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).
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.
Message from the President
Board of Directors
Welcome to May and the end of another week in our almost two-month long lockdown with Covid-19! As we look around and listen to the news, there is increasing hope that by following guidelines and increasing testing we may soon begin to find our way back to some kind of ‘normal’ that we recognize. We know that this time is coming so in addition to our ongoing advocacy and efforts on your behalf, the OAMHP will continue to inform and clarify wherever we can.
We also want to acknowledge that this week has marked the 69th annual Mental Health Week, highlighting the ongoing need for increased awareness of a field we all know well. This initiative in the time of Covid-19, perhaps more than ever, reminds us all to focus on promoting behaviours and attitudes that foster well-being, support good mental health, and create a culture of understanding and acceptance.
With this in mind, I would like to offer up some suggestions on ‘adapting’ to the world we currently live in. I purposefully have used the word adapting as I believe what is required from us as we go forward is change and an adjustment of our attitudes about many things.
Staying home, working from home, and/or offering crisis support to the frontline is NOT our regular job. Accept that there is a lot being thrown at us with anxiety and stress added as seasoning. None of us are immune nor superhuman and if we expect to be able to do it all with the skill and grace we had outside of this pandemic, think again.
Being apart can feel isolating, it is good to reach out to others on a regular basis. Consider too that being together all the time can irritate so try a bit harder to be thoughtful and patient with those you are ‘literally’ close to. We need to lower our expectations of ourselves and those around us and life will be less frustrating and hopefully feel better.
It is also good to keep in mind the bigger picture and that we are not in this alone. So here some key thoughts on adapting while staying home and saving lives:
- Give yourself a break and adjust your expectations
- Remember, many items we like and enjoy are not essential to life
- Focus on what you can do, rather than what you cannot
- Stay connected and be kind wherever you can
And my favourite, ‘view this pandemic as a chapter in a book you are writing – chapters always end and if this is your book then how it plays out is totally up to you’ – Robert Leahy, PhD., New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
One last note in keeping with being positive, please watch for an update early next week on our changing Cyber Insurance policy options and in the coming weeks some recommended guidelines about preparing for a return to work. Again, we are not there yet but hope to be soon, so in the meantime be well and stay safe.
For those of you celebrating Mother’s Day this weekend, I wish you a wonderful time!
If you have any thoughts on adapting, questions, or other concerns you want to discuss then please do reach out. Always happy to hear from you.
Suzanne Dennison DCS., RP, (cert)OAMHP
Suzanne Dennison 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 eclectic 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). 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.
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 is a psychotherapist who had been in practice since 1994, specializing initially with teenagers, family mediation, and stress and anxiety disorders. She holds a degree in Psychology from McMaster University and done graduate work in the Clinical Techniques of Counselling as well as intensive Sex Therapy Certification from Guelph University.
Liana has also pursued professional clinical training practicums in sex medicine at Women’s College Hospital (Toronto) since 2006. Liana's expertise includes stress and anxiety, panic, bi-polar and depression, sexual dysfunction and concerns, marital and intimacy issues and self-esteem enhancement. She is a motivational speaker on the topics of Resiliency in Children and Teens, the Science of Stress and is currently launching a Technophilia workshop on ‘understanding how our love of technology may be affecting our connection with people'.
Liana has her advanced certification in Critical Incident Stress Management, and she is a Certified Psychotherapist with the Ontario Association of Consultants, Counsellors, Psychometrists and Psychotherapists (OAMHP) and has been the Clinical Coordinator working with teachers and unions associated with the Halton District School Board over the last 12 years.
Sue Tassé is a Registered Psychotherapist from Sudbury Ontario and a graduate from Laurentian University. She recently joined the management team at Canadian Mental Health Association Sudbury/Manitoulin as Manager of Clinical Services expanding her knowledge in the field of adult mental health and addictions.
Sue’s previous experience includes 15 years in a variety of programs within the Children’s Mental Health Sector as a bilingual clinician. She has worked extensively with local school boards, child Psychiatrists, as well as many other community agencies.
Sue is a Master Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Trainer (ASIST) with Livings Works and had provided training to a number of northern community agencies/individuals. She is also the Secretary/Treasurer of the North East Ontario Suicide Prevention Network (NESPN), a local non-profit multi-agency committee dedicated to suicide prevention initiatives in Northern Ontario.
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 Canadian Counsellor (CCC), and a registered teacher in British Columbia, Ontario (OCT), and the Yukon Territory. He is also a Certified Member of the Ontario Association of Consultants, Counsellors, Psychometrists and Psychotherapists (OACCPP) and a voluntary member of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF).
Growing up in rural Ontario and living in mid-to-large cities across Canada, Adam has worked with a variety of populations ranging from hard-to-reach inner-city clients, adult survivors of childhood trauma, and the LGBTQ2 community, which has fostered a sincere understanding of the various daily life challenges and struggles individuals experience.
