

In recognition of the fact that some people prefer walking or being outside to sitting in an office , I also offer the option of a “walk and talk” or an “in the park” therapy session.

Please e-mail me to discuss what would be right for you.

Empathy and Respect:

Regardless of the techniques I use, I offer an approach that holds a deep respect for your life experience, your coping strategies, and your choices including the ones that did not work out the way you might have planned or hoped. I believe that everyone is doing the best they can, given the tools and information that they have. My job is to help you to respectfully and gently increase your own repertoire of tools to give you greater choice and freedom.


I will be transparent with you about all aspects of our work together. You can expect clear agreements and clear boundaries. I make every effort to ensure that our sessions are on time and that I respond to your questions promptly. We will have the chance to have a ( free) fifteen minute discussion prior to meeting. The first session is usually spent getting a clearer picture of all the aspects of what you are dealing with and coming to an agreement about what I will help you to work on, and what you will use to measure whether it is working or not. If I don’t think I will be the best person to help you with your particular issues, or if I know of a resource or professional who would be better suited to helping you, I will refer you to another resource.

New Perspectives:

Imagine therapy as a kind of mirror, which can allow you to see yourself from many different perspectives and angles, including some places that are hard to see on your own. Through guided reflection, journalling , and the artful use of questions, I will help you to gain clearer insight into whatever issues you are dealing with. Armed with deeper insight into the problem, you will automatically have a clearer understanding of what to do.


My social work fees are $160 per session for both individual and relationship therapy. I reserve a limited amount of sliding scale places for students and others with limited income.

Social work therapy fees are HST exempt and tax deductible as medical expenses in both Ontario and Quebec.

Please check the Links page under Essential Reading for options for community-based services.

Nota bene

– All fees are payable by cash or by internet bank  transfer prior to each session.

– 48 hours’  notice is required to cancel an appointment in order to avoid being billed for the session.