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Category: Enhancing Mental Wellness

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Client and Therapist Rights and Responsibilities

The journey to wellness and healing is yours to decide to choose your path. Your experience with a psychotherapist and social worker consists of rights and responsibilities that you posses.

As a client you have the right to be safe and secure within the sessions. Our clinicians seek to operate in a professional and ethical manner that follows the standards of the Ethical Standards established by each clinician’s governing body.

All records of therapy are kept in a file and available to you upon, if deemed legal and of therapeutic value.

You also have the right to be informed of the qualifications of the therapist working with you, as well as the right to decline or accept suggestions or therapeutic recommendations. We will remind of these rights and choices throughout our therapeutic relationship.   We do not sell products directly, but if we make suggestions for books or other materials, it is your choice if you believe it would be helpful for you.

Termination of the therapy relationship will be made by you or by a collaborative decision between us both. In the event, we decide to terminate therapy, we suggest three final sessions to develop a positive closure.

As a client you have the responsibility to set and keep appointments on a regular basis as determined ahead of time.

It is important for you to work with us around developing your treatment plans and check in with me in every session around goals. It is also important to keep us informed of your progress towards meeting your goals and to terminate your therapy relationship before entering into arrangements with another counselor.

As a therapist we record notes and reports for your clinical records. You have rights to review your file upon your request verbally or in writing. Information may be shared amongst applicable Aset Group staff if appropriate.

Records are kept on site at the main office at all times.  Once you terminate involvement or for a child/youth once they reach 18 years old, files must be maintained for at least seven years.

Most of the information is confidential, and will not be shared. Many times, clients will be able to take their art work and scrapbook home to bridge work done within sessions to their caregivers. There are some exceptions and they include:

  1. a) the provision of a signed consent of a release of information,
  2. b) If I believe you are going to hurt yourself, you are being hurt or are going to hurt another person,
  3. c) If there is a disclosure in therapy of neglect, abuse or exploitation of a child under the age of 16, I am ordered by legislation to disclosure information,
  4. d) Or if the court requests me to release information.

In addition, to adhere to professional standards and ethics need to discuss cases in formal supervision and also view video tapes of sessions which are used only for supervision, and will continue to meet this requirement by professional association.  We will not use reference to full names to protect confidentiality to consultants or supervisors.

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Privacy Policy

Here at Perryman Consulting and Aset Group Consulting and Counselling Services we value your privacy and your information.  We do collect email addresses to send you reminders for appointments on TheraNest (R) our internal clinical database, Jane App and Mail Chimp to send you updates and information about our services and programs on a quarterly basis.

We  comply with the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), the DPA (Data Protection Act) and the PECR (Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations) and the Personal Health Information Act (2004 and 2016).

We are a multi service company providing services only to children, youth, families, couples, individuals and small-businesses.  We do not share your information outside of AGCC, Perryman Consulting Services, and our newly recent addition: Ifarada Institute (non for profit organization).  We collect and store the information we need to provide you with the service you purchase from us.  For example, if you use our credit card processing, this occurs through Square Point of Sale.  Our invoices are sent through Quick Books Intuit and or Jane APP.

Cookies: We do not use technologies like cookies to provide, improve, protect, and promote our Services. You can set your browser to not accept cookies. Our website is on the WordPress platform.  Please research their Privacy and Policy services for information they collect when viewing our sites.

Data Storage: When you subscribe to our newsletters we store your email address.  When you process payments, your credit card information is NOT stored on Square Point of Sale.  Your email, address, and service details are stored on QuickBooks Intuit.  Your information such as dates of sessions, phone and email contacts, details of sessions are stored on TheraNest and then placed in your hardcopy file.

Payment Details:  When you purchase services such as counselling and group psychotherapy services, you will either pay through Square Point of Sale Register. The only payment-based details we hold on our site is how much you’ve spent and whether you paid with Square. We have no bank or card details.  Square is compliant.  Their privacy details are Here.

