The Ontario Association of Mental Health Professionals (OAMHP) is Ontario’s largest association of mental health professionals. Formed in 1978 as the Ontario Association of Counsellors, Consultants, Psychometrists & Psychotherapists, the name was changed in September 2019 to better represent our diverse membership and the collaborative roles they play in the continuum of mental healthcare.
Our 3,000+ members embody the spectrum of mental healthcare providers at work in family health teams, hospitals, school boards, workplaces, community centres and private clinics – just about everywhere you find mental health services in your community. As their preferred professional association, the OAMHP delivers high-quality professional development events, essential insurance requirements, practical benefits and personal business solutions.
The OAMHP is an incorporated provincial body of mental health service providers with a mandate to provide for the professional needs of our members, and to meet the needs of the community in identifying and certifying competent practitioners providing services in mental health consulting, counselling, psychometry, and psychotherapy.
OAMHP Certification recognizes knowledge, skills and aptitude of mental health professionals, emphasizing competence and expertise in their provision of services.
The OAMHP works tirelessly to provide our members with engaging and effective professional development opportunities; while monitoring and proactively responding to issues within the mental health profession that are important to our membership.
Mental Health Practitioner Designations
As a service to the community, the OAMHP is providing the information below to help outline the differences between counsellors, consultants, psychotherapists and psychometrists.
A professional whose practice involves the primary function of informing, advising, guiding, educating, and coaching. The practice of counselling includes, but is not limited to, clinical, and mental health counselling. Incorporated in its mandate is guidance and education to individuals, families and/or groups.
Any person who provides consulting services in the form of education and information to individual professionals, groups or organizations in the public or private sector.
Psychotherapists work with individuals, couples, families and groups to help them overcome a range of psychological and emotional issues. Psychotherapists use personal treatment plans and a variety of non-medical-based treatments to help them solve specific problems; or to treat mood disorders such as depression, OCD and anxiety.
Using talk therapy, they provide insight and use psychotherapeutic interventions to change distressing patterns of cognitions or behaviours that contribute to mood, anxiety or other problems. Some examples of the different approaches psychotherapists use are behavioural therapy, cognitive-behavioural therapy, and gestalt therapy. They commonly work in rehabilitation centres, multidisciplinary health clinics, psychological offices and in private practice. Although Psychotherapists may treat people with clinical diagnoses (e.g., Major Depression, OCD, General Anxiety Disorder) with psychotherapy (talk therapy), they are not licensed to provide a diagnosis or prescribe medication.
In Ontario, only members of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) have the authority to identify themselves as Registered Psychotherapists (RPs).
Psychologist and Psychological Associate
Psychologists and Psychological Associates are trained in the assessment, treatment, and prevention of behavioural and mental conditions. They diagnose neuropsychological disorders and dysfunctions as well as psychotic, neurotic and personality disorders and dysfunctions. In addition, Psychologists and Psychological Associates use a variety of approaches directed toward the maintenance and enhancement of physical, intellectual, emotional, social and interpersonal functioning.
A Psychologist or Psychological Associate may work with a variety of individual client populations such as children, adolescents, adults or seniors, or may focus their attention on families, couples, or organizations. They work in a range of settings including schools, hospitals, industry, social service agencies, rehabilitation facilities, and correctional facilities. Many Psychologists and Psychological Associates have their own private practice.
Only members of the College of Psychologists of Ontario may use the title ‘Psychologist’ or ‘Psychological Associate’; use the terms ‘psychology’ or ‘psychological’ in any description of services offered or provided, or hold themselves out to be a Psychologist or Psychological Associate.
Psychometrists are part of research or healthcare teams that specialize in administering, scoring, analyzing and interpreting psychological tests. In Ontario, Psychometrists are not legally allowed to communicate diagnoses, so they must work under the supervision of a Registered Psychologist or Psychological Associate, who are licensed to do so. Tasks include explaining testing procedures to clients, answering questions, administering tests, scoring tests, analyzing data, interpreting results, writing reports and communicating results to other mental health care professionals. A psychometrist must also stay up to date with new developments in the field, as tests and procedures are created, updated and/or improved.
From individuals and families to organizations and communities, social workers collaborate with their clients to address challenges through a process of assessment, diagnosis, treatment and evaluation.
Registered social workers have a specialized university education and must participate in continued professional learning and skills development to fulfil the requirements of their professional regulatory body.
In Ontario, in order to use the title Social Worker or Registered Social Worker or their French equivalents, or to hold out expressly or by implication that you are a social worker, you must be registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.
