Lois Ells MSW, RSW
I am a Masters trained Clinical Social Worker and therapist with more than 15 years of experience. Prior to working full time in private practice, I worked for 14 years at the IWK specializing in mental health for children, teens and parents. Over the past 7 years in private practice I’ve worked with children, teens and adults, helping them to cope more effectively with worries, stress, negative life events, anger, grief, deep sadness/low mood, low self-esteem, intense emotions, shame and guilt.
My passion is to create a trusted place for clients to share their emotional pain and to learn to manage feelings, memories & losses more effectively. I am dedicated to helping clients feel more comfortable with all their emotions and to respond in ways that lines up with what’s important to them. I help clients connect the dots to see a fuller picture of what’s fueling their struggles, discover their strengths and learn to harness them so they can thrive.
I am certified as an Advanced Therapist in Emotion-Focused Family Therapy (EFFT) through the International Institute for Emotion-Focused Family Therapy. I have advanced training and supervision in trauma-informed approaches.
Lois Ells Specializes in:
You’re looking for help for a child … .
It’s hard for you to watch your usually sensitive child who sometimes seems mature beyond their years become quickly unglued when their big emotions hit. It breaks your heart to see your child struggling with emotional meltdowns and deep regret over their behaviour. You feel helpless watching your child, normally so full of life, burdened by a mind overwhelmed with worries and their eyes overflowing with tears.
Or maybe it’s your teenager…
You’re pretty sure that the overthinking, worries and low self-esteem they are experiencing is hiding under the ‘sassy’ attitude or anger you see in their worst moments. This awareness has helped you remember that under all those over-the-top reactions is still your tender-hearted teen, but they struggle to open up to you. They want to talk to someone, and you hope to provide them with a trusted person to help them explore and make sense of their feelings and develop new ways to handle them.
I support children and teens to cope with big emotions such as anger, grief, sadness, anxiety, feeling not good enough or struggling with the impact of negative life events and trauma. I can also help “super feeling” children & teens learn how to make sense of what is going on in their inner world, to have healthier responses and improved coping skills.
When you schedule a session with me your loved ones can have the opportunity to learn ways to manage stress and other difficult emotions and help them push forward instead of holding them back.
Parenting can be demanding at the best of times, and facing your child’s big feelings and challenging behaviours can make it so much harder to keep everything together. You’ve been so busy just trying to cope with day-to-day life stress and parenting through a pandemic that you haven’t had the headspace to reach out for help. You are wisely aware of how your own feelings and frustrations from the endless demands of life make you unable to respond in a way that will help stop the emotional roller coaster your family is on.
As much as you have tried to build up your loved one’s self-esteem, you know that inside they don’t feel good enough. You’ve heard the comments they’ve made about themselves. And when you step back, you also know that you are not a stranger to that feeling. Remembering times your own words swirled in your mind making you feel like you’re not measuring up.
You marvel at their insight, so deep for their age. At other times, you shake your head with worry that such seemingly small things cause them to unravel in tears, burst out in anger, be trapped by anxiety or withdraw to their room. You want to feel more confident because in the worst moments you feel certain you will say the wrong thing and make it even worse.
You are looking for a therapist who can help you and your youth better understand and manage the emotional chaos that is monopolizing your family. I equip parents to develop the necessary skills to help their loved one(s) with their intense emotions and difficult behaviours. I help parents support their children/teen or young adults struggling with low self-esteem, anger outbursts, shut-down, anxiety, deep sadness, grief, trauma, and adoption.
I provide a safe space to discuss feelings and find solutions to the hardest parts of parenting. I’ll walk with you through the murky swamp of messy emotions, and out the other side. I coach parents to build their parenting confidence using evidence-based approaches such as Emotion-Focused Family therapy.
It’s as if you’re walking around with an invisible tide of emotions inside of you that the rest of the world is unable to see. And in your worst moments these big emotions threaten to overwhelm you. It seems no matter how hard you try to live in the present moment and free yourself from these deep feelings and negative self-judgements, they can be like a wall, preventing you from fully being present and real, even when you want to be. As much as you try to remain calm, when poked, these raw spots spark emotions of sadness, grief, defensiveness, or insecurity.