Email Marketing & Newsletters: If you sign up to our newsletter, we will send you a newsletter on a quarterly basis.  You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the unsubscribe button in every email. Your name and email address are stored securely in Mailchimp.  Mailchimp automatically adds tracking things to links so if you click on a link, open an email and/or ignore us Mailchimp collects this data and creates monthly analytics for our review.  If you register for counselling or group therapy, we will send you appointment reminders through TheraNest.  If you confirm, cancel, or change your appointment details, TheraNest will update us.

You can always request to have your data deleted at any time.  Your files at TheraNest and on-site stay on record for 10 years, after which they are deleted or shredded.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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Resiliency and Process of Family Therapy

Resiliency is paramountcy to building healthy children and families.  Family Therapy is an integral part of the process for helping families resolve difficulties, addressing systemic issues and barriers in the family and outside, and helping families heal.  Each family member is given a voice to their unique experiences within the family, which can help them feel empowered and validated.  Collectively, the family seeks resources, supports, cultural and social identities that connect them together as an unique group.  

Madhuri Chopra, placement student, prepared a synopsis of her review of the Family Therapy Magazine, produced by the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy.  Her description truly sums up the work we aim to achieve in this organization as we continue to grow and develop as a new agency, but also with the changing times people experience.  Image result for counselling

“..we learn about resilience and also we deal with clients who have [experienced difficult life experiences]. Moreover, we deal with clients with trauma focus cognitive behavior therapy. Also, we practice self care and for this special vacation off is given to us. This is given to us so, that we can spend time with self and know how the stories of others affect us. It can also help us to polish our strengths and eliminate our weakness.  Not only this, We have dealt with cases of cyber bullying. And, we have explained the bystander approach in cyber bullying.

We do a lot of play and art therapy with the kids and….this help the kids the most as they are able to express themselves using this therapy. We also use solution focused trauma therapy and this helps the clients who go through trauma or grief/loss.

The family therapist have a really sensitive job. They have to understand the issues of the family and have to bond them together. Also, they have to work with  each and every family member. We have to keep in mind about culture because we live in Canada and As Canada is land of immigrants.  We need to learn about how to distribute power not only in country but, also in family.

The family therapist should keep in mind that whether they can work in this field or not. They should regularly do check ins and self reflection. The family therapist should know about stigma’s that they have in the society and the bias that they hold within themselves. Also, they should keep in mind what works for one person of the family may not work for the other person in the family. Dreams are very important in family therapy. The therapist needs to learn about family related feelings. Also, it is important that sharing of dreams within the family can help family foster a relationship (Madhuri Chopra, Drug and Addiction Counsellor Placement Student).

Photo by kelvin octa on

Resiliency Resources

The following resources consist of articles, websites and videos on Resiliency.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) website:  Provides resources and information on research ACE.

Speak the Words interview with Clinical Director, Nicole Perryman: Interview: Helping Youth and Families Develop Psychological Resiliency

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Dialectical Thinking- One Mind Two Thoughts

As a therapist, I speak to many people: men, women and children, about their THOUGHTS.  As people, we constantly have thoughts circulating our minds all the time. When we have positive experiences, we re-live those moments in our mind.  When difficulties arise in our lives, we re-tell the story to anyone else who cares to listen.  Our minds have an unique desire to enrich our lives, protect our hearts and bodies, and keep us thriving within the world.  However, when we have had experiences of TRAUMA, PAIN, HEARTACHE, HURT, SADNESS (the list can go on), our mind can become clouded by the residue these experiences can leave upon our minds and memories.  Our minds, designed to protect us, can focus solely on protection and no longer upon enriching our lives.  Our minds can start to WORRY!! Worrying brings anxiety; anxiety brings serious mental health difficulties.  counselling