Message from the President: Meet OAMHP President Liana Palmerio-McIvor
Hello there. I wanted to take the time to introduce myself to you as your new President for the next two years. My name is Liana Palmerio-McIver, and I'm a Registered Psychotherapist. I am proud and a little nervous to step into this leadership role, but also excited to see what can be done with the collaboration and partnership of this amazing Board, your Association, and Maryann Istiloglu, Executive Director. I've been a member since 1994 and right out of the gate of my therapy journey, I've been an involved member in various capacities over the last 28 years.
At the beginning of my career, I went through the newly formed certification process run by Dr. Mickey Ellis in the nineties, and learned a lot about the mechanics of certification, as well as how to take my responsibility and confidence as a therapist to the next level within my association and my practice.
I appreciate not only the certification process itself, but the value it has for its members, and thus was happy to aid John Marai with the certification committee in the nineties and early two thousands as an active member. In the last, almost 10 years, I have participated on the board in many capacities: chair of certification, chair of public policy, ethics and conduct committee member, treasurer, vice president, president elect, and now as your incoming president. My contributions and my involvement have primarily been in the role of evolving new certification and validated supervision standards with my colleagues on the Board and administration, touching base with members and connecting with them as often as possible and advocating for the mental health profession in various ways.
I have big boots to fill following Jane Alway and I look forward to her guidance and friendship as I move forward into this new role. She has done an amazing job leading us through this pandemic over the last two years. I would also like to thank everyone on the Board this past two years, for all their hard work during a difficult time. It was so important.
I would also like to thank those Board members, new and continuing, for joining the various committees for the coming year and for stepping forward to take leadership roles. We, as always, have a lot of work ahead of us. My goal this upcoming year is to connect more with mental health professionals, to build a stronger association, to advocate for the use of all qualified mental health professionals in all professions, and to eliminate HST to level the playing field for the hiring RPs, as well as reduce barriers to access for people needing private mental health care.
As I navigate this role, I would also like our association to be a leader in guiding and informing mental health policy. We are many; social workers, counselors, mental health consultants, registered psychotherapists, psych associates, MA psychologists, psychologists, psychometrists, OTs, and others that add to the spectrum of care under the umbrella of our association. Together we have a big voice. So please reach out, get involved, come to our workshops and conferences, get yourself refreshed, recharged, and ready to meet head on the wave of mental health requirements that we are already servicing and will continue to serve. This is not an easy profession, but a rewarding one.
You are not alone, and we are here for you. I'm very much looking forward to fruitful conversations, sharing of ideas, and a steep learning curve in understanding the breadth and scope of what our members do to contribute to serving their clients and our communities. Thank you.
Remarks from outgoing President, Jane Alway
My name is Jane Alway, and I'm the outgoing President of the OAMHP. I wanted to take this time to reflect on my last two years as President. So, when I became President Elect, I could not have foreseen the challenging and upending circumstances we would find ourselves in owing to the pandemic. Here we are, over two years later, and I reflect on having conducted my entire presidency in the virtual realm.
This has brought both challenges and unexpected benefits. The benefits, well because we had to pivot to virtual, we found that we were able to include members who live far outside the greater Toronto area. They were able to attend conferences and professional development events that previously, for travel time and expense reasons, would not have been possible.
I was able to connect with politicians far outside the GTA with the click of a button. I was able to meet with many of you who were outside the GTA and in the GTA. And while I really do miss having had the opportunity to connect with you in the more traditional face to face method, I was able to make connections with members by video conference. And, and I want to thank all of you for this, some of our members introduced me to politicians and even attended meetings with me and those politicians, oftentimes through two or three different cities or towns, something that wouldn't have been possible in the pre-virtual realm.
We were able to develop a new strategic plan for the Association while working with a consultant who was over in the UK. Our board meetings were able to continue without any concerns for weather related travel delays.
But these are challenging times. As mental health professionals, the last two years have brought increased workloads and an increase in the complexity and severity of the issues we see in our clients. The pandemic has not been kind. We also live in politically uncertain and tumultuous times. Many amongst us have yet to experience equity and reconciliation. And to feel truly included and safe. This is the work that all of humanity must continue to engage in, a safe world. I want to thank you, our members for working through these most challenging times and supporting clients in these challenging situations.
The OAMHP will strive to continue providing support via professional development and benefits that promote both professional enrichment and self-care as self-care is so important in order for us to keep ourselves centered and in turn, support our clients.
