Refreshed, Energized, Radical: Self Love in Abundance

The positive vibes flowing in the space yesterday were palpable and energizing! We’ve got nothing but gratitude and appreciation for the brilliant group of individuals who came out on a brisk Sunday morning to open their hearts, share their stories, and help one another build a solid foundation of self-love and self-acceptance.

Based on the practices of radical self-love and self-acceptance and the teachings of Louise Hay, hosts Melissa di Fonzo MSW RSW and Elizabeth Wilson led participants through a series of visualizations, role-playing scenarios, group work, and other exercises to strengthen our sense of worthiness and to empower ourselves to feel secure, confident, strong, and capable.

Shift Workshop Sundays are one of our favourite ways of connecting with the community and we couldn’t do it without the enthusiastic support and participation of our incredible guests. We absolutely love opening up our space and sharing these experiences with you all. Next up on the Shift Workshop docket is Real Talk: A Free Workshop on Communication Skills. See you there!

We Tune Up Our Cars, Why Not Our Relationships?

We already know we need to maintain our cars, our homes, and our bodies, but what about our relationships? No relationship is so perfect that a little extra work couldn’t help, so that was the focus of Sunday afternoon’s Relationship Tune-Up workshop with Shift therapist Suzette McLarty!

Using her extensive knowledge and training from Gottman Couples Therapy, Attachment and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Positive Psychology, Suzette led attendees through several exercises designed to remind us of the qualities that we love, value, and appreciate about our partners. We learned how to foster the positive aspects of the relationship, identify behaviours that don’t serve us, and get the support that we need to sustain a healthy connection with our partner.

Thank you to all those who joined us and to Suzette for hosting! Next up in Shift workshops: Radical Self-Love: A Free Workshop on Personal Empowerment, see you there!


A Big Welcome to Two New In-Clinic Therapists, Lisa Zemanovich & Vivian Zhang!

We are so thrilled about the new faces we have on team Shift! It’s only been a few weeks and already Lisa and Vivian are feeling like family.

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Using an integrated therapeutic approach which draws on cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness, narrative therapy, and relational psychotherapies, Lisa is dedicated to supporting her clients identify, re-frame, and overcome lingering pain, anxiety, or trauma from their past to feel more balanced and present every day. If you’re someone who sometimes gets stuck in the negative narratives we build in our minds, we hear you! Lisa sheds some light on this in this quick video.

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Vivian assists clients in finding clarity in the challenges they are facing and in learning the skills needed to cope, grow, and thrive going forward. She uses an integrated approach that combines attachment-based, trauma-focused, strength-based, and mindfulness-based therapies. Her most recent blog post gives us the need-to-know scoop on what to do in the aftermath of a break up!

So excited to have you both on board — welcome to the team!

Exploring Self and Self-Care through the Art of Zine-Making

Another Shift Workshop Sunday, another awe-inspiring group. The air was cold but the warmth and energy that everyone brought was everything we needed. We are so grateful for those who attended and shared their stories, laughs, and skills with us. CUT & PASTE: Exploring Self and Self-Care through the Art of Zine-Making was such a lovely afternoon thanks to you.

The act of creating is powerful one that promotes processing, reflection, and healing. Art making can give us the freedom of bypassing our language centre to express complex ideas in other ways. We’re able to integrate left- and right-brain processes together to encourage health and happiness.

In this workshop, we explored self and self-care through the art of zine-making. We expressed emotions, feelings, and thoughts through found images, drawings, and words, and bound them together in neat little packages each as unique as the individual who made them. We believe that every voice deserves to be heard, and every story deserves to be told, and we’re so honoured that so many of you came out and made a big ol’ crafty mess with us while telling yours.

Thank you to the Xiaolan Health Centre for opening their doors and lending us their incredible space and Fionn McDonnell for capturing many beautiful moments.

Next up in Shift workshops: Relationship Bootcamp! Does your relationship need a little tune-up? Hosted by Shift therapist Suzette McLarty, MSW RSW, this workshop will change your perspective of what you thought marriage counselling is all about. Save the date: Sunday, October 28th! Stay tuned for more details.

