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Photograph of Dr. Malak, taken by BBImagery

Dr. Malak Abu Shakra, Ph.D, C. Psych

Executive Director & Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Abu Shakra is a Clinical Psychologist registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario. She earned her Ph.D. degree from McGill University in Montreal. Her doctorate research focused on the vulnerability for addiction, and specifically addressed the different motivational systems underlying alcohol misuse across at-risk individuals with distinct personality profiles.

She held positions at the Jewish General Hospital’s Teenage Health Unit and Goldman Herzl Family Practice Centre, Montreal General Hospital’s Pain Clinic, and Royal Victoria Hospital’s Allan Memorial Institute. She then worked in different private practices in Toronto and Oakville, Ontario prior to opening her own.

 

Dr. Abu Shakra specializes in working with adolescents and adults presenting with a wide range of psychological concerns, including alcohol and substance abuse, anger management, anxiety (generalized anxiety, social anxiety, panic disorder, phobias), post-traumatic stress, depression, chronic pain, interpersonal relationship problems, feeling stuck in life or struggling to find a sense of meaning. She has worked with gifted individuals, competitive athletes, members of the LGBTQ community, and survivors of childhood abuse and narcissistic abuse. She is additionally highly experienced in developing and implementing research-based personality-tailored interventions targeting alcohol and substance misuse.

 

Dr. Abu Shakra has extensive education and experience in using various evidence-based, empirically-supported therapeutic approaches, including but not limited to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Emotion-Focused therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Mindfulness, Psychodynamic Therapy, Existential Therapy, and Schema-Focused Therapy. Her approach is integrative, and her interventions are personalized and tailored to clients' individual needs.

Dr. Abu Shakra has a particular interest in and knack for working with individuals who may be considered “difficult”, as well as those who have worked with multiple mental health care professionals before, with limited success.

 

Dr. Abu Shakra is fluently trilingual and can provide services in English, Arabic and Hebrew.

Dr Malak Abu Shakra

Dr. Hanna McCabe-Bennett, Ph.D, C. Psych

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Hanna McCabe-Bennett is a Clinical Psychologist registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario. She completed her Master’s degree and PhD in Clinical Psychology at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University). She completed her predoctoral internship at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH) where she completed a major rotation in the Anxiety Treatment and Research Clinic, and minor rotations in the Borderline Personality Disorder Service, and the Clinical Neuropsychology Service. She has previously held positions as a psychologist in the Mental Health Program at the WSIB Specialty Clinic (SJHH) and in private practice. Other clinical experiences have included the Mood Disorders Program (SJHH), the Psychology Training Clinic (St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto), and the HIV Prevention Lab (Ryerson University).

Dr. McCabe-Bennett has experience providing comprehensive diagnostic assessments and evidence-based treatment for an array of mental health concerns. Her primary focus is in anxiety (e.g., social anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, excessive worry) and anxiety-related concerns (e.g., OCD, hoarding and severe clutter, perfectionism, depression). She uses a trauma-informed cognitive-behavioural approach and integrates additional techniques (e.g., mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, interpersonal skills, and acceptance-based interventions) when appropriate. She offers a safe, inclusive environment where clients can freely express themselves and work collaboratively toward their goals. She enjoys working with clients who have had difficulty connecting with other therapists in the past, who may be new to therapy, or who are looking to find practical ways of coping with longstanding or new difficulties in their lives.

Dr. McCabe-Bennett’s distinctions include a Doctoral Research Award from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2015-2018), Ontario Graduate Scholarships (2013-2014), a Master’s Research Award from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (2012), and certificates for academic excellence from the Canadian Psychological Association for her Master’s (2015) and Doctoral research (2018). She has co-authored publications on the topics of perfectionism, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Phobias, and Hoarding Disorder. She has made multiple media appearances and is passionate about providing the highest possible quality of mental health care to each of her clients.