In our 21st century, worrying is so much a part of our culture.  We can worry about almost anything.  Yup, think about it.  From the time you got up this morning, think about all the things you may have worried about. Such as: Am I going to be late? Will I miss the train? Did I bring my lunch? What if he hit my car? Does he still love me? Will they find out I am inadequate? Does this outfit make me look fat? Did I pay the electricity bill? Will I have enough to pay the mortgage? Will he come home drunk, etc. Real or imagined, our worries can sometimes consume our minds.  Anxiety is the mind’s way of protecting us from our worries. Thus, maybe we need to make sure we check the locks in our home for the 10th time to ensure we are protected from violence and maybe we decide that we just will not leave our home today, in fear that people will look at us and judge us for who we are. Two thoughts comes from the Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) approach. In DBT, people are taught that there are always two thoughts, two alternatives, and two perspectives to every situation.  For you, it may be the good angel and the devil angel sitting on your shoulder fighting over who has the best advice.  It may be that critical thought, that comes into your mind, where you take the time to analyze the thought but also bring in new perspectives.  Or, two thoughts comes from the principal that within any dual conflict there are two sides of the story and the truth which lies somewhere in between. I wholeheartedly believe that when our perceptions are clouded by a lens filled with past experiences, we start to see the world in a way that is not always productive for us.  However, by changing the way we THINK and the PERCEPTIONS in our mind, we re-train our minds to remain open to possibilities that PAIN is not, and will not always be present in our life experiences.

For my moms, who worry about their children’s future, what if you spent your thoughts focused on all the potential your child(ren) have to grow and how you, as their parent, can enrich their experiences with new opportunities, love, and HOPE?  For my youth, who spend tireless hours studying for that math test, you can do this whether you pass or supposedly fail that test.  Life will always bring you opportunities despite the failures which you may encounter.  For the child who believes their big brother hates them, consider that your brother’s pain may bechildren playing greater than yours. Maybe telling a safe person can hopefully help your brother receive the help he needs.  To the man, who is struggling to be a father, maybe your other thought is that your children LOVE you and they just want to see you as a leader to them.  Being a leader means you are willing to accept that your mistakes will only guide you on the path you should take.  For the wife, who feels her husband no longer loves her, consider he is struggling to love himself. We learn to love by loving others and showing others the meaning of true love. How else can you create dialectical thoughts in your mind?

The next time a worry comes to invade your thoughts, consider the alternative perspective and analyze both thoughts. Then, choose the thought that brings you to the place you want to be in your life.





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Incorporating a Strength-Based Practice

Strength- based framework has transformed social work practices and policies for many decades. In a private practice setting, using strength-based practice reinforces to individuals that their personal change is their investment. As a private practice practitioner, I have focused upon developing a mission that meets an anti-oppressive framework and builds upon individuals’ strengths. My mission statement uses words such as “empower, strengthen, educate…and client-centered, flexibility, innovation, results-oriented and holistic”. The cornerstone of my practice is the belief that my role is to walk with, encourage, and support individuals and families as they undertake healing within their lives. This is reflected when often clients would say to me, “what do you think I should do?” and I reflect back with a statement, “I trust your ability to know, what do you believe is the best path for you to take?” Client-centered approach is aligned with strength-based practice, and both have similar approaches to working with individuals. Similar to Graybeal (2000), a strength-based practice incorporates ideas such as resilience, healing, possibility and change that comes from the client’s work in therapy. The same is true for client-centered work.

Another important piece for strength-based practice is building of “relationship” between the client and the therapist. The therapeutic relationship, in my practice, is an integral part of healing and change. therapistOnce the client feels safe within the therapeutic relationship, they can fully begin to shield their emotions, their feelings, and their worries within the relationship knowing that they would feel supported and accepted unconditionally. Graybeal (2000) emphasizes that the client may be experiencing a host of inner and external difficulties from loss, trauma, poverty, isolation and more. Therefore, it is critical for the social worker to engage the client in a meaningful way. Graybeal (2000) writes, “learning to ask questions that open up possibilities is an art form that takes practice” (p. 141), but is work that leads to shifts within the client’s life. As an example of strength-based and relationship-centered practice, last year I supervised a residential treatment center as a clinical counsellor, I reinforced to the staff team the importance of integrating a strength-based practice with relationship building. This was a foreign topic to child and youth workers who were taught and trained to follow a behavior approach to working with youth. However, the shift for them came when they started to engage seemingly “difficult and resistant” youth to try new things because they focused upon developing the relationship with them, and using their strengths to gain greater participation within their program.  Connecting strength-based practice to the policies and practices I enforce, the relationships I build with service users, and the leadership and training I provide in my community will ultimately help create shifts in people’s lives.


