Shawna is a registered clinical social worker and psychotherapist with 20 years of experience providing psychosocial support, education and advocacy to those with complex health needs. Over the past decade she worked exclusively in oncology with patients and families at every stage of the disease.
Shawna holds a Masters degree in Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Psychology from McMaster University. She also holds a post-graduate diploma in Child Life from McMaster Health Sciences. In 2019, she completed her clinical training in the Trauma Therapy program and Reproductive Life Stages program at Women’s College Hospital where she put into practice her theoretical framework and therapeutic modalities. She has also presented extensively at national and international conferences on various psychosocial oncology topics including how to talk to kids about cancer, sexulaity and body image, death and dying, traumatic grief, care-giver compassion fatigue and using meaning-making interventions with cancer patients and narrative interventions with young adults.
Shawna believes strong mental health is rooted in resilience and connection. Research has shown that the relationship between therapist and client, or the therapeutic alliance, is the most important predictor of positive therapy outcomes. Her style is empathic, intuitive, and interactive, and she uncovers and guides her clients to use their untapped strengths, resilience, and potential for connection in their lives. She works with adult individuals and couples from a psychodynamic perspective, or the psychological forces that underlie human behaviour, feelings, and emotions and how they might relate to early experience. Shawna’s goal is to enable her clients to develop positive and effective ways of coping and building solid emotional intelligence, with the ability to apply the skills/insights gleaned from therapy to other areas of their lives and their relationships.