About Alexander (Sandy) Maclean
Alexander (or Sandy as he prefers to be called) received a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in philosophy from the University of Guelph and is completing his Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology through Yorkville University. He is excited to be starting his internship at MyLife Counselling under the supervision of Clinical Director Mark Nixon. Sandy provides his services at a reduced rate to both individuals and those in relationships to help make his services more accessible to the community.
As a counselling intern, Sandy views his clients as the experts on their experience. He likens himself as a guide helping people reach their own desired outcomes and existential meaning rather than just focusing on what is wrong or “disordered.” Sandy can put himself in his clients’ shoes thanks to his personal therapy experiences over the years for learning differences, depression and trauma. Although much of his own therapy was helpful, he’s also learned a great deal from what wasn’t helpful in terms of how other therapists related to him.
In particular, Sandy has learned the importance of routinely checking in with clients every session to make sure they are feeling truly heard, understood, and respected in light of their values and identities. He believes therapy is not simply the treatment of symptoms or rushing to solve a problem, but an acknowledgement of the whole person – including their unique preferences and world views.
As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Sandy has seen a lack of masculine identifying voices from within the community when looking for his own therapist. For this reason, he finds it extremely important to be a positive and supportive male voice within the therapeutic space.
Sandy is especially passionate about helping people develop healthy and happy relationships that fit for them. His specialized training in Gottman relationship therapy means he’s capable of creating a safe and constructive space for people in relationships to improve their communication, enhance their friendship, and deepen their intimacy.
Outside of the office, Sandy continues to mentor and volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters. He’s continually inspired by watching the young people he volunteers with improve their confidence through a safe and trusting relationship. He is also the only student member of a team working to a create a certificate in Humanistic Counselling which focuses on the moral obligations of counsellors towards their clients and each other.
In his down time, Sandy is a voracious reader of everything from superhero comics and D&D (Nightwing and Superman are personal favorites), to works of philosophy and everything in between. He and his partner are also avid climbers and horror movie buffs, and he moonlights as a rock-climbing instructor at the Guelph Grotto climbing gym.