I completed my doctorate in 2015 at York University in Clinical-Developmental Psychology. I also completed a 250-hour hatha yoga teacher training at Moksana Yoga in Victoria BC, while completing my predoctoral internship with the BC Public Service (Child and Youth Mental Health). While my doctoral training in clinical psychology specialized me to work with children, adolescents and their families, I completed additional training in order to be able to expand my competencies to working with adults. My greatest passion remains, however, in working with children, youth and young adults, as well as with marginalized groups and communities. Perhaps it is my personal experiences as well as a background in public health that influenced my passion for prevention and early intervention, with a focus on community health and resilience. These interests also informed my dissertation research looking at the impact of caregiver-infant interactions on the neurodevelopment of infants with prenatal neurotoxin exposure and living in poor villages in Costa Rica. This research was nominated for the York University dissertation prize.
I have come to believe and see that mindfulness has tremendous potential for preventing mental health problems and their worsening, and for promoting healing and acceptance, within oneself and within communities. My interest and passion for mindfulness developed from my longstanding practice in yoga and meditation, and the many positive ways in which mindfulness has deeply impacted my own life and the lives of many people I have worked with. I am a devoted mindfulness practitioner and benefit greatly from having a daily formal and informal practice of mindfulness meditation and yoga. My practice and teachings are strongly influenced by the teachings of Jon Kabat-Zinn (developer of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction/MBSR) and Thich Nhat Hanh (Plum Village tradition), and by my teachers and mentors (past, present, and those yet to come) on this journey.
In addition to my work as a psychologist, I work as a teacher/facilitator with the Ontario-based nonprofit Mindfulness Everyday and as an independent mindfulness and yoga teacher/consultant. I have developed and adapted mindfulness-based therapeutic groups for parents, teens, and children. I also regularly provide training and consulting in mindfulness and mental health to professionals working in the “helping professions” (including the education, health, and mental health sectors). I am a UBC Certified facilitator of the SMART (Stress Management And Resiliency Training) Education course for educators and helping professionals, provided by Mindfulness Everyday. In 2017, I created and ran the first Mindful Living Retreat for educators and mental health practitioners at the beautiful Sugar Ridge Retreat Centre. Since then, I have had the good fortune of having had three successful retreats to support the cultivation of mindful living and working for professionals.
Also in 2017, I completed the MBSR in Mind-Body Medicine training intensive for health professionals, under the direction of Saki Santorelli, Judson Brewer & Florence Meleo-Meyer of the UMASS Center for Mindfulness, which has greatly impacted my work in this field.
I consider myself to be a student for life and am dedicated to ongoing learning, mentorship, and personal and professional growth.
Some of my professional interests include: community psychology, trauma, attachment, mental health prevention/early intervention, the integration of mind-body approaches in therapy, environmental health, educational and public health policy.
Personal interests (apart from mindfulness and yoga) include: spending time in nature as much as possible, hiking and mountain trekking, travelling, floral arranging, plant-based cooking and baking, volunteering on issues related to girls’/women’s empowerment and social justice, and bingeing on episodes of the Great British Baking Show and the Amazing Race.
- PhD in Clinical-Developmental Psychology (York University, 2015)
- MA in Clinical-Developmental Psychology (York University, 2010)
- MSc in Epidemiology and public health (York University, 2008)
- Hon BA in Psychology (Glendon College, 2004)