Psychotherapy is not essentially about specific problems; it is about a unique alliance or relationship that helps one shift the way they experience and interact with themselves and the world around them. We all develop ways of coping and relating that might serve us well initially, but which eventually become at best outdated, and at worst problematic. It can be hard to change these aspects of ourselves because they are ingrained and automatic, even unconscious. We find ourselves repeating destructive patterns or stuck in unhappy relationships, and this repetition can become extremely discouraging. When these patterns are explored and re-experienced in an atmosphere of safety, acceptance, and professional understanding, profound change is possible. As a therapist I operate from a stance of empathy, curiosity, and non-judgement. I believe that our early attachments heavily influence our present relationships, and that we are complex and layered as individuals. Therapy with me will involve joint exploration of the past and present, in the context of a supportive and collaborative relationship. We will seek to increase awareness and insight, and move toward new ways of perceiving, experiencing, and relating in the world.
I obtained my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Western Ontario, where I am currently an Adjunct Faculty member. Early in my career I taught courses in Clinical Psychology and Human Sexuality. These days I supervise graduate students in their clinical activities and visit the university to give seminars, mostly related to couple therapy and private practice. I also provide training and supervision to early career psychologists in the process of becoming registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario. My favourite activity continues to be providing psychotherapy. I have a special interest in couple therapy, but also have a portion of my practice devoted to work with individuals.
I believe that our experiences in our families and early relationships have an important role in shaping who we are, including our thoughts, feelings and beliefs, and influence how we are affected by our experiences throughout our lives. In our practice, I take an integrative approach in my therapy work with adolescents and adults. Understanding our attachment experiences, our own needs in relationships, and how we can learn to cope with strong emotions will help to make possible the changes we want to happen in our current relationships and wellbeing. Exploring these experiences, beliefs and emotions in a supportive and collaborative therapeutic relationship is often an important focus of therapy. Cognitive-behavioural and emotion-focused therapy approaches for negative thoughts or strong emotions that often occur in anxiety and depression may be an important component of therapy depending on each individual’s treatment needs. Of particular interest to me are the concerns and issues that arise from difficult or changing family relationships, including the challenges of family transitions such as coping with or parenting through loss or divorce, and the blending of families.
I obtained my doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Western Ontario in 2000, with a research focus on attachment relationships. I have worked as a psychologist with children with developmental disabilities and their families at CPRI in London, and also in private practice with clients of all ages since that time. I am registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario to provide services to adults, adolescents, children, and families. I am also an Adjunct Clinical Professor in Clinical Psychology at Western University where I provide supervision and training for graduate students.
Making the decision to begin therapy can be a confusing and nerve-wracking process. Believe it or not, even the act of searching psychologist websites and considering therapy is an act of courage and demonstrates strength. Therapy can look different, depending on your individual needs and goals. For instance, some individuals may benefit from shorter-term work, using cognitive behavioural therapy techniques to gain healthier perspectives, build coping skills, and actively engage in lifestyle changes to overcome difficulties. Depending on the nature of what someone is dealing with, and the extent to which it has been ingrained over time, individuals may also benefit from a more insight-oriented approach. This approach uses the safety of the therapeutic relationship to examine potentially unhelpful patterns in thinking, reactivity, and relating that are influenced by both past and present factors, and are keeping clients feeling “stuck”. Increasing awareness of these patterns, from a stance of continual curiosity and non-judgment, can create space for change and healing. Therapy often involves moving toward uncomfortable thoughts, feelings, and sensations. It is always the focus of therapy to support clients in learning ways to face these emotions in a mindful way, with the goal of developing increased comfort and equanimity in the face of these difficult emotions.
I completed my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of New Brunswick in 2015. I joined Dr. Lisa Destun and Associates in 2014, which is in addition to my other part-time position at the First Episode Mood and Anxiety Program (FEMAP) at LHSC. The work I do is primarily dedicated to my passion of delivering individual therapy. I also co-facilitate CBT groups for treatment of anxiety at FEMAP, and have engaged in some supervision of entry level psychologists. I work with adults and emerging adults with a range of difficulties, including mood and anxiety issues, trauma, difficulty managing emotions and relationships, and adjustment to major life transitions.
Dr. McHale is currently on leave and will be returning in January 2020.
The foundation of therapy is the therapeutic relationship, which I foster through unconditional positive regard, empathy, validation, and showing up as my genuine self. Sometimes the therapeutic relationship itself creates change— changing how the individual sees themselves, feels about themselves, and relates to others. Building on the relationship, additional approaches to facilitating change can be implemented, depending on the individual’s specific concerns or goals for therapy. Different problems require different approaches. Determining whether an issue is one that would be best addressed from an acceptance perspective or a change perspective is an important step early on. If we want to work on change, more active strategies can be implemented including cognitive and behavioural interventions, keeping in mind that the only change we can make in some situations is how to think about or understand the situation. When working on acceptance, the therapy process is less structured and may involve emotional processing, making insights, mindfulness, and challenging unhelpful ways of thinking. The wonderful paradox of acceptance work is that it can actually lead to change. I trust that individuals are the experts of their own lives and believe that my role as a therapist is to create a safe, supportive, and non-judgmental environment to explore current patterns of thinking and behaving, to consider alternative perspectives, and to make meaning of confusing or distressing experiences.
