My Lived Experiences & training
I'm Alejandra, and I go by she/her. I've been a cis white settler for almost 40 years, and those credentials are pretty problematic! So I do my best to defer to the lived experiences of people(s) who have been harmed by my privilege or dominance, and I'm committed to becoming a more and more effective ally. I fail often, but I keep at it. Anti-racism, trans-positivity, neurodiversity and harm reduction all give me the hope and skills I need to do better.
As a queer woman and as someone who lives with a mental health disability, I have some ideas about what it can mean to try to heal in a heteronormative and ableist world.
As a reunited adoptee and prospective adoptive parent, I have lived the complexities, losses and resilience that impact various people who are touched by adoption and attachment trauma: from birth family members and adoptive family members to adoptees themselves.
For many years, I belonged to a chosen community that primarily includes people who are homeless and who use drugs. Those friends showed me some of the greatest wisdom and compassion I've ever witnessed in the face of massive injustice. Their mutual care and survivorship was really my foundational training as a therapist.
I belong to a rather unconventional family that is interracial, neurodiverse and pretty nerdy. My family gives me a soft place to land, a light place to play and a frank dose of reality-- usually in that order.
My Professional Experiences & Training
I'm a registered psychotherapist (RP) with 11 years of professional practice. I provided psychotherapy for several years in youth mental health agencies, including a provincial residential youth treatment program in BC and a youth day treatment program in Toronto. I now work in private practice, where about half of my clients are youth and half are adults.
While I now offer mainly “talk” therapy, my background is in music therapy. I completed my Bachelor of Music Therapy at Capilano University and my Master of Music Therapy at Wilfrid Laurier Univeristy. I'm a certified member of the Canadian Association of Music Therapists and a clinical member of the Ontario Society of Registered Psychotherapists. My music therapy background still influences my playful, arts-inclusive and “outside the box” ways of working as a therapist.
I have completed the following additional trainings:
- Narrative Therapy Certificate (Hincks-Dellcrest Institute),
- Level 1 Trauma Counselling Certificate (Hincks-Dellcrest Institute),
- Over 100 additional hours in workshops and supervision in narrative therapy (Narrative Therapy Centre),
- 37 hours of training in dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) with another 40 hours to be completed in 2019-2020, which will amount to a Certificate in DBT (University of Toronto).
While I am licensed for independent practice of psychotherapy, I choose to engage in about six hours per month of clinical consultation with other registered health professionals who practice psychotherapy. I think this is really important for maintaining responsible, ethical and skillful practice.
My Life Beyond Work...and How It Relates Back To My Work
I like to sing and write songs and poetry. My songwriting style is kinda Joni Mitchell, kinda Indigo Girls, kinda Stephen Sondheim. Janelle Monáe's Dirty Computer is my absolute favourite album; it gave me the courage to make some pretty big changes in my life as a queer woman. "It's Quiet Uptown" from Hamilton helped me "learn to live with the unimaginable" as an adoptee. My own healing relationship with the arts makes me value the art pieces my clients bring to our sessions: songs, poems, rap, drawings, paintings, performance pieces; whether it's work of their own or from another artist. Sometimes it just feels easier or truer to say what it's like through art than through words alone.
I volunteer for my local community organizers because I trust their direction in how to be kind to our world. I do this in major part because of my work as a therapist: I see what my clients go through -- harm from systems that we can't change extensively enough or quickly enough in our therapeutic work together -- and it makes me want to support the people who are directly working to change those systems.
I love to walk in the woods and watch birds, but I don’t bird-watch (big difference). I'm also obsessed with standup-comedy: It can just take anything vile or depressing and turn it into truthful, bellowing hilarity. Aamer Rahman, Hari Kondabolu, Chelsea Peretti, John Mulaney, Tig Notaro and Ali Wong are a few of my favourite artists. I mention these things in particular because they weren't always "my things;" they were things I brought in when I realized I needed more balance--or dialectics-- in my life. For those who are into the Enneagram, I'm a "4" like many of my clients, and so I lean toward the emotional and the intense things of life. I wouldn't change that, but I have learned to complement that intense-and-serious aspect of myself with the quietude of nature and the lightness and irreverence of comedy. When my artist and activist self finds synthesis with my bird-contemplating and guffawing-at-Ali-Wong self, something clicks into place for me: something joyful, strong and free. DBT calls this dialectical stance walking the middle path, which I support my clients to practice in their own lives as well.
To set up a free phone consultation, please contact me at email@example.com. Alternately, you can text or phone me at 647 968 7628. I’ll respond within 24 hours if you contact me Tuesday-Saturday, and within 48 hours if you contact me Sunday-Monday.
Alejandra Lindan, MMT, RP (she/her)
Registered Psychotherapist #001976