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Besma (Bess) Benali, MSW RSW
Registered Social Worker and Psychotherapist

There are so many reasons to reach out for help. You have decided to overcome anxiety or depression, change a behaviour, free yourself from what’s causing you pain and struggle, let go of certain things that are holding you back, heal old wounds, take action and regain control, find balance, become the person you want to become, any of these can inspire a person to seek therapy.

What I offer is a respectful, compassionate and nonjudgmental approach in a safe environment where the changes you want in your life can begin.

Whatever you are going through, whether you are depressed, lonely, anxious, self-critical or stuck in an unhealthy pattern, or you are dealing with any form of past trauma, I will work with you to regain control of your life, to acquire insight, build confidence and reach your goals.

I provide the following services:

  • Individual psychotherapy: I can help you overcome anxiety and depression, negative or self-destructive behaviours, self-esteem problems or family of origin issues. I’ll help you understand and change unhealthy patterns, get you through the ripple effects of traumatic experiences or help you improve your relationships and navigate life’s transitions.
  • Couples’ Therapy: I will help you resolve conflict, engage in productive communication and decrease tension, recover from betrayal or broken trust, and overcome the challenges that bring you apart to allow you to reconnect and regain closeness.
  • Adolescents and children: I strive to help young ones handle behavioural issues and emotional struggles; I also help strengthen relationships with their close ones, thereby building a happier and healthier future.
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Besma (Bess) Benali, Clinical Social Work/Therapist, MSW, RSW, Counselling Ottawa. I am trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Brief Psychodynamic Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples (EFT-C). Clients seek my help because they are struggling and feel like they are trapped in a darkness that no matter what they try (and many have tried therapy before) they can’t pull themselves out. I help my clients understand themselves in ways no one has ever taught them before allowing them to make positive changes.

About Me

I have always been a people-oriented person and find great meaning and purpose in alleviating disturbances in people’s lives. This is what has helped steer me towards a Master’s in Social work with a view of a career as a psychotherapist. My goal is to provide relief from troubling emotional and physical states and help people towards more fulfilling lives.

My experience post-graduation as a clinical social worker and psychotherapist in two local hospitals – the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre and the Montfort Hospital – has taught me a great deal about compassion, creating an environment of safety and acceptance and the immense value of simply being there for others.

It has also made me aware that there is a dire need for mental health services in the community. People often have to wait long periods of time to access services, and even then, the services may not respond precisely to their needs. So I started my private practice where I invest heavily in training and continuing education, and now work almost exclusively with adults and adolescents, with a strong focus on guiding my patients towards positive life changes, healing, and a healthy mind-body connection.

Recently I have become certified in EMDR – or Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing – and I am pleased to provide this highly effective therapy for patients with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), past or present trauma, environmental and complex illnesses, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain conditions such as Fibromyalgia.

When I am not working, I enjoy spending quality time with my family – especially my little nephew who cracks me up with his “special tricks”. I also enjoy traveling and gardening. I like experimenting with new recipes – and trying not to burn them! These days I am exploring cooking with spring vegetables.