Graybeal, Clay (2000). Strengths-based social work assessment: Transforming the dominant paradigm in Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Human Services. 82(3).

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The Honeymoon Myth

The Honeymoon stage is the period where individuals are working hard towards positive and pleasant behavior.  We all have heard of this stage and may have experienced it once in our lives. I believe adults are good at presenting in a masked perception for periods of time, some longer than others. Children,  not so much.

In my career, I’ve worked with professionals,  many in an older school stage who found that youth placed in residential care are usually positive in the first 30 days of placement. Afterwards, their true colours and treatment needs become prevalent. I disagree. For an adult to maintain a facade, it can be difficult.  Parts of you slip away or change as you try to hold this image together. There is an intermix of consciousness working to overcome the unconscious to help maintain the image. Many adults can feel an extreme amount of stress trying to hold together this image. Seriously,  if you know children,  can you honestly believe they can maintain such pretenses for 30 days?  Let alone 30 hours?

Honeymoon stage is an adult term and perception.  It is adults who create an environment for young people which changes as they get to know the youth better. When a youth is placed in your care they are automatically provided with extra support. They are encouraged to review their rights almost weekly. They receive unconditional support regardless of their behavior. If there is a level system put in place, youth go through these levels quickly in the beginning. In essence, the first 30 days is set up for the youths success.

However, after that time the expectations from the adult changes. The youth is required to sure maturity and responsibility to maintain positive behavior. The rewards are provided less as youth are not expected to behave well and are much less rewarded. Youth are placed in leadership roles to teach and guide new youth who come into the program. They also receive privileges which they didn’t before which signify they have become skilled in being successful. I’m sure you all are aware of this process. It’s the flaws in thinking which actually set the youth up for failure. It is always clear that our young people in residential care need the extra support, the discipline and the structure. The rewards are essential to motivating behavior and helping them appear invested in the process. Many of our youth do not have strong self regulation skills. Which means they don’t always respond accurately to inner feelings, they don’t always know how to occupy their free time (as community time increases), they don’t always remember the rules (which leads to breaking rules) and they will need reminders on how to best follow the program. Whether the youth has lived with you for 30 days or 30 months, this initial stage is critical to ensuring their success.

My suggestion: change your time lines. Start with strong structure and boundaries with opportunities for success and support. Always ensure youth are surrounded by support. Provide them opportunities to engage in activities and interests which will keep them engaged and interested. If you help them discover their strengths, they will focus on improving them. In my opinion, this is human behavior. Provide short time limited rewards and keep it simple. Always simple because in doing so you can eventually teach them to self regulate without the external rewards.

Then maintain the same consistency for 6 months.

Also, ensure the youth has a strong support team which includes a psychiatrist, a psychologist & a therapist. Within the first week of placement, book an appointment with a therapist. You want to ensure the youth has sufficient time and opportunity to connect with supportive team. As well as a clinically informed team. Spend the first 6 months completing assessments to help your team to understand this youth not just through behavior, but also emotional health, physical well being, spiritual connections, personal strength and so much more.

