Shirley Porter, Registered Psychotherapist

Shirley Porter RP


Licensing & Certifications:

  • M.Ed. (Counseling)
  • Registered Psychotherapist

Professional Background

Shirley has been practicing psychotherapy for 32 years, working with individuals 17 years and older from diverse backgrounds. She has expertise in the following areas:

  • Trauma (including Acute Stress Disorder, PTSD, complex trauma)
  • Suicidality and Mental Health Crises
  • Depression
  • Anxiety or stress symptoms
  • Relationship issues
  • Grief and complicated grief
  • Cultural adjustment for Newcomers and Refugee Immigrants

Shirley considers it an honor and privilege to work with her clients as she bears witness to their sacred stories, and works with them to identify, and compassionately understand the wounded parts of the self, which can then begin to heal. In her career she has seen thousands of healing transformations, as clients practice self-compassion and learn new skills and strategies to empower themselves to deal with challenges in effective and healthy ways.

Shirley is the author of two books of trauma (one for clients, and one for therapists), and has written several published applied research papers. For many years she served as an Adjunct Clinical Professor, teaching and providing clinical supervision to graduate students in the Counseling Psychology program at Western University. She has also been a Clinical Supervisor/Consultant to other therapists internationally since 2010.

Shirley is currently the Clinical Director of Shirley Porter and Associates Psychotherapy, which is a virtual psychotherapy service offering online therapy to individual clients in the privacy and comfort of their own home. Her current focus is on providing clinical supervision/consultation to other therapists, while maintaining a small caseload. She continues to write professionally for Choosing Therapy.

She has studied and utilized many different therapeutic approaches with her clients, believing that no single therapeutic approach will be the answer for every client. While her approach is always client-focused, trauma informed, and based in compassion – she tailors her therapeutic approach and interventions to meet her client’s individual needs. The therapeutic approaches and interventions she utilizes include:

  • CBT and Compassion-focused CBT
  • Parts Work
  • Comprehensive Resource Model (CRM)
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Imagery Rescripting and Reprocessing Therapy (IRRT)
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
  • Brief Solution Focused Therapy
  • Polyvagal Therapy
  • Somatic Experiencing Therapy
  • DBT
  • Motivational Interviewing


  • M.Ed., Counseling, Western University
  • B.A., Honours Psychology, Western University

Professional Affiliations

  • Canadian Counseling and Psychotherapy Association
  • College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario

Why I Write for Choosing Therapy

I write for, because I believe that it is essential that people have access to the most up-to-date, accurate, and evidence-based information on mental health issues and treatments. The fact that these articles are written by licensed therapists and medically reviewed, provides a background of expertise and credibility that is important in getting this important information out to the community. I also appreciate the fact that, professionally, writing these articles requires me to engage in literature reviews on the most current research in specific areas, which ensures I keep up-to-date on topics that are important to my work with my own clients, and in clinical supervision.

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Area of Focus

Shirley excels in delivering personalized psychotherapy to individuals aged 17 and older, with a strong emphasis on trauma-informed care and a holistic approach that integrates mind, body, and spirit for issues such as anxiety, depression, and trauma. Additionally, they contribute to the professional development of peers through clinical supervision, consultations, and leading workshops on mental health topics.

  • Providing individual psychotherapy to individuals 17 years and older and tailoring therapeutic approach and interventions to each client
  • Working with diverse communities to provide trauma-informed, compassionate, client-centered psychotherapy for anxiety, stress, depression, grief and loss, complicated grief, relationship concerns, immigration/cultural adjustment stress, and trauma/complex trauma
  • Providing therapeutic interventions to heal and integrate mind, body, and spirit
  • Providing clinical supervision/consultation to other therapists
  • Facilitating training workshops for therapists on trauma, and other mental health topics
Types of Trauma Therapy

9 Types of Therapy for Trauma

Trauma therapists obtain specialized training in approaches that can help “reset” one’s mind and body after experiencing trauma. Unlike other therapeutic modalities, trauma therapy delves deeper into a client’s memory of a painful experience in order to “release” it. Common examples used in practice include cognitive behavioral therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, and prolonged exposure therapies.

April 4, 2020
College Suicide

College Suicide: Rates, Risk Factors, & Prevention

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among US college students with approximately 1,100 college student suicides per year. In a national survey of college students, 4% of respondents reported having attempted suicide in the past 12 months. A number of factors have been identified as increasing risk for suicidality, allowing for targeted preventative efforts.

April 4, 2020
Grief Counseling: How It Works, What It Costs, & What to Expect

Grief Counseling: How It Works, What It Costs, & What to Expect

Grief counseling is a healthy way to grieve a loved one who has passed on while getting the support and direction from a mental health counselor.

April 4, 2020
Acute Stress Disorder Vs. PTSD

Acute Stress Disorder Vs. PTSD: What Is the Difference?

Acute stress disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can both develop following exposure to a traumatic event. Each causes significant functioning difficulties in one or more areas of your life. While many of the symptoms of these disorders overlap, they differ in terms of symptoms as well as symptom onset and duration.

April 4, 2020

“Welcome to you, and congratulations on taking the first step of your healing journey by starting to learn more about some of the issues that are causing you distress. Distress is a sign that something important requires our attention. Noticing it and seeking to understand it is a healthy response.

If you have been feeling alone in your struggles, please know that all of us struggle at some times in our lives. It is a natural part of life. Struggling with mental health is not about weakness or character flaw. It is about dealing with a valid medical condition.

It takes courage to face our challenges and to ask for help to understand and address them. There is a warrior spirit within you who wants something more and doesn’t give up – which is why you are reading through these webpages today. Lean into that wise and strong part of you, and trust where it will lead you. Allow it to support you as you take steps to reach out to trusted others to ask for help. ”