I want to thank the board. I've had the pleasure of working with a wonderful group of people over the last two years. Liana Palmerio-McIver, Adam Terpstra, Jennifer Thompson, Caroline Schnitzen Koekkoek, Patrick Beedling, Michael Decaire, Jan Lobban-Shymko, Suzanne Dennison, Sue Tassé, Bruce Cook, Hailu Lockyer, and Katharine De Santos. Thank you all.
You have volunteered during these most trying times, while trying to balance your clinical work and obligations to family. Next, a big thank you to the staff. Maryann Istiloglu, Ruth Taylor, Jacqueline Lacroix, Nadia Halim, Melanie Moyano, Michael Ghent, and Samantha Younan. I've had the pleasure of working with all of you over the last two years and many of you prior to that in my different roles on the board. I also want to give a special thanks to Mark Ruberry. Mark is our tech wizard and without Mark's help, we wouldn't have been able to pivot into the virtual world.
Before I close off, I want to offer a big welcome to Liana Palmerio-McIver. She is our incoming President and as a long serving board member who has served previously as Treasurer, Chair of Certification and Chair of Public Policy, brings a wealth of experience and I'm looking forward to working with her as we continue to support you and the work that you do.
Board of Directors
Liana Palmerio-McIvor is a registered psychotherapist who has been in practice for more than 25 years.
Over more than five years, Liana has served in many key roles on the board of the OAMHP (and its predecessor organization, OACCPP), including chair of certification, treasurer and chair of public policy. As chair of certification, she implemented new policies and procedures to certify more association members, especially during the critical time in which the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario was established (and began its registration efforts). More recently, she is working to raise the profile of the supervisor role by developing a formal validation process for supervisors, a first in the province. As chair of public policy, Liana has advocated for members, obtained wider private insurance coverage, responded to government policy initiatives as well as participated in government consultations with the sector.
In addition to her work with the association, Liana has sat on the boards of several charitable organizations. For more than 22 years, she has served as president, treasurer and in other roles with the local chapter of an international women’s advocacy organization and participated as a delegate in international conventions. Liana also volunteers with the Canadian Red Cross as a Safety and Wellbeing Responder and participates on the Emergency Response Team, providing crisis mental health support during emergencies.
A strong voice for the profession and a tireless advocate for the association’s members, Liana is focused on bringing members more fully into the mainstream of mental health care by raising our profile, collaborating with peer mental health professions, advocating for insurance coverage and integrating the profession in all aspects of the health care system.
Adam completed a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from University of Victoria in 2009, a Bachelor of Education in Social Sciences from University of Victoria in 2013, and a Master of Education in
Adult Counselling and Psychotherapy in 2016 from University of Toronto, OISE campus. He is a Registered Social Worker (RSW), a Registered Psychotherapist (RP), a Certified Member with the Ontario Association of Mental Health Professionals ([cert]OAMHP), a Certified Canadian Counsellor (CCC), a registered teacher in British Columbia, Ontario (OCT), and the Yukon Territory, and a voluntary member of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF).
Having joined the Board in 2017 as a Director at Large, Adam has served as a member of the Governance and Risk Management Committee (2017 – 2019), Vice-Chair of Governance and Risk Management (2019 – Current), Board Treasurer (2018 – Current), Chair of Management and Personnel Subcommittee (2020 – Current), Vice-Chair of Certification (2018 – 2021), Chair of Certification (2021 – Current), in addition to supporting other committees (Ethics and Professional Conduct Committee, Public Policy Committee, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee) as needed.
As he enters the 2021/22 year of the Association, Adam has commenced his role as Chair of Certification – an ever-evolving component of our Association that has recently taken on the task
of validating clinical supervisors for regulated members of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO). Over his coming tenure, Adam aims to increase awareness of certified members and improved accessibility to eligible supervisors for registrants of the CRPO.
Adam is also the President and Clinic Director for Church Wellesley Counselling and Psychotherapy (www.cwcp.ca) in Toronto and Prince Edward County Counselling and Psychotherapy (www.peccp.ca) in Picton and maintains an active clientele base between both practices. In 2021, he also opened a federal not-for-profit organization Bridging With Support (www.bwsfoundation.ca) that aims to increase access to mental health services for LGBTQQ2S+ folx, Indigenous populations, and people of colour.
Want to get in touch with Adam? Email him at email@example.com
Jane received her undergraduate degree with a focus in Psychology from Brock University and her certificate in Mediation, with a concentration in Family Mediation, from York University. She obtained her Master’s Degree in Counselling Psychology from Yorkville University. She has a certificate in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy from OISE/University of Toronto/Hincks-Dellcrest Centre and has received training in Meditation for the management of chronic pain from the NeuroNova Centre for Mindful Solutions.
