Toronto Team

Dr. Lila Z. Hakim, C.Psych. – VP Client Services; Co-Founder CFIR Toronto

Life challenges can be overwhelming and exhausting at times, and it can be difficult to make sense of our selves—- our thoughts, emotional reactions and behaviours. We can also become stuck in unhelpful patterns of behaving or relating that block us from living our lives in a full, rich and meaningful way. Through enhancing awareness of yourself, and how you engage in relationships with others, we can work to address the different aspects of your current life that are no longer adaptive for you. I feel honoured to support individuals and couples from all walks of life (inclusive of all gender identities, sexual orientations, abilities, races, ethnicities, cultures, spiritual beliefs and relationship types) in achieving their greatest life potentials. If you are unsure about therapy, I would be happy to meet for an introductory consultation to assure that you are connecting to a therapist who will be a good fit with your needs.

If you are facing difficulties related to your mood or experiencing debilitating anxiety, we will work toward understanding and changing the factors that are causing and maintaining these negative emotional experiences. We can also journey together to heal from the painful aftermath of interpersonal trauma (e.g., emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, or emotional and physical deprivation), or life threatening events. Our work can also help you to deal with physical concerns (e.g., fertility-related stress and treatment, physical injuries and pain, motor vehicle accident or work-related disability), grief or loss, substance abuse, eating issues, anger related difficulties, or general stress and burnout.

During our initial meetings, we will set the expectations, direction and pace of psychological therapy, identify achievable treatment goals, and develop a tailored therapeutic plan to address your concerns. In addition to addressing the distressing thoughts, emotional reactions, behaviours, and relationship problems, our work will involve enhancing your strengths, and overcoming perceived limitations and present life barriers. A thorough assessment, which includes a scientifically-based assessment involving psychometrically reliable and valid questionnaires and an in-depth personal history, will help you and I understand what factors have been contributing to your difficulties. As an integrative psychologist, I bring together various theories of human psychological development, and affective/emotion and neuroscience research to help you understand the nature of your current difficulties. I employ best practice clinical guidelines and scientific-evidence based interventions (e.g., psychodynamic-attachment, cognitive-behavioural, mindfulness, experiential, emotion-focused, perception-focused, systemic, existential-humanistic). This is to assure that your treatment is tailored according to your concerns and needs to meet your immediate and long-term goals. In the context of a safe, comforting and respectful therapeutic environment, I am transparent in offering you my clinical opinion and informing you about the interventions that I believe would be most effective for you. We will check-in regularly to adjust our sessions so that the process feels productive but not overwhelming.

My clinical background includes particular interests and extensive experience in working with individuals and couples encountering difficulties with emotional communication, sexual functioning (e.g., arousal, inhibited desire, orgasm difficulties and sexual pain) and family-building (e.g., fertility, adoption). I work to help you build greater emotional, physical and sexual intimacy and to attain practical support and strategies for addressing couple conflicts. I also facilitate the repair relationship ruptures in the aftermath of betrayals and infidelities. With respect to family-building, I am a provider of psychological counseling and assessments (including testing and reports) for many fertility clinics to help individuals and couples prepare for assisted reproduction including third party procedures (e.g., ovum and sperm donation, surrogacy). I conduct psychological assessments of individuals and couples for International adoptions in tandem with adoption practitioners and agencies, and have been asked to perform psychological assessments of caregivers for the Children’s Aid Society.

In my roles as Clinical Director and Director of Clinical Training at the Centre for Interpersonal Relationships, I am primarily responsible for overseeing the development of clinical programs and services, as well as associate and student training. I am currently the Head of the Adoption Service, Fertility Counselling Service, Relationship and Sex Therapy Service and the Sexual Addiction Service at the Centre. I am also the Head of Service for various assessment services, including the Adoption Assessment Service, Fertility & Third-Party Reproduction Assessment Service, Personality and Interpersonal Functioning Assessment Service, and the Psychodiagnostic & Mental Health Evaluation Service. I value providing scientific, evidence-based assessments to our clients. As a Head of Service, I develop programs and guide service delivery on the basis of evidence-based scientific research, and provide clinical training to advanced doctoral students in clinical and counseling psychology. Currently, and in concert with my role as Director of Clinical Training, I am an approved clinical field supervisor for Doctoral Clinical and Counselling Psychology Programs at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto, University of Guelph, University of Toronto, York University and Adler University. Through my work as a clinical supervisor of psychologists, psychotherapists, counselors and social workers, I facilitate other professionals in attaining advanced and specialized mental health training and licensing.

Professionally, I serve on the Editorial Board for Creating Families Magazine of the Infertility Association of Canada, have been an invited journal editor (International Journal of Fertility & Sterility; International Journal of Women’s Health) and have published peer-reviewed articles and chapters (Human Reproduction; Handbook of Person-Centered Psychotherapy). I served as an Executive Committee Member of the Counselling Special Interest Group of the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society and have presented, co-chaired sessions, and chaired awards committees. My research on psychosocial counseling for fertility treatments was awarded Best Psychosocial Paper and a Resident Award. I am pursuing ongoing Adoption Competency Training through the Adoption Council of Ontario. Below are some selected publications and presentations:

Hakim, L.Z. (2015, November) Trauma and Fertility. Invited paper presented at Hannam Fertility Centre, Toronto, Ontario.

Hakim, L.Z. (2014, May) Genito-Pelvic Pain/Penetration Disorder: Advances in diagnosis and psychological treatment. Invited paper presented at Humber River Regional Hospital, Toronto, Ontario.

Hakim, L.Z. (2014, April) Male sexual dysfunction and fertility treatments & (2014, January) Vaginismus: Psychological factors and treatment. Invited papers presented at ISIS Regional Fertility Centre, Mississauga, Ontario.

Hakim, L.Z., Newton, C., MacLean-Brine, D., and Feyles, V. (2012). Evaluation of preparatory psychosocial counselling for medically assisted reproduction, Human Reproduction, 27 (7), p. 2058-2066.

Toukmanian, S.G, & Hakim, L.Z. (2007). The role of perception in Rogers’ theory of therapy and personality change. In M. Cooper, M. O’Hara, P. Schmidt, & G. Wyatt (Eds.) The Handbook of Person-Centered Psychotherapy and Counselling. London: PCCS Books.

For over 15 years, I have offered treatment and assessment services to adults and couples in public and private settings, including at the London Health Sciences Centre, St. John’s Rehabilitation Hospital, St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Synergy Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation, Toronto East General Hospital, Oshawa Psychological & Counselling Services, and York University. I have also enjoyed teaching psychology courses to honours undergraduates, child and youth workers, nurses and police candidates in various Toronto universities and Colleges.

I am a member of the Ontario Psychological Association and am Registered for autonomous practice with the College of Psychologists of Ontario.