A Beautiful Mind

Psychologist Lara Sigurdson shares her approach to work and play

Lara Sigurdson is a clinical psychologist in private practice, and she really loves her job. “I have the best job in the world! I see people in their purest form. I bear witness to all of their darkness and you see people become more self-aware, more courageous, more empowered. What a crazy-beautiful thing that is,” she says. “I get to witness humanity doing something bravely so they can be better and stronger and wiser.”

That approach of seeking light and positivity in her interactions with others spills over into her work with colleagues too. Lara has mostly-female team of mental health professionals in her practice in Barrie, Ontario, a small city north of Toronto, and she enjoys her role as a mentor. “I love when I can actually see people’s capabilities before they see it in themselves.”

In her downtime, she will sometimes combine her love of psychology and observation with an afternoon in Toronto browsing the shelves at Caversham Booksellers, an all-psychology bookstore, and sipping a chai latte while people-watching at a café in Yorkville. She says that while she enjoys the traditional mountains-and-lakes kind of scenery, it’s the human aspect of her surroundings that is most appealing, whether she’s in California, Iceland or Greece. “I love to look down on a busy street and see everyone moving around and doing their thing. You see how the day-to-day beauty goes. I like to have a snapshot in my head of how people live.” Lara also regularly goes to shows in the Toronto theatre district: “I’m always moved by live theatre because I love watching someone onstage, affecting a thousand people,” she says. “Seeing people do their best and do it well—oh, it’s inspiring!”

What’s the best thing Lara’s learned in her career? “Never underestimate the complexity of other people. I think we can see all the layers in ourselves really well, all the different personality traits, our moods, our story, how we change. We see ourselves as really, really complex but we tend to see other people as more simple and one-dimensional,” she says. “People are complicated, in a great way; a beautiful way. We’re a patchwork of experience and history and personality. It’s fantastic!”

Lara Sigurdson, Barrie, Ontario, Owner, Psychology Matters therapy practice