Trauma Therapy and Counselling in Toronto

Browse videos, and choose your best match based on availability, and most of all, fit.

Tiles of headshot of First Session therapists


A man and woman sitting at a table looking at a phone

Therapy is hard work.

Finding the right therapist shouldn’t be. Over 7,000 Canadians found their new therapist with First Session.

Frequently asked therapy questions

What is Trauma Therapy?

Trauma therapy is a specialized form of psychological treatment aimed at helping individuals who have experienced traumatic events. It involves various techniques to address the emotional, mental, and physical effects of trauma, enabling individuals to process and heal.

How Does Trauma Therapy Help?

Trauma therapy plays a crucial role in aiding individuals to overcome the challenges associated with traumatic experiences. It helps in multiple ways:

1. Processing Traumatic Events: Trauma therapy provides a safe and supportive environment for individuals to talk about and process their traumatic experiences. This is essential in helping them understand and contextualize their experiences, which is a vital step in the healing process.

2. Reducing Symptoms: Those who have experienced trauma often face symptoms like anxiety, depression, flashbacks, and insomnia. Trauma therapy aims to reduce these symptoms, helping individuals regain a sense of normalcy in their daily lives.

3. Developing Coping Strategies: Therapists assist individuals in developing effective coping mechanisms. These strategies are tailored to help manage stress, regulate emotions, and improve reactions to triggers related to the traumatic event.

4. Restoring a Sense of Control: Trauma can leave individuals feeling powerless. Therapy helps restore a sense of control over their lives by empowering them to make choices and changes that contribute to their well-being.

5. Improving Relationships: Trauma can strain personal relationships. Therapy provides tools for better communication and understanding, helping to repair and strengthen relationships with family, friends, and colleagues.

6. Building Resilience: Through therapy, individuals learn to build resilience against future stressors, reducing the likelihood of being overwhelmed by challenging situations.

7. Integrating Mind-Body Techniques: Many trauma therapies incorporate mind-body techniques like mindfulness and relaxation exercises, which help in reducing physical tension and improving mental clarity.

8. Enhancing Self-Esteem: By addressing trauma-related issues, therapy can significantly boost an individual’s self-esteem and self-worth, contributing to a more positive self-image.

Trauma therapy in Toronto, with its diverse range of specialized therapists, offers these benefits in a culturally sensitive and personalized manner, ensuring each individual's unique needs are met.

What Are Common Trauma Therapy Techniques Used in Toronto?

Common techniques for trauma therapy include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), somatic experiencing, and narrative therapy. Therapists in Toronto may combine these approaches based on individual needs.

How to Find the Right Trauma Therapist in Toronto?

First Session offers a curated list of qualified trauma therapists in Toronto. You can filter by specialties, therapy approaches, and languages spoken to find a therapist who matches your specific needs and preferences.

What are the different designations of therapists and counsellors?

In Ontario, there are four regulated types of therapists: psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and psychotherapists. Being regulated means these practitioners have education requirements, they must adhere to rules (regulations) set by the government. and those therapists are overseen by a governing body called a “college.” Colleges register and license these practitioners under these titles once they’ve met their requirements. 

Psychiatrists have a medical degree and are able to both diagnose mental illnesses and disorders and prescribe medication. While they can provide counselling and psychotherapy, it’s rare to book a psychiatrist for this on your own—you’d most likely see them through a doctor’s referral only for a diagnosis and/or drug intervention (i.e. a prescription) and will likely need to seek out other professionals for therapy.

Psychologists in Toronto are highly educated at a PhD level in the science of human behaviour and the mind (“psychology associates” will have a master’s degree). Many psychologists remain working in academia, furthering research and evidence-based techniques. If they work with clients, psychologists can diagnose mental health conditions (not all therapists can do this) and they may offer psychotherapy or counselling therapy.

Psychotherapists in Toronto are regulated by Ontario provincial law. Psychotherapy and counselling therapy are often referred to as “talk therapy”—you can expect to work with them on mental, behavioural, or emotional needs through verbal or non-verbal communication methods. 

Psychotherapists are overseen by the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO). Once they’ve met their requirements (exams plus direct and supervised client hours), they’ll be listed as a Registered Psychotherapist (RP). If they’re in the process of finishing their requirements, members of the CRPO can use the titles of Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) or RP (Qualifying). They may be available at a lower cost per session. If your insurance covers Registered Psychotherapists, in most cases an RP (Qualifying) will also be covered. See below for more information on therapy pricing. 

