About Frank Marchese

Growing up I was taught to be tough and private about struggles and to be independent. 

I kept to myself about depression, fears, insecurities and my feelings of hopelessness (like a lot of young people do). I lived in a more rural part of the city with my family. We had land with a field, trees and diverse animals and ecosystems. I would wander off to these places, exploring and learning about the wildlife. In a way nature was my first therapy, a place where I could feel my feelings, and not have to change them to suit someone else’s mood. Nature has no judgments, it just is there, and that was helpful for me. Nature, as wonderful as it is, can only go so far. I needed other people to be in my life with, to respond, share something new, to engage with. I had friends but only got so close, I felt they couldn’t really understand. I worried that if they knew how bad it was for me sometimes, that they might just get scared and not accept me.

As I grew older and went to university, I started to open up about my struggles to friends and with their encouragement I sought out the support of a therapist. I felt both hope and worry about this step, I was not comfortable sharing with other people let alone a stranger, therapy was very much out of my comfort zone. The part of me that had hope and desire for more peace luckily won out of the part that wanted to remain in secret and alone, this helped me to start to open up. I began to feel seen in a way that I never knew. With this therapist I experienced a warm solidarity and a deep acknowledgement for the pain that I thought only I could understand. I gradually began to feel less helpless, ashamed, and for once not as alone in my struggle to find peace and happiness. 

The shift took time, and eventually what I learned through counselling began to influence how I felt outside of the therapy space. This was the start to my journey in healing my alone feelings and supported me towards seeking a sense of belonging with others.

My interest in becoming a therapist began at a pivotal moment in my life. I was 6 months into working in a factory and I was disenchanted with working. The environment was alright, if I had intended to be in a factory for the rest of my life this place was a decent option, great pay, fair management, it was safe-ish and they had lots of perks. But in the workplace I saw people who had given up so much to doing the same thing every day, it was like facing my future every day and not liking what I was seeing. I knew I needed more connection if I was going to feel really alive. I had never been a stranger to hard work, but when I thought ahead at doing this for the next 20 years+ of my life I could feel regret already.

During this period I tried to soothe my painful feelings by listening to classic rock, like Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, and Neil Young just to name a few. The music sustained me to a small extent but I needed stimulation. I spent a lot of time consuming philosophy and psychotherapy texts and podcasts: Nietzsche, Camus, Plato, various pop psychology books. I was desperate to find a life I could feel happy to be in. By chance, I came across a book called the Pathfinder and through working with it I came to see the obvious yet unthinkable option; that being a therapist was my right career choice. A profession that would allow me to share the heart of what I have been through and learn more about how to support others on their own journey. I began to seek out therapy styles and eventually settled on Gestalt psychotherapy and methodology as the most aligned with my values and vision.

Gestalt therapy appealed to me more than CBT or more traditional approaches because there is an emphasis on freedom of choice, responsibility, acceptance of what is, a very real holding of the unfairness and yet beauty of the human experience. It wasn’t just how do I improve myself because I might be flawed but how does this call on the drama of the connections and very real relationships that I have with my world and other people, not just as a subject but as a real feeling human being who most likely won’t ever attain perfection as none of us can. How do we live and still be happy, fair, and feel connected to each other and with our lives. It is a mode of therapy that puts an emphasis on being very real, human, responsible, embodied, present and curious.

Gestalt therapy is an approach to psychotherapy that puts an emphasis on being very real, human, responsible, embodied, present and curious.

Since graduating from The Gestalt Institute of Toronto I have joined up with Rory Nicol to work as an associate of his clinic. I spend my free time outdoors hiking, digging into a book beside my garden, and connecting with my close friends.

I am a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) licensed with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO). I have a bachelor’s degree in the humanities from Laurier University. In my undergrad I focused on existentialist and classical philosophy.

Typically, I work with people who are experiencing difficulty or distress with panic and anxiety, depression and loneliness, life transitions and relationship difficulties. I know that it takes time to feel comfortable with a therapist so we will move at the pace that feels comfortable for you. I am here as a resource to help you find your inner compass, so that you can navigate life’s difficulties with more ease.

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