Marissa Williams, B.A., M.Sc.
Originally from Prince Edward Island, I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Western University and subsequently obtained a Master of Science degree in Clinical Neuroscience from McMaster University. I am currently completing a Master of Counselling Psychology degree at Athabasca University.
I am currently accepting new clients at the Thornhill location. I am happy to see clients in-person or online for video-based therapy.
I have helped clients in hospital and private practice settings overcome various concerns including depression, social anxiety, performance anxiety, generalized anxiety, difficulty concentrating, restlessness/impulsivity, learning difficulties, low self-esteem/self-concept, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), perfectionism, body-focused repetitive behaviours (BFRBs), hoarding behaviours, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts.
When I began working at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in June 2013, I developed a special interest in helping individuals with obsessive-compulsive and related disorders (OCD, trichotillomania or hair-pulling disorder, excoriation or skin-picking disorder, hoarding disorder). I co-led a cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) treatment group for OCD, which was particularly rewarding as I witnessed individuals conquer their OCD fears and take back their lives. I also co-led a CBT group (including Habit Reversal Training - HRT) for body-focused repetitive behaviours (BFRB) and was actively involved with a CBT group for hoarding.
I have a passion for helping individuals with hoarding behaviours process the value and memories attached to their belongings as well as improve their well-being and quality of life. In February 2016, I completed the Hoarding Support Program training at VHA Home HealthCare, which is one of the few places in Canada that provides support for individuals with hoarding behaviours. Subsequently, I worked as a Hoarding Support Coach Volunteer and had the privilege of being invited into individuals’ homes to collaborate on client-driven goals for organization, sorting, and discarding of possessions. I have also completed 13 hours of training workshops (Managing Hoarding in the Community, presented by Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, VHA Home HealthCare, and Toronto Hoarding Coalition) and attended conference presentations (at the International OCD Foundation’s Annual Conference) on effective treatment for hoarding disorder.
I have several years of experience working with adolescents and adults who are engaging in self-harm and experiencing significant suicidal thoughts, some of whom have recently attempted suicide.
Since June 2018, I have enjoyed working as a behavioural coach and therapist with children, adolescents, and adults experiencing attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning difficulties, mood, anxiety, perfectionism, and obsessive-compulsive and related disorders.
I have a particular interest in supporting mothers with postpartum mood and anxiety disorders and am involved with a team of researchers and clinicians aiming to enhance support and treatment services, research, and advocacy for maternal mental health progress in Canada.
I work holistically and collaboratively with clients to establish client-driven goals and identify personalized strategies to help support and strengthen their executive functions.
I believe that every individual has inherent worth and the capacity to change, improve, and grow. My aim is to focus on clients’ skills, resources, and strengths that they already possess within themselves so that they can feel empowered and flourish. My therapeutic approach is genuine, collaborative, supportive, strengths-based, and draws on elements of person-centered therapy, CBT (including ERP - exposure and response prevention), HRT - Habit Reversal Training, ACT- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, mindfulness, and SFT - Solution-Focused Therapy to suit the unique needs of my individual client. I strive to develop a meaningful connection with each client and maintain a compassionate understanding and non-judgmental attitude. It is important to me to create a safe environment for therapeutic change and provide evidence-informed treatment that is tailored to client strengths and preferences.
In my spare time, I enjoy watching hockey, listening to podcasts, traveling, and trying new local restaurants.