Wasaga Beach psychotherapist Jaime Armstrong is bringing her one-woman comedy show to Collingwood later this month, in an effort to strong-arm mental health stigmas.
Armstrong’s show, called An Evening With My Therapist, will be running at the Simcoe Street Theatre on Nov. 25. The show combines comedy with stories of Armstrong’s personal mental health journey following her escape from an abusive relationship one year ago.
The show takes place on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and some of the proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to My Friend’s House.
“For me, it was very quick; very bad,” Armstrong told CollingwoodToday. “What happened for me after having this experience, is I started sitting in my sessions with clients and they were sharing things they had experienced. As therapists, we’re not supposed to share our stories.”
“Clients would say things, like that they should have known better as smart, educated women. I found myself thinking: me too,” she said.
“The story became too big for me to hold to myself and I couldn’t let people think they were alone,” said Armstrong. “The purpose is for people to see...this happened to me, and statistics show it is wild the number of women this happens to.”
According to 2021 data from Statistics Canada, more than four in 10 women have experienced some form of intimate partner violence in their lifetimes. In 2018, 44 per cent of women reported experiencing some form of psychological, physical, or sexual violence by an intimate partner in their lifetimes.
Overall, Armstrong describes her show as a TED Talk meets stand-up.
“It’s me on-stage sharing my story,” she said. “I’m interested in updating outdated systems and ways we think about things, and turning stories around in a way that they’re brain-changing to others.”
“I’m excited about it,” she added.
Armstrong has been a registered psychotherapist for 20 years, but first tried venturing into the comedy sphere this year with her first show in June.
“In terms of being funny – I think it was just a natural, life-long gift,” she said. “In some ways, it’s like a chicken-or-egg scenario. Which came first – was I funny, or a therapist?”
“It came together in a way where I’m having a lot of fun blending both areas together,” she said.
Looking ahead, Armstrong says she has aspirations to challenge how the general public thinks about therapy, mental health and relationships.
“I want people to feel empowered,” she said. “My big dream is to have this (show) picked up by a streaming service, so it can be accessible for lots of people.”
“Maybe it could change someone’s brain, or their life. It’s about starting conversations,” said Armstrong.
An Evening With My Therapist will be running at the Simcoe Street Theatre on Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. Ticket prices include admission to the show as well as an after-show meet-and-greet at Black Bellows.
For more information or to book tickets, click here.