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Toronto Ontario - Image by Berkay Gumustekin

About Me

Growing up in 80s/90s rural Ontario, gay role models were nowhere to be found. All I knew is that I had to hide the "bad" parts while hyper-focusing on the "good". You don't have to be gay to appreciate the exhaustion of constantly trying to prove your worth, while running from your shame. This internal battle continued long after my external world no longer demanded it. I didn't know I could stop fighting. Instead, I continued fighting an endless battle with no chance of winning, leading me to shut down with depression.

 

As much as I'd have liked for things to have been different, I appreciate that little Darren was doing the best he could with the resources he had.  Children fight hard for safety and acceptance in whatever way they know how.

Finding a great therapist was a game changer for me. It's why I work hard to offer clients a space that is filled with compassion, genuineness, and a sense of humour.  

Young Darren Parker

My Professional Background

I've been many things. A dog walker, a landscaper, a researcher. I've worked in television and film production and been a farm hand. In high school I even worked as an assistant butcher (sorry to my vegan and vegetarian friends!). I jumped around a lot not knowing what direction I was supposed to go (something many of my clients relate to). What I enjoyed across all those experiences was getting to know people from all walks of life. It helped highlight our common experiences of joy, anger, loss - the ups and downs we all face. It has also shown me how our unique histories dictate vastly different strategies to handle them. 

I've worked as a registered social worker since 2016 helping people process and manage their fears, angers, joys, grief, and more. I've had the privilege of helping hundreds of clients across community, hospital, and university settings. 

University and College - Image by Brett Jordan

Mental Health Counsellor

2020-2022

Housing the Homeless - Image by Tierra Mallorca

Housing Case Worker

2015 (Practicum)

Centre For Addiction and Mental Health - Image by Marcos Paulo Prado

Social Worker (Groups and Programming)

2018-2020

Grief and Grieving - Image by Mike Labrum

Grief Counsellor Volunteer

2013-2018

LGBT - Image by Sharon McCutcheon

2SLGBTQ+ Mental Health Counsellor

2016-2017

2015-2016 (Practicum)

Distress and Crisis - Image by Alexander Andrews

Crisis Line Volunteer

2012-2014

University College Grad School - Image by Cole Keister

Education

2014 - 2016 / Masters of Social Work (MSW)

University of Toronto (Factor Inwentash Faculty of Social Work)

2001 - 2005 / Honours Bachelor of Science (HBSc)

McMaster University - Biology and Psychology Program

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