Ottawa Team

Robbie Woods, M.Sc.


Your lived experiences shape how you see yourself and the world. Some of these experiences – BIG or small – that shaped who you are today might now be causing difficulties in your life. Recognizing this is a major sign of great insight and personal strength, and I greatly admire your curiosity of exploring this in therapy. As your therapist, I provide a safe and secure setting so that you feel hopeful and empowered to go on this journey that brings about positive changes in your life

I recently completed my predoctoral residency and will have finished my PhD in Clinical Psychology at Concordia University this Fall (2022). Therefore, I am currently designated as a therapist, I will shortly be entering a postdoctoral year in supervised practice. 

Throughout my PhD clinical training, I have had the opportunity to work with a diversity of individuals who were seeking psychotherapy for a variety of reasons. Helping people conquer their difficulties with low self-esteem, interpersonal problems, anxiety (e.g., generalized, social, health, panic), mood (e.g., single-episode, persistent), obsessive-compulsive disorder (e.g., body dysmorphia, skin-picking), substance use (e.g., alcohol, tobacco, etc.), and insomnia has been a passion of mine. I enjoy working with individuals of diverse identities and backgrounds (e.g., ethnicity, religiosity/spirituality), with a notable passion working with individuals who belong to the LGBTQ2*.  

While there are a number of labels that can be ascribed to any psychological or behavioural difficulty, I like to look beyond this to help address how these difficulties and symptoms are experienced day-to-day. For this reason, there is not one prescribed treatment plan, but rather we work to address the specific difficulties that are unique to each individual person. My view of individual psychotherapy involves combining our expertise – your understanding about your life and lived experiences, and my knowledge about how to address mental health difficulties – to address your reasons for seeking therapy. On my part, I mostly apply a cognitive-behaviour therapeutic (CBT) framework to understand and treat mental health difficulties. I have particular interests in applying CBT to address difficulties with anxiety (e.g., generalized, social, health, panic), obsessive-compulsive (e.g., body dysmorphia, skin-picking), and sleep disorders (e.g., insomnia). As part of therapy, I help you develop a clearer understanding through the principles of CBT of how your mental health difficulties might have emerged. We will then work together to explore different ways to intervene on your current difficulties. At times, I will integrate other psychological theories (e.g., acceptance and commitment, dialectical-behavioural, object-relations/psychodynamic) to help develop a better understanding of how your difficulties might have developed.

Our initial sessions will involve examining your reasons for seeking therapy, reviewing your life history, and identifying your specific goals for therapy. We will work together to define your goals for therapy using clear and objective measures. For instance, if a goal for therapy is to be less socially anxious, a goal for therapy could be to initiate conversations with coworkers with the hopes of connecting with others more easily. I will then introduce to you my preliminary understanding of how your current difficulties might have unfolded within a CBT framework, as well as help you address these difficulties by incorporating evidence-based intervention strategies. From here, we will work together to examine situations in which your difficulties are impacting your day-to-day life, as well as incorporating structured and systematic methods (e.g., handouts and forms) that are to be completed between sessions. As therapy progresses, sessions might involve challenging yourself to try different empirically-driven interventions that are geared towards your goals for therapy. As we draw closer to achieving your therapeutic goals, we might aim to gradually pace out our sessions and allow you the opportunity to incorporate the knowledge and skills that you have acquired through therapy to become your own therapist. In fact, the only goal that I have as your therapist is to no longer need me, and for you to become your own therapist. 

I am currently working as a therapist under the supervision of Dr. Dino Zuccarini (C.Psych.) while I prepare to defend my doctoral dissertation this Fall (2022). I will also be entering my postdoctoral year of supervised practice in the coming months. Recently, I completed my pre-doctoral residency at the CPA accredited Student Wellness and Counselling Centre (SWCC) at Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN). Prior to this, I received clinical training in a variety of settings. This includes the Anxiety Disorders Program (Department of Psychology) at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Unit (Department of Psychiatry) at the MUHC, Mindspace (private practice), MediPsy (private practice), and the Applied Psychology Centre at Concordia University. Across these settings, I have provided individual and group psychotherapy, psychoeducational assessments, and providing clinical supervision. I continue to engage in research, with my most recent research interests employing biological, psychometric, and knowledge synthesis approaches in order to explore the evolution of depression in individuals who undergo weight loss surgery.

I continue to invest part of my time actively engaging in research. Much of my peer-reviewed work focuses on understanding the psychosocial and biological factors of depression, with my doctoral work examining these factors among individuals receiving surgical interventions for the treatment of severe obesity. This work is affiliated with the Montreal Behavioural Medicine Centre (MBMC) and the Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux du Nord-de-l’île-de-Montréal (CIUSSS-NIM). 

Woods, R., McInnis, O. A., Bedard, M., Matheson, K., Asokumar, A., Santoni, S., Ansiman, H., & McQuaid, R. J. (2019). Social support and unsupportive interactions in relation to depressive symptoms: Implication of gender and the BDNF polymorphism. Social Neuroscience. doi: 10.1080/17470919.2019.1650826

Woods, R., Bedard, M., McQuaid, R. J., Matheson, K. & Anisman, H. (2017). Rejection sensitivity and multiple group memberships: The moderating role of an oxytocin receptor gene polymorphism. Social Neuroscience. doi:10.1080/17470919.2017.1327458

Bedard, M., Woods, R., Crump, C. & Anisman, H. (2017) Loneliness in Relation to         Depression: The Moderating Influence of a Polymorphism of the Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor Gene on Self-Efficacy and Coping Strategies. Frontiers in     Psychology. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01224

Gouin, JP., Caldwell, W., Woods, R. & Malarkey, W. B. (2017). Resilience resources      mitigate the impact of adverse childhood experiences on adulthood inflammation. Annals in Behavioural Medicine. doi:10.1007/s12160-017-9891-3

Peer-reviewed Abstracts

Woods, R., Lavoie, K.L., Bruno, R., Mercier, L., Julien, C.A., & Bacon, S.L. for the REBORN Investigators (2022). Pre-surgical self-esteem is linked to greater reductions in depression following bariatric surgery: The moderating role of sex. Conference Abstract. Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

Woods, R., Lavoie, K.L., Julien, C.A., Mercier, L., Gemme, C., Garneau, P., Atlas, H., Denis, R., Pescarus, R., Santosa, S., & Bacon, S.L. for the REBORN Investigators (2019). Identifying possible loci of motivation for treatment adherence in linking depression to negative emotional eating within pre-operative bariatric patients. Conference Abstracts, Annals of Behavioral Medicine, Volume 53, Issue 3, 1 March 2019, Pages 299–308, https://doi.org/10.1093/abm/kay086

Gemme, C., Lavoie, K.L., Julien, C.A., Labonté, T., Mercier, L., Woods, R., Garneau, P., Atlas, H., Denis, R., Pescarus, R., Santosa, S., & Bacon, S.L. (2019). The Impact of Marital Status and Sex on Post-Surgery Weight Loss in Bariatric Patients. Conference       Abstracts, Annals of Behavioral Medicine, Volume 53, Issue 3, 1 March 2019, Pages 299–308, https://doi.org/10.1093/abm/kay086

Treatments

Assessment

Therapies