The School for Psychotherapy and Emotional Bodywork (SPEB) was originally founded in 1986 in the Annex area of Toronto by an experienced psychotherapist named Dan McDonald. Dan’s vision was to create an educational and training institute dedicated to the study of psychotherapy and emotional bodywork. Over the years, Dan was joined by a variety of faculty members who co-created this institute based on the following theoretical and experienced based principles:

1) The unconscious dynamics of the human psyche can be explored and brought to consciousness through the process of psychotherapy and emotional bodywork. Making the unconscious conscious is an act of healing.

2) There is no separation between the emotional body and the physical body. What happens in one domain influences and affects what happens in the other. By exploring this inter-relationship, psychotherapy & emotional bodywork can guide the client to change through shifts in somatic, cognitive and emotional patterns.

3) In order to ensure a safe, effective and ethical use of self in the therapeutic relationship, psychotherapists & emotional body workers must understand the unconscious dynamics that impact their own relationships. A compulsory requirement at the School for Psychotherapy & Emotional Bodywork is that students engage in their own psychotherapeutic process while pursuing their studies.

4) Teaching, learning and healing best take place in a relational setting. An open and interactive learning community is the foundation of our education and training program.

5) Education and training at our Institute is based on the principles of adult education where prior knowledge, self-direction, collaboration and experiential learning guide the learning process.

From 1986 to 1996, the Psychotherapy & Emotional Bodywork Learning Program consisted of five weekends and one week–long residential workshop throughout the year. In 1997, the original Learning Program became known as the Ontario Institute for Psychotherapy and Emotional Bodywork (OIPEB*) (*the name changed to IPEB in 2001 – Institute for Psychotherapy & Emotional Bodywork)

As of 1997, OIPEB offered a certificate program which was designed to be completed over 4 years on a part-time basis allowing students the time to pursue their own psychotherapeutic process while studying psychotherapy and developing entry to practice competency. The Certificate program offers students the opportunity to complete the foundational courses central to the practice of psychotherapy and emotional bodywork.

Upon completion of the Certificate Program, students had the option of completing an additional two years to receive a Diploma in Psychotherapy and Emotional Bodywork. The diploma program provides an internship opportunity for student therapists to further develop proficiency, add competencies and work toward achieving the required number of hours of direct client contact and clinical supervision.

Over the years OIPEB has also offered a continuing education program for associated therapists which allows diploma graduates the opportunity to add competencies and evolve their level of proficiency based upon work experience and continuing professional development.

In 2011, OIPEB/IPEB became known as the School for Psychotherapy & Emotional Bodywork (SPEB) and was approved for certification as a learning institute by the Ministry of Human Resources & Skills Development Canada.

SPEB is also an institutional member of the Canadian Association of Psychodynamic Therapy.

In 2013, The School for Psychotherapy & Emotional Bodywork was composed of the following six faculty members:

  • John Kennedy Ph. D., Psychotherapist
  • Joan Barnett SPEB Diploma Psychotherapist
  • John Pitt Masters in Therapeutic Counseling
    • Certified Sex Addiction Therapist
    • SPEB Diploma Psychotherapist
  • Anne Deck Reg. Nurse
    • Certified Hypnotist
    • SPEB Diploma Psychotherapist
  • Joseph Schnurr M. ED. Guidance and Counseling
    • SPEB Diploma Psychotherapist
  • Karen Watpool, Pharmacologist

Below is a summary of courses and fee structures from 1986-2013.

