Lisa Burckell, Ph.D., C.Psych.
DBT-Linehan Board of Certification, Certified Clinician™
Dr. Burckell is the founder of DBT Hamilton. She is a DBT-Linehan Board of Certification, Certified Clinician™. She is a part-time faculty member of McMaster’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences and she is registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario. She was also the clinical lead for St. Joseph’s Health Care Hamilton’s outpatient DBT program for 10 years.
Dr. Burckell has been practicing DBT for over 10 years. After completing her doctoral training at Stony Brook University, her DBT training started with a predoctoral and postdoctoral internship at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s BPD Clinic. Following her training at CAMH, Dr. Burckell took her position at St. Joe’s, and since then has worked exclusively treating individuals with BPD, emotion dysregulation, and related issues.
Dr. Burckell is also a Quality-Rated CPT Provider, an evidenced-based treatment for PTSD. Finally, Dr. Burckell has taken the teacher training for Mindful Self-Compassion with the developers, Drs. Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer.
Dr. Burckell has conducted research about the effectiveness of DBT as well as adaptations of DBT for specific disorders such as Posttraumatic Stress Disorder for individuals with co-occurring BPD and PTSD.
Dr. Burckell is also committed to training and education, she has been a clinical supervisor and trainer for the last 10 years for psychology practicum students and residents, clinical staff, and psychiatry residents. She also conducts workshops and provides clinical consultation.
Dr. Amy Wojtowicz, Ph.D., C. Psych.
Dr. Wojtowicz is a clinical psychologist registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Calgary and completed her predoctoral psychology residency training at St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Hamilton. Before shifting her focus to private practice, Dr. Wojtowicz was previously a staff psychologist at the St. Joseph’s outpatient Eating Disorder Program and the outpatient Borderline Personality Disorder Service. In addition, Dr. Wojtowicz previously held an academic position in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University. Dr. Wojtowicz has published peer-reviewed journal articles, and has made a number of presentations at international scientific meetings.
Dr. Wojtowicz is committed to ongoing training and professional development. She has participated in numerous advanced trainings focused on the enhancement of DBT skills, mindfulness, and compassion-based interventions. Dr. Wojtowicz is also a certified Quality-Rated CPT Provider, an evidenced-based treatment for PTSD.
Dr. Wojtowicz is passionate about clinical training and supervision. She has provided clinical supervision for psychology practicum students and residents, psychiatry residents, and other mental health professionals.
Dr. Shireen Abuhatoum, Ph.D., C.Psych.
Dr. Abuhatoum received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Concordia University in Montreal. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in the Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) Clinic and also completed her predoctoral residency at CAMH in the BPD Clinic and the Mood and Anxiety Ambulatory Service.
Dr. Abuhatoum has trained in a variety of settings including St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, the Royal Victoria Hospital, and the McGill University Mental Health Service. She has extensive training and experience providing psychotherapy and assessment services to adults affected by emotion regulation difficulties, interpersonal problems, anxiety, depression, trauma, and personality disorders. Her therapeutic approach is grounded in the evidence-based practice of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and Cognitive Processing Therapy for PTSD. She adopts a collaborative and client-centered approach that focuses on the client’s needs, symptoms, and personal goals.
Dr. Abuhatoum is also an active researcher, who has published a number of scientific articles that have been presented at national and international conferences. Her research examines the developmental significance of children’s close relationships. She uses the information gleaned from her research to inform her work with adults by adopting a lifespan approach to understanding how early life experiences play a role in the difficulties that present in adulthood.
*Shireen is not accepting new clients at this time
Michelle Carrigan, BScN, RegN
Michelle is a DBT skills group facilitator with DBT Hamilton. She is a registered nurse and graduated with her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from McMaster University in 1988. She has worked for St. Joseph’s Healthcare in a variety of mental health settings for 30 years, including an acute in-patient unit, crisis outreach and emergency psychiatry. For the past 16 years she has worked in the Community Psychiatry Clinic as an outpatient mental health clinician treating individuals with multiple psychiatric disorders.
Early in her outpatient work, she received training in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, levels 1 and 2 through the Behavioural Sciences Program at McMaster University, however, she soon developed an interest in treating individuals with borderline personality disorder and in 2005 began her extensive training in DBT. She has been an active member of the outpatient DBT team since that time, providing both individual treatment and facilitation of skills group. She has a special interest in treating individuals with PTSD and provides Cognitive Processing Therapy for those individuals within the DBT program at St. Joseph’s Hospital.
