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 Jane Alway
Hello and welcome to the OAMHP,
I hope that this message finds you safe and well and I’m wishing everyone a Happy 2021!
As we enter the new year and take pause to reflect on all that 2020 has been, I am writing to share some of OAMHP’s current news and events.
We made it through 2020 with you and want to express our sincerest thanks for your engagement with us. As your association, we strive to continue to be a professional resource, connector, and comrade. I hope we have and will continue to meet your needs as mental health professionals.
Just as we have shifted our mindsets from “crisis” to “adaptation” in our working environments to meet the needs of our clients, we continue to listen to your feedback and adapt our offerings to help address your needs as professionals. We hope that our ongoing professional development activities and opportunities remain a small constant in an ever-changing world.
We are pleased to report there has been an overwhelming response to the 6 Peer Circles we are running in partnership with the CRPO as part of our professional development opportunities. We are currently exploring ways to meet the demands.
In late February, we will host the Beck Institute for a CBT for Anxiety workshop. This 2-day experiential workshop will provide instruction, demonstrations, and practice opportunities for using CBT to treat anxiety disorders.
This past year, we negotiated with Beck so that OAMHP members save on the cost of becoming Beck Certified through their online Essentials of CBT course where you can learn the fundamentals of the Beck Approach to CBT from the leading clinicians in the field to encourage excellence in CBT.
OAMHP is also happy to share the pilot partnership with Adler Graduate Professional School that allows members to register for Adler’s Online Clinical Supervisor Training course at a special rate that has been extended to March 31st 2021. This course examines the supervision relationship, including evidence-based measures for evaluation, and common themes that emerge during clinical supervision.
As an association, OAMHP continues to offer certification, which comes with its own unique set of professional benefits and which I encourage you to explore further.
Your feedback over the coming year is invaluable to us. As always, I encourage you to speak up, be active and get involved. We will be reviewing the feedback you have already shared through the membership renewal questionnaire.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Board of Directors
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.
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.
Suzanne Dennison (she/her) is a Registered Psychotherapist in private practice and has worked in both the private and public sector. She has a wide range of experience in working with adults and families undergoing individual and relationship difficulties.
Her clinical work provides both brief and longer-term therapy dealing with assessment consultations, ongoing relationship issues as well as chronic pain, stress management, workplace issues and various diagnosed disorders (anxiety, depression, bi-polar, ADD/ADHD). Her therapeutic approach is progressive allowing her to make the most appropriate use of her training and experience to best address the client need presented relying most often on cognitive behaviour therapy, interpersonal relationship therapy and mindfulness.
Suzanne received her Masters level equivalent degree in psychology (Assessment and Counselling) from the Institute of Child Study (OISE) at the University of Toronto and is registered with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO). She is an associate member of the American Psychological Associations (APA) and a member of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy (ACT) in addition to her continued work with the OAMHP. She is recognized as an “expert witness” in individual and family therapy by the provincial court system in Ontario, continues to publish and is available for clinical supervision, public talks and training workshops.
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 of 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 and serving on the Governance and Risk Management Committee, Adam also assumed the roles of Board Treasurer and vice-Chair of Certification in 2018 while supporting other committees (Ethics and Professional Conduct Committee, Public Policy Committee, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee) as needed.
As he enters into the 2020/21 year of the Association, Adam will be investing his energy into the recently formed Management and Personnel Subcommittee (MPS) that falls within the Treasury Committee. The purpose of the MPS is to ensure our management and personnel are fully supported to ensure the ongoing development and growth of the Association from the inside out.
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
Want to get in touch with Adam? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Naim Assemani is a mental health professional, he holds a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (Lebanon). In his home country, he taught developmental psychology to early childhood education students for 13 years. He worked for 4 years as a school psychologist before moving to private practice.
Currently, Naim works in Ottawa in private practice and as a mental health counsellor in a social services agency that provides free services to refugees, immigrants and other vulnerable populations. His area of practice is Clinical and Counselling Psychology for adults, mainly those suffering from depressive; mood; anxiety; obsessive-compulsive; trauma, and stressor-related disorders. In addition to Psychological Assessment, he uses a variety of intervention techniques such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Psychodynamic, and Narrative Exposure Therapy (for PTSD and other trauma-related disorders).
Naim is in the process of acquiring the necessary experience and supervised practice hours to become fully registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario.
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.
Patrick Beedling is a Toronto-based psychotherapist with more than five years of clinical experience. Patrick’s approach to psychotherapy draws from Cognitive Behavioural, Gestalt, and Existential models. He works with clients to alleviate psychological symptoms and cultivate a deeper sense of awareness and understanding of their issues. Throughout his career so far, he has treated clients on a range of issues including: relationship concerns, anxiety, depression, pain management, and trauma. He also has extensive experience treating victims of motor vehicle accidents.
Patrick has a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Yale University and a Master of Education degree in Counselling Psychology from the University of Toronto. In the past, he has volunteered with CAMH and St. Catharines General Hospital, and for the last five years has provided psychotherapy and assessment services at various clinics across the GTA and in his own private practice. His interests outside of mental health include music, running and tennis.
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
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.
Bruce Cook, M.A., C. Psych. Assoc. is a new member of the Board at OAMHP. He is a Director at Large and Bruce was formerly a Member at Large for the Ontario Association of Psychological Associates. Bruce was born in Port Colborne, Ontario, and was educated at Brock University, and Lakehead University for his master's degree in clinical psychology. He has been a mental health professional for over 30 years and is registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario in both clinical and forensic psychology. For the last several years, Bruce has been in private practice in the GTA.
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 the Communications Specialist, Samantha oversees the development and publication of content on our social media channels, e-blasts and on our website. She also plays a supporting role in creating marketing collateral for the OAMHP Annual Conference and General Meeting. Samantha also assists in the development of our bi-annual release of Psychologica magazine.
Samantha holds a BA in Communications and English and an MA in English from the University of Windsor. She has held roles in both internal and external communication channels in various fields. Sam moved to Toronto in September 2017, lured by both her love of the city and the desire to expand her knowledge.
In her spare time, she can be found writing, running, attending local events and watching Audrey Hepburn movies.
Alecia is the OAMHP's Membership Coordinator. She supports and directs members and applicants who are looking for services and benefits offered by the Association.
Alecia comes from a background of Social and Legal Services and holds a diploma as a Community Service Worker and a Paralegal.
Her hobbies include cooking, listening to music, watching movies with her family, and watching basketball.
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.
As the Projects and Events Coordinator, Marisa provides event logistics support, helping to source venues and speakers for professional development events. Currently, Marisa is acting as the interim Membership Coordinator, assisting current and prospective members.
Marisa has a BA in Psychology and a Certificate in Business from the University of Guelph. She has a background in event planning and recruitment.
She enjoys travelling, attempting to learn Italian, and playing various instruments.