About me

I am a Registered Psychotherapist, Member 001180 of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario and a Clinical Member of Ontario Society of Psychotherapists, providing counselling since 1989 to adults and older teens (17+) either one-on-one or as couples. More recently I have begun counselling the parents of Gender-Diverse children. I hold an MEd in Counselling Psychology from OISE, University of Toronto, and an MA in Modern History from Oxford University, England.

I am a member of a dynamic Peer Consultation Group” of experienced psychotherapists who meet regularly to guide and enhance each other’s work. I read the professional literature closely, and am connected to the more progressive wing of international clinicians, attending as many conferences as I can afford and studying with a range of trainers and Clinical Supervisors.
My training includes a wide variety of psychotherapy modalities. I hope this enables me to fit the therapy to the client, rather than trying to cram all my clients into some favourite theoretical structure! I have taken courses or attended conferences in the following modalities:
  • Psychodynamic
  • Psychodrama
  • Self-Psychology
  • Feminist Counseling Practise
  • Strengths-based Practise
  • Jungian Dreamwork
  • Couples Therapy
  • Anti-Oppression Practise
  • Narrative Therapy
  • Family Therapy (Narrative perspective)
  • WPATH Hormone Readiness Assessor Training
  • Affirmative Counselling for parents of Gender Independent children

After 25 years, though, it is my firm belief – supported by much research – that what makes therapy effective is above all the quality and depth of the human relationship between client and therapist. We work together to build and maintain a “working alliance”, a useful tool that will enable my client(s) to make the changes in their life they need.

My working style and my office space are quite informal. I work not in an office building but in a pleasant, well-lit, private room in my home, close to the Boardwalk in the Beaches area of Toronto. Public Transit is convenient and close, parking on the street is usually easy (except on hot summer days!) and the bicycle path along the lake goes past the bottom of the street.

I am myself an older transgender man, cheerfully comfortable in my skin, of (Viennese/English) Jewish ancestry. I transitioned to male in middle age. I have identified as “Queer” since the mid-1980s and am familiar with and at home in LGBT (aka “gay”) communities. I have two adult sons as well as a lively and interconnected “Family of Choice” to whom I am devoted, including ten children under eleven. (Yes, family events are gloriously noisy!) .

Since I am (visibly) transgender, clients who are struggling with gender identity concerns can feel especially comfortable in my office. I have been the “Transition Consultant” for a large group of trans people, of a wide range of genders. I have no opinion of what might be the “right” way to transition but a great interest in helping to discover what might be the right way for THIS person, living in THIS context at THIS time. Some of my clients, after careful consideration, decide that, after all, transition is not right for them, and find other ways to express and to be at peace with their gender. I have also completed training as a Hormone Readiness Assessor and have often written appropriate letters for Surgeons and Physicians. Partners, parents and children of trans people work with me to come to terms with the changes in the lives of the people they love.

When I see children exploring this complicated thing we call gender, I think that’s healthy. I don’t see anything wrong with children being “Gender-Diverse”or “Gender-Creative” and I don’t think it requires any kind of treatment. What I can offer that might be useful is a safe and knowledgeable place where parents can process two sets of issues: the endless complex decisions they must take as they try to balance their children’s safety and their need to be true to themselves; and their own feelings as adults, including sometimes troubling and confusing ones, about raising these wonderful kids. I can often provide some guidance through the local mazes of accessing Medical and Mental Health systems, where families decide that is necessary. You can watch me on Youtube presenting alternatives to the practises and policies of Dr Ken Zucker, formerly of the CAMH Gender Identity Clinic.

I have also co-written an article published in a peer-reviewed journal and widely quoted

Wallace, R., & Russell, H. (2013). Attachment and shame in gender-nonconforming children and their families: toward a theoretical framework for evaluating clinical interventions. International Journal of Transgenderism, 14(3), 113-126.

as well as a less scholarly, more accessible, shorter version of the same ideas at

A Tale of Two Clinics | EENet eenet.ca/a-tale-of-two-clinics/

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHuEpcmXvG0

verified by Psychology Today

Toronto Psychotherapist – Counselling