“Our mission is to help people improve and maintain their mental health through research-supported methods of psychological assessment and treatment.”
Associates at Oakville Centre for Cognitive Therapy are all either Ph.D. level psychologists registered by The College of Psychologists of Ontario, or Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Candidates working under the direct supervision of a registered psychologist.
With rigorous post-secondary education and training typically spanning 10-12 years, our clinicians are highly-skilled in the assessment of psychological difficulties and in the provision of evidence-based cognitive behavioural treatment services to children, adolescents, adults, couples and families.
(Click on image to view bio)
Dr. Ferguson is the Co-Director of the OCCT. Dr. Ferguson’s past professional experience includes positions within St. Joseph’s Healthcare (Anxiety Treatment and Research Centre, Eating Disorders Program, and Forensic Service), Counselling and Psychological Services at the University of Michigan, a private practice in Windsor, Psychological Services Centre at the University of Windsor, and the Anxiety Disorders Clinic at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. In his own work with clients, he provides assessment and CBT services for adolescents, adults, and couples. Dr. Ferguson is both a founding member of the Canadian Association of Cognitive and Behavioural Therapies (CACBT), and a CACBT-certified provider of cognitive behavioural therapy. Dr. Ferguson is particularly interested in the treatment of anxiety disorders, depression, self-esteem issues, anger management, stress-related difficulties, chronic pain management, and body image concerns. In addition to providing clinical services to clients, Dr. Ferguson supervises psychologists in the final stages of their registration for autonomous practice.
Dr. Mattina is the Co-Director of the OCCT. Dr. Mattina’s past professional experience includes positions at the Psychological Trauma Program and the Anxiety Disorders Clinic within the Mood and Anxiety Program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto. He has also held past positions at the Clinical Research Laboratory specializing in the treatment of depression at the CAMH, as well as at the McMaster University Centre for Student Development Counselling Clinic. Dr. Mattina’s primary theoretical orientation is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for adults. He is a credentialed CBT provider with the Canadian Association of Cognitive and Behavioural Therapies (CACBT). He has a particular interest in the assessment, treatment and facilitation of return to work efforts for clients who have experienced a psychological and/or physical trauma within the workplace. He also has experience in the assessment and treatment of various anxiety disorders (e.g., obsessive compulsive disorder, social phobia and panic disorder), depression and coping with physical pain and disability. In addition to providing clinical services to clients, Dr. Mattina supervises psychologists in the final stages of their registration for autonomous practice.
Dr. Swallow founded the OCCT in 1994 and has maintained an Oakville-based practice in clinical, health and rehabilitation psychology since that time. Dr. Swallow’s professional experience includes work on the Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Unit at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. A founding member of the Canadian Association of Cognitive and Behavioural Therapies (CACBT) and a CACBT-certified cognitive behaviour therapist, Dr. Swallow has a special interest in CBT for depression, anxiety, couples problems, and stress-related health difficulties.
Dr. Adams has worked in private practice settings for the last decade treating couples as well as individual concerns such as depression, anxiety, life transitions, divorce, bereavement, and relationship/ interpersonal difficulties. Her clinical training included placements at the CAMH’s Affective Disorders Unit and the Sunnybrook Hospital’s Short-term Psychotherapy Unit. Dr. Adams has a specific interest in working with couples using emotionally focused therapy (EFT). She participated as a therapist in Dr. Leslie Greenberg’s research project about resolution of couples’ emotional injuries and has also authored a paper on forgiveness processes in couples.
Dr. Ahmed’s recent professional experience includes positions at the Anxiety Treatment and Research Centre, Mood Disorders Program and Eating Disorders Program at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton. She has also received training at the Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Clinic at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto. Dr. Ahmed has a special interest in the application of CBT to the treatment of anxiety and mood disorders, relationship concerns and interpersonal difficulties. She provides assessment and treatment services for adults, adolescents and couples. Dr. Ahmed is fluent in Urdu and Hindi and can offer services in these languages.
