Donna Noakes Counselling Service - "Helping People Gain Control Over Their Lives"
With an extensive background in dealing with the multi-layered issues facing individuals, couples and families today, I am able to provide effective treatment for, but not limited to:
  • Depression                           
  • Stress management
  • Communication Issues
  • Anger Management
  • Personal Growth
  • Anxiety
  • Divorce / Separation
  • Infidelity
  • Grief
  • Child & Adolescent Behaviour
  • Parenting
  • Self-Esteem
  • Chronic Illness
Individual Counselling:
I  work with individuals ranging from early adolescents to the mature years. The issues range from depression, anxiety, upset about an end of a relationship, coping with separation or divorce, anger, relationship issues with: spouse, family members, friends, work-related issues, stress, or self-esteem. I work with individuals to help them find ways to manage these situations and ways to improve the situation for themselves usually by improving their coping skills.
Couple Counselling:
In couples counselling I  help couples look at communication issues, the pattern of interaction that creates conflict, develop listening and ways of speaking so that their partner will hear them;regulate emotions better; discuss intimacy issues, or rebuilding a relationship after an affair. Couples  will learn  how they can manage conflict better;, heal feelings of hurt and resentment, and respect each other. I also offer strategies to couples to minimize the impact of divorce on their families, in the event that the relationship has already reached disrepair and a decision to divorce has been agreed upon.
Family Counselling:
Working with the entire family unit, parents and children, the focus is on improving each person's voice in the family unit; learn to hear one another; heal and respect one another.  There is support for the parents to be the parents and for children and adolescents to feel the security of family that is good at meeting everyone's needs. Focusing on a unified family goal and bringing the family together to achieve their shared dream of family life. There are many pressures on families and this can bring about a need to learn to work together under any particular strain on family life. 

Social Worker, Marriage and Family Therapist, Psychologist or Psychiatrist... 
What is the difference?
Clinical Social Workers are mental health professionals who have completed a Master's degree. They are concerned with how social issues may be affecting clients. Most people are familiar with social workers working in Child and Family Service agencies, hospitals, school boards, correctional institutions, and government departments. However, many people do not realize that social workers are qualified to provide psychotherapy and many work in private practice. Social workers are typically more cost effective than psychologists, providing you with more sessions for your coverage. A social worker cannot prescribe drugs and services are not covered under OHIP. However, social workers are covered under most employee health plans and no referral is required. 

Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) are mental health professionals trained in psychotherapy and family systems. MFTs work with individuals, couples, and families to help them achieve more productive and satisfying relationships. In Ontario, Registered Marriage and Family Therapists (RMFTs) go through a rigorous training process of 1000 client hour meetings and meeting with a supervisor for 200 hours. All RMFTs in Ontario must be approved by the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy. Not all therapists who practice as marriage and family therapist have gone through the rigorous training process, so it is important to ask clinicians about their training. 

Psychologists work with a variety of populations such as children, adults, couples, families, or organizations. They are trained in assessing, treating, and preventing behavioural and mental conditions. Psychologists are able to diagnose neuropsychological disorders and dysfunctions. They are concerned with helping clients enhance physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and interpersonal functioning. Like Social Workers, Psychologists cannot prescribe medication and their services are not covered by OHIP. However, most employee health plans would provide you coverage for their services and no referral is required. 

A psychiatrist is a physician who specializes in the medical, psychological, and social components using prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental, addictive, and emotional disorders. They order diagnostic tests, prescribe medications and practice psychotherapy. Psychiatrists often consult with primary care physicians and psychotherapists, such as psychologists and social workers. In order to meet with a psychiatrist, you must get a referral from your family physician and their services are covered under OHIP. In Ontario, many psychiatrists have a long wait list due to their high demand and psychotherapy services range from short term to longer term services depending on the issues. For many people their issues can be resolved by seeking out services from a social worker or psychologist, where wait lists are shorter and are more likely to receive longer term service. 

Regardless of which professional designation you select for your therapy, experience and training matter at least as much as the therapist's personal qualities and the relationship between the patient and the provider. There have been many studies indicating that the relationship between a client and a therapist can be more helpful than the therapist’s qualifications. Many of my clients have reported they found the sessions with me more helpful than meeting with another professional from a different field. To help with your decision process in finding the right professional for you, interview a potential therapist carefully and ask them specifically about their training and experiences during your initial session.