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Marital Therapy?


Marital Therapy Explained 




Think your teen (or child) needs counselling?


What do clients say about Gary's counseling...


Counselling: Knowing your options


Counselling - Issues addressed, approach, fees, confidentiality...


Please read thoroughly, then call me directly: 

905 628-4847


Video introduction to Counseling


Issues may include, but are not limited to:

  • parenting

  • child/adolescent behaviour

  • academic performance (ADD/ADHD, LD)

  • marriage/separation/divorce

  • communication

  • pre-marital counselling

  • relationships - common-law, family, stepfamily

  • abuse/domestic violence (physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, psychological - past or present, child or adult, survivor or witness)

  • separation/divorce and children - custody and access issues - parenting plan development

  • depression, anxiety, mood

  • young offender

  • adjustment to change

  • alcohol/drug abuse 

  • aging / managing aging kin 

  • for counselling of children experiencing distress between separated parents specifically, click here

What you should know about my approach to counselling...

People attend counselling because of distress and want relief as quickly as possible.

With traditional counselling approaches, people see the counsellor for the standard 50-minute session, one at a time, week after week. It often takes the counsellor 2 to 3 and even 4 sessions to gain enough information in order to begin being helpful. That means your distress may continue at least that length of time. Even then, many therapeutic approaches have the counsellor saying very little apart from reflecting back your own feeling or validating your concerns. Many people come away from this kind of experience having changed very little. While they may feel validated or supported, issues of distress can continue. 

My approach to counselling is different. 

Rather than coming back week after week, the first session is a long one; usually a good three hours straight. Through a structured interview process, I obtain the information necessary to understand the problem and situation as fully as possible to be helpful sooner - usually the first time we meet. 

At the end of our first meeting, clients are given very direct, honest and forthright feedback.  Clients will be provided practical and direct information, guidance and direction to help resolve matters causing the distress. Clients may or may not take head of the feedback, but those that do, tend to do better than those who do not. This will remain your choice. Due to the nature of this approach, remarkably, many people attend this ONE time only. 

If folks return, it is generally several weeks later, after they have had time to work with the feedback. Even if folks do return they are rarely seen beyond 3 or 4 times. People can improve sooner and then at less overall cost.

If you are seeking counselling on a child related matter, please note that I insist on meeting with the parents first before I would meet with the child/ren and ask that parents do not inform their child/ren of our meeting.

Experience and training matters:  Experience and training significantly distinguishes one counsellor from another. Whomever you chose to work with, they should happily provide you with information qualifying themselves. My CV/resume is available on this website as is clients' ratings and feedback.

Due to my approach, I rarely have a waiting list. I see many many people, for a short duration. This means you can be seen quickly. Again, when in distress, being seen quickly matters.  

I see folks in the privacy of my home office. This provides a greater degree of confidentiality and comfort than a traditional office setting. I am also available through video conferencing over the Internet. For that I use an easy to use program called ZOOM. I just email you a link which you click on at the appointment time and we are connected.

People MUST phone and speak with me personally for a brief conversation before I will set an appointment. The purpose of the call is for me to determine the appropriateness of the referral and how I may be of service.

If you are seeking counselling on a matter involving criminal court, please be advised that I will not provide reports speaking to progress, the result of counselling. The rationale for this decision is to avoid having the counselling process used as a strategy mitigate responsibility for criminal behaviour in view of a trial or sentencing.

Counseling is provided on a closed basis, meaning you must agree that you or your designate or proxy will not call me to court or ask to provide a report for court purposes.


As a social worker, I am respectful of people's different income levels. As such, the fee is set on a fee-for-service basis using a sliding scale that ranges from $100 - $400 per hour. The actual fee then is determined by your family income, although no verification is required. You will be charged from the beginning of the scheduled appointment time, even if you are late. Further, time will be taken at the beginning of our meeting for me to present my qualifications, experience and approach to counselling so that service is provided on an informed basis. This is deemed part of the time provided and billed for.

 Income  Fee/hour
 Up to $50,000  $100.00
 $50,000 - $75,000  $125.00
 $75,000 - $100,000  $150.00
 $100,000 - $125,000  $175.00
 $125,000 - $150,000  $200.00
 $150,000 - $175,000  $225.00
 $175,000 - $200,000   $250.00
 $200,000 - $250,000  $300.00
 $250,000 - $350,000  $350.00
 $350,000 +  $400.00

Clients provide payment by cash, electronic money transfer or cheque at the end of each session. A receipt is always provided. 

A consultation report may be provided to referring physicians with client consent and there is no extra charge for this report when provided at the time of initial service. 


Third Party Payments (EAP and other Benefit Providers):

Pleased be advised that I do not accept payment by third party payers (benefit or EAP providers) whatsoever. People are directly responsible for payment of services as per the information above at the time of service. A receipt will be provided with which persons can seek reimbursement from their EAP or benefit provider. I take no responsibility for your reimbursement. Reimbursement remains a matter between you and your benefit or EAP provider. 

If you do seek reimbursement through your benefit or EAP provider and I am called to verify the charge, I will do so with your implied consent. My disclosure will be limited to advising of my credentials as well as verifying the billing information, service provided and persons served. No information regarding the nature or content of information discussed will be provided.



  1. Counselling is provided on a private and discreet basis.
  2. Service is provided on-line only, currently using ZOOM.
  3. Daytime appointments are available Monday through Wednesday. Evening appointments are available Monday through Wednesday. I typically set my appointment times for 9:30 am, 1:30 pm and 7:00 pm. The appointment times can be somewhat negotiable. I do not offer weekend appointments.
  4. Persons may self-refer. Please call.
  5. Persons are expected to attend sober for appointments.
  6. Violence of any fashion will not be condoned.


All matters remain confidential with the following exceptions:

  1. Any past or imminent harm or abuse to a child currently younger than 18 years of age will be reported to proper authorities.
  2. Any imminent threat of harm to self or to another adult will be reported either to proper authorities and/or to other persons who may be required to intervene as necessary.
  3. Counseling is provided on a closed basis, meaning you must agree that you or your designate or proxy will not call me to court or ask to provide a report for court purposes.
  4. For quality assurance and in case of concern or complaint about service, all meetings will be recorded.
  5. Information about yourself can be used to pursue payment in the event of non-payment.


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Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW



(905) 628-4847


Gary Direnfeld is considered a child-behaviour expert, a social worker, author of Raising Kids Without Raising Cane and Marriage Rescue: Overcoming Ten Deadly Sins in a Failing Relationship. Gary not only helps people get along or feel better about themselves, but also enjoys an extensive career in public speaking. He provides insight on issues ranging from child behaviour management and development; to family life; to socially responsible business development and management. Courts in Ontario, Canada consider Gary an expert on matters pertaining to child development, custody and access, family/marital therapy and social work.



Counselling and assessment services serving Hamilton, Dundas, Ancaster, Stoney Creek, Burlington, Brantford,

Oakville, Grimsby, Waterdown and other local areas.


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