Michael Frisby

ShiftGrit Therapist

Michael Frisby - Registered Social Worker/ Therapist

Like all Shift Clinicians, Michael is trained in the ShiftGrit protocol- a structured therapy program that uses counter-conditioning and evidence-based techniques to establish new perspectives. This creates better, automatic responses for our clients- things like less reactivity, stronger boundaries, healthy assertiveness, smoother communication, improved mood-optimized performance... and many more...

What is your name?

Michael Frisby

What do you do at Shift?

I am a clinician, utilizing the Shift Protocol in service of clients. I am also a colleague, collaborating and co-creating the wonderful culture at Shift. I am also a student, learning every day from my work with clients, supervision sessions, consultations with colleagues, and the ongoing professional and personal development that Shift provides for clinicians.

What are your academic credentials?

I am a licensed Registered Social Worker and have a Master of Social Worker from the University of Calgary. I have training in specific modalities that include Narrative Therapy, CBT and DBT, as well as suicide prevention and non-violent crisis intervention.

Why did you decide to become a therapist?

Early in my life, I excelled at sports, earning a scholarship to play basketball at the University of Alberta. While at UofA I completed my Bachelor of Education degree. Upon graduation, I moved into my first career as a high school teacher and basketball coach.

In 2007 I moved into social work. Between 2007 and 2018 I worked in multiple non-profit organizations serving at-risk youth, families, indigenous communities, and homeless Calgarians. Feeling the need for a change, I went back to university to pursue a master of Social Work as a mature student in the Spring of 2019. I am now an MSW and RSW (registered social worker).

Why did you decide to become a therapist?

For me, becoming a therapist was more of an arrival at the end of a journey than a conscious decision and attainment of a goal.

Many times throughout my life, beginning at age 14, various people suggested that it would be a good career for me to consider. Finally, as I turned 50, a close friend brought it up again one day over tea. This time I was ready to hear it and it lit a fire which resulted in me deciding to pursue a Masters degree. When I began my Masters program (MSW) I chose a clinical specialization in adult mental health and addictions. Although I knew that becoming a clinical therapist was one of the possible areas of opportunity I could pursue with my MSW, I also had other possibilities in mind.

When I graduated, almost surprisingly, opportunities to work and grow as a therapist began to present themselves immediately. Trusting life as I do, I "followed the breadcrumbs" and my journey as a clinical therapist began. This journey has provided me with multiple opportunities to work as a clinician with diverse populations and has now led me to join the Shift Grit community. I could not be happier. Often in life, I believe, we end up where we need to be when we need to be there, whether it was our intended destination or not.

What do you bring to your therapy sessions, and what are some goals?

Into all therapy sessions, I bring an intention and goal to assist clients in liberating themselves from the confinement, imprisonment and enslavement to patterns that are self-negating, self-limiting and self-defiling. To me, it is so beautiful to behold a person becoming free from limiting beliefs about themselves and discovering their authenticity, personal power, and truest expression in their lives. Into all sessions, I bring an intention to support, encourage, and facilitate the discovery and emergence of this truest expression for all my clients.

Who do you work with?

I enjoy working with adults over the age 18. I do enjoy working with teens (15-18) when they are self-motivated to attend and engage in therapy.

Why are you passionate about what you do?

My favourite poet, David Whyte, has written and spoken about personal authenticity as "the truth at the center of the image you were born with". I believe wholeheartedly that discovering this true "image" of self and bringing it into the world is the central point of human life. I believe it is a great honour and privilege to, as a clinical therapist, play a direct and intimate role in bringing forward the highest possibilities for human life. The world needs this unique essence of each of us to come into the world through the way we think, feel, and live our lives. I feel a deep sense of calling to follow and honour this path. It has led me to fulfillment through being in service to my clients, their loved ones, and the greater community beyond.

What do you do in your spare time?

