Department of Psychiatry
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Team members

The Frederick W. Thompson Centre consists of a multidisciplinary team that works together to ensure that patients are receiving the best available treatment. Please see members of our team below:

Peggy Richter Head
Peggy M. A. Richter, MD, FRCPC

After completing my medical degree at the University of Ottawa, I did my residency in psychiatry and post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto. As a staff psychiatrist at the Anxiety Disorders Clinic at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), I started to specialize in the treatment of OCD. I have now been treating people with this disorder as well as hoarding, hair pulling and skin picking disorders for over 20 years, using both medication and psychotherapy (cognitive-behavioural therapy, CBT). Since 2008 I have been director of the Clinic for OCD and Related Disorders at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, where I also lead a program of research into these conditions.

The goals of my research are to better understand the genetic and biological basis of the illness, and ways to improve treatment outcomes. This includes looking for genetic markers that predispose people to OCD, and examining the genetic basis of drug treatment response. I have also led and co-led studies investigating the efficacy of treatments for OCD, including both psychological and drug treatments, and more novel approaches like repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation.

I am incredibly thrilled and honoured to be the inaugural head of the Frederick W. Thompson Anxiety Disorders Centre at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. I lead a team of talented and dedicated clinicians and researchers devoted to advancing our knowledge of these disorders, and providing state-of-the-art treatment.

 

Lori LucierDirector of Strategy and Partnerships
Lori Lucier

For the last 8 years I have been the Toronto Central LHIN’s Mental Health and Addictions lead, working alongside people who deliver and receive services to improve outcomes for people accessing mental health and addictions services in Toronto, and Ontario. My role gave me an opportunity to work on issues across a broad spectrum from system design, to cross sector partnerships, to program and service development. Prior to joining the LHIN I was the Executive Director of the AIDS Committee of Toronto, an organization that provides HIV/AIDS prevention, supports services and community based research for people living with, at risk or affected by HIV/AIDS. I am excited to join the team at the Frederick W. Thompson Anxiety Disorder Centre, and look forward to contributing as the Centre continues to evolve and provide leadership in this important area.

 

Art TherapistLinda Chapman
Linda Chapman, MCAT

I am an art therapist and psychotherapist and have been working in Toronto since 1984, providing first art therapy then art therapy, psychotherapy and counselling in workplaces that ranged from private practice to community agencies, hospital settings and an employee assistance program, as well as teaching at the college level. I've worked with individuals, groups, couples and families. Within individual and group psychotherapy and art therapy, I have always worked with a wide range of people who struggle with a variety of problems: stress, anxiety, mood problems, living with the effects of trauma from childhood and/or adulthood, concerns about body image, weight and shape, and other matters that have deeply affected the day-to-day life or quality of life of my clients.

After obtaining a Master's Degree in Creative Arts Therapy (M.C.A.T.) (Art Therapy) from Hahnemann University in Philadelphia, PA in 1984, I returned to Toronto. I began by working at Mount Sinai Hospital and several community agencies, and as part of a team, established a small agency which provided art, music and dance-movement therapy. I continued to attend professional development workshops and conferences, and later added a diploma in psychoanalytic psychotherapy from the Institute for the Advancement of Self Psychology (IASP) to my credentials. I am on the faculty of the Canadian Institute for Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (CICAPP) and enjoy teaching there.

I am Registered Psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (RP), a registered art therapist with the Canadian Art Therapy Association (RCAT),and a Registered Clinical Member of the Ontario Society of Psychotherapists.

 

Sandra CushingSocial Worker
Sandra Cushing, MSW, RSW

I completed by Master in Social Work degree at Wilfrid Laurier University and my Bachelor of Social Worker degree at Ryerson University.  I am a Registered Social Worker (RSW) with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.

I commenced my Social Work career in the areas of child welfare, mental health crisis counselling and first stage trauma. For fourteen years, I was a Social Worker and an Advanced Practice Clinical Leader at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) with a particular focus on working with clients, families and team members of the Early Psychosis Inpatient and Outpatient Programs. My role entailed developing, implementing and evaluating evidence-based programs for individuals with psychosis and substance use challenges and their family members. I co-led the Concurrent Disorders Consultation Service in the former Schizophrenia Program at CAMH and played a key role with the CAMH Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Psychosis (CBTp) Service, wherein I provided individual and group CBT for Psychosis treatment, training, and consultation. I have completed extensive training in the areas of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Trauma-Informed Care, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and Concurrent Disorders and have provided consultation and skills training in these modalities to internal and external professionals.

