Dr. Randy Paterson

Clinic Director

Life is inherently complex and challenging for all of us. We can – and should – expect to run into situations and problems that seem confusing or difficult to bear or navigate. At these times, psychology can offer help.

I work with clients to find and access their own strengths and talents that have sustained them to this point in their lives. When people find themselves in new or difficult territory, we work together to develop new skills and strategies to move forward.

Most of my work employs elements of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), tailored to the needs and interests of the individual. We work together to identify the goals for our time together, then map out a route to achieve them. A part of almost every session involves the two of us coming up with plans for producing change between our meetings.

Some of the most common strategies I use include: Gradual shifts in lifestyle to produce increased energy and motivation, re-examination of the ways situations are interpreted and understood, the development of supportive and realistic ways of viewing troubling situations, strategies to overcome anxiety and depressed mood, the creation of a vision of what a better life might look like, the gradual confronting of one’s fears, strategies to promote mindfulness and an ability to return fully to the present moment, and insight into the ways that past relationships and events have shaped our view of the world and the future.

You can learn more about my perspective on therapy and psychology by visiting my YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@RandyPaterson

Current Clinical Focus

I continue to see existing clients from a wide variety of backgrounds and with diverse concerns. Currently my focus for new clients is on the following:

  • Young adults facing challenges in developing adult independence. This includes the so-called "failure to launch" population, though I dislike this common term, preferring "emerging adulthood." I help emerging adults identify their own life goals - and the fears, habits, skill gaps, and restrictive beliefs inhibiting their progress toward a more fulfilling life.
  • Parents of "stuck" young adults. I work to help parents view the problem from an interactional perspective, withdrawing from the emphasis on "making" the young adult change and instead shifting the relationship from parent/child to adult/adult. We work together to increase support for the young adult's independence while reducing over-helping where it is not needed using a GPR (gradual parental retirement) perspective.
  • Gay men experiencing life challenges. These include personal self-definition, coming out, finding community, mapping life goals, coping with discrimination or family conflict, overcoming the impact of past "conversion therapy," dealing with conflict relating to religious or cultural background, and the range of psychological challenges experienced by all but influenced by the LGBTQ context.

Talks and Presentations

For 20 years I have been providing training programs and workshops to mental health professionals on a wide variety of topics, including the hikikomori (failure-to-launch) phenomenon, the nature and treatment of the anxiety disorders, the evidence-based treatment of depression, strategies for conducting stress management, communication skills training, psychotherapy process, sexuality in healthcare settings, and private practice management. I have presented programs across Canada, as well as in the United States, New Zealand, Australia, and Hong Kong.

For further information on my presentations for professionals and the public, please visit randypaterson.com.

I have a variety of on-demand continuing education (CE) programs for mental health professionals (many of which offer CE credits) and for the general public (including programs on depression, financial self-management, and parenting emerging adults). For these programs, please visit psychologysalon.teachable.com.


My popular press books are available through bookstores and online booksellers. For Amazon Canada, click here. For Amazon USA, click here.

The Assertiveness Workbook: How to Express Your Ideas and Stand Up for Yourself at Work and in Relationships, 2nd Ed. (2022). A self-help guide to assertive communication skills. Also available translated into Hebrew, Polish, French, and Turkish. For further information on this book, click here.

How to be Miserable in Your Twenties (March 2020). A guide to the difficult passage of early adulthood - and the traps along the way. For further information on this book, click here.

How to be Miserable: 40 Strategies You Already Use (2016). What would you do if you wanted to feel worse, not better? Asking that question might reveal some of what you're already doing, and point the way to a more fulfilling life. For further information on this book, click here.

Private Practice Made Simple (2011). A guide for clinicians on setting up, managing, and maintaining a private practice. For further information on this book, click here.

In addition, I have published in the academic literature on the topics of attentional processing, psychological stress, obsessive compulsive disorder, social phobia, depression, attachment theory, and diversity education. Through Changeways Clinic I have published treatment and resource manuals for professionals on communication skills, stress management, depression, and sexuality.

About Me

I was born and raised in the Vancouver area and received my Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia. I then spent a little over a year working with Dr Anne Treisman on research into attentional processes. I attended the University of Western Ontario for my graduate work under Dr R W J Neufeld, and received my MA and PhD there, following an internship in the Toronto area. In the course of my training I worked in a variety of settings: on a diabetes complications trial at University Hospital London, on a spinal cord and chronic pain unit at Parkwood Hospital London, and, following graduation, on an outpatient unit at St Joseph’s Health Centre.

In 1993 I returned to the Vancouver area to coordinate the Changeways Program, which was then a post-hospitalization program for people experiencing major depression. I conducted over 50 groups and developed outreach training for mental health professionals in depression treatment. The Core Program, as it continues to be known, became the dominant model of group therapy for depression in British Columbia, and was subsequently adopted by centres across Canada.

In 2002 Changeways became Changeways Clinic, a freestanding private clinic operating out of offices in Vancouver. Today my work involves an individual therapy practice, public speaking on psychological issues, training for mental health clinicians, and writing. In my spare time I operate a small orchard business in the interior of British Columbia.

I am a registered psychologist in the province of British Columbia.

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To make an appointment with Dr Paterson, please call Changeways Clinic at 604 871 0490 during office hours, or email us at clientservices@changeways.com.