Doors Open to Our Fellow Therapists

Here at Shift, some of our very favourite things are connection and community. That's why just a little over one week ago, the clinic doors were wide open to fellow mental health professionals for a networking social event. Therapists, counsellors, and RPs alike shared in laughs, drinks, and a decent array of cheeses (thanks Jor) and chatted late into the evening.

So much gratitude to those who spent their evening with us! We loved learning about your stories, where you came from, and what motivates you to do the work that you so passionately do. In an industry that can be pretty emotionally taxing, it's important to know that you're not alone and boy, is it refreshing to know that we're all in this together! 

As human beings, we need a sense of belonging, and that sense of belonging is what connects us to the many relationships we develop. Communities are also rich in resources, and we look forward to growing together, sharing information, and bettering ourselves as a network, both as individuals and professionals by fostering these connections.

Thanking You for Daring to be You!

We are so grateful for the beautiful group that came together and spent their Sunday afternoon with us being open and supportive of one another for our most recent workshop, Daring to Be You. With an excellent turn-out, it was a full house, but everyone made space for one another both physically and metaphorically which was an incredible thing to witness. 

Much gratitude goes to Amreeta Kaur as well, Daring Way™ certified Shift video therapist and all-around superstar, for facilitating such an excellent discussion and comfortable space for the participants to explore themes surrounding courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. Based on the work of Dr. Brené Brown, the group discussed the physiology of shame and skills to integrate bravery, forgiveness, and vulnerability into their lives.

Stay tuned for Shift's next workshop, coming to you next month! 

On-Demand Therapy is Now Available Everyday From 8am to 8pm

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Maple and Shift Collab are pleased to announce that our on-demand therapy offering — launched as a pilot in early July — is significantly expanding its coverage.

Beginning on Wednesday July 25, the service will now be available everyday between 8am and 8pm EST within Ontario, with other provinces being added in the months ahead.

That means clients will now have access to 25-minute therapy sessions within minutes on both weekdays and weekends, a first-of-its-kind offering in Canada.

“Core to our mission is to increase the accessibility and innovate the delivery of mental healthcare,” explains Megan Rafuse, Partner and Clinical Director of Shift Collab. “And so, once we began to hear positive feedback and enthusiasm for our on-demand therapy offering, we moved quickly to expand its availability.”

Maple, a 24/7 platform that allows users to speak with a Canadian doctor within minutes, champions offering immediate healthcare support nationwide. Tens of thousands of clients have used the service since its launch in 2016.


Unlike virtual doctor visits, however, therapy is typically thought of being a process that causes stress and logistical headaches for clients.  Offering a more immediate solution not only provides assistance in the very moment that people need it most, but it also places power directly into people’s hands, helping them overcome the stigma that surrounds mental health.  

Looking to the future, Rafuse says that, “Our hope is to reach new clients who otherwise wouldn’t see a therapist, whether because of traditional complexity or because of a persistent stigma around mental health. The truth is that therapy is a good thing anytime.”

“Mental health is a huge part of overall well being.” says Dr. Brett Belchetz, Co-Founder and CEO of Maple. “Empowering people to consult a therapist in a moment of need can have a major impact, so we couldn’t be more excited to expand the program.”

The expanded hours will continue to be available through the browser version of Maple only, accessible on desktop or laptop computers. Not available on the smartphone app at this time. As the program grows, availability will continue to widen.

To give on-demand therapy a try, simply go to and create your account!

We'll Take Facts Over Fiction Any Day! Thanks, Jaylin!

That last text went unanswered and you're racking your brain for what you might have done wrong. Someone cut you off in traffic and now you're carrying a boat load of anxiety-laced stress with you all day. An email from your boss had you feeling frustrated, but it turns out you had their intended tone all wrong. Any of these sound familiar?