Photograph of Dr Hanna McCabe-Bennett, taken by BBImagery
Dr Hanna McCabe-Bennett
Dr Rebecca Stead
Photograph of Dr Rebecca Stead, taken by BBImagery

Dr. Rebecca Stead, Ph.D, C. Psych

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Rebecca Stead is a Clinical Psychologist registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario. She specializes in working with adults and seniors who experience a wide range of psychological concerns, including depression, anxiety (e.g., generalized anxiety, social anxiety, panic disorder, phobias), obsessive-compulsive disorder, trauma, perfectionism, interpersonal problems, emotional dysregulation, insomnia, stress, and self-esteem challenges. She is passionate about using a client-centered and strengths-based approach and integrates compassion, humour and curiosity in her interpersonal style. She strives to provide a non-judgmental, warm, and safe environment for her clients to make therapeutic change. Dr. Stead takes an integrative approach, using empirically supported treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, schema-focused therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy in her work. Dr. Stead’s therapeutic interventions are personalized and tailored to the individual needs of her clients.

Dr. Stead earned her M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Queen’s University. She completed her residency at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, where she worked with adults and older adults in the Mood and Anxiety Disorders program, as well as the Schizophrenia Program and the Geriatric Psychiatry Program. Her distinctions include several scholarships granted by both the provincial and federal governments for her psychology research. Most recently, she has worked in Private Practice addressing a variety of mental health challenges with adults of all ages. She has extensive training conducting complex differential diagnosis and engaging adults in treatment who are new to therapy, who have had limited success working with other mental health care professionals in the past, or who want to continue to find better ways of coping with challenges in their lives.

Dr Leah Tobin

Dr. Leah Tobin, Ph.D, C. Psych

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Leah Tobin is a registered Clinical Psychologist with the College of Psychologists of Ontario. She completed her Master’s degree and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of Calgary. Most recently, she has worked in private practice working with a range of mental health difficulties with adults and adolescents. Her previous work experience includes positions at the Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre’s Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy Service and its Regional Psychological Assessment Service, the Foothills Medical Centre’s Mood Disorders Program and its Addiction Centre, the Sunridge Medical Gallery’s Community Mental Health Clinic, the Alberta Health Services’ Forensic Adolescent Program, and the Peter Lougheed Centre’s Adult Psychiatric Inpatient Unit.

 

Dr. Tobin has undergone extensive training in comprehensive assessment, diagnosis, and treatment for a range of mental health concerns. She specializes in working with adult and adolescent clients who are struggling with depression, anxiety (e.g., generalized anxiety and worry, panic attacks, social anxiety, phobias), OCD, perfectionism, PTSD and trauma-related difficulties, body image and eating disorders, stress, interpersonal difficulties, and assertiveness. She takes an integrative approach to therapy, incorporating CBT with additional evidence-based approaches, including mindfulness, motivational interviewing, interpersonal therapy, and dialectical behaviour therapy. She strives to provide a warm, non-judgmental, and open environment for clients to explore these concerns, to aid in developing client-tailored interventions.

 

Dr. Tobin has co-authored multiple publications in the area of mental health, and she has most recently published her research on an eating disorder prevention-intervention that focuses largely on improving body image. She has received several provincial scholarships and was awarded the Certificate of Excellence from the Canadian Psychological Association for her doctoral research.  She has also worked as an instructor at the University of Calgary.

Photograph of Dr Leah Tobin, taken by BBImagery
Photograph of Dr. Afsheen Anwar, taken by BBImagery

Dr. Afsheen Anwar, Ph.D, C. Psych

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Afsheen Anwar is a registered Clinical and Counselling Psychologist in Ontario and a member of the Canadian Psychological Association. She obtained her PhD in Psychology from Pakistan in 2012. From a Southeast-Asian, Muslim background, Dr. Anwar has been passionately involved with teaching, consulting & clinical practice since 2000 at a national & international level. She has over 23 years of clinical experience including assessment and therapy with individuals, couples and families, and has worked in both individual and group settings. She works with clients to address various issues including mood disturbances and anxiety, relationship conflict & personal growth.

Dr. Anwar has an integrative approach towards therapy where she carefully draws from a variety of evidence-based therapeutic models including cognitive behavioral approach, emotion-focused therapy, mindfulness as well as relational and systemic frameworks and tailors to individual client's needs. Dr. Anwar provides faith-informed counseling for major religions.