I am delighted to be a Social Worker with the Intensive Treatment Program for OCD at the Frederick W. Thompson Anxiety Disorders Centre. I am passionate about providing evidence-based and client and family-centred treatment designed to enhance the lives of individuals with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and their significant others; and support their recovery journey. I look forward to working collaboratively with the clinical team to enhance OCD research and knowledge dissemination.

 

Nik GrujichStaff Psychiatrist
Dr. Nik Grujich, M.D., F.R.C.P.C.

I completed my medical degree at the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine and developed an interest in the complexity of the mind and of a holistic view of medicine. This led me to pursue post-graduate training in psychiatry. I completed my specialty training at the University of Toronto. During this time, I participated in educational research and received awards for teaching, including the Canadian Psychiatric Association, Ontario Medical Association, University of Toronto Department of Psychiatry and the Professional Association of Interns and Residents of Ontario.

In residency, I pursued focused training in the area of mood and anxiety disorders. Currently, I work as a full time staff psychiatrist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and am excited to be part of the Fredrick W. Thomson Anxiety Disorders Centre. My clinical focus is in the treatment and management of mood and anxiety disorders though evidence-based psychotherapies and pharmacotherapy. I continue to remain actively involved in education through lecturing at the University of Toronto, teaching and mentorship of residents and development of community and medical educational events.

 

Lance HawleyPsychologist
Dr. Lance Hawley, PHD, C. Psych

Dr. Hawley has worked as a staff clinical psychologist for the Mood and Anxiety Outpatient Service and the Psychological Trauma Program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Dr. Hawley has been involved as a teacher and trainer in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness Based CBT (MBCT) treatment approaches, leading workshops and providing clinical supervision to mental health professionals involving the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders. He completed his clinical training in university and medical centers in Waterloo, Montreal, Hamilton and Toronto. Dr. Hawley’s clinical and research focus involves understanding the underlying mechanisms that contribute to improved treatment response in CBT. Dr. Hawley is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto.

 

Occupational Therapist/Admissions
Aliza Ladak

I completed my masters of science in occupational therapy at McMaster University in 2010 where I developed a passion for mental health. Since entering clinical practice, I have worked primarily with individuals with schizophrenia in both community and hospital settings providing case management, occupational therapy and group-based services. I enjoy utilizing creative and evidence-based approaches to help individuals overcome daily challenges, specifically related to living skills, vocation and social life. I have always had a fascination with anxiety, and its underlying cognitive and behavioural components. I am thrilled to be a part of the Frederick Thompson Anxiety Disorders Centre, a team formed of so many highly skilled therapists. I am keen to learn more about OCD and related spectrum disorders, and apply my skills to this setting and population.

 

Neil RectorResearch Head
Dr. Neil Rector

I completed my Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of York in England and the British Psychological Society's Diploma/Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (Dip.Clin.Psych.) in 1996. After that I was a Lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, University of London and Psychologist at the Maudsley Hospital for the years 1995-1996 and then I returned to the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry and the University of Toronto to complete post-doctoral fellowship training in the practice and research of cognitive behavioural therapy. Subsequently, I went on to receive advanced clinical training in CBT from the Beck Institute of Cognitive Therapy and Research (USA) and certification in CBT by the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. I was staff psychologist and Director of the Anxiety Disorders Clinic at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) for the years 1998-2008 and Director of Clinical Practicum Training at CAMH for the years 1999-2005. I am now a Research Scientist with the Sunnybrook Research Institute, the Director of the Mood and Anxiety Treatment and Research Program at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and a Full Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto.

My research interests focus on the study of cognitive and behavioural mechanisms of vulnerability in the development and persistence of anxiety and mood disorders and their treatment with cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT). My research at the SRI includes randomized controlled trials on the efficacy of CBT approaches for distinct mood and anxiety disorders and overlapping comorbidity of these conditions. My areas of clinical expertise include helping people to overcome depression, anxiety, phobias, and stress-related problems and to enhance and promote psychological well-being with structured, short-term CBT interventions.