The stories we tell ourselves about these everyday occurrences make all the difference in our mental well-being! We're thanking Shift therapist Jaylin Bradbury for knocking another workshop out of the park and leaving us with the skills and strategies to improve communication, decrease disagreements, and reduce social anxiety by separating fact from fiction in the narratives that form when interpreting our interactions with other people.

Jaylin's pro-tip for anyone who's ever struggled with assumptions, miscommunications, or overanalyzing: whenever possible, gather more facts! When this isn't possible, choose the least harmful narrative. 

Thank you so much, Jaylin! And thanks to everyone who could join us on another beautiful Sunday afternoon at Shift. We'll see you next month for another free workshop -- stay tuned! 


Video Therapist Highlight - Melissa di Fonzo

Work schedules, travel plans, unpredictable challenges -- there are all kinds of reasons that on-demand video counselling might be right for you. In collaboration with Maple, a company dedicated to providing access to quality medical care when and where you need it, we're working hard to launch a pilot project that gives you fast, easy, convenient access to a therapist from the comfort of your home (or where ever you may be!) 

"I'm really excited to be a part of this project," Shift therapist Melissa di Fonzo says about joining the platform. "I'm excited to be able to support clients in the moment, right away, to come to a decision or work through a challenge."

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"Immediate access to these sessions means I can teach a breathing exercise or another tangible coping strategy right when you need it most, and the program allows those who may feel like there's no one in their network that they can talk with to connect with a therapist and know they are not alone." 

In its early stages, the platform will launch across the province of Ontario. "I'm looking forward to meeting a bigger diversity of clients," says di Fonzo who currently sees clients out of our Yorkville clinic in downtown Toronto. "And I feel good knowing accessibility to therapy will exist for those who can't be present in the clinic space."

"There's a comfortable quality to video therapy, as well! Opening up to a stranger can be difficult," Melissa admits. "But behind the screen, clients may feel more capable of being open and vulnerable which is a crucial part of the therapy process." 

Rolling out on July 11th, Melissa and the team will be ready and waiting to offer you immediate video counselling support. Head over to to get started! 

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Announcing On-Demand Video Therapy with Maple

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Maple and Shift Collab are pleased to launch an innovative new partnership that will enable Canadians to access on-demand therapy sessions — the first of its kind in North America — dramatically improving access to mental healthcare.

Beginning in Ontario on July 11, 2018, this service will allow anyone to access 25-minute therapy sessions from anywhere in the province through the Maple’s browser app. In these compressed sessions, patients will be able to address one specific challenge that they are experiencing in that moment — whether it be to reduce anxiety before a big date, manage the aftermath of a difficult conversation with a partner, or strategies to destress after a challenging day of work.


The shorter, on-demand appointment style was designed to give greater flexibility and immediacy, and lower barriers to accessing mental health support.

During the initial pilot, therapists will be available within minutes between 5pm and 8pm EST every Monday and Wednesday on Maple’s easy-to-use, secure video platform. As the program grows, the service will be made available outside of Ontario and on more days of the week.

Maple allows patients to connect with doctors online about conditions that don't require an in-person visit directly from their smartphone, tablet, or computer. Doctors can diagnose, provide advice & counselling, and prescribe medications for many common medical conditions right through Maple. With more than 20,000 patients and more than 100 licensed Canadian doctors on the platform, Maple promises patients a live chat or video visit within five minutes, day or night — the shortest wait time for a doctor in Canada's virtual care industry.

Shift Collab is a leading therapy provider and mental health education firm, focused on making mental wellness simple, relatable, and actionable. Their team of over 30 therapists and a national network of counsellors have served thousands of clients over the past two years, providing tactical support to help clients navigate everyday mental health challenges.

Challenging the status quo of the healthcare industry is an essential tenet of both groups’ missions.

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Dr. Brett Belchetz, the Co-Founder and CEO of Maple, explains the core reason for creating Maple from the outset: "Based on my experience as an emergency room physician, at least half of the cases I see do not require a hands-on physical examination, and there is a tremendous demand for more comfortable and efficient access to care in Canada, so people can feel better, faster," says Dr. Belchetz.