    1) 1986 - 1996

Psychotherapy & Emotional Bodywork Learning Program:

  • Total of 125 hours yearly on a part-time basis
    • 5 weekends @ 15 hours each year
    • Week-long residential workshop 50 hours in July each year

     2) 1997 – 2013 OIPEB/IPEB/SPEB

Certificate Program:

  • Total of 640 hours over 4 years on a part-time basis
    • 3 hours of courses weekly, Sept. to May/June
    • Two weekend workshops, Oct. and Feb each year
    • Week-long residential workshop in July each year
Diploma Program:
  • Total of 320 hours over 2 years on a part-time basis
    • 3 hours of courses weekly, Sept. to May/June
    • Two weekend workshops, Oct. and Feb each year
    • Week-long residential workshop in July each year


Our core belief at the School for Psychotherapy and Emotional Bodywork is that the healing paradigm of the 21st century is multi-dimensional.  Therefore, contemporary training in psychotherapy must include an integrated knowledge of human development and a hands-on understanding of the diverse approaches to psychotherapeutic healing.  To this end, our curriculum is based on an exploration of the following key psychotherapeutic concepts and subject areas:

  • Emotional Bodywork
  • Attachment, Bonding & Connection
  • Transference & Countertransference
  • Transpersonal Psychotherapy
  • Experiential Psychotherapy
  • Myth, Dreams & Storytelling
  • Ethical Practice and Professional Standards
The following courses have been developed from the above themes and are taught on an on-going basis throughout the certificate and diploma programs. The School for Psychotherapy and Emotional Bodywork promotes an adult model of co-operative learning where faculty and students work together on the journey of life-long learning.

History of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

This course aims to teach the student a historic development of dynamic theories of the Unconscious. As its outcomes, the successful student will be able to understand and intelligently discuss the discovery of the Unconscious during the 18th century and its further development in the 19th and 20th centuries with such leading theoreticians as Pierre Janet and his Psychological Analysis, Sigmund Freud and his Psychoanalysis, Alfred Adler and his Individual Psychology and Carl Gustav Jung and his Analytical Psychology. Key concepts, such as Transference and Counter-Transference, Dreams and their analysis, the meaning of par praxes, the repression of primitive desires and longings and their expression as a method of becoming more aware and the nature of healing in the Psychodynamic process will provide the student with working tools to assess the value of each contribution and how they still may be found in both individual and group processes.

Course Instructor:

  • John Kennedy, Ph. D., SPEB Diploma

Proprioceptive Writing

This course will teach through an experiential method the art of proprioceptive writing, a psychological technique developed in Linda Trichter Metcalf and Tobin Simon’s book Writing the Mind Alive. By sitting in a peaceful setting, listening to Baroque music while a candle burns calmly, the student will be asked to listen to what is happening within their own mind and simply write out what they are hearing. This tapping in to their own soul is not concerned with grammar, structure or proper writing style. Its focus is on getting “in touch” with one’s own innate wisdom and emotions. The student will experience learning to hear their own inner voice and not to dismiss or evade it. By writing out what they hear, the student will often be able to recover long forgotten memories, dreams or experiences which have helped to shape their personality. The method is simple and accessible to all. It respects a person’s inner journey towards “self-knowledge” and so teaches us to respect ourselves and what conversations may be going on within us.  This course assists the learner therapist in developing a safe and effective use of self in the therapeutic relationship. 

Course Instructor:

  • John Kennedy, Ph. D.,  SPEB Diploma

Setting up a Psychotherapy Practice

This course examines some of the essentials of establishing and maintaining core conditions for a psychotherapy practice. The student will learn about the importance of sensitivity in setting up a physical space which creates a warm, attractive and secure place where clients can feel welcome to share their deepest feelings without hesitation. Establishing this emotional space also includes the importance of establishing confidentiality in the therapeutic milieu for the protection of the client’s privacy and identity. The essential nature of regular supervision for the therapist, the current guidelines regarding client-therapist privilege, moral & ethical considerations as well as report writing and appropriate fee structures are all reviewed with the student-therapists.

Course Instructors:
  • John Kennedy, Ph. D., SPEB Diploma
  • Anne Deck Reg. Nurse, Certified Hypnotist, SPEB Diploma 

Wilhem Reich

This course will introduce the student to the life and thought of this Austrian Psychoanalyst, student of Freud, who developed a unique approach to the treatment of Psychological disorders through working with their manifestations in the physical body. Beginning with Reich’s understanding of the ongoing effects of emotional trauma, the student will learn about the concepts of body armoring and explore Reich’s developing ideas about how physical release of such embodied traumata can recreate a healthier emotional balance. The student will also come to understand the importance of healthy sexuality in normal mental health. The successful student will be able to understand and discuss the contributions of Reich to a richer understanding of the origins of trauma and another way of helping to heal such trauma. 

