Hi there, I'm ...
Hi, my name is Joanna Meister and I’m a Registered Psychotherapist seeing clients virtually across Ontario, Canada. I am also the Clinic Director and Owner of Meister Counselling and Psychotherapy. I started in the field of mental health as a volunteer more than 20 years ago and then moved into roles as a summer support link to children who have a disability, a self-esteem skills group leader for boys and girls, a youth mentor for children who had significant mental health needs and adverse childhood experiences (ACE's) and eventually worked as a program assistant at a children's assessment and treatment centre for the youth matching program.
I was raised in Burlington, Ontario, and have spent the last 25 years working in the social and human services sector. After receiving an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Exceptionality in Human Learning and Women's and Gender Studies from the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM), along with a minor in Professional Writing and Communications, I had three options: return to school for a master's degree, enroll in a post-graduate program at a nearby college, or relocate to Japan to work as an English teacher. I went to Sheridan College and received a Human Services Administration diploma.
My experience includes working as a university student women's centre coordinator, a volunteer coordinator and training assistant at a distress centre, a support services coordinator at a neurological disorder support organization, and an executive administrator at a developmental services organization that provides supports and services to people who have an intellectual disability. These experiences have equipped me with strong organizational, communication, and interpersonal skills, as well as the ability to work effectively with diverse groups of people. I am passionate about using my skills and experience to make a positive impact in the lives of others.
I returned to school after 20 years and completed my Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology at Yorkville University. I have specialized training in working with couples and individuals from an emotionally focused perspective. I work with clients whose fear or worry shows up at the worst possible times, support couples who are both leaning in, want to stay together, and want to believe their relationship still has hope, as well as couples who are struggling to figure out what their direction is in their relationship. I support people to form loving connections and improve their relationships with their partner(s) as well as themselves. I meet them where they're at and support their relationship.
As a therapist, I work primarily from an attachment perspective with individuals and couples. My training in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) allows me to provide evidence-based interventions to support both individual clients and couples to create lasting change in their lives. In individual therapy, this type of therapy is an attachment process (the formation of safe connections) between the therapist and the client, as well as between the client and previous and current relationships; and in Couples Therapy, within and between the couple, where your relationship is my client.
When I am not wearing my therapist hat, I am a Mom, co-parent, sister, daughter, and aunt. I am a separated co-parent to two wonderful children. It was critical for us to keep our family together even though their father and I were no longer together. We hope that we have instilled in our children the knowledge that their parents are still family to one another and that we are always a safe haven for them. Our family is not broken, and our marriage is not a failure. We are now separated, and our children have two homes. We credit our ability to co-parent peacefully and redefine family to the couples therapy we sought when our relationship needed help.
Therapy aids couples in their relationship whether they decide to stay together or separate ways. Learning that from our therapist was immensely healing. It allowed me to take a deep breath and finally exhale.
I was born and raised by forward-thinking parents who are still together and live in the house where I grew up. They were, in my opinion, ahead of their time because of the equality they promoted in the way they raised us. I was one of four kids growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, when most families only had two. For the time, I came from a fairly large family. I use my personal experience to help clients understand and validate their struggles by sharing anecdotes.
I am a Registered Psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (#10899), and a Non-Certified Professional Member of the Ontario Association of Mental Health Professionals.