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Megan Rafuse, the Clinical Director of Shift Collab, agrees. “We often expect that therapy clients have the availability to put aside their commitments to visit a therapist’s office, when in reality, a meaningful therapy experience can now be delivered through video at the touch of a button. This kind of care is the future.”  

Current users of Maple will now see an option for a therapy session in their portal when logged in to the browser version of the app. For new users, getting access to a therapist is as simple as going to, creating an account, selecting therapy, and being connected to a therapist.

Please note that in this pilot phase, therapy is only available on the browser version of Maple and not in the iOS or Android apps, though availability will widen in the months ahead.  

For more information and to try on-demand therapy on July 11, please visit or

Feeling Cozy? Try Therapy From Home!

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Who says you need to get out of your PJs for your therapy session?

At Shift, many of our therapists are set up to offer appointments through our secure online video platform or by telephone. The system is privacy compliant and incredibly easy to use.

Don't let travel time, location, or comfort levels inhibit your access to therapy!

Are you an existing client? Ask if your therapist offers video or phone. New to us? Drop us a line to be connected with a therapist that best suits your needs. 


Meet the Shift Team 👋

The Down Low on "Adulting" c/o Meg!

As it turns out, "adulting" isn't all mortgage payments and food prep. It's also realizing that your emotional bank account is just as important (dare we say, MORE important) than your financial one. Making sure the "tank" is full gives us a solid foundation to tackle all those difficult things life can throw at us and gives us the strength to give support to ourselves and to our network. Having the tools to ask for what we need empowers us and ensures we are communicating proactively in a healthy way.

These were the big takeaways courtesy of Meg during yesterday's workshop, Adulting 101. We are always so grateful for those who spend their Sunday afternoons with us, sharing their stories and strengthening our community. 

Next up on the Shift Workshop docket is something special from Jaylin Bradbury on avoiding those miscommunications and misunderstandings that stem from digital communication -- stay tuned! 

When Good People Do Great Things for an Awesome Cause

We love seeing good people raise good money for a great cause. The Friends of WeCare family knocked another one out of the park at the 35th Anniversary Friends of We Care Dinner & Awards Gala. 

Friends of We Care is an organization dedicated to sending children with special needs and disabilities to summer camps, and more importantly, ones where their disabilities don’t limit their activities and builds enormous independence, courage, and self-confidence. Now this is something we can really get behind!

Alongside some incredibly generous prizing donations, Shift contributed a Mental Health Basics for Managers workshop, and we are humbled and astounded that we could lend a hand in raising over a million dollars for Easter Seals Canada ($1,335,179 to be exact... wow!)

Marching for Mental Health

We are so honoured to have shared the stage (and the streets!) with so many inspiring individuals this past weekend at the March for Mental Health. This was a peaceful march that started and concluded at the heart of the city, Nathan Phillips Square, to raise awareness for mental illness & addiction, and call for improvements to mental health services. 

For us, it was also a lesson in talking back to your imposter voice, speaking up and being vulnerable, and taking action in our lives and our communities to breed healthy connectivity and make space for others to do the same.

It's time for more than talk. It's time for ACTION. 

We are stronger together. 

Photos courtesy of Courtney Taylor

Smooth Sailing into Summer

What could changing jobs and making Slime possibly have to do with each other?! Well, today Jacob Ernst and Lisa Schwartz showed us!

This afternoon's workshop, Shift into Summer, taught us all about healthy transitions, how to cope with the anxiety of the unknown, and ways in which we can stay grounded when confronted with change. 

Now our toolboxes are stocked up with techniques and strategies that will help us during our next episode of transition-related stress. That includes taking a moment for mindfulness, engaging all five senses, and playing with something tactile, like home-made Slime. 

Thank you to everyone who spent their Sunday afternoon with us. Join us next month for Adulting 101 hosted by our clinical director, Megan Rafuse

Shift Into Sundays!