She is a trained facilitator and public speaker who has many years of professional and volunteer experience working with people who have special needs and has several years of experience working within medical clinics; she has a private practice within York Medical in Richmond Hill, where she provides psychotherapy to individuals, couples and families.
She has worked within a variety of programs at Family Services York Region (FSYR) - counseling individuals, couples and families, along with assisting those who have survived domestic abuse. She continues to provide group counseling at FSYR. She has also developed and facilitated programs with Eating Disorders of York Region (EDOYR) and does community presentations to raise public awareness about the risk factors and serious health effects of Eating Disorders. She is passionate about learning and has served as a Teaching Assistant for graduate students within the Faculty of Behavioural Sciences at Yorkville University.
Jennifer Thomson is a Registered Psychotherapist working in private practice in Hamilton, with a history of working in the mental health field. In addition to private practice, Jennifer also has experience working in group homes for both adults and youth.
Jennifer received her Honours Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Waterloo, and her Master’s in Counselling Psychology from Yorkville University. She is passionate about working with the LGBTQ2S+ community, with a focus on trans care and creating a safe place for individuals of all walks of life to express themselves.
Jennifer also has a passion for health and fitness, incorporating healthy eating, exercise, and overall physical wellness into her psychotherapy practice. She is a certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition specialist and uses this expertise to help her clients thrive in their lives
Caroline lives in Burlington Ontario and holds a Master’s degree in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Guelph. She has been registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario since 1995. From 1984 to 2018, Caroline worked for the Halton District School Board, first as a Psychoeducational Consultant and then as a Senior Manager of Professional Services. There, she supervised a large team and supported a diverse group of learners.
Caroline has worked extensively with community members as part of the government’s “Special Needs Strategy” as well as part of a community planning table for children and youth with complex care needs and/or requiring residential treatment. She is also a Past-President of OAPA.
In 2017, she retired from her Senior Manager position, but has remained busy, being an active walker and reader and now serving on the board of the OAMHP.
She has two grown daughters, who she often visits in Toronto and Denver.
Michael is a Southern Ontario based Clinical Psychologist and Registered Psychotherapist. He was born in Thunder Bay, Ontario, where he began his education and career. He continues to be strongly connected to the mental health needs of northern and rural Ontarians, with a focus on telehealth and other alternative support methodologies. Michael also maintains a strong interest in ethics and health legislation, which is an area he fosters through his academic work at Adler Graduate Professional School.
Michael was President of the Ontario Association of Psychological Associates (OAPA) for 8 years, ending his tenure through the merger of OAPA with OACCPP to form the Ontario Association of Mental Health Professionals (OAMHP). When not attending to association and governance work, Michael is the founder and clinical director of a multidisciplinary private practice that services various locations across the greater Toronto area and further afield through telehealth.
Jan Lobban-Shymko holds a Master of Science, Developmental stream, from Trent University. She is a member of the Ontario Association of Mental Health Professionals (OAMHP/OACCPP) and the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA). Along with clinical practice, Jan has worked in research in psychology and speech language pathology and has shared authorship in a number of presentations and publications. She provided psychometric services, conducting developmental, psycho-educational, and neuropsychological testing in hospital, social services, and school settings and is presently with the Specialized Neurocognitive Disorders Clinic at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences. She has also been a member of a number of multidisciplinary teams that provided diagnostic and screening services for early childhood disorders. She has experience with a wide variety of conditions including attention deficit disorders, intellectual impairments, learning disabilities, selective mutism, cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorder, expressive and receptive language delays, and neurodegenerative disorders.
A firm believer in life long learning and expanding horizons, she has recently accepted a number of changes and challenges in her professional life, including sitting on the board of directors for OAMHP. In her previous lives Jan worked as an ESL/EFL teacher in Quebec and Haiti. She maintains strong ties with her adopted cultures and embraces the diversity that makes up our global village.
Gail Clarke is a member of the CRPO and a Certified member of the OAMHP. She has provided Mental Health supports for more than 25 years to people living with cognitive challenges.
She is currently a Manager of Clinical Services supporting Behavioral specialists and Psychometrists in their work through Regional Support Associates, an outreach program with the Woodstock Hospital.
She also specializes in presentations about Trauma informed supports, team building and Self care.
She also has a small private practice using Psychotherapy models such as DBT. CBT and narrative therapy to work with adults living with issues with their wellness.
