I serve on the Clinical Council of Ottawa River Integrative Mental Health Inc. and am founder of Ottawa River Psychology and Ottawa River Integrative Mental Health Inc.. I founded the organization that has become ORP/ORIMH in 2007 and have nurtured its growth and many periods of growth and transformation, through to the team of diverse, talented registered health care professionals who make up our Ottawa River community of clinicians today. I am delighted to see that one of the clinicians I have worked with for seven years has grown and thrived to the point where she is now serving our community of clinicians as Director of Clinical Operations, guiding us into hybrid practice and the opening of our new clinical space anticipated in late summer/autumn 2022.
Ottawa River Psychology/Ottawa River Integrative Mental Health today is a group practice of registered clinical psychologists (CPO) and registered psychotherapists and other health care professionals (CRPO and other professional colleges under the Regulated Health Professions Act in Ontario) who share a passion for Third Wave Psychotherapies, Compassion Focused interventions, and Mindfulness Inspired clinical practice.
I intend that my work with you comes from a place of integrity, mindful awareness, and embodied compassion. As a clinician with over 30 years of experience in mental health and psychology, I commit to integrity in what I teach. I have outstanding academic and clinical training as a Registered Psychologist, as a former Chief of Psychology Professional Practice at the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group in Ottawa, and as a former Assistant Professor of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry at the Texas A&M Health Science Center and College of Medicine. I value Self and Presence in the therapeutic relationship, so I consider my 18 years of committed practice in meditation, mindfulness and Buddhism as almost as important as my academic training in clinical, counselling and health psychology in terms of their influence on how I approach the therapeutic relationship.
Clinical training and knowledge of the latest psychological research are not all that forms a good therapist; wisdom drawn from the integration of decades of contemplative practice and personal development is also very important in the formation of a master clinician who quickly sees how to help you transform. I value the depth wisdom taught from decades of contact with lived experience of thousands of clients encountered within the therapy room and from thousands of hours on retreat within the meditation hall and within meditation practice in nature. I intend to offer clients genuine compassion and mindful presence borne from a willingness to do my own inner work and apply everything I teach in my own life over the course of decades of committed practice of mindfulness and compassion. I know that living through the coming and going of joy and pain across many phases of life offers profound opportunities for the development of unique wisdom and phenomenal growth. I know from lived experience as both patient and clinician that when based on both science and true compassion, a skillful psychotherapeutic relationship can completely transform a life.
You may feel stuck in your life, but Third Wave, Compassion Focused, Mindfulness Inspired psychotherapy can assist you in developing the clarity, stability, compassion, wisdom, and courage you need to build a life you can love. No matter what your symptom, your challenge, your pain, I know from experience that the limitless qualities of Self can be available to your suffering parts.
My intention as your psychologist is to offer you:
- a new understanding of your struggles,
- a safe, confidential therapeutic relationship in which to contact your experience in new ways,
- an experience of your own limitless qualities of compassion and wisdom,
- opportunities to build bridges between the parts of your self that have been alienated or burdened through life experience or trauma,
- development of cognitive, emotional, somatic, and relational skills based on evidence, and
- courage to dissolve fears, blocks and resistance to living a life of Self leadership.
Are you ready to contact the limitless qualities of your own heart, and to live a Self-led life?
I am fully registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario as a doctoral level psychologist in autonomous practice (Certificate #4531) with dual registration to serve children/adolescents and adults in three specialties: clinical, counselling and health psychology. I was previously registered in two other jurisdictions: the state of Texas and the province of Alberta. All of my psychological services are conducted with the utmost care and respect for client confidentiality and privacy according to the rigorous requirements of my professional college. As a psychologist in Ontario I conduct all professional services according to the high standards set by the College of Psychologists of Ontario.
I am a member of the
- Association for Contextual Behavioral Science, Compassion Interest Group
- Canadian Psychological Association, Health Psychology & Environmental Psychology Interest Groups
- Canadian Network for Compassion Focused Therapy
- Center for Mindful Self Compassion
- Climate Psychology Alliance
- Contemplative Mind Foundation
- Ontario College of Psychologists (CPO #4531)
- Ontario Psychological Association
- Ottawa Academy of Psychology,
- Ottawa Buddhist Society
- University of Ottawa Academy of Mindfulness & Contemplative Studies
I hold a doctorate from the American Psychological Association accredited program in psychology at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. In my doctoral studies I developed research projects for the Texas A&M College of Medicine’s Family Medicine department, where we studied communication, teamwork, and how personal history and emotional factors affected student physicians’ clinical reasoning and interactions with their patients. I have been privileged to follow up this research in in roles as both as a researcher and educator in medicine, and as a clinician for clinicians. More generally, in my clinical training I completed clinical rotations in psychotherapy, neuropsychology, clinical health psychology, student health services, hypnosis, post traumatic stress treatment with veterans, women’s health, military sexual assault, and mindfulness based interventions for stress-based physical symptoms such as headaches, IBS, pain, and sleep problems. My doctoral residency was in the cutting edge Primary Care/Behavioral Health track at the University of Texas at Austin’s University Health Center in Austin, Texas. I hold dual registration with the College of Psychologists of Ontario to offer services to children/adolescents and adults.