Are you looking to up your #SelfCareSunday game? Let us help!  As of  Sunday, April 29th , we're opening the clinic on Sunday afternoons.  You'll be able to join  Suzette McLarty, MSW RSW  and  Lisa Schwartz, MSW RSW  every Sunday from 1:00pm - 5:00pm.  We strive to be here when you need us so we are thrilled to be offering full weekend coverage.  Call now or book online and bring your Self Care Sunday to a whole new level! 

Are you looking to up your #SelfCareSunday game? Let us help!

As of Sunday, April 29th, we're opening the clinic on Sunday afternoons.

You'll be able to join Suzette McLarty, MSW RSW and Lisa Schwartz, MSW RSW every Sunday from 1:00pm - 5:00pm.

We strive to be here when you need us so we are thrilled to be offering full weekend coverage.

Call now or book online and bring your Self Care Sunday to a whole new level! 

Suzette provides professional and confidential counselling to address a number of issues such as anxiety, trauma, depression, anger management and relationship problems.

Suzette provides professional and confidential counselling to address a number of issues such as anxiety, trauma, depression, anger management and relationship problems.

Lisa’s areas of practice include stress, anxiety, emotion regulation, parent-counselling, self-esteem and confidence, grief and bereavement and relationship and family difficulties.

Lisa’s areas of practice include stress, anxiety, emotion regulation, parent-counselling, self-esteem and confidence, grief and bereavement and relationship and family difficulties.



Flowing, Connecting, Healing: Shift at the Xiaolan Health Centre

Last night's workshop, Flowing Through Fear, was something really special. 

Set against the stunning backdrop of the Xiaolan Health Centre whose space strives (and succeeds) to embody the principles of harmony and balance within the architecture itself, the workshop uniquely fused social work and yoga into a fluid experience of emotional exploration and movement. Integrating mindfulness, cognitive behavioural strategies, breath, and yogic practices as a way of grounding yourself and re-connecting with spaciousness and freedom was the focus of this two hour group session.

We are thanking hosts Shannon Stach, BASc, MSW, RSW & Lisa Mitchell, M.Ed. RYT for leading this transformational event, and we're extending extreme gratitude to the participants who arrived with open hearts and open minds.

Join us next time for Shift Into Summer, a free workshop on the tools & strategies required for a smooth changeover into new routines. Whether you're going from full-time to part-time, school to work, taking vacations, moving cities, jobs, or schedules, set yourself up for success with the right skill set and mindset for a healthy transition.

Celebrating Hannah For Her Workshop Success!

Meeting new faces and connecting with our community is huge here at Shift. We are thrilled with how this past Sunday's workshop on the health benefits and mood-boosting effects of tea (so aptly named Communi-tea) came together. We shared information, compared flavours and aromas, and even created our own blends with a variety of ingredients from dried cherries to rose petals to holy basil (and a lot of stuff in between!). We sipped white, green, black, and red teas and shared laughs, snacks, and knowledge -- the best way to keep warm on a chilly Sunday afternoon. Thank you to everyone who came to spend time with us at Shift, and here's to you, Hannah! We'll never look at a mug of tea quite the same ever again. 


Welcome Lisa and Suzette!

We would like to extend a warm welcome to our two latest therapists, Lisa Schwartz and Suzette McLarty

Suzette has been working in the Mental Health and Addiction sector for over 18 years. She has practiced at an acute care hospital setting where she provided psychosocial support for clients with addiction/concurrent disorders. Working from a harm reduction, trauma-informed framework, Suzette has helped individuals develop skills and access resources needed to increase their capacity to be successful in their recovery. She believes in treating the whole person and tailors treatment to meet each individual’s needs and treatment goals.

Lisa’s areas of practice include stress, anxiety, emotion regulation, parent-counselling, self-esteem and confidence, grief and bereavement and relationship and family difficulties. In her full-time position as an Individual and Family Therapist at the SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health, Lisa has experience in working with clients with diverse backgrounds and various emotional and relational difficulties. Lisa has training in different therapeutic modalities which she draws from in supporting clients. She also incorporates mindfulness and self-compassion based practices into her work with clients.

We are so excited to have these brilliant women on board and we can't wait to be a part of their journey and support them as they grow with us.