Stories can change lives if we're not careful. They will come in and take the shirts off our backs. Tell the right stories and we live better lives.
~Ali Smith (The Observer)
Sarah Sheard | Writer and Therapist

Sarah Sheard, Writer and Therapist
I have written and published three literary novels. I am currently drafting my fourth. By literary novels, I mean that they seek to tell their own stories in a way that can't readily be reduced to formula.

It was a natural jump for me from writing novels to working with people. Both writing and therapy explore the difficulties, behaviours and psychology of being alive.
sarah's writing
Almost Japanese
Summary: Emma discovers that her new next door neighbour is a dazzling Japanese orchestra conductor. Things Japanese soon begin to transform Emma and estrange her from her own world.
more about Almost Japanese
The Swing Era
Summary: A compelling story of a woman bound to her family by all the familiar complicated ties of love and obligation — and by a history of family madness that entrapped her lovely willful mother and now haunts her own life.
more about The Swing Era
The Hypnotist
Summary: Drawn together by mutual friends and a shared love of art, Signe, a talented photographer, and WIlliam, a psychiatrist, construct a private and passionate world of two. Driven by a need to penetrate the mystery of this man, Signe tries to crack the code of his carefully guarded world of hypnosis and psychotherapy.
more about The Hypnotist
Sarah's Views
Writing at Home
“Writing at home is hard. It's, like, a focus problem. The path to the desk is paved with great distractions. There's that rental video due back so maybe you should watch it right now.”
Read entire Writing At Home article
Angels and Devils
“We all have them in our psyches, competing for space.  Sometimes the devils are in charge—say, at 3 a.m., in that dark night of the soul.  At other times the angels take over and guide us through hours and hours of the most difficult work.”
Read entire Angels and Devils article
“Rejection stings like hell. When we were kids, it was a matter of life and death to be liked — by family, teachers and friends — but we quickly found out that the world could be cruel and scrambled for ways to toughen our hides.”
Read entire Rejection article

book reviews
Wrong About Japan
Book by Peter Carey
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Leonard Woolf: A Biography
Book by Victoria Glendinning
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Be Near Me
Book by Andrew O'Hagan
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Sarah Sheard
who am i

I am a writer (of novels, primarily) and a psychotherapist. Writing came first. I have always been interested in searching out what motivates us, finding clues to how we reveal our truths, pursue obsessions, map ways around obstacles, draft and define new versions of ourselves.

A writer listens, observes and takes note. A therapist does this also, but for different ends. Metaphor, dialogue, description are threads common to both. As are emotion, conflict, humour and dramatic weather of all kinds. Tiny things can be immensely significant in both fiction and therapy. The reverse can also be true at times. The scale of what matters is hugely subjective both in writing and in therapy.

It was a logical jump to make, from reading books to reading people. From writing words to observing the spaces between them in others. For a time these two parts of me were separate and distinct. Two languages. They are much less so now.

what i do mainly
I write literary novels, maintain a private psychotherapy practice, co-mediate estate disputes, mentor writing students, run selected creativity workshops, review books and write a regular column on psychological matters of relevance to writers.

1999 - present
Certified by OACCPP (Ontario Association of Consultants, Counsellors, Psychometrists and Psychotherapists) #210-7-237

professional associations
1993 - present
Ont. Assoc. of Consultants, Counsellors, Psychometrists & Psychotherapists (OACCPP)

2007 - present
Gestalt Institute of Toronto Alumni

workshops & seminars
"Writing About Healing" - Humber College
"Gestalt of Writing" - Gestalt Storefront

"Mediating Estates Cases" - Hamilton Law Association and Trusts Seminar

2004 - present
"Jumpstart Your Creativity" - Ryerson
"Writers & Depression" - Gestalt Storefront
"Psychological Issues of Creative People" - Toronto Writers' Centre
"Writing 'round the Bend" - Toronto Writers' Centre
The Coach House Press
13 years as member of the editorial board
Humber College School for Writers
13 years as a Mentor
Ryerson University
15 years as Instructor, Continuing Education Department
3 published novels: Almost Japanese, The Swing Era, The Hypnotist
Private Practice
I have been a certified therapist since 1995