Despite the what if’s, deep down you know you need to talk to someone, and bravely you’ve started that search hoping to find someone who will understand. You are looking for a therapist who can help you build on the wisdom you already have so that you can make meaning and manage even better what’s going on inside of you.
I empower deep-feeling adults to better understand and cope with their raw spots. I help adults cope with leftover feelings from past negative events and emotions such as anxiety, anger, grief, self-doubt, shame, and guilt linked to difficult present circumstances. Together we’ll map it out and connect the dots so you can better understand what has been keeping you stuck and come up with a plan to help you find solutions that line up with your values.
CONSULT CALL: I extend a free 15-minute consultation call to determine if we are the best fit to work together. This will give you a chance to share briefly about the difficulties that led you to explore counselling and will give me an opportunity to share what I can offer that may help. The call is a chance to see if you think my style/approaches are a good fit for you and together we’ll figure out our next steps.
FIRST SESSION: We will focus on gaining a better understanding of the difficulties you are struggling with. This may include visually mapping out some of the factors that have contributed to problems you are facing. We will also highlight your strengths and interests during our discussion, as there is a lot more to you than the difficulties you are facing. We’ll discuss goals and what you would like to be different for you because of therapy as well as possible approaches and ideas for our work together.
SUBSEQUENT SESSIONS: We will build on the plan we devised in the first session concerning our work together and make sure that we are progressing towards your goals for therapy.
My rates are:$160 for the first session 50 minutes
$160 for follow-up sessions of 50 minutes
Extended session times $200 for 65 minutes, $240 for 80 minutes, $340 for 110 minutes
Sessions may be paid by credit card or email transfer prior to the session.
By appointment only
Mondays 1-6:30 (in person)
Tuesday 9-2:45 (in person)
Wednesday 3:30-9:15 (virtual)
Thursdays 9-2:45 (alternating weeks virtual and in-person)
Many insurance companies cover my services, but I recommend you contact them before our first session to confirm your coverage.
Feel free to take a look at our FAQ page for suggested questions to ask your insurance provider.
A receipt will be provided you can submit it to your insurance company for reimbursement, if applicable. Your therapy sessions with a registered clinical social worker are a tax deductible medical expense, thus hold on to your receipts to claim on your income tax what is not covered by an insurance company.
Qualifications & Affiliations
Master of Social Work University of Toronto 2001- Specialization working with individuals, families, groups
Bachelor of Psychology 1999, Acadia University
Special focus on mental health and child development
Registered Private Practice Social Worker Province of Nova Scotia Licence # 2159
Lois is not a good fit for folks:
· Diagnosis or formal assessment
· Report and/or letter for court or other purposes
· Treatment for primary concerns of addictions, bi-polar and/or obsessive-compulsive disorder
· In the middle of a custody/access disputes where there is significant parental conflict, allegations of parental alienation or allegations of past/current domestic violence
· Seeking specific trauma treatment for a child/teen due to recent sexual abuse, physical abuse, or family violence by an immediate family member who is still involved or has possible future involvement (such as mom, dad, sibling, parent’s current or ex-partner with ongoing ties to the family)
Lois is a good fit for folks who want:
· A non-judgmental and down to earth therapist to better understand the problems and factors impacting you/your loved one, from an emotion-focused and trauma-informed perspective.
· A therapist who will be like your coach – highlighting your strengths, and helping you strive to live a life that lines up even more with your values. We can integrate your values, interests, culture and/or faith as applicable.
· Increasing your understanding of natural emotional difficulties or reactions and practical ideas and strategies to cope more effectively.
· Sessions geared towards where you are at and what you want to be different.
· Individual adult, teen, child and/or parent counselling for anxiety, stress, adjustment, overwhelm, negative life events, anger, grief, deep sadness/low mood, low self-esteem, sensitivity/deep feeler, insecurity, shame, and/or guilt.
· Trauma therapy for child/teen, young adults and/or their parents
· Virtual secure online sessions from anywhere in Nova Scotia or in-person sessions in our comfortable Bedford Clinic.