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Is therapy even helpful?

There is strong medical data to show that talk therapy is a very effective treatment for many mental health problems. Individual, couples, and group therapy can help people make substantial and long-standing changes in their mental health. There is also evidence that physical brain changes take place during therapy. Patients who go through therapy actually develop new and healthier ways of thinking, feeling and interacting with other people; they feel less stressed and can function better in their day-to-day life.

Can I just see a BRIA psychiatrist directly?

At BRIA, we have created a mental health service where we are doing things a little differently. We are not offering direct access to a psychiatrist. Instead, we have created what is often called “a stepped care model” of service. This means that we offer people the type of care that we think is suitable to help the symptoms that they are dealing with.  For example, evidence shows that women with more mild symptoms of anxiety or depression benefit most from talk therapy or counselling, while those with more severe symptoms may need to see a psychiatrist, as well as do therapy. 

As a first step, the BRIA Care Coordinator may offer you a MINI Mental Health Assessment, where we will get to know you a bit and hear about your struggles. This way, we can be sure that you are getting the type of effective care you need, based on your current issues and concerns, and point you in the right direction. From there, the Care Coordinator may recommend a more in-depth mental health assessment by a mental health professional and an MD Psychiatrist. 

If you are seen by the MD Psychiatrist, and prescribed medication, you will get brief follow-up to be sure that these are helpful and effective.

Does BRIA offer ongoing psychiatric care?

Our MD psychiatrists have designed specific BRIA care pathways for mild, moderate and severe symptoms, that also  take into account significant life stressors. BRIA psychiatrists are available for consultation as part of the MAXI Mental Health Assessment, and for brief follow up to ensure medication is effective and well-tolerated, if that is deemed necessary, after a MINI Mental Health Assessment. MD Psychiatric services are covered by OHIP. BRIA psychiatrists are not available to provide long term care or regular therapy, but they may suggest  you see  a therapist,  if it would benefit your needs. If you would like ongoing psychiatric care, please reach out to your local primary care provider for a referral to a psychiatrist in your community.

Does BRIA offer Individual therapy?


People often go to therapy to discuss a wide variety of concerns including how to manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviours, how to cope with conflict at home or at work, how to feel more confident, how to deal with issues from the past, and how to cope with new life stages and big changes that can be overwhelming.  Sometimes people prefer to have one-on-one talk therapy with a trained counsellor to address these personal issues. Although talk therapy may feel scary or too vulnerable at first, people often find they feel better when they address the issues that have been bothering them under the guidance of a trusted therapist. Formal therapy or counselling is very different from venting with a close friend or trusted family member. A therapist is trained to help with mental health and relationship problems and can help patients examine and understand their issues in a new and productive way, in a private and  confidential setting. BRIA therapists offer counselling to women at each reproductive life stage.  

Does BRIA offer couples therapy?

During major life stresses or transition times, people often find that their relationship with their partner takes a hit. This can happen when couples experience the immense burdens of fertility treatments, pregnancy loss, pregnancy itself, becoming new parents, or when grown children leave home. These are stressful times and even the best relationships can suffer. Plus, if a relationship was strained before these circumstances, it can often get worse under stress. People often think that couples therapy signifies the end of a relationship so they are afraid to take part. In reality, it is a helpful way for members of a couple to communicate openly, in a private and confidential setting, and in the presence of a neutral third party. Couples can effectively delve into their concerns, their anger, and their feelings when in couples counseling. Couples therapy can lead to a much better relationship and set the stage for improved communication and happiness as a couple, at any life stage.

Does BRIA offer group therapy?

Yes, BRIA offers two types of group services.

  • offer BRIA members the opportunity to learn about relevant topics, such as how to manage stress in your relationship after bringing a baby home, or how to improve your sleep during the menopausal transition. BRIA also offers groups where you will learn new skills, such as  developing a yoga and meditation practice to manage anxiety at any life stage. These group offerings are available to all BRIA members.
  • create a forum where people can be open and share their experiences and learn coping skills, such as mindfulness meditation or cognitive-behavioural strategies to deal with stress, depression or anxiety. During group therapy, women experiencing similar life stressors or common symptoms come together under the guidance of BRIA therapists. By supporting one another through shared experiences, and realizing that they are not alone in their struggles, women often find that group therapy is empowering and enlightening. Sometimes women worry that they will “take on the worries” of the other group members and this will make them feel worse. Or they worry about their privacy and about feeling ashamed. In reality, people often find that they feel less alone and more connected when they share with others who have similar issues. BRIA group leaders will always discuss confidentiality and privacy matters to be sure these are respected. All BRIA group leaders are experienced mental health clinicians who are skilled at supporting women, educating them, and running groups on a virtual platform.

Does BRIA have a parenting coach?

Yes! We know how hard being a parent can be and parenting does not come with a “how-to” guide. Parenting challenges can often be overwhelming and lead to anxiety and depression. That’s why BRIA has a Parenting Coach ready to help. She specializes in toddlers’ transitions: accepting a new sibling, starting daycare/ school, toilet-training, and much more. The BRIA Parenting Coach can also help with gentle sleep training for your children.

Can someone at BRIA treat “hormonal” problems?

Many women are sensitive to hormonal changes. This may happen in the days or weeks before your period starts, while using the Pill, when taking fertility medication, and during the menopause transition. Regardless of the time of life or circumstances, women who are hormonally-vulnerable to mood changes, irritability, and anxiety, deeply suffer. A BRIA nurse practitioner and gynecologist can help assess and treat hormonal concerns to help you feel better and function at your best.

How can the BRIA Dietitian help me?

Many women struggle with eating and body image issues. BRIA’s Registered Dietitians take a “non-diet” and “weight inclusive” approach to help women at all life stages develop a plan to address their hormonal fluctuations, healthy movement goals, and eating for nourishment and satisfaction. BRIA’s Registered Dietitians have been chosen because they take a balanced and sensitive approach to women’s health issues. They specialize in offering care to those who may have irregular menstrual cycles, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or gestational diabetes. BRIA’s Dietitians can help address a wide array of eating, hormone, and weight concerns for those trying to conceive, in pregnancy,  postpartum or perimenopause phases.


I can’t sleep! Can someone at BRIA help?

Oh yes! You have come to the right place. Insomnia is one of the most common issues that women struggle with at any life stage. At BRIA we know that insomnia and poor quality sleep can impact your mental health and overall functioning; and that is why BRIA has a sleep consultant who can help.. Our expert sleep consultant can assess your current sleep patterns and support you to develop a more effective way to get a good night’s sleep. Our sleep expert can improve the sleep of both adults–even people going through the menopause transition– as well as babies and toddlers. BRIA also offers groups and educational webinars aimed at improving your sleep.

I’m having trouble breastfeeding. Can BRIA help me?

So many new mothers have trouble breastfeeding and this can create high levels of distress and anxiety.At BRIA, we believe that fed is best. If you choose to breastfeed and need nursing support, the BRIA Lactation Consultant (LC)  has many years of experience helping moms with all aspects of nursing, from establishing breastfeeding to planning the weaning process. She is also an expert in helping women virtually, by observing the way a baby nurses and providing helpful guidance. The BRIA LC is mom-friendly and mental-health friendly, and will support you develop a plan that suits your needs. 

Who are the BRIA therapists?

The BRIA therapists are licensed health care providers– nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, psychotherapists, and psychiatrists– and are highly trained women’s mental health care practitioners. They have been chosen to join the BRIA team because of their expertise in women’s health, their compassion, and their commitment to helping BRIA patients feel better.