In 2011 she was honoured to receive the St. Joseph’s Healthcare, health professionals team innovation in professional practice award of excellence with the other members of her DBT team and in 2015, she also received St. Joseph’s nursing excellence award for mental health and addiction nursing. Michelle is also an associate professor within the faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University where she facilitates first year medical students in their professional competencies and supervises psychiatry residents, interested in receiving training in DBT. In 2018 she received the interdisciplinary teaching award, presented by the residents of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences department.
Alanna Walker, MSW, RSW
Alanna is a DBT skills group facilitator and individual therapist with DBT Hamilton and a counselor at the Student Wellness Centre at McMaster University. She is a Registered Social Worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.
Alanna received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Queen’s University in 2009. She then completed a post-graduate diploma in concurrent disorders at Mohawk College in 2011. She completed her Master’s in Social Work at the University of Windsor in 2018.
It is important to Alanna to continue to learn and grow in her practice to best support her clients. She has received intensive training in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy. She completed her practicum trainings at the Anxiety Treatment and Research Clinic at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and DBT Hamilton.
Alanna has worked in community mental health agencies supporting youth and adults with addictions, emotion dysregulation, or those facing crises or stressors. She has a genuine approach and uses humour to support clients to make meaningful changes in their lives.
Karen Wisdom, M.S.W, B.A, B.S.W, R.S.W.
Karen is a DBT skills group facilitator with DBT Hamilton. Karen is a social worker registered with the College of Social Workers. She graduated with her Masters degree in Social Work from the University of Toronto in 1992. She has worked as a family support worker for the Huntington Society of Canada, a family service worker for the Catholic Children’s Aid Society, and a coordinator for services for developmentally handicapped seniors.
She has extensive experience in providing services for individuals with mental health issues. As an inpatient social worker at the Hamilton Psychiatric Hospital for five years she provided counselling to individuals with depression, anxiety and psychosis as well as consultation to the community.
She has worked as a mental health clinician for 18 years at Community Psychiatry, an outpatient clinic at St. Joseph’s Healthcare. There she provided supportive counselling, Interpersonal Psychotherapy, Behavioural Activation, and psychoeducation to to individuals with a broad range of mental health issues. She developed an interest in DBT in 2000 as a treatment to help her clients with emotion regulation difficulties. She was very excited to see how her clients lives were changed so she became a member of the DBT team to pursue her interest in working exclusively with individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder. She has received significant training in DBT in both individual and skills group. She successfully treated individuals with eating disorders, substance abuse, relationship difficulties, PTSD and self-injurious behaviours. She has a special interest in mentoring others who want to develop skills in facilitating the skills group. She mentored mental health clinicians at the Family Health Team, Joseph Brant Hospital, the Youth Wellness program and other learners at St. Joseph’s Healthcare.
Natalie Carson, MSW, RSW
Natalie is a DBT skills group facilitator with DBT Hamilton. She is a Registered Social Worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. Natalie graduated with her Masters degree in Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University in 2006. She has been a social worker at McMaster Children’s Hospital in the Pediatric Eating Disorders program for the past 13 years, working in various areas, including inpatient programs, day treatment and outpatient settings. Prior to this, Natalie has worked in residential mental health treatment facilities and secure custody settings with adolescents. She has extensive experience in Family Based Treatment for eating disorders and Cognitive Behavioural Therapies treating individuals with anxiety, depression, self-injurious behaviours and a range of eating disorders.
In 2015 she received intensive training in DBT to further assist her clients and their families manage emotion regulation difficulties. Natalie assisted with the implemention of a successful multi-family outpatient DBT skills group for young people and their families with eating disorders in 2016. Natalie has a special interest in working with parents and families, teaching skills and empowering them to help support their loved one(s).
Arela Agako, B.A. (Hons), Ph.D. Student
Arela is currently completing her Ph.D. at McMaster University in Clinical Psychology. Previously, she attended Ryerson University and completed her undergraduate degree in psychology, during which she developed an interest in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). Throughout her undergraduate and graduate training, she has gained competency in assessing and treating various mental health concerns including anxiety, depression, emotion dysregulation, insomnia, and women’s health concerns. She has received training at multiple clinics within St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton including Women’s Health Concerns Clinic, Mood Disorders Clinic, and the Sleep Medicine Clinic.