After the initial six months period, think of ways to add responsibility to youth without taking away structure established. For example, does the youth like children? Can they volunteer with a reading circle or group for younger kids? Can they volunteer at a soup kitchen to help those who are needy? In this way, you are increasing their responsibility and observing how they respond to the added task. In the outcome, you are seeking to improve their ability to relate to others and animals, you help enhance their ability to understand and connect with others, you tap into their strengths, and you improve their self regulation skills. You can begin to see improvement in self esteem, social skills and self regulation skills. You see their independence and their improvement with responsibility. You are also better equipped to provide treatment to the areas identified on need in the first assessment.

By the six month mark, the youth has also been able to foster a positive attachment with the caregiver, the program, the staff, the therapist and other important persons within the team. It is through these therapeutic relationships and investment which begins to foster change in the youth. It’s not the rules or the structure… these are used to provide a supportive environment. This can never change for the youth. But it is through the relationship they learn values within themselves and others which provides rewards to help them succeed to their best ability and feel as though they truly belong.

After 18 months, you begin to have a youth who is workable enough for long term treatment and the development of a positive and rewarding life experience.

Twenty years, over 100 clients, 26 foster children and several degrees later I’m learning about this work I’ve been doing for years. Don’t feel as though you can not make effective change. You can. Youth do not change over night. It’s a lifetime to bring about the changes best suited for the youth. The work you do is a piece of the bigger picture. So, my encouragement is don’t set these youth up for failure but rather success through relationships with themselves and others.


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How are you, really?


Good day

I wanted you to know that I am okay. I am good. I am fine. No great.

Who am I fooling.

If I told you that I am fine, then I would be lying. To you. Most importantly to myself. If I created a lie then the person who hurt more was myself. Not you.

So I am going to tell the truth.

I lost myself somewhere between 1988 and 1999, in a place called life. Or when shit got real. The realness was that I had to face myself in the mirror with no photo shop, no masks, no disguise. I called myself by name but it was foreign. So I was just who I am. Not what they called me, but who I was.

untitledIn that moment, I found myself intrigued and hopeful. Intrigued at how I was comfortable with real and hopeful life would allow me to be real.

But somewhere between life and more life, I lost my way. It may have been when I started my first job and I endured being yelled at for $6.75 an hour. Or maybe it was when I sold myself for an A, because of the scholarship I needed to have. Or was it when I found empathy in a pile of crazy in a back alley in Toronto smelling like urine & earth.  Somewhere as I traded up my car so I could fly on the highway at 160 km per hour. Or even the moment when I turned a blind eye to my husband stealing from his employer,  then sleeping with his colleague, then slipping me ecstasy filled with broken promises… but sometimes, it wasn’t just my life that seemed crazy. It was all the other things I seen, heard, smelled, ingested and accepted.
Somewhere within myself I lost myself in life.

I’m not going to lie again, but I know life has its moments. There were days I was filled with happiness and joy…my home sang with laughter. ..and the richness of good meals encompassed the air. There were days my pockets were filled and I could spend any way that I wanted. I remember those days, those trips, those moments… but I also remember the pain, the heart ache, the smell of death and the questions which always lingered… why, was he, how did, could he have, I wonder if he, and so much more. Somewhere between joy and pain, laughter and sorrow, hurt and healing I lost myself. I blame it on life.starting freshI know you have been there. We all have. I know we have that insight where we just want to sit down and find ourselves for one minute. We all have those moments where we want to pull back life and sit with our joy…

I want to sit with my baby being little and holding her tightly. I want to sit with loving you wishing it can last forever. I want to sit with this meal, praying all my meals are that good. I know we have times where we want to sit and just be ourselves. To not have to pretend to be anyone else but ourselves. To want to enjoy the person we saw in the mirror in 1988, and love her completely…despite how life has tried to get in the way. To love her accomplishments, to love how far she has come, to love her smile, her generosity, her heart… to remember her dreams and hopes. To wonder if there is still time… to think it is possible. I know we all have those times when we just want to be real.