Simerpreet Ahuja completed her doctoral training in psychology at Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology (TIET) in Patiala India in 2009. Prior to coming to Canada, she spent several years as an Assistant Professor of Psychology at TIET, teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, while also maintaining an active program of research—she has published peer-reviewed papers in a number of well-regarded academic journals. In addition to her teaching and research work, Dr. Ahuja has many years of experience providing psychotherapy and counselling services. At the OCCT, Dr. Ahuja works with adolescents and adults experiencing a wide range of psychological concerns including depression, anxiety, anger, stress, low self-esteem and relationship problems. She has a special interest in providing vocational assessment services for individuals seeking guidance in career planning. Dr. Ahuja offers services in English, Hindi and Punjabi.
Dr. Barker has worked professionally with children and adolescents for over 40 years. He completed his doctoral training at the University of Toronto (OISE) and since then has worked in a variety of settings providing assessments, treatment and consultation. His work experience includes positions at a residential treatment centre for children and adolescents, a family court clinic, a hospital outpatient clinic, as a Senior Psychologist at the Peel Board of Education. In addition, he taught Educational Theory at York University and has provided in-service training sessions for many groups of professionals. Dr. Barker maintained a full-time practice for 15 years. In his work at the OCCT, he limits his practice to providing clinical and educational assessments. This is an area where he has a special interest and where he has developed a unique approach over the last 40 years. His assessments are concerned with not only understanding problems, but even more importantly to generating solutions and helping people to succeed.
Dr. Foti has held positions at Hamilton Health Sciences Centre in the Chedoke Child Youth and Family Program, at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in the Gender Identity Service and Adolescent Service. Dr. Foti provides assessment and treatment services for children, adolescents (including high-risk youth), and families. He has a special interest in using CBT to treat young people with mood, anxiety, and behaviour issues. He also offers child management training to parents.
Dr. Gravets recently held a staff position at St. Michael’s Hospital’s Department of Family and Community Medicine working with a variety of presenting difficulties. At the Operational Stress Injury Clinic, she provided treatments for traumatic stress injuries in veterans, serving members of the Canadian Forces and the police. More recently at the Toronto Western Hospital she was working with individuals experiencing work-related psychological trauma, physical injuries and chronic pain. Dr. Gravets also has experience practising in various healthcare settings in the U.K. including a family medicine health care team, a community child and adolescent mental health care service, an adolescent inpatient unit, a drug addictions service and a specialist inpatient and outpatient HIV clinic. Dr. Gravets provides CBT for a wide range of problems including depression, anxiety, anger, insomnia, chronic pain, bereavement, relationship difficulties, trauma, substance use disorders and chronic health problems. Her commitment lies with delivering evidence-based and outcome-oriented assessments and treatment plans which incorporate clients’ unique needs and goals.
Dr. Laugesen is the OCCT’s Director of Child and Youth Services. She has held positions at the Anxiety Research and Treatment Centre, the Mood Disorders Service, and the Schizophrenia & Mental Health Rehabilitation Services at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton. She has also worked at the Chedoke Child and Family Centre at McMaster Children’s Hospital. Dr. Laugesen provides a variety of assessment and treatment services for children, adolescents, adults and families in both French and English. She has a special interest in the application of CBT and DBT to the treatment of young people with anxiety, depression and behavioural problems, and in child management training for parents.
Mirmahmoud Mirnasab completed his Ph.D. in Psychology and Special Education at the University of Tehran in 2006. His past professional experience includes a visiting lectureship at University of Newcastle, Australia and positions at the University of Tabriz as Associate Professor of Psychology, Associate Dean of the Faculty of Education and Psychology and Head of Education Department. He has held clinical positions at Razi Psychiatric Hospital of Tabriz University of Medical Sciences as a Registered Child and Adolescent Psychologist where he was involved in providing clinical services, teaching behaviour therapy for Ph.D students in the department of psychiatry and consultant for Research Center of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences for 10 years. Dr. Mirnasab had also been working in private practice and providing consultant and clinical services for Tabriz Health Center. Dr. Mirnasab received his second M.A. degree from Brock University and has been volunteering at Pathstone Mental Health since 2019. Dr. Mirnasab provides psychoeducational assessments, behavioural and cognitive-behavioural therapy for various child and adolescents mental health concerns including attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disability, habit disorders, anger problems, low self-esteem, anxiety and developmental disorders. He also provides psychoeducation in parent-child relationship issues and psychotherapy for culturally diverse clients. Dr. Mirnasab has published several scientific articles in peer-reviewed Journals and six books in the field of child and adolescent psychopathology. He offers services in English, Persian and Turkish (Azerbaijani).