I am inspired by Mindfulness, Buddhist contemplative practice, and how the Third Wave of psychological approaches integrate ancient practices developed in Buddhism and Contemplative Psychology for the transformation of suffering. I have been on the Third Wave of the cognitive behavioral stream of psychological interventions since encountering this approach in my residency at the University of Texas at Austin in 2004. The Third Wave of psychological interventions emphasizes the science and art of mindfulness as a base to shifting entrenched patterns of thought, emotions, physical sensations, and behaviour. (You can see my introduction to the Psychological Flexibility Model at the heart of many third wave approaches on my blog.) I have pursued continuing education with teachers such as Jon Kabat Zinn and Saki Santorelli (MBSR), Zindel Segal (MBCT), Stephen Hayes, Kelly Wilson and Russ Harris (ACT), the Beck Institute in Philadelphia and Christine Padesky (CBT), Daniel Siegel, Sara Lazar, Sharon Salzberg, Shinzen Young (Mindfulness teachers and researchers), senior teachers in EMDR for trauma, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). I am registered as an MBSR teacher at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare and Society at the University of Massachusetts. I continually seek out ways to bring a contemplative mindset to evidence-based psychological interventions .I have completed yoga teacher training (2012) and the rigorous requirements to be a Certified Mindful Self Compassion teacher with the University of California San Diego (2016), and I continue to grow in my exploration of embodiment through training Spirit Rock Meditation Center’s program in meditation and yoga teacher training (Class of 2016) and further training in Somatic Experiencing.
Compassion, and the research, embodied understanding and practice of compassion are central to my life and my psychological practice. My current clinical interests are the intersection of Compassion, Somatic Experiencing and Systems Theory approaches to mental health and well-being. I am a trained supervisor in Compassion Focused Therapy, and am very interested in the integration of Somatic Experiencing and Internal Family Systems with Compassion Focused Therapy and Mindful Self Compassion (Internal Family Systems CE 2021; Prolonged Exposure Certificate 2022; Somatic Experiencing CE 2022). Due to client interest and questions to me about how they can integrate their deep work with me in trauma healing with the emerging literature on psychedelic facilitated healing from trauma, I have recently begun to investigate the theory and research of how Third Wave, Compassion Focused and Mindfulness Inspired approaches may be applied to Psychedelic-Facilitated Psychotherapy for clients with deep histories of developmental trauma and depression/anxiety (Harvard Medical School Continuing Medical Education certificate in PFP, March 2022).
I believe that learning is lifelong. When we meet you can be assured that your psychologist is actively involved with the latest developments in psychological science.
Health Care Experience
I have offered group and individual and group psychological services for over 30 years now, and I still love every moment of my work. I now work in private practice exclusively, although frequently I teach workshops, seminars, or collaborate on research projects with colleagues in hospitals, the community, and academia in Ottawa. A large proportion of my clients and collaborators are now drawn from the medical, professional, foreign service and public service communities in Ottawa and their families.
I have served as the Chief of Psychology for Professional Practice at the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group. In this role I was responsible for promoting excellence in professional practice and research in a large multi-clinic mental health organization. When I teach about emotional intelligence in leadership, and when I coach executives and other high performers, my professional skills as a psychologist are informed by first hand experience as a senior leader in my profession.
I have been privileged to work as a psychologist in the Musculoskeletal Clinic at the New Alberta Children’s Hospital, as faculty in Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at the Texas A&M College of Medicine, and as a Program Director in Child, Adolescent and Family Mental Health in New England. Prior to relocating to Ottawa, I was the consulting psychologist for the Eating Disorder Programs at the Women’s Health Clinic and the Family and Youth Clinic at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre. In my doctoral and post-doctoral training I worked with veterans at American VA hospitals in rehabilitation and in a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Unit, focusing specifically on military sexual assault.
I enjoy teaching and training the next generation of psychologists and other health care providers. For the past few years I have enjoyed teaching Mindful Self Compassion, Compassion Focused Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to fellow clinicians. I frequently teach academic half days and workshops or retreats for the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine. Until 2013 I provided mentorship and clinical supervision to doctoral students as a clinical faculty member at the Centre for Psychological Services at the University of Ottawa. I have provided clinical teaching and supervision to doctoral students, and have taught as an adjunct faculty member at Trent University, University of Lethbridge and University of Calgary.
Since moving to the Outaouais region, I have enjoyed offering pro bono talks and volunteer support to multiple community groups. Recent talks include the Women’s Business Network, the Ottawa Mindfulness professional association, the National Capital Region chapter of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association, the Hopewell Eating Disorders Support Centre, and Nakkertok Ski Club. Volunteer support has been as Psyching Team volunteer for marathon runners and pro bono mental training to competitive athletes at Nakkertok Ski Club.
I am happy to speak to community or professional groups about health psychology and contemplative approaches to health and wellbeing including: Compassion, Compassion Focused Therapy, Mindfulness, Self Compassion (MSC), ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), Internal Family Systems, Physicians & Health Care Professionals Resilience, Burnout Prevention, Somatic approaches in mental health, Nature Connection and Mental Health, and topics related to embodiment, mental health and nature, mental health and climate change.
I am a member of the international Climate Psychology Alliance, the Compassionate Mind Foundation, and support the promotion of healthy exercise and mental health through membership in professional and athlete organizations including the Canadian Psychological Association’s professional section on Sport and Exercise Psychology and through my own volunteer involvement with the Ottawa Rowing Club and the Ottawa New Edinburgh Rowing communities.