Drawing primarily from Internal Family Systems (IFS) and goal-focused therapeutic models, the focus of his clinical experience has been directed toward the age range of 21 - 65 with presenting issues relating to anxiety and depression, childhood physical, psychological, and sexual trauma, gender/sexuality-related issues, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Laura resides in Windsor, Ontario and holds a Masters degree in Developmental Psychology from the University of Guelph, specializing in the area of developmental disabilities. She also completed a Bachelor of Education at the University of Windsor with current certification from the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) and additional teaching qualifications in ESL, Special Education, and Guidance & Career Education. Her experience in the area of teaching and advocacy is diverse, with over 15 years of employment in public education and developmental services, while maintaining a full-time focus on her family.
More recently, Laura has applied her skills to higher education with experiences as a sessional instructor and learning facilitator at St. Clair College; as well as a career consultant at the University of Windsor.
She has had the pleasure of supporting diverse groups of learners with their academic and career development. Laura's passion is empowering students in their career development through consultation, psychometric interest assessment, experiential learning, and specialized career workshops. She has recently embarked on the provision of career and academic consulting in private practice.
Laura Liebrock is a mental health professional working in the field since 1989. Her areas of specialization include; program development, grant writing, adult education and teaching, seniors fitness, tobacco cessation policy development, privacy training, accreditation and quality improvement. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in both Psychology and Gerontology, and a Master’s Degree in Health Studies. Community involvement is important to Laura. She is an active member of 100 Women Who Care Windsor Essex and sits on the Board of Community Support Centre Essex County. Laura regularly participates in community mental health events, which usually involve exercise. Both in and out of her community involvement Laura loves to keep active!
Although Laura moved away for University, she returned to her childhood hometown of Belle River 18 years ago to raise her two children, Eric and Sarah, and energetic Jack Russell Terrier, Lizzy, with her husband Jeff.
Laura’s current interests are working with staff towards the implementation of the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the workplace, as well as facilitating all processes designed to improve health outcomes and health system performance towards full accreditation with Accreditation Canada.
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 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 and Narrative Exposure Therapy (for PTSD and other trauma-related disorders).
Naim in the process of acquiring the necessary experience and supervised practice hours to become fully registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario.
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.
Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP)
Certified Coach Practitioner (CCP)
Founder, Owner & Clinic Director
Christina uses a compassionate, nonjudgmental, straight forward style to help you sort through your troubling feelings, thoughts and behaviours, getting to the root of what is bothering you, and working collaboratively with you to find solutions that work for your life. Christina practices trauma-informed, person-centred care, and uses a variety of therapeutic techniques, such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT), attachment-based Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) with couples, families and individuals, ages 8+.
Christina has clinical experience with ADHD, life transitions, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, romantic relationship challenges, self-esteem, separation and divorce, co-parenting, remarriage, stepfamily development, family of origin conflict, childhood trauma, childhood sexual abuse, terminal or chronic illness such as cancer, grief and parenting support.
Christina has peer-reviewed academic articles on PTSD in cancer patients, burnout in oncology professionals and the relationship between mental health and chronic illness. Christina is also a regular contributor on topics touching mental health affecting the general public for The Caledon Enterprise. Christina provides keynote speaking on topics such as Anxiety in school-aged children, Mindfulness 101 for teams and has participated as a panel member in Integrative Oncology on the importance of resilience and self-advocacy in the cancer journey.
Christina has a Master's degree in Counselling Psychology, is a member of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO), a Certified member and a board member of the Ontario Association of Mental Health Professionals (formerly OACCPP) and a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional.
Christina is the founder and owner of Dig A Little Deeper, Psychotherapy & Counselling and of Dig Deeper Coaching, and is a proud wife, mother and stepmother.
Christina's practice is currently accepting new referrals.
Christina is available in person Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays in Bolton, and online Thursdays and Fridays.
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 in the process of becoming a certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition specialist and hopes to use this expertise to help individuals live their best 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.
Katharine De Santos is a Registered Psychotherapist who has over 18 years of experience working with adults with various clinical symptoms and concerns including depression, anxiety, trauma, relationships, substance use/addiction issues and eating disorders. Her treatment experience focuses on using evidence-based approaches including CBT and DBT. She also incorporates various modalities including Mindfulness, strength-based, emotional focused and attachment-based therapies. She is a compassionate therapist that encourages self-discovery, self-acceptance and provides a positive space to heal and grow.
Katharine holds a master’s degree in Community Counseling from George Washington University and has completed post-graduate work at Johns Hopkins University. She is currently pursuing a certificate in Global Mental Health: Trauma and Recovery awarded by Harvard Medical School. Katharine’s professional experience includes positions in outpatient, inpatient hospital settings, emergency trauma response, employee family assistance programs and private practice settings in Canada and the U.S.
Outside of work she enjoys spending time with family and friends, travelling and experimenting with new recipes and culinary delights.
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.
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.
Jacqueline is OAMHP’s Professional Development Coordinator. Her main responsibilities are organizing workshops and webinars, providing support to regional networks, organizing the Annual Conference, and supporting OAMHP’s Professional Development committee as they strive to offer excellent professional 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.
Michael is the Business Development Director. In this role, he works in tandem with the Executive Director, Executive Committee and the OAMHP team to enhance member benefits, create opportunities for strategic partnerships and oversee new business initiatives for the Association.
Michael has worked in media, communications and professional development for over 20 years with organizations from Vancouver to Halifax. He has served on the board of directors of numerous nonprofit organizations and continues to be an active member of the cultural community.