Dr. Mohan earned her doctoral degree at Western University. She has extensive training and experience in health and rehabilitation psychology, and while in London she worked at Victoria Hospital’s Behavioural Medicine Service, at University Hospital’s Epilepsy Program, and at St. Joseph’s Health Care’s Cardiac Rehabilitation and Secondary Prevention Program, as well as at its Rheumatology Day Program. Her training and experience in clinical psychology includes positions with the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, and the Assessment Program at London’s Regional Mental Health Care. In addition, she has worked at Western University’s Student Development Centre and in several private practices in the London area. Dr. Mohan also presently works at Toronto Western Hospital, providing psychological services to individuals with work-related musculoskeletal injuries, chronic pain and/or psychological trauma. At the OCCT, Dr. Mohan has a special interest in using CBT to help clients who are experiencing stress, anxiety, depression, relational issues, chronic pain, and a variety of other health challenges to optimize coping and to improve the quality of their lives.
Dr. Lorah Pilchak Harley is a clinical psychologist and school psychologist working with children, teens, and adults. In addition to her work in private practice, she is currently employed at the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), where she provides psychoeducational assessments. She also delivers professional development seminars on children’s mental health, learning and executive functioning issues, and fostering resilience. She serves as a member of the TDSB’s Identification Placement Review Committee, which serves to provide exceptionality identifications and determine educational support services. Dr. Pilchak Harley has previously held positions at the University of Waterloo’s Health Services and Surrey Place Centre. At the OCCT, Dr. Pilchak Harley provides psychoeducational assessments for various conditions, including learning disabilities, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, giftedness, developmental disability, and autism spectrum disorder and pervasive developmental disorders. She also provides counselling services for a variety of mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, trauma, stress, and adjustment conditions. She has a particular interest in treating anxiety in children.
Dr. Rombough works with children, adolescents and young adults. In addition to her work at the OCCT, she provides psychological services and program supervision at the Integrated Services for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders (ISAND) clinic in Toronto. Prior professional experiences include positions at North York General Hospital, The Hospital for Sick Children, Kinark Child and Family Services, Toronto District School Board, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and York University. Dr. Rombough provides psychological and developmental assessments, as well psychological intervention and parent consultation/support. She has a special interest in providing CBT and mindfulness-based therapies to treat anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and behavioural challenges in children and adolescents. She is also dedicated to working with individuals with learning, attention or developmental differences, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), who also experience mental health concerns. In addition to her clinical work and research contributions, Dr. Rombough has provided training to other professionals, including ASD training to mental health clinicians across Ontario and globally through Sick Kids International.
Dr. Sergeant’s recent professional experiences include positions at the Centre for Mental Health Research and University of Waterloo Counselling and Psychological Services, the Work, Stress, and Health Program at CAMH, the York University Anxiety Research Lab, and the Vanier Centre for Women and Maplehurst Correctional Complex. She provides assessment and treatment services to adults and adolescents experiencing difficulties related to mood, anxiety, stress, interpersonal issues, eating disorders, chronic pain, and personality problems. In her work with patients, Dr. Sergeant draws on a number of empirically-supported CBT modalities including acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), emotion-focused therapy (EFT), dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), and interpersonal therapy.
Leah Tobin completed her doctoral training in clinical psychology at the University of Calgary. Her work experience includes positions at the Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre’s Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy Service and its Regional Psychological Assessment Service, the Sunridge Medical Gallery’s Community Mental Health Clinic, the Foothills Medical Centre’s Mood Disorders Program and Addiction Centre, Alberta Health Services’ Forensic Adolescent Program, and the Peter Lougheed Centre’s Adult Psychiatric Inpatient Unit. At the OCCT, Leah provides CBT for adult and adolescent clients who are struggling with anxiety, stress, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and depression. She has a special interest in helping individuals who are struggling with eating disorders and body image concerns.
