Luca Ballarini, BA, MA, MSW, RSW

Luca Ballarini, BA, MA, MSW, RSW is a Registered Social Worker with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, a Master of Arts Degree in Psycholinguistics and a Master of Social Work Degree from the University of Toronto. Prior to joining the Social Work Consulting Group in 2023, his professional experience included working as a Psychotherapist and as Crisis and Trauma Intervention Clinician with the Canadian Mental Health Association, Toronto Children’s Aid Society, Griffin Adolescent Centre, University Health Network and Mackenzie Health Hospital. He was also Manager of Operations at Ceridian LifeWorks Employee Assistance Program. In the late ‘90s, Luca pioneered the Mental Health Court Diversion Program, aimed at diverting clients diagnosed with a mental illness from the Criminal Justice System to the Mental Health System, with the goal of Rehabilitation and Treatment, rather than Criminalization and Incarceration. This program now exists at almost every courthouse in Ontario and across Canada.

He has attended extensive trainings and workshops in the areas of Crisis Intervention, Trauma, Emergency Psychiatry, Psychopharmacology, Addictions, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Solution Focused Brief Therapy, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Meditation, and Clinical Hypnotherapy.

He is also the father of a young man who has been diagnosed with a major mental illness and hospitalized several times. In an unexpected turn of events, he found himself on the other side of the Social Work profession, becoming the one in need of reassurance and hope. He experienced firsthand what it is like to be in the middle of several ongoing mental health crises, and to be the one in need of help. This has made him a much more understanding, compassionate and empathic clinician. He has made it his mission to advocate for his clients, and to work towards destigmatizing mental illness, reducing shame, and educating people about the reality that no one is immune from illness, whether it is physical or mental. “The brain is an organ, just like the lungs, the heart or the liver, and it can just as likely get diseased.”

In his spare time, Luca enjoys spending time with friends, family and dogs, travelling, studying new languages, hiking, playing tennis and pickle ball, watching foreign movies, reading, playing cards and chess, riding motorcycles, and engaging in ongoing personal and spiritual development.

“Social Work, like no other profession, motivates me and affords me the opportunity and privilege to serve my fellow human beings and to make a difference in their lives, to teach and learn from each other, and to feel integral part of the human family, with all its greatness and all its challenges.