Cortney Pasternak, MA, MEd, RP, is licensed by the Registrar General of Ontario and the Ontario Humanist Society to provide Humanist (similar to civil or legal) marriage ceremonies in Ontario. She is also a Registered Psychotherapist who specializes in relationship counselling and pre-marital counseling or marriage prep. Cortney officiates many life passage ceremonies in addition to weddings. These include funerals, memorials, celebrations of life, baby namings, etc. She has been screened and trained by the Ontario Humanist Society, which is a vibrant organization that advocates for, among other things, social justice, human rights, inclusivity and environmental sustainability.
As previously stated, Cortney is also a Masters level psychotherapist and counsellor, trained at the University of Toronto in the Counselling Psychology/Counselling & Psychotherapy program. She provides psychotherapy to individuals, couples and families and works with many clients around love,, relationships and dating, particularly with internet dating or online dating. She has also been trained to offer marriage preparation counseling for couples from secular perspective. This work largely focuses on helping couples further develop and maintain their loving bonds, their communication skills, and problem solving skills — all cited as being key ingredients to maintaining successful, long term relationships. Her work with clients around dating specifically, draws in part from an Attachment based therapy model and helps clients recognize poor relationship patterns and work to improve those patterns. Cortney is a current member of the Ontario Association of Consultants, Counselors, Psychometrists and Psychotherapists (OACCPP) and the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO).
Prior to her more recent training, Cortney obtained a Masters Degree in Communication and Culture from York University and has completed doctoral level research in Social Anthropology with a strong interest in media, politics, psychology, emotions, and behaviour. Her professional background is also that of a post-secondary school educator and mentor, journalist and writer, where she has helped a vast array of people share their most meaningful stories — a passion that informs her highly personalized approach to building ceremonies. Cortney is often told one of her key strengths in facilitating life passage ceremonies is her ability to communicate with energy, warmth, compassion and empathy having worked for many years as a professional communicator through her work as a broadcast journalist and storyteller, an educator, and through her Humanist work.
Cortney lives with her family, moving between Hamilton, Toronto and the West GTA. When she can find the time, Cortney loves to travel, paint, read and cook with her family. She believes that Humanist ceremonies offer wonderful ways to build bridges among families and to grow diverse and inclusive communities.