If you’re here, reading this page it’s because you or someone you care about is struggling. People don’t come to see psychologists and therapists because they’re feeling great. They come because something doesn’t feel right and they want some help. Finding the right fit for you is important, but how do you choose a therapist? How do you find a good one without wasting your time and money?
At Shift Cognitive Therapy, we really want you to get the help you need and we want you to feel truly taken care of in the process. Because we always have to protect our clients and their privacy, we’re not allowed to show reviews or glowing testimonials about how we’ve helped other people with their anxiety, depression, stress or relationship issues. So, instead, we decided to offer staff bios that demonstrate that we’re all very real people who love the work we do and truly care about our clients.
Read our bios, explore our new and beautiful website and, when you’re ready, give us a call or send an email to open the door to feeling better. We’ll call you back and spend a few minutes with you on the phone. We’ll listen to what you’re looking for and tell you which of our therapists would be the best fit for you. We’ll also tell you if we think your needs might be better served by another practice and give you a few names!
Dr. Ian Shulman, PhD, Psychologist
Years ago, a clinical supervisor asked me what I did best, what my favourite thing to do was as a young psychologist. I said I most enjoyed working with any person who could have a really good conversation with me because I could do my best work when I had that. Many years later, I still stand by that. I AM a cognitive therapist, meaning that my philosophy is that people can change themselves by changing how they think about things. I am a high-level, big concept kind of therapist, meaning that I enjoy teaching skills and helping clients to see ‘the big pictures’ in their lives, but I’m also very comfortable getting down in the weeds, helping people to master the basics and build from there. Helping people to overcome anxiety and fear is my favourite area of work. I also really enjoy working with couples in conflict, who are looking to improve their communication, intimacy and relationship. Generally speaking, I greatly enjoy the process of helping people learn to get out of their own way and succeed.
I earned my PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Calgary. I work with adults, couples, older teens and adult family groups.
Siren Busch, Psychologist
Some people believe that the only way to benefit from therapy is by attending sessions for a long time. I disagree. I have always enjoyed helping people and find it fulfilling when I can play a role in helping a person to change even one thing that might improve the quality of their life. I think that therapy can help people in the same way that crutches can help with an injured leg. You might need to lean on the crutches for a while, but once the injury has healed, you can put the supports aside and go about living your life. Psychological therapy can help you to gain more understanding about yourself, to learn specific skills you need to reach particular goals, and help you to become more resilient to future stresses. Once you get what you need from your sessions, you can stop. I enjoy having the opportunity to work collaboratively with people, to help them reach their goals in the time we have together in therapy, and I feel privileged to work with clients from so many different cultural, religious and educational backgrounds because it enriches my own experience and broadens what I can bring to others.
I am registered as a Psychologist with the College of Psychologists of Ontario and I am authorized to practice in the areas of Clinical, Counselling, Forensic/Correctional and Rehabilitation Psychology with adolescents and adults. I obtained my M.A. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Hamburg, Germany in 2000 and I have over 17 years of experience working in Canada. I offer evidence-based approaches like cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT).
I knew I wanted to work with children since my teen years when I ran day camps for the local Parks and Recreation department. Working with campers who included children on the autism spectrum and children with learning and attention deficit disorders, I was challenged to see the world from their perspective and help them find strategies for enjoying the camp experience. Today I bring this same motivation and empathy to my work providing psychoeducational assessments and support to students who are experiencing difficulties with issues like ADHD, learning disabilities and emotional self-regulation.
To me, each student is a puzzle. I use a range of industry-standard tests and diagnostic approaches to uncover the student’s unique pattern of strengths and identify where they are struggling and why. This enables me to give the student, their parents and their teachers a new and clearer understanding of the problem, strategies to move forward and — perhaps most importantly — renewed optimism about the future. In older students, the assessment may involve an initial diagnosis of a problem, a reassessment, or strategies to help with the often-overwhelming transition to college or university.
In addition to providing services at Shift, I also work for a large school board in Ontario. I have consulted to independent schools and public agencies, and have provided workshops and presentations to parents and educators on topics that include understanding learning disabilities, motivation, attachment and working memory, and programs to overcome weak executive control functions in daily life.
Dr. Lisa Dulgar-Tulloch, PhD, Psychologist
A word I say a lot in therapy is ‘balance’, so much so that one of my first clients bought me a little plaque with that word on it to keep in my office. In some ways, balance encapsulates what I am trying to help people achieve in therapy. When they start coming to sessions, people are often focused on what is going wrong in their lives. This makes sense, of course, because those are the things they want to change. However, I believe it is equally important for us to pay attention to a person’s strengths and what is going right in their lives in order to understand the person as a whole. Similarly, as much as change is important, I also work with people to balance change with acceptance, whether that means learning to accept this moment exactly as it is, acknowledging that a fresh, new and potentially better moment is on the way, or that part of coping well involves accepting those things in life that we cannot change. Finally, while I believe the work I do is both serious and important, I try not to take it or myself too seriously. Humour and empathy are key in the therapeutic process and I try to use both in equal measures.