Dr. Anwar is seen as a warm and compassionate person, who is committed to client growth and development so that they can get desired professional support to address their issues and challenges in a positive and trustworthy manner. She is a private pilot and offers contextualized services for people experiencing flying phobia and aviation professionals.

Dr Afsheen Anwar
Dr Melissa Card

Dr. Melissa Card, Ph.D, C. Psych

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Card is a Clinical Psychologist registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario. She earned her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and her Doctorate from the University of Johannesburg in South Africa.

 

Dr. Card seamlessly merges over a decade of academic expertise as an associate professor in higher education with extensive clinical acumen garnered from running her private practice in South Africa. With a wealth of experience in both realms, Dr. Card offers insights and compassionate care to her clients, empowering them to navigate life’s challenges with resilience and confidence.

 

She offers support to adolescents and adults (including seniors) experiencing eating disorders and body-related concerns, posttraumatic stress disorder, perinatal mental health, grief and loss.


Dr. Card is versed in several therapeutic approaches and works collaboratively with her clients to find the best fit for their therapeutic journey. She provides treatment using evidence-based approaches including dialectic behavioural therapy (DBT), mindfulness and cognitive behavioural techniques, as well as psychodynamic therapy.


Dr. Card is respectful and sensitive to the needs and opinions of different cultures, religions, and sexual orientations. She believes in creating space in the therapeutic environment that allows for empowerment, growth and change for clients.

Photograph of Dr. Melissa Card, taken by BBImagery
Dr Ellie Jin
Photograph of Dr. Ellie Jin, taken by BBImagery

Dr. Ellie Jin, Ph.D, ABPP, C. Psych

Clinical Psychologist (Supervised Practice)

Dr. Ellie Jin is a distinguished Clinical Psychologist, certified by the American Board of Professional Psychology, a recognition held by fewer than 5% of psychologists in North America. She has been licensed for autonomous practice in Texas since 2020. She returned to her hometown of Toronto in 2024, where she is currently working as a Clinical Psychologist under the supervision of Drs. Malak Abu Shakra and Rebecca Stead while fulfilling licensure requirements with the College of Psychologists of Ontario. Dr. Jin earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from University of Texas at Austin and B.A. in Psychology (Honours) from McGill University. She completed her pre-doctoral residency at Colorado State University Health Network and postdoctoral fellowship at Austin Anxiety and OCD Specialists.

 

Dr. Jin specializes in working with adults experiencing a wide range of psychological concerns, including stress, anxiety (e.g., social anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, and excessive worry), depression, trauma, obsessive-compulsive disorder, perfectionism, relational difficulties, emotional dysregulation, self-esteem challenges, imposter syndrome, burnout, work-life balance issues, and insomnia. Dr. Jin brings a wealth of experience beyond clinical practice and is especially passionate about supporting medical professionals and individuals in the tech sector. Her background includes work as a user experience researcher at Google and an organizational consultant for c-suite executives and other senior leaders with Culture Amp.

 

Dr. Jin strives to cultivate a warm and collaborative therapeutic environment, tailoring interventions to meet individual needs. Her therapeutic approach is rooted in dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT), an evidence-based treatment focused on helping individuals regulate emotions, foster resilience, alter unhelpful patterns, and align with personal values. When indicated, Dr. Jin also integrates techniques from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), interpersonal process therapy (IPT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and mindfulness into her practice. Dr. Jin is attentive to experiences of diversity and is especially attuned to the challenges stemming from family dynamics. 

Clinic Manager Valerie Presti

Ms. Valerie Presti

Clinic Manager

Ms. Valerie Presti is the clinic manager at Dr Malak Psychology Group. 

 

She is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario with a Bachelor’s degree in Administrative and Commercial Studies, and throughout her career has excelled in a number of executive administrative roles in the fields of Healthcare and Advertising. 

 

Valerie is absolutely committed to ensuring you have the best experience possible when you reach out to the Clinic. She is focused, empathetic, and brings the highest standards of care and attention to detail to Dr Malak Psychology Group.

Photograph of Valerie Presti, taken by BBImagery
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