Marlene Van Esch, MSW
Marlene is a Psychotherapist and meditation teacher, committed to anti-racism by honouring cultural beliefs and practices in the therapeutic process.
Marlene holds an MSW and is a Registered Social Worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW) and is accountable to the ethics and standards set forth by the OCSWSSW. She attained her BA from the University of Toronto, and her MSW from Wilfred Laurier in 2001. She is a Certified Internal Family Systems Therapist and a level one graduate of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (Pat Ogden) with Advanced Training: Sensorimotor Psychotherapy for Complex Trauma and Dissociation (Janina Fisher).
Marlene works with clients to increase understanding, mindful somatic awareness and the practice of body-based skills, to safely manage the intrusive effects of trauma and the ways in which the fearful state of our bodies interfere with daily life. This method draws upon the natural wisdom of the body to tap into the innate drive in all of us to heal, adapt, and develop new capacities. Marlene also incorporates attachment focused adult psychotherapy to increase understanding of problems clients experience in their self-perception and in intimate relationships from a new and optimistic paradigm. This aids in discovering a new perspective on their problems that is non-judgmental and hopeful for positive change.
Marlene is a cisgender woman who acknowledges living with white-body privilege, and is dedicated to moving from cultural humility to anti-racism. She courageously faces discomfort as she engages in her own journey of noticing implicit biases, white privilege, and systemic racism. With this complicated work, the potential for implicit bias is significant, and so Marlene engages in self-reflection and personal-responsibility to illuminate hidden agendas and judgments. She acknowledges that lack of awareness of her own biases can render aspects of her clients invisible, and lead to unintended violence.
Marlene brings a unique combination of 10 years’ experience in the corporate, legal and information technology fields, and over 20 years of social work practice. Building upon her experience of solution-focused counselling and program development, Marlene has narrowed her focus in the last decade with an emphasis on providing trauma therapy and trauma-informed care. She specializes in the treatment of developmental trauma, complex trauma, PTSD, anxiety, depression, relationship problems and stressful changes in life, work or family.
Marlene incorporates mindfulness in her therapy practice. She is a certified mindfulness teacher and a graduate of Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach’s Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program authorized by the University of California at Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center (GGSC). She is also a Trained Teacher of Mindful Self-Compassion (Kristen Neff & Christopher Germer) authorized by
Centre for Mindful Self-Compassion. At The Mindfulness Centre, she teaches Mindful Self-Compassion.