Course Instructor:

  • John Kennedy, Ph. D., SPEB Diploma


Over the past 100 years, Psychoanalysis has evolved from the work of Sigmund Freud to Psycho-dynamic Psychotherapy and then Self-Psychology and the work of Heinz Kohut.  In this course on Self-Psychology, students will gain an understanding and application of the following key therapeutic concepts:

  1. Empathic Attunement
  2. Self-Object Experiences
  3. Mirroring, Twining & Alter-Ego Transferences
  4. The Disruption-Restoration Process
Core texts include:
  • Treating the Self (Ernest S. Wolf)                        
  •  Empathic Attunement (Rowe & Mac Isaac)                   
  • How Does Analysis Cure? (Heinz Kohut)

Self-Psychology has proven effective in dealing with a number of conditions including ie) narcissistic personality disorder.

Course Instructor:

  • Joseph Schnurr, M.Ed. in Guidance & Counseling, SPEB Diploma

Transpersonal Psychotherapy

This introductory exploration of the place, need and existence of the spiritual dimension in life prepares this student of psychotherapy to respond effectively and support clients whether in schizophrenic breakdown, traumatized by a spiritual awakening, in need of 12-step work for addiction recovery or wondering about God and healing.

Drawing on the resources of a diversified field of therapist/authors such as: Jung, Durkheim, Maslow, Rose and Bacon, the student is encouraged to become aware of the need for a wide variety of approaches to spirituality that may or not include organized religion. 

This course helps the student to integrate knowledge of human and cultural diversity in the therapeutic process.
Course Instructor:

  • John Pitt, M.T.C., SPEB Diploma

Experiential Group Psychotherapy

In keeping with the tradition of psycho-dynamic psychotherapy, our approach at the School for Psychotherapy & Emotional Bodywork is to teach and learn through experience.  Therapists can best learn to use themselves effectively and help others if and when they have done their own personal psychotherapy.  At our school, all students participate in Group Psychotherapy on a weekly basis throughout the school year.  This program offers all students the opportunity to learn from one another by exploring “Self as Text” and to integrate the knowledge of the impact of the therapist’s self on the therapeutic process.

Group Facilitators:

  • SPEB Faculty

Addiction Recovery

Our belief is that the most effective approach to healing addictions is a multi-dimensional approach.  Our students will learn the origins and contemporary applications of the 12-Step programs.  In keeping with the tradition of psycho-dynamic psychotherapy, our approach at the School for Psychotherapy and Emotional Bodywork is to teach and learn through experience.  In this regard, we believe that all of our therapists should be exposed to one of the most important aspects of addiction recovery - the 12 Step Program. Conversely, we also believe that psychotherapy can play an integral role in helping a person in recovery apply and maintain the 12-Step Program in their daily life.  Psychotherapy and the 12 Step Program work very well together to bring about deep inner healing and on-going transformation.  This course helps the student to recognize the benefits, limitations and contraindications of differing psychotherapeutic approaches in addiction recovery. 

Course Instructors:

  • John Pitt M.T.C., SPEB Dipolma              
  • Joseph Schnurr M.Ed. Guidance and Counseling, SPEB Dipolma

Biodynamic Psychology and Psychotherapy

This course is an important exploration of an effective response to the natural therapeutic phenomenon of resistance. The course presents the work of Gerda Boyesen, Peg Nunnely and colleagues who have discovered and developed this effective form of therapy since the 1940s. Articles and books are supplemented by recent on-line, hands-on demonstrations and lectures from many countries.  Students will learn the historic views of resistance through lectures and reading of Freud, Reich, Lowen, Perakos and Keleman.  Hands on exploration of the bodywork techniques developed and used by the bio-dynamic practitioners are an integral part of the course.  This course will help the student in further developing a theoretical framework based on a range of psychotherapeutic practices.

