Toronto Team

Dr. Sharon Chan, Ph.D., C.Psych.

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

 – A.A. Milne

My clinical work is guided by a belief in the intrinsic good of others and in the resiliency of the human spirit to thrive in the face of adversity. Working from a foundation of genuine positive regard for my clients, I strive to empower individuals in becoming active agents of change in their own lives while supporting them through this journey. I draw from a rich background of relational and skills-focused techniques to offer an evidence-based therapeutic process that is tailored to your individual needs. I welcome clients from across the lifespan including youth, adolescents, adults, parents and families.

Many people worry about what “going to therapy” means, associating the idea with pathology and stigma. In reality, many people could benefit from the process, in the way that most people could benefit from exercise and annual check-ups for their physical health. Our mental health deserves the same care towards prevention and treatment. Mental health affects every domain of our life from relationships and work productivity to that elusive construct of happiness. While everyone encounters hardship at some point in life, some burdens become overwhelming to carry alone. Coming to therapy means that you have made a brave commitment to change or towards confronting some difficulty in your life, and to do so in a way that is less alone, and with a trained professional who has received a decade and a half in formal training and education to offer help. In our sessions, we will collaborate towards actualizing your full potential and maximizing your wellbeing. 

I have worked with clients using a range of modalities including comprehensive dialectical behaviour therapy, cognitive and behavioural therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, attachment based therapy, psychodynamic informed therapy, and family therapy. When helpful, I am able to draw on more specialized techniques such as trauma-informed therapy, play therapy, parent and teacher consultation, collaborative problem-solving, and chair work. My past clients have experienced a wide-range of presenting concerns, including but not limited to mood disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety), distorted/dysfunctional thought patterns, self-harming behaviours and suicidal ideation, trauma, interpersonal/relational and family conflict, disordered eating, concerns with self-image and self-esteem, as well as neurodevelopmental and learning disabilities. I have also worked with families to address sensitive topics such as marital conflict, co-parenting within blended families, school avoidance, as well as oppositionality and aggression in children. My specific populations of interest include individuals on the autism spectrum, and those who struggle with anxiety (E.g., social anxiety, phobias, selective mutism, etc.). It has been a privilege to offer gender affirming and culturally informed care as part of my practice. 

In our first meeting, I invite you to share your primary concerns as we piece together your personal story through a semi-structured assessment. We will use this information to develop therapeutic goals and an individualized, evidence-based treatment plan. In subsequent sessions, we will work towards understanding the origin of these issues, how your difficulties affect your current day to day relationships and functioning, and what factors are helpful or hindering towards alleviating distress and making desired changes. Where helpful, joint sessions with family members or partners may also be considered to strengthen your support network outside of therapy. 

Trained under the scientist-practitioner model, I recognize the importance of incorporating evidence-based practice into my clinical techniques. My breadth of research expertise has also imparted a heightened sensitivity towards working with vulnerable populations through a unique multicultural and developmental lens.

My education includes a Hons B.Sc. specializing in Psychology from the University of Toronto, a M.Sc. in Experimental Lifespan Psychology from the University of Victoria in British Colombia, and a Ph.D. in School and Clinical Child Psychology at from the University of Toronto. I am a registered member of the College of Psychologists of Ontario.

My training has included the completion of an accredited doctoral residency in clinical psychology with the Toronto Area Consortium (TARC) which involved rotations at the Toronto Catholic District School Board and Broadview Psychology, one of the few sites in Toronto that offer an adherent DBT program. Previously, I have also completed clinical placements at the SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), the Psychology Clinic at the University of Toronto/Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, and other private settings. I have also planned and carried out long-term academic remediation plans for individuals with comorbid learning and neurodevelopmental disorders. Across my clinical experiences, I have provided individual therapy, parent therapy, and have led a number of parent and child therapy skills groups. 

Selected publications and referred conference presentations:

Chan, S., Mueller, U., & Masson, M. E. (2019). Far-transfer effects of strategy-based working memory training. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 1285.

Grigoroglou, M., Chan, S., & Ganea, P. A. (2019). Toddlers’ understanding and use of verbal negation in inferential reasoning search tasks. Journal of experimental child psychology, 183, 222-241.

Chan, S. (2014). Cognitive shifts in childhood and working memory development. Conference paper presented at: the 44th Annual Meeting of the Jean Piaget Society (Social development: Current trends and perspectives), San Francisco.

Chan, S. (2013). The contribution of dyadic social interaction to the development of executive functioning. Conference paper presented at: the 43rd Annual Meeting of the Jean Piaget Society (Social development: Current trends and perspectives), Chicago.