JOANNE DOUCETTE, MSW, RSW 

Social Worker

My goal when working with children, adults and their families, is to create a safe environment in which my clients can be honest and open about the challenges they are facing. I use an integrative approach that includes Cognitive Behavioural Strategies, Mindfulness and Emotionally Focussed Therapy. Most importantly, I focus on building trust and connection in my relationship with each person, as I believe that the quality of the therapeutic relationship is the most important predictor of successful therapy.

Anxiety is a frequent focus in my work with both children and adults. With children, we address anxiety in a playful way, with games, art work and other activities to help them explore their feelings and learn new strategies for coping. I have been trained in a program called “FRIENDS for Life” which helps children build emotional resiliency and prevent anxiety. Parents are included in the interventions, in keeping with my philosophy that in order to help children I must support their families. I provide coaching to parents to help them learn how they can reinforce the use of new coping strategies at home. At times, this involves family therapy to strengthen the parent-child relationship.

I support adults with anxiety and other struggles with their mood by first guiding them to be compassionate towards themselves regarding their intense emotions. We then develop new skills to manage anxiety and increase emotional resilience. This often includes learning to be vulnerable about emotions with others, in order to deepen connection in relationships.

Grief is another area of focus in my practice. I previously worked at CHEO/ Roger’s House, supporting families whose children had complex medical needs. I also provided individual and group therapy to parents who experienced the devastation of the death of their child. I continue to support such parents in my private practice. I also provide therapy to children grieving the loss of a sibling or parent, or adults grieving the loss of their spouse or partner.

I strive to support everyone in their unique grief journey using the approach that is the best fit for them. There is no “fixing” grief, but my goal is to help you find ways to process the many emotions associated with bereavement and learn to cope with loss, as part of your life story, and move towards finding meaning in life again.

My educational background includes a Masters of Social Work degree from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Psychology from Queen’s University. I am registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers and the Ontario Association of Social Workers. My professional background includes nine years at CHEO working on the inpatient mental health unit and on the Palliative Care team. I have been in private practice since 2009 and am thrilled to have been part of the wonderful team at CAFCO since 2015.