Course Instructors:
  • John Pitt M.T.C., SPEB Diploma                     
  • John Kennedy Ph. D., SPEB Diploma
  • Joan Barnett SPEB Diploma

Guest Presenter Series

At the School for Psychotherapy and Emotional Bodywork we strive to create a forum for the interdisciplinary understanding and dynamic interplay of 21st century psychotherapy relevant to practice.   To this end, we host guest speakers throughout the year to broaden and deepen our dialogue with the greater community. Past presenters have included Stanley Keleman, Marion Woodman, Gabor Mate, Elinor Dickson and others in the field of Gestalt Therapy, Analytical Psychology, Dream Psychology and Somatic Therapies.

Facilitated by the SPEB Faculty

Emotional Bodywork

The Emotional Bodywork course explores the nature of and several responses to the psychotherapeutic client phenomenon of resistance. The student will learn the nature of resistance which is why a client who wants to heal and change would unconsciously stop or block that very process at different stages during the therapy.  Lectures and reading for works by Freud, Reich, Boyesen, Lowen, Perakos, Keleman, and Kohut will enable the student to understand when certain therapies are contraindicated and to respond in the most appropriate way to the resistance process of their future clients.  The course offers participants supervised training in the application of emotional bodywork techniques and practices. 

Course Instructors:
  • John Pitt M.T.C, SPEB Diploma                              
  • Joan Barnett SPEB Diploma


The history of hypnosis through the ages to present day, is presented in this course. Students are led through a simple, technical and complete explanation of hypnosis and the ethics that support this process. Students learn how to interview a client to gather information and create an induction script. Inductions, visualizations and positive affirmations are experienced and practiced by the students. They learn the power of positive language. Hypnosis can replace outdated defenses in clients and help them to make positive changes in their lives. The students learn a helpful, psychotherapeutic tool.  

Course Instructor:
  • Anne Deck, R.N., C. Ht., SPEB Diploma

Formative Psychology

In this course we explore the theory of Formative Psychology and practice of Somatic Emotional Therapy founded by Stanley Keleman.  This form of emotional bodywork allows clients to express their feelings, sensations, and perceptions through muscular and visceral micro-movements, allowing their habitual and life inhibiting patterns to be revealed. With the “Bodying Practice’’ clients learn to be more present and fully alive in all aspects of their environment.Students are invited to demonstrate knowledge of Keleman’s text “Emotional Anatomy”, participate in dyadic mock sessions, read, discuss and report on excerpts of Keleman’s writings on transference and counter-transference, bonding, distortions of love, dreams and the body, and the maturation process.  This course helps the student to develop an awareness of non-verbal communication and the therapist’s subjective impact on the therapeutic process.
Course Instructor:   

  • Joan Barnett, SPEB Diploma

The Study of Dreams and the Imagination

Our dream world in both sleeping and waking life is a storehouse for the most profound and creative driving force of our being. If we didn’t dream we wouldn’t exist.  Freud has said because of our dreaming life we not only exist but we exist as a work of art. Our dreams are the expression of our felt and sensorial body. They reveal to us in metaphor and symbol who we are now and in the future. We will begin this two part course with the study of dreams from a variety of perspectives; psychodynamic, philosophic and somatic. Students will read from leading theorists in the area of dreams and will write and present on a variety of topics.

The second part of this course includes an investigation of the imagination and how its pervasive, sometimes latent presence can be stirred and honed for the expression of dreams, and the cultivation of a personal myth. Here we will explore how encouraging or furthering the development of our clients imagination can help stimulate their work with early trauma, express pre-verbal feelings and sensations, examine their core beliefs, and develop a deeper understanding of their inner world in relationship to others.

Students will bring their own dreams and imaginings into play by transforming them into art or writing, in an atmosphere of multi-dimensional exploration. By doing their own dream work, students will gain an appreciation for the tools available to them in working with clients.

