About Our Doctors
Dr. Lisa Destun
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 We all develop ways of coping and relating that might serve us well initially, but which eventually become at best outdated, and at worst problematic.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.
Dr. Karin Gleason
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.
Dr. Nicola McHale
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. Tevya Hunter
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.
Dr. Elspeth Evans
Life brings with it many stressors. Some people are born into comparatively privileged situations while some seem to start out life with the odds stacked against them. It is my belief that we all have the inborn potential to live rich, full and meaningful lives. The way in which we cope with our internal world of thoughts, emotions and sensations and our external world of situations out of our control can either increase our suffering or build resilience and refocus our goals, aligning them with our core values. I value fostering a genuine therapeutic relationship and practice from an integrative Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) approach, in which a treatment plan is built collaboratively to fit the needs of the individual. You can expect to address your historic and current life challenges through new insights and activities to bring about meaningful change in your daily life. Sometimes this will happen quickly and sometimes it will take more time. I always consider the person within their context, including attachment history and current situational factors, and practice in a trauma-informed manner. I practice in a culturally-sensitive, anti-oppressive and affirmative way.
I received my PhD in Clinical Psychology from Western in 2008, where I studied attachment trauma. I trained in many settings and am licensed with the College of Psychologists of Ontario to work with children, adolescents, adults and families. For over a decade I worked as a clinical psychologist at Western University, providing individual therapy to students and running the Mindfulness Meditation program, including a Mindful Parent group. In my final year at Western, I was the therapist on the Trans Care team at Health and Wellness. I am also a clinical supervisor and am an adjunct clinical professor in the Department of Psychology and the Faculty of Education at Western University. I am a registered provider of services to Veterans as well as Indigenous/First Nations persons.
Dr. Fiona Meek
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.
Addy Dunkley-Smith, Psy.D. (Cand.)
In life it is so easy to be knocked off balance. So many of us struggle with stress, low mood and anxiety, or are missing a sense of fulfilment in our jobs, studies, or relationships. We do the best with what we have, and sometimes that means learning ways to cope that help us get by in the short term but hurt us in the long term. Sometimes these strategies pass their use-by dates, or they may still be effective but for whatever reason we’ve just stopped using them. Sometimes we get so bogged down by the stressors of life that we lose track of the things that bring meaning and fulfilment to our days. But this doesn’t have to be the case. In therapy with me we will work together to pursue your therapy goals in a way that is right for you. Choosing the best approach is informed by relevant psychological science combined with your preferences and lived experience and a shared spirit of curiosity, non-judgement and compassion. I would love to work along side you to see you reclaim your life, your relationships, your peace. Let’s connect and get you connected to what you truly value, whatever that may be.
I am nearing completion of my doctorate of clinical psychology at Deakin University. There I focussed my research on self-compassion, in the lives of those whose parents experience mental illness.
Jesse Wilde, Ph.D., (Cand.)
It is our earliest relationships with others that help to lay the groundwork for how we experience ourselves and the world around us as we navigate life. Often, the messages we receive early on stay with us and continue to direct our ongoing thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Gaining insight into these processes, and learning to change them if they are no longer adaptive to us, is an important part of therapy. I take an integrative approach to therapy, drawing largely on the therapeutic relationship as a major source of meaningful change, but also incorporating the use of more tangible coping skills and strategies when needed. First and foremost, I believe that a therapeutic relationship characterized by mutual respect, trust, and genuine positive regard represents an essential foundation for effective psychotherapy, and is necessary for deeper, lasting change to take place.
I completed my MSc and am currently completing my doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Western University. Over the years my research has focused on understanding how the way we think about ourselves and close others influences our mental health and relationship well-being.