Mary Marano: Change Is Not A Skill. Change Is A Choice

It’s time to stop repeating old patterns and instead create new habits that allow you to thrive in all your relationships. Yes, it’s possible, with the help of Mary Marano and the team at Life & Family Counselling!

Let’s talk. Mary Marano is a psychotherapist and relationship expert, as well as the owner of Life & Family Counselling. She refuses to believe that people cannot change. With the right support, effort and consistency, she believes we can transform our challenges into opportunities for growth and that, with this awareness, anything is possible. With over 25 years of experience, no one is more passionate about restoring hope and trust to the individuals and the families she helps. She and her partner, to whom she’s been married for 28 years, along with their children, became a family that supported teenage girls, assisting over 80 foster children and supporting their families while in transition. “That is what was most impactful for me — when I saw the gaps in services and the lack of mental health support for children and their families,” she says. “So that is what prompted me to go back to school, [helped determine] where my focus would be and how I came into private practice.”

Marano started her private practice working from her basement, and describes people knocking on her door. “I know what I am meant to do.” She outgrew her home office and found a space for her newly created business, Life & Family Counselling. Her ability to help people grew rapidly, and today she celebrates her fifth anniversary with her growing team and the community of Vaughan, where she lives and works.

Now Marano is known in the community for working with challenging and complicated family situations and high-conflict relationships. Many people seek therapy because of a crisis situation. It is difficult to live with feelings of anxiety, anger and despair. She is often the last resort for some individuals, and, with her warm and compassionate approach to therapy, one of her strengths is that she can quickly create a safe environment for individuals to feel supported as they go through life’s challenges. “To be able to restore hope and trust to the family unit in a short period of time is amazing work. To be able to do that for a family is priceless,” she adds.

Marano says that the power of connection between you and another person is essential in the healing process. When our mental health is left untreated because we do not have the proper resources or because we feel isolated because of shame, it can have subtle and catastrophic repercussions. There is no excuse for us not to talk about mental health and address real-life problems because no one is immune.

Where does Marano’s passion come from? From within, actually. “We all have our own history … One of the things you understand in the helping profession is that we are all wounded healers,” she says, adding, “We do not get into this profession by accident, and we learned how to transform that history so we do not pass it on to others, like to our children.” Marano was determined to break generational patterns when she became a parent, through her own personal therapy journey. Change can bring up uncomfortable feelings for some, when in fact, change means you are becoming conscious of what you are thinking and feeling. “As a therapist, I get to see change and transformation happen right before my eyes, so this never feels like work for me,” she says.

Can she share what’s new and exciting? Marano is officially launching her new brand, Changed by Mary, in 2023. She has created an online workshop and workbook called Relationship SOS — Ready. Set. Grow that includes 12 personal and instructional videos. Relationship SOS Ready. Set. Grow was created to help you explore your relationship with yourself, others and your partner. It will help you understand your behaviours and why you do the things you do in your relationships,” she explains. “The real power of the online workshop and workbook is so versatile: it works if you are new to therapy, or it can be adapted to take you to a deeper level of work for those who have previously been to counselling. Couples can use the workbook to open discussions; it can bring you and your partner more insight and awareness, while discovering new things about each other. As well, practitioners can use this as a tool for their own clients, guiding them through the awareness of a cycle that needs to be broken.”

Marano knows there is also a healing energy that is generated when people meet face to face. She will also be offering individual and couples retreats in the near future. “It is all in the details. I want to bring people and the workbook together, so they can make connections while doing their personal work.” Marano is proud of what she has accomplished and what Life & Family Counselling has created. In fact, they won the Vaughan Chamber of Commerce Business Achievement Award for Health and Wellness in 2022. It is a family-run business, she adds. “Their [the family’s] support is an integral part of my success,” she says. Marano’s positivity and can-do attitude is inspiring, and the most important thing she wants people to know is simply this: “Change is not a skill. Change is a choice. With change comes endless possibilities.”

1160 Clarence St., Unit 8, Woodbridge, Ont.

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City Life Staff

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