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|Amber Brooks • 11/30/17|
The Short Version: From a young age, Nicole McCance felt curious about what made people tick. She got her master’s degree in counseling psychology because she wanted to understand how brain chemistry affects behavior and how patterns of behaviors affect personal relationships. After years of study, she established a private psychology practice based in Toronto where she treats high-functioning individuals experiencing issues with anxiety, depression, trauma, or love. She supervises a team of trained psychotherapists who recommend positive habits and communication techniques that foster good mental health. From her lakeside office, Nicole provides sound psychological assessments to singles and couples who want to transform their lives and their relationships.
My mom has always been emphatic about never using food as emotional comfort. I could be dissolving into a puddle of tears after a breakup, but if I asked for a bowl of ice cream or some fries to make myself feel better, my mom would give me a lecture instead.
I can recite it verbatim: “Food is for sustenance, not comfort. We don’t eat to feel better. We get up and go for a walk, or we talk it out with a friend. That’s how we deal with our problems — in a healthy way.”
My mom would definitely approve of Nicole McCance and her walk-and-talk approach to therapy. This trained psychologist invites her clients to join her on a stroll along the lake by her office in casual one-on-one sessions that let people relax, get some exercise, and feel comfortable discussing their emotions.
Based in Toronto, Nicole heads up a highly skilled team of registered psychotherapists. She got into psychology thinking she wanted to work on anger management issues with convicted criminals, but she ended up discovering her true calling was working with individuals and couples on matters closer to the heart.
When she earned her master’s at the University of Toronto, she found she had a knack for connecting with people on a personal level because she was genuinely interested in knowing more about them. “I was fascinated by people,” she told us. “I began to see that relationships in general all have similar problems, and I wanted to understand and address those issues.”
Today, Nicole is a lauded psychologist, TV personality, and best-selling author who runs a reputable therapy practice. She has appeared as an on-screen relationship and mental health expert on Global News, Cosmopolitan TV, and other media outlets. In her work as a private counselor, she employs proven techniques to put singles and couples in touch with what’s going on beneath the surface so they can correct their negative behaviors or thought patterns and pursue healthy, happy relationships.
“I try to peel back the layers and connect couples with their unmet needs,” she said, “because when couples learn to be vulnerable with each other, that is a lasting skill that they can take with them and use to conquer the world together.”
Nicole meets with clients in person, over the phone, and via Skype as often as once a week and as little as once a month. Her private counseling sessions are flexible to the needs of the client. You can come in by yourself or with your significant other to hash out your problems in a safe environment.
If you’re not the sit-around-and-talk type, you can grab your running shoes and book a Walk ‘n’ Talk session with Nicole. Some clients find walking along the boardwalk with a psychologist is therapeutic because it connects them with nature and their bodies. She said she’s careful to schedule these walks during hours when the boardwalk is the least crowded so they can have a confidential discussion.
Typically, Nicole sees high-functioning adults who want to work on themselves or their relationships. The psychologist uses emotion focused therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and imago relationship therapy to tackle a variety of deep-seated issues. She treats individuals with postpartum depression and social anxiety, and she counsels couples on the brink of divorce. She said she often incorporates results-driven coaching into her conversation with clients.
“I do more than just listen,” she told us. “I think it’s important that my clients leave here with tools to practice in between sessions.”
With a gentle tone and honest feedback, Nicole gives her clients the knowledge they need to rid themselves of emotional baggage and move forward in life. She identifies triggers, teaches healthy communication skills, and emphasizes the importance of owning how you feel.
“Being assertive is really powerful because it allows both parties to communicate their unmet needs,” she said. “Sometimes couples are fighting, but they don’t even know why. It’s not always about the dishes. Most of the time, it has nothing to do with the dishes.”
Nicole wants to make therapy more accessible to the general public, not just those who can afford private sessions, so her website is full of useful information and self-help tools. For instance, she recommends essential books, videos, and health supplements to anyone dealing with stress or relationship turmoil.
If you’re interested in practicing meditation or visualization on your own time, you can also download breathing technique clips, which provide a calming guide for your emotional journey. Nicole’s library of free therapy materials support good mental health in people around the world.
In 2013, Nicole wrote “52 Ways to Beat Depression Naturally” to share her insights about recovering from depression. This compact guidebook delves into weighty topics with thoughtfulness and compassion, offering dozens of therapeutic techniques for readers to try at home. Morgan Toombs, an RN and author, said in a review, “I appreciate the teaching of this book as it allows depression sufferers to take back their power simply by using easy-to-implement actions that are self-initiated.”
Throughout her career, Nicole has endeavored to promote therapeutic resources and help everyday singles and couples get the emotional guidance they need to feel love and contentment.
“One of my main goals is to help people in general,” she said. “I’m a therapist because I want to help people feel better in their lives, whatever that looks like for them.”
Many people feel nervous about seeing a therapist. Maybe they don’t feel comfortable opening up or maybe they worry about being judged — and those emotional conflicts often manifest as physical symptoms such as increased heart rate and nervous tremors.
Nicole pointed out that it’s difficult for clients to be receptive to counseling when they’re feeling anxious, angry, or unsettled. If the body isn’t in a good state, the mind won’t be either. That’s why neurofeedback therapy has been a revelation for many psychologists, like Nicole, who want to bridge the divide between what the body is saying and what the brain is thinking.
“If you think about it, therapy is only as effective as the neurons in your brain.” — Nicole McCance, registered psychologist
Neurofeedback (NFB) is a highly technical therapy tool that uses a device to measure people’s brainwaves and provide video or sound feedback to help individuals regulate brain function. When clients come to Nicole in unstable states of mind, she recommends neurofeedback as a way to flip the switch on bad moods and reach a more peaceful balance between mind and body.
“It’s my new favorite technique,” she told us. “It’s been really phenomenal. People find they start to sleep better right away and feel calmer in general, and, as a result, clients feel able to take what they’ve learned in therapy and apply it to their lives.”
Nicole keeps up with the latest psychological research and is always on the lookout for new developments in our understanding of the brain. She’s enthusiastic about uncovering solutions for people struggling to control their emotions and maintain a positive mindset.
My mom’s no-comfort-food policy may have been harsh at times, but she wanted to instill good values in her children, and it definitely worked. While my friends use Ben & Jerry’s to help them get through a bad breakup, I lace up my tennis shoes and go for a walk to clear my head, move past my sadness, and find my center.
Nicole McCance’s holistic style of therapy appeals to people who want to deal with their problems in healthy and constructive ways. What could be more healing than taking a walk with a trained psychologist? Her original techniques, including the walk-and-talk sessions, put clients in a positive frame of mind.
Whether you’re suffering from depression or going through a rocky time in your relationship, you can rely on Nicole’s private counseling practice in Toronto to give you positive tools on the road to recovery. Going to couples therapy with your spouse (or even a girlfriend or boyfriend) can help you better understand each other’s needs and keep your relationship strong in the long run.
“A lot of couples wait until the relationship is broken before coming in to fix it,” she told us. “I want to encourage couples to be really proactive. You shouldn’t come in because you can’t stand each other; you should come in because you want to love each other better.”