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Maria Pelufo

My areas of interest:

  1. Depression 
  2. Anxiety
  3. Codependency
  4. PTSD, Early childhood trauma, sexual trauma
  5. Integration: immigrants, refugees, people that have the experience of "difference"
  7. Polyamorous Relationships - Jealousy.

I am including my formal training and experience details at the end of this text, because probably they are important to you. Yes, I am a Clinical Psychologist, qualifying Psychotherapist in Canada, qualified Counsellor and Psychotherapist in many countries. However, I would really hope that you choose me as a Coach (the service I am allowed to offer at the moment in Canada) because you think that my personal journey can inspire you, and you would like to learn the "how to" for getting from a crippling depression and suicidal feelings, bad relationships, secrets, and family hurts to waking up EVERY DAY looking forward to anything that life can offer me, including the challenges, and developing nurturing, honest and beautiful relationships. I also fully embraced my sexuality (I self identify as Queer and Poly).

The gifts received in Recovery were so astounding to me, that I went back, based on my Clinical training and deconstructed what had to happen for this radical change to take place. I love my life, and myself today. 


Where I started: I was abandoned by my mother at birth and adopted into an Italian family by a mom that had never healed from the death of her own child. She gave me what she could but was consumed by pain and rage, and I suffered abuse and violence at home since a very early age. I grew up in Montevideo (my family was immigrant), and my dad coped with alcohol. I also grew up with the dynamics of a typical alcoholic family since my father drank, and my mother raged, pleaded, manipulated... I learned all that! I chose Psychology as a career, seeking probably my own healing first of all. 

In sum, I was carrying a lot of trauma, and married very young, and had 6 children. I was an absent, workaholic and depressed mother that could not be there for them.

 I was crippled by Mental Health issues: depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and received little help... You see, no one noticed because my exterior was looking good...I had a career, my money disasters were not visible (debt will do that!). I had extraordinary resilience but was broken inside. Every breakdown taught me something, and I am grateful to the therapists and supervisors that helped me through the years but it was only when one of my sons got really sick, and obviously was in the throes of an addiction that I hit rock bottom. 

Where I am today:

Today I am "in recovery". I accept fully that I need support to be well, and healthy. I had to change my diet, leave behind a few toxic relationships, make changes, and embrace the fact that the solutions cannot come from the same space where the problem was created... All my survival strategies or "Creative Adjustments" like we call them in Gestalt were not going to serve me to leave behind everything I knew. Therapy teaches me new ways to relate, helps me grow and become more present and authentic, but I needed the tools of Recovery that I learned in the 12-Steps programs to arrest the old patterns. Some people call this a spiritual shift. Some put their lives in the hands of God. As an Atheist, I am always happy to hear when people have a solid belief system, but I personally simply believe in the love that connects us all. Our beautiful common humanity is my Higher Power. 

I meditate and I pray.

My Coaching System: Inspired in the structure, and tools of the Recovery programs, I developed an initial 6-weeks program that explores root causes of trauma, depression and anxiety and systematically trains you use tools that will create lasting change. We know now that it is the creation of new Neuropathways what will produce the results we seek. We need support, repetition, and a new routine. My Program has a money-back guarantee if you do not obtain the promised results, and is meant to support, not replace your Medical, Psychiatric, Psychotherapeutic or Recovery treatment. We work to enhance, and accelerate results, and to improve your life quality while you gently heal with the help of other Medical or Mental Health professionals. 

I also offer a sliding scale and individual consultations and workshops. My work is affordable in gratitude and homage to the many people that helped me!


Send me an email, and we can set-up a first free consultation! 

If you are curious but not ready to commit, I also offer Workshops to work on specific themes such as Resentments, Fears, Self-care, Addictions, Food, and more! 