Prior to becoming a therapist, Juli worked for 32 years in the Pharmaceutical Industry primarily in the fields of Leadership and Organizational Development. Juli holds a Masters of Arts, Counselling Psychology from Yorkville University. She is a member of OAMHP and CADDRA (Canadian ADD Resource Alliance).
Juli is licensed with the College of Registered Psychotherapists Ontario (CRPO) and College of Counselling Therapy PEI (CCTPEI). Juli has a particular interest in Eating Disorders, Borderline Personality Disorder, helping support caregivers, who have family members with Alzheimers Disease, any type of cancer or rare disease, and mental health disorders. Juli has also counselled clients who have been challenged with grief, life transitions, anxiety, depression, complex trauma and addiction.
Juli also supports adults with ADHD, with executive function coaching and has completed CADDRA's Introduction to ADHD for Healthcare Professionals. Juli uses a blend of strategies drawn from trauma-informed cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), solutions focused therapy, narrative therapy, mindfulness, and emotionally-focused therapy (EFT).
Ibukunolu Ogunsina is a Registered Psychotherapist and also a Christian Counsellor. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Counselling Psychology from Yorkville University, Canada, a Master’s degree in Information Technology from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Science degree with Honors in Computer Science/Economics from Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria.
Ibukunolu is an ordained minister with extensive training in spiritual care, is skilled in public speaking, and gets energized when she speaks about love. She has self-published five books.
Ibukunolu’s private practice is known as New Beginnings Barrie, and the practice is based in Barrie, Ontario. She is married to Dr. Sola Ogunsina, a Family Physician, and blessed with four awesome children. They have made Springwater, Ontario, their home.
Hailu is a Registered Psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO). With over twenty years of experience in the provision of mental health services, her approach is client-centred with a creative style and flexible stance to help inspire people to connect with their unique interconnection of body, mind, and spirit. Her clinical work spans all ages and deals with those in a variety of backgrounds including child and youth welfare, crisis & trauma counselling, psychotherapy, and an additional focus on addiction. Hailu also provides clinical supervision to students and other Registered Psychotherapists.
She currently operates an independent practice in the Greater Toronto Area including Durham Region where she provides integrative cognitive behaviour therapy for complex disorders, clinical counselling hypnotherapy and trauma-informed mindfulness among other modalities.
Hailu’s background studies include a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Trent University and an Ontario Graduate Certificate in Addictions and Mental Health along with a Bachelor of Science degree in Medicine from Shanghai Second Medical University. Her training, combined with many years of clinical experience provide her with a rich understanding of the potential for people to use their inner abilities to overcome challenging life situations and adverse circumstances
She has received training at the University of Toronto in Advanced Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for Complex Disorders and has trained as a Clinical Counselling Hypnotherapist with Daybreak Therapy and Training. Hailu is also an active member of the Ontario Association of Mental Health Professionals (OAMHP)
Maryann joined the OAMHP in 2015 and is the senior staff person. She liaises with the Board of Directors, President and, Committees to guide and implement the policies of the Board.
She also coordinates office staff to ensure the effective execution of these important projects. Maryann is currently working towards her CAE (Certified Association Executive) designation with the CSAE (Canadian Society of Association Executives). In her spare time, she serves on the Board of Directors for Volunteer Toronto, and enjoys travelling and hiking with her family.
Maryann has a background in non-profit and association management.
Ruth Taylor is responsible for the financial and administrative operations of the Association. Ruth assumed the role of Operations Manager, a newly created position in 2016. She has been working to establish clear financial, administrative and HR policies, procedures and processes for OAMHP.
Ruth moved to Toronto from Victoria, British Columbia in 2009 and has worked in the non-profit sector for 7 years. She enjoys watching documentaries, the True Crime genre, and laughing at her own jokes.
As OAMHP’s Professional Development Manager, Jacqueline oversees the development of programming that recognizes and enhances the skills of our members. She is excited to create learning opportunities for members such as workshops and webinars, to provide support to regional networks, to manage the Annual Conference, and to support OAMHP committees as they strive to offer excellent professional and skills development opportunities for OAMHP members.
Jacqueline has a Masters of Education with a focus on workplace learning and social change from OISE and has worked with non-profits and member organizations to deliver relevant and high-quality learning and development opportunities.
Nadia coordinates activities and resources related to Professional Development opportunities for OAMHP members. Her main duties are organizing workshops, trainings and the Annual Conference. firstname.lastname@example.org
Melanie is our point person to answer questions from members and applicants regarding our benefits and services. She oversees new member applications and membership renewal. email@example.com