Our Team

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 Behavioural and 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.


Jennifer-Mae (Jenn) Andrus, M.A. RP, M.A., C. Psych. 

Jenn is a Psychologist (Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador) and a Registered Psychotherapist (Ontario). She started training and working with DBT principles during her graduate studies at Appalachian State University (North Carolina) where she completed two Master of Arts Degrees (Clinical-Health Psychology & Community Counseling) as well as a post-masters certificate in Addiction Counseling.   Since finishing her studies in 2008,  Jenn has completed over 100 hours of DBT specific training, has run countless DBT skills training groups and treated a number of individual patients using DBT. Jenn is working towards completing the requirements to become a certified DBT Clinician by the DBT-Linehan Board of Certification.  Jenn also has interest and experience in individual and group treatments for trauma related symptoms and is also working towards becoming a certified CPT Provider. Jenn has worked with a diverse range of adult clients in various settings such as homeless shelters, correctional institutions, residential addiction treatment and inpatient (forensic) psychiatry. In addition to working with DBT Hamilton, Jenn is an Assistant Clinical Professor (Adjunct) at McMaster University. She also volunteers as a Victim Services Worker for the Hamilton Police Services.

*Jenn is not accepting new clients at this time


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, PhD 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.


Brianna King, 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.