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My Resume


Bilingual and Multilingual Counselling- Coaching – Training - Facilitation

Relevant Experience:

22 years of international experience in Multilingual Counselling (French, Spanish, German, English) to immigrants, displaced persons, and expats within the International Community in Vienna, Austria, in Montevideo, Uruguay, and in Toronto, Canada. Clinical Psychologist with certificates in Sexual and Humanistic Counseling and training in Gestalt, Family Constellations, Enneagram, Systemic Therapy, Transactional Analysis, and NLP. Areas of special interest: Addictions, Codependence and Sexuality with special emphasis in the LGTBQQIPA2S community -active in several service committees in the 519 Community Centre.  Extensive Crisis Intervention experience on a volunteer basis, including 24 hours hotlines. Former United Nations employee; collaborated with UN humanitarian initiatives (including Human Trafficking awareness). Also, a Translator, and Program Manager with extensive experience working in multicultural, and multilingual settings.

Work Experience

March 2014 to present. Volunteer Program Manager, and Workshop facilitator for Rediscovering Joy, and Assistant at the Human Awareness Institute. Freelance Spanish, and French Translator. Living in Toronto, Ontario.

  • Volunteer      for the Crisis Intervention Team in Black Rock City, NV
  • Assistant  to Group Facilitation at the Human Awareness Institute.
  • Workshop  leader for Rediscovering Joy. Helping people with Mental Health  Challenges.
  • Administrative and Consulting services for environmental projects. 
  • Freelance  translator into French, and Spanish
  • Full-time  Student at the Gestalt Institute of Toronto. Graduated from the Professional Program.
  • Private practice as a Coach, helping people with addiction, depression and codependency issues. 

August 2011 to December 2013 – Private practice as a Clinical Psychologist, and Sexologist in Montevideo Uruguay. 

Clinical Practice in downtown Montevideo, with special interest in the Enneagram (from Claudio Naranjo), Sexology, and treatment of depression, using integrated approaches such as Gestalt, Person-Centered, Transactional Analysis, and elements from the 12 Steps Programs. 

October 2010 to December 2013– Microsoft Corporation – (working for Lionbridge) – Mobile

Bilingual Localization Project Manager (International Site Manager for Canada – FR/EN)

December 2009 to August 2010 – MyScreen Mobiles – Advertising for Mobile Phones – Toronto, ON. 

Project Coordinator – Translator 

March 2009 to December 2009 – Toronto Healing Arts – Toronto, Canada.

Private practice (Coaching). Integrated coaching techniques to support Bilingual job seekers in Ontario. 

May 2007 to January 2009 – Logitech Remote Controls, Toronto, Canada

· Worked independently as a counselor, psychologist, and French teacher. 

· Managed the Multicultural Centre “Here and Now” that provided free psychological and legal counseling for immigrants in French, Spanish, English, and German. 

· Worked as a trainer in the Ad Hoc Counseling Academy.

· Foreign Students Counselor for the Sigmund Freud University

February 1993 to December 2004 

United Nations Medical Centre – Private practice as a Counsellor, and Psychotherapist for members of the International Community (Freelance). Project Administrator and Translator for multiple UN initiatives (UNIDO, UNDP, UNESCO).


Gestalt Institute of Toronto. Professional Program in Gestalt (2017)

Gestalt Institute of Toronto 5-years Psychotherapy Training (attending Year 3)

Winnipeg, Canada (through online studies) - Saint Boniface University - French Translation

Sociedad Uruguaya de Sexología – Montevideo, Uruguay – Certifícate in Clinical Sexology.

Vienna, Austria – GAMED – Certificate in “Lebens und Sexualberatung” (Life and Sexuality Counseling) – 2002 – 2004.

Vienna, Austria – Ad Hoc Counselling Centre – Certificate in Counseling (Systemic approach).

UK – Glasgow – Strathclyde – Social Psychology – 1996-2001.

Montevideo – Uruguay –UCUDAL – Cinical Psychology – 1986-1992.

Montevideo – Uruguay – Centro Humanístico de Montevideo – Graduate Certificate in Counseling.

Montevideo – Uruguay – Centro Encuentro, Postgrado (Graduate certificate) Gestalt Therapy (not completed). – 1989 – 1991.

Montevideo – Uruguay – Universidad de la Republica – Translator Degree.

J.P. Varela College – College Diploma – Business Studies.

French Teaching Certificate – Alliance Française de Paris.