What I Do?

Cathryn was born and raised in Montreal, but then did a 33-year detour in California, starting with her professional training and then developing her practice and professional career. For over 35 years, Cathryn has provided psychotherapy and psychological assessments to individuals, couples, families, children and adolescents in outpatient private practice. She has also worked in inpatient and day treatment programs with persons affected by acute and chronic mental illness. She has provided consultation, coaching and training to pastors, teachers, and business professionals on individual and organizational issues, and has been continuously involved in the education, training and supervision of other mental health professionals as well. Dr. Harris has been married for over 30 years to another psychologist and has one adult daughter who has managed to survive that experience. She returned to Canada in 2016 to be closer to her extended family, and her husband was willing to follow her in beginning again in Ontario.

I Believe

“It’s a rewarding and privileged experience to walk along the path of self-empowerment with my clients.

I would be honoured to take the journey with you.”

Qualifications

Dr. Cathryn Harris

Registered Psychologist | PhD , C. Psych.

Education & Accomplishments

  • BA Applied Social Science (Magnum Cum Laude) 1983
  • MA Marriage, Family and Child Counseling 1985
  • PhD Clinical Psychology (Magnum Cum Laude) 1990
  • Licensed MFT (1987-1993) and Clinical Psychologist (1993-2017) California
  • Registered Psychologist, CPO, Ontario (2016 to present)
  • Critical Incident Stress Debriefing Certificate, ICISDF, 1993
  • Amen Method Professional Training, 2012
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Retraining (EMDR), Certified, 2014

Approach

  • Integration of theories of human development (Psychodynamic and Attachment), thinking and behavior (Adaptive Information Processing), brain functioning, health and biology (Amen Brain Method), and family functioning (Systems), to discern and explore the patterns in your life
  • Cognitive-Behavioral and Somatic Polyvagal Nervous System interventions and strategies to help you develop better emotional regulation and coping skills so that you can make new choices and take charge of your own internal arousal system and thinking patterns
  • EMDR therapy to help your brain process and resolve past trauma so you can get unstuck from unconscious biological processes that are driving unproductive, outdated survival responses in the present
  • Systems Therapy techniques when working with relationships, to repair attachment and develop better communication and conflict-resolution, even in the context of divorcing families
  • Play Therapy with children and adolescents struggling with trauma, and other emotional and behavioral problems
  • Spiritual Counseling interventions if you wish to integrate your faith perspective into your healing process (or heal from religious trauma)

Professional Memberships

  • Ontario Psychological Association (OPA) – Clinical Member
  • Canadian Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (CAMFT) - Approved Supervisor
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing International Association - Certified Clinician, Consultant in Training
  • EMDR – Canada
  • Canadian Association for Spiritual Care (CASC)
  • Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS)

Experience

  • Over 35 years

Dr. Cathryn's Favorite Quote

“Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance,”

– Verna Myers

Frequently Asked Questions With Dr. Cathryn

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions that we receive. If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.

I have always been curious and fascinated about “how things work” in the world – including people and how our brains work! As a young adult, I was told by friends and family that I was a good listener and decided to build on my strengths. In my early studies, I was fascinated by the work of Milton H. Erikson and the power of our unconscious in creating change.

Having relationships with people in which they can grow and change in the direction of their dreams, especially in ways they did not think were possible. Helping them find the hope and courage to pursue their goals by providing a safe place to confront and overcome the damaging experiences that have kept them stuck.

“Counselling” has been around for centuries as a necessary human activity to help each other navigate the difficulties that life always brings. Our nervous systems are programmed to calm and become more adaptive when we communicate with another caring, mirroring person. That role used to be filled by our close family members, other elders in our extended family systems, or the “wise” people of our communities. In their absence, now we have other ways we can provide that role. Only contemporary social systems have labelled needing counsel as a deficiency of character or strength. Actually, it is a biological mandate for survival!

That “time heals all wounds” or that we can “forget about it and move on”. Actually, the way our brain works, we may not remember something over time (be able to access a memory), but the brain never forgets anything that has ever happened. Negative events that have been detoxified by appropriate caring responses, adequate resolution, and balanced by other positive experiences can be archived appropriately. However, cumulative negative experiences and severely negative events are stored differently in memory and are often locked into the “danger-danger!” nervous system, kept handy to predict further danger. Therefore, they do not exist in the “past” – they are stored in the “present”. Time does not necessarily change this, and these memories are kept active, even if we are not consciously thinking about it.

This trauma can therefore result in thoughts, beliefs, emotions, body sensations, and behaviors that are triggered unexpectedly and surprisingly in the present. We end up with unconscious, repetitive responses and unhealthy choices aimed at our “survival” that are based on outdated information. Successful treatment, however, can help the brain process and archive these traumatic experiences. For example, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy can help our brain get unstuck from those automatic physiological and psychological responses that block us from using newer information. This is a simple but powerful procedure we do in the office together to turn on the healing processes that our brain already knows. Change the response to trauma, and we change our lives!

Dr. Cathryn Harris

Bayridge Counselling

Availability

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday
    Daytimes, Early evenings
  • Wednesdays
    Daytime

Contact

Need Help Choosing a Therapist?

If you are still trying to decide whether therapy is right for you, book a free 20-minute virtual consultation with our Clinical manager and therapist, Nicole Callander, RSSW. Nicole would be happy to answer any questions about therapy or who would be a match for your unique situation.

Free 20-Minute Virtual Consultation
Need help booking your free 20-minute consult? (905) 319-1488