Dr. Wayne completed her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Queen’s University. She has worked at the Rehabilitation Centre and Heart Institute at the Ottawa Hospital, Hotel Dieu Hospital in Kingston, Counseling and Disability Services at Queen’s University, and Baycrest Hospital. She provides assessment and treatment services for a range of mood and anxiety disorders, as well as for individuals with stress- or interpersonal-related difficulties. In addition to her work at the OCCT, Dr. Wayne also works at Toronto Western Hospital providing psychological services to individuals with work-related psychological trauma, musculoskeletal injuries, and/or chronic pain. She has a particular interest in working with hard-of-hearing individuals (including those with congenital or acquired hearing loss), as well as individuals with chronic health-related conditions or disabilities, including tinnitus.
Dr. Zalai completed medical training in Hungary and worked as a physician prior to embarking upon a career as a psychologist. She has held positions at the University Health Network, London Health Sciences, St. Michael’s Hospital, St. Joseph’s Health Care (Hamilton) and a number of sleep clinics throughout Ontario. At the Oakville Centre for Cognitive Therapy, Dr. Zalai provides cognitive behavioural, mindfulness and acceptance-based treatments to older adolescents and adults who feel tired, overwhelmed, unhappy, anxious, or stuck in life. In addition, she provides cutting-edge sleep and body clock assessments and individually-tailored treatment interventions for sleeping difficulties. She can also incorporate sleep assessment and treatment into her work with individuals struggling with depression, anxiety, trauma, medical conditions, chronic pain and post-concussion symptoms. Dr. Zalai has educated clinicians and patient groups about the relationship between sleep, fatigue, mental and physical health in Canada, Europe, Asia and Africa and is passionate about developing cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia programs in community and in hospital settings.
Dr. Zdzieborski’s training and experience is in the area of child and adolescent clinical and forensic psychology. His recent professional experiences include positions with the Better Behaviours Service and Adolescent Forensic Service at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto. He has also held positions at Lutherwood Children’s Mental Health Services, Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, and Trellis Mental Health and Developmental Services. In addition to working in private practice, he currently holds a position at Kinark, Child and Family Services, and specifically, the Syl Apps Youth Centre, where he provides evidence-based psychological services to youth who have serious mental health difficulties and are also in conflict with the law. Dr. Zdzieborski has a particular interest in providing assessment and treatment services to children and youth who struggle with anxiety, depression, trauma-related, disruptive behaviour, and psychotic disorders. He offers CBT to address his client’s individual needs, as well as Parent Management Training to support parents in managing their children’s behaviour and mental health.
Supervised Clinical Therapists
Geneva Millett is currently completing her doctoral training in Clinical Psychology at Ryerson University. Her clinical experience includes positions with St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton in the Eating Disorders Clinic; Dr. Rodney Day and Associates conducting motor vehicle accident assessments; Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in the Frederick W. Thompson Anxiety Disorders Centre where she provided intensive treatment services for individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); and the Family Health Team at St. Michael’s Hospital. At the OCCT, Geneva provides CBT for adults struggling with a variety of mental health concerns including anxiety, OCD, depression, and body shape and weight concerns.
Thulasi Thiruchselvam is working towards her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Her training experience includes placements at the Work, Stress and Health Program and the Integrated Day Treatment Service at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and the Frederick W. Thompson Anxiety Disorders Centre at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. At the OCCT, Thulasi works with adults who are experiencing challenges with depression, social anxiety, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and body dysmorphic concerns using CBT.
Dean Carcone is a Supervised Clinical Therapist at the OCCT. He is nearing completion of his doctoral degree in clinical psychology at the University of Toronto and received his Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology in 2016. Dean’s past professional experience includes positions at the Centre for Psychological Services and Research and the Ottawa Institute for CBT, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Psychological Trauma Program, Ryerson University, and the Frederick W. Thompson Anxiety Disorders Centre at Sunnybrook Hospital. Dean’s primary theoretical orientation is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). He works with adults and strives to collaboratively implement individually-tailored CBT programs to help support them through and help them learn strategies to manage challenging mental health symptoms. Dean has been providing individual therapy for over six years, specializing in the treatment of anxiety, OCD, phobias, and depression.