Arela has special research interest in emotion dysregulation. During her undergraduate degree, she studied emotion dysregulation in Borderline Personality Disorder. As part of her Ph.D. work, she is currently examining emotion dysregulation in women during pregnancy and postpartum, and its impact on anxiety and depressive disorders during this period. Her research has been presented in multiple national and international conferences.
Anita Hibbert, MA, Ph.D. Candidate
Anita is an individual therapist with DBT Hamilton. She is a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia, and first developed a passion for DBT while a practicum student at the DBT Centre of Vancouver. Anita moved to Hamilton to complete her residency at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, where she worked in the Anxiety Treatment and Research Clinic as well as the Community Psychiatry Clinic’s DBT program conducting assessments, providing individual therapy, and running DBT Skills groups. She has trained in a variety of settings ranging from hospitals to community mental health clinics and private practices, and continues to work at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton’s Borderline Personality Disorder Service and Mood Disorders Program. Anita has extensive experience working with individuals dealing with anxiety and mood disorders, emotion regulation difficulties, trauma, and personality disorders.
Victoria Stead, B.A., Ph.D. Student
Victoria is currently completing her Ph.D. at McMaster University in clinical psychology. Previously, she completed her undergraduate studies at McGill University, where she became interested in studying emotion dysregulation. Her primary graduate thesis work examines borderline personality disorder (BPD) in adolescents and youth. Specifically, Victoria is interested in the development of BPD. She has presented her research at numerous international conferences in places like California, Texas, and Germany, among others. Throughout Victoria’s graduate training, she has gained experience and training in the assessment and treatment of various mental health concerns; including anxiety, depression, emotion dysregulation, and post-traumatic stress disorder. She has received training at multiple clinics within St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, including the Anxiety Treatment and Research Clinic and the Youth Wellness Centre. Victoria particularly enjoys teaching dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) and has worked under this therapy model with adolescents, adults and family members. She
looks forward continuing to learn and grow as a member of DBT Hamilton.
Tara Gralnick M.A., Ph.D. Candidate
Tara Gralnick is a Ph.D. candidate in the University of Toronto Scarborough’s Clinical Psychology program. She has trained in a variety of settings, having completed therapy and assessment placements at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s (CAMH) Work, Stress, and Health Program and therapy placements at CAMH’s Complex Care and Recovery Program and at West End Psychological Services. She has worked with clients experiencing a range of difficulties, including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychosis, complex trauma, interpersonal challenges, and self-stigma.
Tara’s approach has traditionally been grounded in evidence-based practices (e.g., drawing from cognitive-behavioural therapy, dialectical behavioural therapy [DBT], and emotion-focused therapy). She views the therapeutic relationship as integral to successful psychotherapy, adopting an empathetic, non-judgmental, and genuine style with each client.
In line with her client-centered approach to therapy, which emphasizes client’s needs and personal goals, her research focuses on developing an intervention that aims to help individuals better understand their universal personality traits and to cultivate desired personality changes if they wish to. Tara is delighted to be part of the DBT Hamilton team, and looks forward to working with clients experiencing emotion regulation difficulties using a DBT framework.
Brianna King, B.A. Administrative Assistant
Brianna is pleased to be part of the DBT Hamilton team in her role as an Administrative Assistant. She brings with her over 15 years of client care service and was drawn to the aspects of Mindfulness incorporated into Dialectical Behaviour Therapy.
Brianna graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from McMaster University in Art History, completed the Art Fundamentals program at Seneca College and is working towards a certificate in Digital Photography at Mohawk College. Brianna is also a Marketing Manager and Client Care Representative at a busy Veterinary Practice and helps clients deal with difficult decisions, providing empathy and support to individuals and families.
Brianna completed her 500 hour Yoga Teacher Training in July of 2014 in Kelowna, B.C, and her Level 2 training in Los Angeles in 2015. She currently teaches yoga classes in Hamilton and attributes the benefits of her yoga practice to keeping her grounded, mindful and focused.
Joining the DBT Hamilton Team
If you are a mental health care provider who is passionate about helping individuals with emotion dysregulation and related issues and their families, and are interested in joining our dynamic team, please contact us.