I work with adults, university students and older teens.
Candice Hamilton-Miller, Registered Psychotherapist
My path to becoming a psychotherapist was not a straight one; I twisted, turned, reversed and at some points, completely changed direction. The upside to this is that I have learnt so many things along the way, about myself, and about human nature. As a therapist now, the knowledge gleaned from my journey benefits my clients as I am an intentionally eclectic psychotherapist. This means that I pull into our sessions, pieces from various therapeutic models, but I do so with clear intent and understanding of what each aspect will bring to the therapy process. At the same time, I firmly believe that the human purpose in life is to connect. We thrive when we connect to others, and even more so when we tune in and connect to our inner core selves. Here at Shift, I work with all ages and stages, helping clients to achieve mental wellness and to thrive through life transitions, by connecting all my clients to the world around them, to themselves, and to their own inner strength and life purpose.
I have degrees in Psychology and English from the University of Cape Town and York University, and Master’s Degree in Family Relations and Human Development from The University of Guelph. I am a Registered Psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario and a Certified Cogmed Coach.
Dr. Jo-Ann Reitzel, PhD, Psychologist
I have over 40 years of experience in clinical and research psychology. My broad background and training help me to work with the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of children having a variety of issues, including concerns with development, learning and inattention, autism spectrum disorders, and social, behavioural or emotional mental health problems.
I am a child and family psychologist with a deep respect for the dignity of all families. I believe that professional relationships are truly helpful when they build a foundation for psychological insights about the strengths and needs of parents and a child, and when they lead towards meaningful, real-life changes for a family. To get there, I strive to learn about each child I work with, and I value inputs from others who also know the child well, like teachers and doctors. I take an open, energetic and often playful approach with my clients, and the treatment approaches I use are scientifically proven.
Dr. Deborah Scharf, PhD, Psychologist
Thunder Bay, Ontario
It takes tremendous courage to begin psychotherapy. When any of us sees a new therapist for the first time, we inevitably wonder if the therapist will understand our experiences and respond with acceptance, kindness, and skill. In my practice, I strive to do just that. I work at creating a safe, warm, and welcoming environment for clients to engage in their therapeutic work. I use careful listening, patience, experience, insight, and humour to deliver evidence-based interventions to adults, couples, and adult families seeking relief from depression, anxiety, trauma-related distress, conflict and more. Fundamentally, I believe that all people are capable of growth, change, and creating a life worth living, and this belief guides my work with clients — even when they struggle to see it in themselves. The opportunity to stand alongside clients as they reconsider their experiences in a new and more satisfying way makes my job as a psychologist more fulfilling than any other job I can imagine.
I completed my graduate training in Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh in 2009. I live and work in Thunder Bay, ON and am an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Lakehead
Ali Shahrami, Psychologist
My first psychology professor was well known for his humour. Whenever anyone asked “How are you?” he always answered “Things couldn’t be better, otherwise they would be.” I didn’t understand what he meant but, as a young student, I was too afraid that he might fail me if I questioned him, so I stayed quiet. When I finally gathered up enough courage to ask him about it, I discovered that he was actually a very warm person and quite different than what I expected — he eventually became my mentor! Being so wrong about him helped me to realize how thoughts and beliefs were keeping me afraid and struggling in other areas of life. From then on, I have felt passionately about helping other people to realize how their own thoughts and beliefs can also create struggle or a sense of well-being.
So many years later, as a therapist, I strive to be non-judgmental, warm, open and encouraging with my clients. I always try to work collaboratively and to bring a sense of humour into my work because better things happen when we’re both comfortable. I am a good listener and I use analogies and real-life examples to help clients understand my views about what they’ve told me. Understanding helps people make positive changes in their lives, but so do new skills and tools that I can teach.
I enjoy working with children, older adolescents and adults, and my skills help me to work with a variety of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. My training as a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA) enables me to help people change a wide range of problem behaviours using evidence-based techniques, including the types of issues related to ADHD. I am registered as a Psychologist with The College of Psychologists of Ontario and am currently completing my Doctorate in clinical psychology at the California Southern University. When not at Shift, I work as an Advance Practice Clinical Leader at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).
Dr. Kristina Wilder, PhD, Psychologist
I feel very fortunate to have the job that I do because it allows me the unique opportunity to work with people who want to understand and better their own lives. Ultimately, I think clients often approach therapy with justifiable concern and caution about the difficulties they are wanting to address. So, I view therapy as a team effort, where my clients and I work together to help them make those changes and manage challenges that arise along the way. Our first task in working together is to create a really solid therapeutic relationship between us, on which we can build an understanding of why the client is struggling, and a plan to overcome that. Therapy is fundamentally about changing beliefs and attitudes that aren’t working for us, whether those are about ourselves, the world, or our feelings. I will work with you on those changes to help make the difficulties you face easier to overcome.
I earned my PhD in Clinical Psychology at St. John’s University in New York. I work with children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families. I use a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy approach, with techniques from REBT, DBT, and mindfulness as well. I look forward to helping you on your journey.