Course Instructor: 

  • Joan Barnett SPEB Diploma

Movement and Dance

In this course, we explore movement based on the experiential, Gabrielle Roth method of five rhythms. Using some of her music, we explore and focus on where our body is in the moment. From this place, with movement improvisations on different themes, we work our way into a grounded and centered state of being.

People, who are very traumatized and unable to express themselves in words, can get in touch with feelings and express them non-verbally. Dreams and the unconscious can also be worked with in this safe and feeling way. Movement is used as a tool for enhancing both physical and emotional wellness.

Course Instructor:
  • Anne Deck, R.N., C. Ht., SPEB Diploma

Energy Work

Contemporary physics and neuroscience tells us we are all energetically connected. The belief and experience of what has been called “The Field” or “Matrix” has become more widely accepted and integrated into our culture.  From Freud’s concept of The Oceanic to Jung’s Collective Unconsciousand Reich’s bio-energy, this is a vast area of study with a common experiential component.  By grounding to self, we promote a connection to our inner wisdom and the subsequent expanding of consciousness.

In this course we will delve into the understanding and practice of energy psychology.  A course book of articles from a variety of sources will be provided and the students will be asked to present on an aspect of the work that inspires them.

Students completing this course will be able to:

  • use a series of bodywork techniques in the areas of Aura-work, The Cranial Field
  • Bio-energy, Felt Sense and Sound Resonance  
  • Use of intention and intuition when working with clients
  • develop tools to deepen shared experience with clients

Course Instructor: 

  • Joan Barnett, SPEB Diploma


During their training, when students begin psychotherapy sessions with clients, it is imperative that they have supervision. In these meetings, the student-therapist has a chance to work with all aspects of their session with their clients. Aspects of transference and counter-transference dynamics arising in the session(s) are always brought forward for examination and exploration on the part of the student-therapist. The student-therapist will be guided in ways to revisit areas in future sessions to bring forth this material so that the transference and/or counter-transference material can be re-examined allowing the full expression of feelings in these areas to be revealed and worked with. All matters are held in complete confidentiality.

Course Instructor:
  • Anne Deck, R.N., C. Ht., SPEB Diploma
  • John Kennedy Ph. D., SPEB Diploma

Sexual Addiction

This introductory course explores Sexual Addiction, Sexual Anorexia, Cybersex Compulsivity, sexual trauma and healthy sexuality. The course is based on the work of Patrick Carnes, Ph.D. A pioneer in this field and founding director of The International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals – a training, certification and professional development organization

Other resources on the topic of healthy Sexuality include:

  • Jean Vanier, Man and Woman He Made Them
  • Wendy Maltz, The Porn Trap
  •  Mark Weiss, Cruise Control
  • Donald Goergan – The Sexual Celibate

The student will be able to understand the cause and nature of sexual addictions and several approaches to recovery. The exploration of healthy sexuality will prepare the student to respond to the therapeutic needs of any client’s concerns in this important dimension of life. 

Course Instructor:

  • John Pitt, M.T.C.

Pharmacology and Psychotherapy

This introductory exploration enables the student of psychotherapy to appreciate the place and strengths of psychopharmacology in the emotional therapeutic process.
The student will learn:

  • The functions of the brain sections and their influence on emotions
  • The roles of prescribed medication in supporting the client and the psychotherapeutic process.

The course resources include:

  • Lectures by a Toronto Pharmacist
  • DVD and book by Dr. D. Amen psychiatrist –the use of brain SPECT scan imaging to help determine medication and life style recommendations for a wide variety of neuro- psychiatric problems.
  • DVD lecture by Dr. D. Siegel psychiatrist, Founding Director of the Mindsight Institute
  • Article on pharmacology and addiction treatment by George Samenow Ph.P, editor of the Journal for Sexual Compulsivity and Addiction.

The student will recognize the major classes of psychoactive drugs and their effects.  The student will also develop the competency to understand and communicate with a diagnosing and prescribing psychiatrist in order to support a client in the consideration of the place of medication in the therapeutic process. 

Course Instructor:

  • Karen Watpool, Pharmacologist