Abid Azam completed his doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology and a graduate diploma in Health Psychology at York University. Abid completed his pre-doctoral residency at the CAMH Work, Stress, and Health Program, and the University of Toronto’s Health & Wellness Centre. He also completed practicums at the Toronto General Hospital’s Transitional Pain Service, McMaster Medical Hospital’s Michael G. DeGroote Pain Clinic, and the York University Psychology Clinic. At the OCCT, Abid works with adults experiencing a variety of issues including anxiety-related problems (generalized anxiety, social anxiety, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorders), PTSD and complex trauma, depression, life direction guidance for emerging adults, and health-related problems (e.g. chronic pain, coping with illness). He also has a particular interest in the assessment, treatment, and support of return-to-work efforts for clients who have experienced psychological and/or physical trauma within the workplace.
Melina Ovanessian is a supervised clinical therapist, and is nearing completion of her doctoral degree in clinical psychology at Ryerson University. With over 5 years of experience providing evidence-based treatments, Melina has completed clinical training across a number of sites including St. Michael’s Hospital (Department of Family and Community Medicine), St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (Anxiety Treatment and Research Clinic), Sunnybrook Hospital (Frederick W. Thompson Anxiety Disorders Centre – Residential Treatment program for OCD), and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (Mood and Anxiety Ambulatory Services and Work, Stress and Health Program). Melina works with adults seeking support for a range of concerns including excessive worry, social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic attacks, depression, phobias, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Melina works primarily from a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) framework, and takes a collaborative, nonjudgmental, and compassionate approach when working with clients, to help them achieve their goals.
Maryam Sharif-Razi is a Ph.D. Candidate from the University of Calgary. Maryam’s most recent experience includes a position at the Homewood Health Centre where she provided inpatient assessments and outpatient treatment to clients with PTSD and other co-occurring conditions. She also has worked at the University of Waterloo’s Wellness Centre, the Addiction Centre at the Foothills Medical Centre, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the inpatient unit at Rockyview Hospital, the neuropsychology department at the South Health Campus hospital, and in private practice. She also has worked as an instructor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Calgary. Maryam has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals. Maryam has an integrative approach, incorporating CBT with other empirical modalities (e.g., schema therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy, motivational interviewing, mindfulness-based approaches, relapse prevention, and interpersonal therapy). She is trained in providing Cognitive Processing Therapy to clients with complex PTSD. At the OCCT, Maryam provides assessment and treatment services for a wide range of clinical issues. She has a particular interest in working with adolescents and adults who are experiencing anxiety and mood disorders, PTSD, work-related stress, and addictive disorders.
Victoria Nieborowska is currently completing her doctoral training in Counselling Psychology at the University of Calgary. Her clinical training experience includes positions at the Alberta Health Services Sheldon M. Chumir Centre in the Community Addiction and Mental Health Services Clinic – Central Services; Alberta Health Services South Health Campus in the Neuroscience Clinic; Alberta Health Services and Substance Abuse Experts Psychological in Addiction Services (1835 House) Adult Long-Term Residential; and the Calgary Board of Education. At the OCCT, Victoria provides Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and incorporates third-wave CBTs (e.g., mindfulness, DBT) into her work with adults. She is particularly interested in the treatment of depression, anxiety, substance use, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Ms. McIntosh joined the OCCT in 2018, bringing with her many years of administrative and banking experience. She has also been involved in coaching gymnastics to young children, assisting with a kindergarten readiness program, and volunteering as a group facilitator at a grief and bereavement support centre for children and families. As part of the OCCT’s administrative team, Tracey liaises with patients and referral partners, assists with scheduling, and manages a range of business-related matters.
After graduating from the University of Guelph’s Criminal Justice & Public Policy Program, Ms. Uppal joined the OCCT in 2019. She is responsible for a variety of administrative duties at the OCCT including scheduling and intake coordination. With the hopes of pursuing a career in the field of psychology, Ms. Uppal is currently furthering her education through Humber College, completing an Ontario Graduate Certificate in Forensic Practice.
Ms. Martinez joined the OCCT team in 2020. Prior to this, she held an administrative position in childcare within the school board. She also spent several years in the classroom working directly with teachers and children, as well as being greatly involved in volunteering with children over the last 15 years. At the OCCT, Ms. Martinez handles a wide range of administrative responsibilities.
To learn more, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us.