My main role for the last 23 years has been as a parent to my three children. I enjoy my life with my children. These days, while my adult children move more deeply into their own lives, my constant companion is my 10-year-old son. Together we share a love of the outdoors and the natural "more than human" world. We enjoy hiking, biking, camping, backpacking, getting lost (and found) and swimming in rivers, lakes and oceans. For 30 years I have been following a deep love of playing music. I play guitar, write songs, record songs, jam with other musicians, and perform. I also love drumming and playing multiple instruments of rhythm, as well as facilitating drumming circles and musical events. Additionally, as I have aged I have become increasingly committed to taking care of my body. I invest more and more time in staying fit and offsetting the impact of my years. I enjoy my time exercising -- inside and outside. More recently I have discovered a love of growing food in a garden and each season I learn more and more about how to grow the food I love to eat.

What is a skill that you are currently working on?

Over the past couple of years I have become increasingly curious about my Irish ancestry and connecting to my deepest cultural and historical roots through study, exploration and learning. This led me to begin learning a new instrument -- the bodhran -- a traditional Irish drum and style of drumming. Professionally, I am deeply engaged in learning the skills involved in working with clients utilizing the Shift Protocol.

What motivates or inspires you?

In my work as a therapist, I am constantly inspired and motivated by the intention, courage, grit, and capacity of my clients to encounter, work with, and move through whatever they encounter on their journey of change. It moves me to deepen my practice, expand my knowledge, sharpen my skills, and ensure that I am continually turning towards my own growth edge.

Personally, I have always been motivated and inspired by those humans through history - and in the day-to-day - who give themselves fully and courageously to being true to themselves and showing up in the world in a way that moves the needle on the evolution of our species in a life affirming and generative way. Professionally, I am most motivated and inspired by those who have gone before me and whose work has moved me, taught me, validated me, and shown me the way on my own vocational path. Truly, we all stand on the shoulders of giants whose work has nourished us, our work becomes nourishment for others.

What are your additional areas of clinical interest?

Depth psychology. Transpersonal psychology. Eco psychology, climate anxiety, existential therapy.

What additional specialty trainings, courses, certifications or education do you have?

For the past few years I have been engaged in ongoing study and course work in Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy. I have also been exploring and studying Gabor Mate's approach called Compassionate Inquiry. i am also enrolled in the Wild Mind training program, a nature-based approach to psychotherapy. My area of focus in my MSW was addictions treatment and this is always an interest and passion. Beyond the individual therapy session, I excel in group work, especially group sessions which utilize arts-based processes. I am certified in the Health Rhythms Protocol for providing rhythm-based group therapy. Additionally, I have taken course work in grief and bereavement from University of Toronto.

Do you have any lived or personal experiences that can be utilized in therapy with you?

I feel that all the diverse roles I've held and the diverse experiences I've had -- especially the difficult one -- have become resources that bring to my role as a therapist.

Additional Practice Experience

  • Emerging Practice Framework
  • Post-Rogerian Client Centered
  • Psychodynamic
  • Mindfulness-Based
  • Strengths-Based
  • Holotropic (wholeness focus)
  • Depth Psych Oriented
  • Primary Interventions
  • Development of Basic Self
  • Regulation Skills
  • Cultivation of Self Compassion
  • Compassionate Inquiry
  • Internal Family Systems
  • Wild Mind (nature-based)
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • CBT
  • Feedback Informed Treatment

Available for:

Anxiety | Trauma and PTSD | Relationship Issues | Coping Skills | Depression | Exposure Therapy | Anger Management | Codependency | Coping Skills | Masculinity | Family Conflict | Self-esteem | Life Transitions | Parents that have children with Developmental Disabilities | Self Esteem | Stress | and much more...


Insurance Coverage
Covered by most benefits
Individual Sessions $220


Contact Information

815 17 Ave SW #210, Calgary, AB T2T 0A1, Canada
Zip/Post Code
T2T 0A1

Author Info


Member since 8 years ago
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