Centre for Connections
416-487-2404
Dawn Tracz B.S.W. , R.S.W.

COUNSELLING AND THERAPY

Individual & Family Counselling

  • Individual counselling is available for children, youth, adults & couples and can address issues such as stress, anxiety, depression, and other life challenges.
  • Parent support by phone, text or in person for parents who are parenting children with attachment challenges, behavioral issues or other challenges.
  • Couples counselling for adults and couples who are experiencing relationship based challenges.
  • Trauma-focused therapy for children or adults to resolve present or past traumas.

Adoption Counselling

  • Supporting adopted children and families strengthen bonds and connections and address the effects on individuals and as a family as they form a family in adoption.
  • Supporting adopted teens and adults in developing a strong sense of themselves and ensuring that the role adoption plays in their life is recognized and understood.
  • Counselling for adopted teens and adults to address and resolve the effects and possible trauma of adoption. (there is more information about the effects and trauma of adoption in our Adoption Blog)
  • Supporting parents and members of original families in addressing the role that that adoption has played in their lives so that they can share their experiences and have them respected and acknowledged.
  • Therapy and support for adopted individuals and relatives in their original families during reunion as they become connected and explore relationships together.

Attachment Focused Family Therapy

We offer attachment-focused family therapy based on the principles of PACE which stands for Playful, Loving, Accepting, Compassionate and Empathetic. This approach has been developed by Dr. Daniel Hughes and both Dawn and Dianne have trained with him.

What is Attachment?

Attachment can be a complicated and sometimes misunderstood idea … parents sometimes think that it means they do not have a connection to their child and may believe that this means that they are doing something wrong.

Attachment is actually the description of the way we connect with ourselves and to other people in our lives, initially our parents.

The type of attachment pattern that we display is based on the experiences we have in our early lives.

Most parents are working really hard to be good parents. When children have a background or history in loss, shock or trauma they have some realities and experiences that require different ideas and approaches. And as a parent you have your own experience and pattern of attachment.

Knowing more about the kinds of approaches that could help your child as well as understanding how your attachment experience plays a role can make parenting easier and family life less stressed.

Our Approach to Attachment Therapy

That’s where the approach called PACE comes in. PACE was developed by Dr. Daniel Hughes and both Dawn and Dianne have trained with him in this approach. PACE stands for a Playful, Accepting, Curious and Empathetic and the core concepts of the approach are:

  • The focus of parenting and therapy with this approach is on forming a secure attachment with your child as a base for developing compliance and behaviour correction.
  • Routines, structure and natural consequences and appropriate expectations form the basis for addressing
  • Therapy focuses on understanding the experiences and inner life in everyone in the family to address insecure or anxious attachments. As the connection moves towards more security the dyad is free to build deeper intimacy and understanding of each other.
  • Brain research has shown that building connection through attunement to emotion and experience is the path to a happier and healthier family life.

How does it work?
If you decide you would like to learn the PACE approach with your family:

  •  An initial conversation and short assessment of your needs (usually about 30 minutes).
  • 2-3 Getting to Know You as Parents sessions … these sessions are one hour long and can be done by telephone or in person. During this time you learn some of the concepts of PACE as well as ideas and approaches that can help you and your family. After these initial sessions, your therapist will discuss with you whether you need to try the approaches and connect after a time period to see how you are doing or whether it would be helpful to have your child seen in therapy.
  • Starting Attachment Therapy: If you and your therapist decide that you and your child would benefit from attachment therapy this would be done in person in the office setting. Attachment therapy is done with one parent in the room with the child. The focus is on developing the connection or repairing patterns and connections from the child’s earlier experience which are now creating challenges between the parent and child in the foster or adopted family. Later in the therapy, the other parent may become involved and as the child increases their trust in relationships it may involve all family members.

We do recognize that families who live out of town may have more challenges with travel and our goal is to provide services to families who live in more rural areas or who do not have attachment-focused therapy available in their area. We try to be creative and flexible about how to arrange sessions and will use telephone and skype sessions to assist us and you in recognizing these realities.

Parent Support

As parents are learning about how to integrate attachment focused strategies into their parenting approaches, we offer parent support and consultation by phone, skype or in person. Some adjustments in parenting or the addition of new strategies are suggested as a way to explore if your child and family need attachment therapy or if the attachment challengs can be addressed through parent support or consultation.

Thera-Play®

Thera-play® is a structured play experience that is based on principles and reasearch in the area of brain development and attachment. It can be beneficial for families that are newly connected to one another as a way for each member to learn about the other’s rythym and energy. It can also be helpful for children who experienced early neglect and have not had the experience of free, relaxed play. In thera-play® the focus is on the interactions between adult and child and not on discussion of behavior or behavior correction. Thera-play®  is a wonderful compliment to attachment focused therapy because it puts priority on the connection. Thera-play® begins with a meeting with the child’s caregiver(s) and then an observation of parent-child interactions. After that assessment a contract for a block of sessions would be arranged. Each session is an hour long.