I am delighted to have the role of Research Head for the Frederick W. Thompson Anxiety Disorders Centre. In the upcoming years, in collaboration with my colleagues, we will be initiating a range of new clinical and neuroscience studies and we hope to be a major hub for interdisciplinary research training at the undergraduate, graduate, post-doctoral and junior faculty levels. 

 

Steven SelchenStaff Psychiatrist
Steven Selchen, M.D., M.St., F.R.C.P.C.

I completed my medical degree and Psychiatry residency at the University of Toronto, and a graduate degree at Oxford University in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). It was at U of T that I became interested in treating OCD, and carried this into my work at Oxford where I began developing an adaptation of MBCT for OCD that we are now trialing here at the Frederick W. Thompson Anxiety Disorders Centre.

My clinical work focuses on providing integrative approaches to the management of stress, anxiety and mood disorders, and ensuring broad accessibility to evidence-based treatments. I am particularly interested in wellness-promotion and relapse-prevention, and see our clinical role as going well beyond the treatment of immediate symptoms. My research interests focus on better understanding the neuroscience and psychology of reflective capacity and conscious choice, so that we can learn to respond more adaptively in the face of stress and distress.

I am very excited about the unparalleled opportunities at the Frederick W. Thompson Anxiety Disorders Centre to collaborate in the research, development and delivery of effective approaches to managing anxiety disorders such as OCD. I am also excited, in my role as director of Continuing Mental Health Education at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, to expand public education on OCD and anxiety disorders, and to ensure the highest quality training for clinicians in the treatment of these disorders.

 

Mark SinyorStaff Psychiatrist
Mark Sinyor, M.D., F.R.C.P.C.

I completed my medical degree and Masters at the University of Toronto. My research focuses on two areas: suicide and expectations/placebo effects. Regarding suicide, I have conducted several studies of coroner's records to better understand suicide in Toronto.

More recently, I helped found Sunnybrook's Program of Research and Education to Stop Suicide (PROGRESS) and am working with Dr. Richter's team to examine suicide as it impacts people with OCD spectrum disorders. I currently conduct several research projects including a randomized controlled trial examining how expectations and trial design influence outcomes. Clinically, I treat patients with various anxiety and mood disorders as well as related impulse control disorders such as trichotillomania and chronic skin picking.

 Dr. Marlene Taube-SchiffPsychologist
Dr. Marlene Taube-Schiff, PHD, C. Psych

I completed my Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. I then completed a post-doctoral internship at St. Joseph's Healthcare in Hamilton, Ontario where I specialized in providing assessment and treatment for individuals presenting with a wide range of anxiety disorders, including Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and depression. After that I was a post-doctoral fellow at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, with a focus on cognitive behavioural therapy and cognitive mechanisms in depressive disorders. Most recently, I have been a staff psychologist in the Bariatric Surgery Program and Psychiatric Inpatient Unit at University Health Network as well as in the Adult Mental Health Program at North York General Hospital. I am currently an Assistant Professor within the Department of Psychiatry. Within these roles I have provided a variety of treatment services, including cognitive behavioural therapy, to individuals experiencing acute and severe mental health issues. In addition, I have led the development and implementation of clinical programming to enhance service delivery and patient care. I have also had the opportunity to provide training to mental health professionals in group facilitation skills and behavioural activation interventions as part of these program development initiatives.

My current clinical and research interests include: program development and evaluation (qualitative and quantitative), provision of best-practice mental health care in inpatient and outpatient settings as well as clinical outcome research in naturalistic treatment settings.

I am very excited to be the team lead for the new Intensive Treatment Program for OCD at the Frederick W. Thompson Anxiety Disorders Centre. It is a privilege to be able to work with individuals with severe symptoms of OCD and help them develop skills to fight their OCD and begin the path to wellness and recovery. Evaluating these services and understanding how treatment can best meet the needs of our clients and families will be an important part of this program. I am also delighted to be a part of our clinical and research training opportunities for incoming trainees.