It’s a common assumption that social workers in Toronto are only available via community services. However, social workers are therapists and you can book them for counselling or therapy, including on First Session. Registered Social Workers (RSW) have a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree (MSW). They can work in a variety of settings. In Ontario, Registered Social Workers can use the title psychotherapists in certain contexts.

You can book therapy appointments on First Session with social workers, psychotherapists or psychologists in Toronto.

What are therapy insurance coverage and payment options?

“How much does therapy cost?” is one of the first questions many ask when they’re considering seeing a therapist. 

You can expect therapy to cost anywhere from $50 to $300+ per session. Costs are typically affected by the therapist’s level of education and specialization. For example, new psychotherapists or counselling therapists may charge around $50 per session. Psychologists hold a PhD, so you expect them to charge closer to the $200 to $350 range. In some cases, psychologists will offer reduced cost counselling for as little as $150 per session.

If you’re in Toronto, the only therapy covered by provincial healthcare plans (OHIP) is a visit to a psychiatrist via a doctor’s referral, a family doctor who also provides psychotherapy services, or a therapist working in a hospital or another public health setting. The provincial government does, however, have a resources page available with a number of affordable and accessible mental health care options.

Therapy coverage by workplace insurance benefits can significantly reduce the amount you pay out-of-pocket to see a therapist. In that case, you work directly with the insurance provider to ensure your costs are covered. Your employer will not be aware of your usage. Every policy is different, but usually you pay for your session and then submit it as a claim to your insurance company for reimbursement. Your insurance provider’s benefits booklet will tell you what kind of coverage you have, and how to file claims.

Finally, affordable and sliding scale therapy options are offered by some (not all) therapists. This may allow you to pay lower rates if you are facing financial hardship. First Session lists clearly if a therapist offers sliding scale therapy. Always feel free to ask if there is availability.

Who can book appointments with therapists and counsellors?

Anyone can book an appointment with a therapist or counsellor. While some people are referred to therapy, there are no requirements and you can reach out on your own any time. You also do not need to wait until you think your symptoms are “severe enough” to seek help. Any time you are feeling like something is wrong, it’s okay to reach out for help. 

You might start by looking for individual therapy, which involves one-on-one sessions between you and your therapist. Alternatively, you might benefit from group therapy (especially good for those who need support in social settings), or couples and family therapy if your needs involve the other immediate people in your life.

Browse therapists on First Session in those categories and more:

Some therapists focus on, or have specialized training for those who belong to particular demographics. For example, child therapy often involves more play-based approaches as a way for the therapist and child to connect and communicate in a safe and welcoming way. Teen and youth therapy addresses evolving issues facing young people from adolescence into adulthood and may take place with or without a parent present.

Therapists might also specialize in seeing members of traditionally underrepresented demographics. On First Session, we help your search with filters for terms such as 2SLGBTQIA+ therapy or BIPOC therapy. A therapist who has a deep understanding of your community’s challenges and obstacles may be better suited to help you, or you might find they are a better fit for you (but it’s not a must). 

How can therapists and counsellors treat mental health issues?

Therapists and counsellors will use core techniques for treatment known as modalities. Some of the most commonly searched modalities include cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), and somatic therapy.

With CBT therapy, a therapist will help guide you through understanding distorted thought patterns, how those patterns create a certain view of the world around you, and how that impacts your behaviours and emotions. CBT is usually limited to a certain number of sessions, and will often involve homework to do between sessions. 

“Dialectical” means opposing forces; two opposing truths may exist at once. DBT therapy is a form of CBT that is shown to be more effective for people with heightened emotional responses, impulsive or self-destructive behaviours. DBT aims to guide people out of the kind of binary, all-or-nothing thinking that leads to intense responses to life’s complexities. DBT often involves group therapy.

While CBT is a form of “talk therapy”, somatic therapy puts a focus on the body. If you pursue somatic therapy, you’ll look at how your body is physically reacting to stress and trauma or perceived danger, known as fight, flight, or freeze. Somatic therapy involves recognizing bodily sensations and learning how to discharge them to calm the body and address the mind.

Finally, EMDR therapy was originally developed to treat PTSD and can be applied to trauma therapy and other mental health concerns. As you recall memories, your therapist will guide you through eye movements that help your brain make new neurological connections with these memories. The intended outcome is to start to observe and process them productively. This is a specialized area of psychotherapy and you should ensure you are working with a therapist who is trauma-informed or trauma-trained before beginning.

You can search for therapists by-modality on First Session, and read about which modalities they use on their profile pages. 

Ready to talk?

Use First Session to find the best therapist for you.