What I Do?

I believe that everyone has a story to tell and that everyone has a special set of circumstances or challenges that they are navigating their way through. These can take the form of one big barrier or event in our life that changes everything, or they can be small day to day things that just wear us down. I am someone who will listen to your story and come alongside you to help you find your voice, face these life challenges, and grow in your confidence as you overcome them.

As an art therapist I understand that sometimes words are not enough to express exactly what you are going through. I will guide you through therapeutic artmaking to help you find these words, find your voice, and build a stronger sense of self as part of the process. Don’t worry if you are not artistic, because art therapy is for anyone, no matter your skill level. The process of self-discovery is what is important, not technical skill. Art therapy can provide a playful, non-threatening way to tackle tough problems and discover hidden strengths you may never have known you had.

My motto in life is, “You can’t be strong for another person until you learn to be strong for yourself.” I understand all too well the pressure to feel like you have to “do it all”. The first step to finding inner strength is asking for help. This is a courageous act that does not indicate weakness, but rather an understanding that you need someone to help shoulder the burden so that you can heal and regain that strength you have always possessed.

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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

Michelle Pennells

Art Therapist/Counsellor | HBA, DTATI

Education & Accomplishments

  • Honours Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Art and Psychology, and a minor in Social Work from Redeemer University College, as well as a Master’s Equivalency degree (DTATI) specializing in Art Therapy from the Toronto Art Therapy Institute.

Approach

  • Talk Therapy
  • Art Therapy
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Attachment Therapy
  • Narrative Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Person-Centered Therapy
  • Strength-Based Therapy
  • Family Systems Therapy
  • Jungian Analysis
  • Didactic Therapy
  • Dream Analysis
  • Play Therapy

Professional Memberships

  • OAMHP
  • CATA

Experience

  • 9 Years

Average Cost

  • $100-$199 (per session)
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Michelle's Favorite Quote

“In the midst of difficulty lies opportunity,”

– Albert Einstein

Frequently Asked Questions With Michelle

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.

My deep levels of empathy. Having struggled and overcome a lot in my own life allowed me to connect with and support my peers through the things that they struggled with. I found skills and tools through my own artistic processes that helped me cope and would share the insight that I learned with those around me.

Seeing the progress my clients make as they overcome their challenges. I love watching my clients gain confidence as they try out new skills and see them working in their lives. Every so often, I lead my clients through a review or inventory to help them recognize their own progress and accomplishments.

That it is okay to be scared or nervous. It can be intimidating to make big changes when you aren’t sure what to expect; however, therapy works by making big changes through a series of very small ones that are much easier to face. You won’t be walking through the experience alone as it is my job to help you through it.

That you are doing your best. Needing to learn new skills to better support your child doesn’t make you a bad parent, it makes you a great one because you are making sure that you are at your best for your child.

This is a tricky question, because there are so many directions that I could go with this one. The one thing that is consistent with my clients is a belief that they are somehow at fault and that they could have/should have done something to prevent it. This type of thinking is unhelpful, and only keeps you stuck in the past, wishing to change what has happened rather than moving towards healing through gaining tools and confidence that this is something you can overcome.

Some of my clients tell me that when hard situations come up, they can hear my voice in their head advising them to take a moment to let themselves feel their experiences and listen to what their feelings are telling them. Through this they find that inner wisdom. I like to joke that I am like a “Shoulder Angel” or “Jiminy Cricket”, teaching them how to listen to their own intuition. Sometimes I joke about giving out bracelets that have WWMS (What Would Michelle Say) as a more tangible reminder of the skills my clients are working on. The real magic is when my clients no longer hear my voice as it is replaced by their own inner voice. I love to celebrate that moment.

Michelle Pennells

Bayridge Counselling

Availability

  • Monday and Tuesday
    Afternoon and Evenings available for face-to-face sessions
  • Saturday
    Mornings/Afternoon available for online/phone only
  • Some Wednesdays/Thursdays/Fridays
    May be available as flex days for online or phone only at therapist’s discretion

Contact

Schedule An Appointment With Michelle

What activity instantly calms you?

It may sound weird but scribbling on a giant sheet of paper and then tearing it to pieces. This is my favourite art therapy technique.

What song always gets you out on the dance floor?

“Home for a Rest” by Spirit of the West. I don’t know why, but I love dancing to it, and it always makes me think of my oldest brother.

How do you enjoy spending your alone time?

I do what those who know me call “Old Lady Crafts”. I knit and crochet and am currently learning how to spin wool. I have done these since I was 8 years old when my Oma (grandmother) taught me. I have some of her unfinished pieces from when she passed away, and as soon as I figure out her self-created patterns, I intend to finish them.

What’s the best piece of advice a family member has given you?

My husband tells me that I can’t adopt every baby animal and orphaned child I meet because we will go bankrupt. I tell him that I am okay with that, but then he reminds me that I won’t let him be paid in Fudgee-O cookies for work he does, so I guess we’re even.

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