I obtained my PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Manitoba and in the final year of the program my residency training brought me to London. I also work at the Operational Stress Injury Clinic at Parkwood Institute completing psychodiagnostic assessments and providing therapy to veterans and currently serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the RCMP. Through this work, I have developed special interest in the treatment of PTSD and other trauma-related difficulties. I am an adjunct faculty member at the University of Waterloo and supervise students and residents in clinical psychology programs both in London and Waterloo. At the practice, I am able to pursue my earliest passion in psychology— psychotherapy. Here, I work with adults and emerging adults with diverse presentations, concerns, and life stories.
I believe that everyone can benefit from therapy. Human beings possess the gift of self-awareness and as such, our thoughts and emotions are an integral part of our lives. Although most of us are drawn towards personal growth, change doesn’t always come easily and sometimes we get stuck. Part of what keeps us stuck is when we unknowingly repeat automatic patterns from our past. These patterns are learned early in life when we internalize the values and beliefs of the people around us, and begin to create schemas about our self and the world that we carry with us into adulthood. Therapy helps identify our patterns in the present, uncover the roots to how these patterns developed in the past, and learn new ways to cope in the future. I approach therapy as a collaborative process, established through empathy and compassion. I bring a genuine curiosity and openness to hearing and understanding your life story. In therapy, we will work together to help you cope with stress and suffering, dismantle barriers to change, and realize your hopes for the future.
I obtained my PhD in Clinical Psychology at Queen’s University, with a clinical and research focus on complex mental health. In addition to working for Dr. Destun & Associates, I also work at the Prevention and Early Intervention Program for Psychoses (PEPP) at London Health Sciences Centre. I am Adjunct Faculty with the Department of Psychology and the Department of Psychiatry at Western University, as well as an executive council member of the Early Psychosis Intervention Ontario Network. I provide individual therapy to youth and adults with various concerns including mood, anxiety, emotion regulation, interpersonal stress, and complex mental health. My therapeutic approach integrates principles of cognitive-behavioural, mindfulness, acceptance-based, insight-oriented, and emotion regulation therapies in order to meet each individual’s unique needs.
Dr. Gupta will be going on a one-year leave beginning November 1 2019
At times, we all feel unsupported, unappreciated, unheard, or invalidated. When can experience these feelings in response to stressful events (i.e., job loss, breakup) or with primary attachment figures growing up. Over time, these kinds of feelings can make us incredibly emotionally reactive to others while at the same time numb, seemingly unreactive, and emotionally detached. We can feel self-critical, inadequate, anxious, overwhelmed, and unhappy in our relationships. Our mood can plummet and we can become fatigued and isolate ourselves from others.
I provide a non-judgmental, safe and secure environment for individuals and couples to open up and process a range of feelings and experiences. I typically combine two types of treatment. One is process-oriented, which helps individuals connect the dots between past and present in terms of emotional triggers and behavioural responses, and gain a more in-depth understanding of themselves. The other is skills-oriented, which includes psychoeducation, CBT skills, and day-to-day coping. I tailor my treatment method to meet the unique needs of each client.
I obtained my Ph.D. in Clinical and Counselling Psychology at the University of Toronto: OISE, and completed my residency at Dr. Lisa Destun & Associates and Dr. Lindsey Forbes & Associates.
From birth, we are socialized to avoid and suppress “negative” core emotions, such as sadness, loneliness, and fear. All too often we find ourselves focused on fixing problems instead of experiencing the emotion, which can result in cyclical, destructive patterns that increase distress and prevent us from being present in our lives and relationships. Consequently, we find ourselves feeling stuck, and a sense of fulfilment becomes unattainable. My psychotherapeutic approach emphasizes collaborative exploration of clients’ past and present emotional experiences to facilitate awareness, understanding, and ultimately, change. Through confronting and experiencing emotion in a non-judgemental, empathic environment, we are able to reduce the intensity of emotion, increase self-awareness, and focus on the present. I obtained my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at The University of Ottawa, and completed my residency at the Thames Valley District School Board. I joined Dr. Destun’s practice in September of 2019.
There are two main influences on my work as a therapist: the first is my former career as a lawyer, and the second is my doctoral research in the William Fisher Human Sexuality lab. As a therapist, I bring candour, professionalism, and respect for the dignity of the individual with whom I am working. When working with couples, I am grateful for the opportunity to assist people with a variety of issues, including improved intimacy, repairing from a relationship breakdown, and recovering from infidelity, to name a few. With individuals I help people to examine whether current coping strategies that worked well in the past may no longer be assisting in living fully and happily now. I work with people to design new, more adaptive strategies, when this is appropriate. I am completing my final residency year of my five-year PhD in Clinical Psychology at London Health Sciences Centre Consortium. During my doctoral research I specialized in hypersexual disorder in males, and was a Joseph Armand Bombardier Doctoral Scholar, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Prior to returning to graduate school at Western University, I practised law for 8 years in Toronto and London. During my career as a lawyer I had the good fortune of working with Native Canadians who were victimized in the Canadian Residential Schools system. This work changed my life and inspired me to become a psychologist.