Sebastian Kristof

Sebastian Kristof - Psychotherapy at the integral health clinic - Ottawa Canada

Sebastian Kristof earned his medical doctor (M.D.) degree from National Medical University in Kiev, Ukraine, and went on to receive his clinical training in psychiatry. His professional experience includes seeing patients in private practice, being an attending psychiatrist at Kiev First Psychiatric Hospital (Ukraine), and working as a counselor at Yale Psychiatric Hospital (New Haven, CT, USA).

After about seven years in the profession, he went through a severe burnout and decided to disengage from the counseling practice. He began writing songs and singing them to friends; soon he was invited to perform at concerts and music festivals all over the United States and Canada. He recorded six original CDs, some solo and some with an art-rock band. He later switched to academic research and completed two postdoctoral fellowships, at Yale University and the University of California, San Diego.

Gradually, Sebastian's passion for client-facing psychotherapy came back - this time combined with a more balanced personality, richer life experience, and heightened ability to accept what is without judgement. In his therapeutic approach, he incorporates many schools of psychotherapy, blending them all into a unique modality he likes to call "intuitive psychotherapy". He firmly believes that each problem holds in itself the key for its own resolution; the task of a good therapist is then to be there for the person in distress as a "clean mirror," allowing the patient's intuition to bring forward the solutions that are already present within him or her. This "assisted help from within" is usually more effective than any quick external solution that requires a person to accept somebody else's - however well-intentioned - idea of what is right and what he or she ought to do.

Sebastian also practices what he jokingly calls "biochemical psychotherapy." It is nothing short of amazing if one considers the thousands of therapy hours (not to mention dollars) spent on trying to improve somebody's mood, increase productivity, fix anger or despair, and instill a generally positive outlook on life, when the patient may in fact be suffering from a simple vitamin or hormone deficiency, or an environmental toxicity. This is especially critical in children, when an inborn enzyme deficiency, nutritional imbalances, environmental toxins, or even something as "simple" as parasite invasion, can cause dramatic behavioral disturbances. With the mindset of mens sana in corpore sano, do not be surprised if your therapy plan includes nutritional corrections, sauna, or even a blood test.

While Sebastian works with patients of all age groups and backgrounds, his particular interest is in child and adolescent well-being. A survivor of child abuse himself, and now a parent who was able to turn his family history around, he understands the peculiar issues that the children in abusive households go through. He also knows that adults who survive the abuse and grow up to be so-called normal people are often haunted by the consequences for the rest of their lives. It takes a very special approach to deal with the family abuse, and most of the therapists cannot really relate to this situation.

Another area of his interest is the adaptation of the immigrant families to their life in Canada. Many problems arise through communication difficulties, cultural shock, and attachment to certain ways of doing things which are not always shared by all members of the family. This can be especially problematic when one parent is Canadian, and another parent and/or children are from overseas. While most available therapy programs concentrate on "adaptation" to Canada, Sebastian - an immigrant himself - strives to see everybody's point of view, and is not afraid to address the deficiencies of the Canadian way of life, including food, schools, health care, the unique stresses, and extreme cultural differences. The goal in all situations is to help people realize that a state of conflict is always less profitable, in the long run, than a state of peace.

Sebastian lives in Ottawa with his wife and two children. He is a regular member of a Ukrainian church where he occasionally sings with the choir. He provides consultations in English, Russian, and Ukrainian.