This isn’t just my life. It’s the lives of people. Fragments and pieces of a puzzle that don’t quite fit, but do. For them this is life. This is the stuff that is real and this is the stuff meant to break them or build them up. I know because lay persons claim they know about life. They claim they understand and they know how to manage life. Stress relief they claim! They present you with their potions and motions to make you buy into their dream. They tell you that you can know yourself again by losing weight, by travelling to Punta Cana, by telling off your boss and joining a pyramid scheme. They tell you that this is how the wealthy people do it…and by looking like a rock star you wiĺl discover the real you.

Find peace within

You find the real you within. You find the real you by listening to your inner world. You find the real you by slowing down life and taking time to breathe in piece. You find the real you though love. I found the real me in 1988 when I dared to love myself more than anyone would. Now in 2014, I’m searching for the newest version of me.

So how are you?

Nicole Perryman is a psychotherapist skilled with guiding adults heal from difficult experiences and uses art, such as storytelling to enhance the therapeutic process.

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Psychotherapy Services

Therapy is a collaborative process between the client and therapist. Therapy cannot be successful with the clients’ hard work, energy and courage.  We utilizes a variety of counselling approaches such as cognitive behavior therapy, solution-focused counselling, narrative therapy, expressive arts therapy (which include art therapy, sand tray, and music), group therapy, and family therapy. In all, the tools are guides clients use on the journey towards healing.  The therapist is the witness to the healing, and supporter along the way.

Nicole Perryman provides psychotherapy and short-term employment assistance program counselling through multiple programs.  Nicole is an experienced social worker and psychotherapist who has worked in the social services field since 2002.  In 2007, Nicole began her counselling career specializing with children and youth, and extending to adults and couples in 2013. In 2013, Nicole developed Aset Group Consulting and Counselling Services. Aset Group is currently a robust organization that provides services in Pickering, ON. In 2018, Nicole developed Ifarada: Centre for Excellence and Determination which is a non-for-profit organization serving equity seeking individuals and families. And, in 2019, Nicole started a grassroots organization designed to support families in Durham Region with community resources, educational workshops, and support groups.

Short-term counselling features:

  • 1 to 6 session model
  • assesses a particular issue
  • provides solution-focused and problem solving information
  • goal focused
  • learn strategies to cope with stress, anxiety, grief and loss
  • offered by most company benefit plans

Counselling Experiences

  • (2013 to Present) -Clinical Director & Social Worker for Aset Group Consulting and Counselling Services
  • (2013- 2017)- Intensive Support and Specialist Program for Durham Family Court Clinic
  • (2014)- Clinician/Service Coordinator (Contract) for Turning Point Youth Services
  • (2013-2014)- Adult Counselor (Contract) for Durham Rape Crisis Center     
  • (2013- 2014)- Play Therapist (Contract) for Regesh Child and Family Services
  • (2007- 2013)-Child and Family Therapist for Branching Out Enhanced Therapeutic Services Inc.

Detailed Resume/ CV


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After spending 7 years in child welfare, I ventured to try a social work from a grassroots perspective. I fell in love. No more feeling as though I was an intrusion into society’s eyes, I was finally accepted as one who cares and wants to help. I was in my element. Truly I wanted to help people live great lives as I also sought the same for myself.

Fast forward five years and the damaging impact of child welfare remains etched in my subconscious. I met with a client and decided to take him to my most favorite place in the world…the beach. Sadly, the water was polluted but we walked along the boardwalk taking in the peace which emanates from the beach. When we finished I drove him off, jumped on the highway and headed home. At home, I took a much deserved nap (because I can!) but I could hear my phone vibrate. My heart raced as thoughts of dissatisfaction entered my mind. It was probably the staff. Maybe he came back with drugs and they blamed me, or he had a fight & they thought I caused him to be upset or even worse. My anxiety was so high I couldn’t fall asleep right away and when I did I had nightmares of past issues…. Finally I got up and checked my voice mail. It was my client. He said he was having such a bad day, and he felt going out calmed him down. He said, thank you. tears filled my eyes. I felt gratitude. This was my life path.

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