Dr. David Worling (#1365) Registered Psychologist
Dr. David Worling cofounded Westcoast Child Development Group in 2003 and is the clinical director. Dr. Worling worked at BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver for 7 years in the Adolescent Inpatient and Mood and Anxiety Outpatient Psychiatric Clinics. Over the past several years he has grown the practice to include psychological assessment and therapeutic work with adults.
Dr. Worling enjoys working with individuals 10 and older with a number of mental health challenges that include depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, school refusal, and learning disabilities and also specializes in assessment and therapy for individuals on the Autism Spectrum.
Dr. Worling created Spectrum Works Consulting Group in 2015 to help support adolescents and adults on the Autism Spectrum with co-occurring mental health conditions in work and post-secondary settings. (http://spectrumworks.consulting/)
Dr. Worling holds an academic affiliation with the department of Psychology at Simon Fraser University and is a Sessional Instructor with the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia. He has over 25 years’ experience as a clinician and has specialized training in the areas of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Autism Diagnostics, Group Therapy, and Learning Disabilities.
Dr. Worling sits on a number of clinical advisory boards and consults to schools, mental health facilities, and government agencies. He has published in the areas of learning disabilities, AD/HD, autism, and was a co-author on the Dealing with Depression Workbook for teens. http://www.comh.ca/publications/resources/dwd/DWD_PrintVersion.pdf.
Dr. Worling is also a sought-after speaker who brings a great deal of enthusiasm, professionalism, and humour to a wide range of audiences.
Leah Marks (#16138) Registered Clinical Counsellor
Leah Marks co-founded Westcoast Child Development Group and Spectrum Works and is the Director of Operations. She completed her Master’s degree in Counselling Psychology at the University of British Columbia and is a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors.
Leah enjoys guiding clients 18 and beyond to explore their strengths and opportunities for growth and to build hope and momentum – especially in times of transition.
Leah began her career over 25 years ago as an educator, teaching post-secondary students and as a teacher therapist designing individual education plans for children on the Autism Spectrum, with AD/HD, and with Learning challenges and consulting to their parents. She now focuses her parent consultation work with parents of older teens and young adults and specializes in supporting individuals through life decisions, relationships, and navigating the world of work and school.
Leah’s post-secondary academic counselling draws on several years experience as an Academic Advisor and researcher in academic persistence at The University of British Columbia. She has assisted hundreds of students to chart and navigate rigorous academic and career paths despite a multitude of internal and external barriers. Through her training and work with the UBC Life and Career Centre; the Centre for Student involvement and Careers; and Alumni UBC, Leah has extensive experience assisting a wide range of clients with a multitude of career questions and concerns to design and achieve personal, academic, and career objectives. Leah has completed levels 1 – 3 and practicum training in Gottman Methods Couple Therapy and provides evidenced-based relational therapy for couples.
Leah provides a holistic approach to her clients that is solution-focused, action oriented, and grounded in theories of positive psychology, human development, mindfulness, and cognitive behaviour therapy. Her approach is also informed by current research in decision-making, motivation, self-regulated learning, executive functioning, couples counselling, and career development.
Dr. Kimberly Armstrong (#2322) Registered Psychologist
Dr. Kimberly Armstrong has provided services to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families since 2004. She has worked and trained in a number of different setting, including the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge, the Autism and Developmental Disorders Lab at SFU, the Queens University Developmental Disabilities Consulting Program, BC Children’s Hospital, and Child and Youth Mental Health (CYMH).
Dr. Armstrong has published research in a number of peer-reviewed journals, including The Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities, Autism Research, and Molecular Autism. She is currently a Clinical Faculty member of the Neurodevelopmental Disorders Program with the Department of Psychiatry at UBC. Her clinical work includes providing diagnostic assessments, consultation, and therapy for adolescents and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders, with a focus on females.
Dr. Aaron Jacobson (#2337) Registered Psychologist
Prior to relocating to Vancouver, Dr. Jacobson worked at Kaiser Permanente in Santa Rosa, California, for seven years in the Child Psychiatry Department. He worked as a case manager for young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other developmental disabilities, and co-led the Teen Intensive Outpatient Program. In addition to seeing patients through Westcoast Child Development Clinic, Dr. Jacobson also consults for Spectrum Works, providing support to adolescents and adults on the Autism Spectrum with co-occurring mental health conditions. Additionally, Dr. Jacobson specializes in foster/adoption issues, blended families, and has worked extensively with survivors of abuse and neglect. He has treated a wide variety of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety and panic, school refusal, and self-harming behavior.
He has over ten years’ experience as a clinician and has specialized training in the areas of Brief Strategic Family Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Autism Diagnostics, and Group Therapy. Dr. Jacobson has also conducted trainings for clinicians in adolescent suicide assessment and therapeutic interventions for individuals on the Autism Spectrum. He has given talks at a wide variety of agencies, including schools and foster care organizations.
Dr. Jacobson integrates a number of different modalities into his work, but generally works as an Interpersonal therapist. He encourages full family participation in the psychotherapeutic treatment of children and adolescents.
Antes de mudarse a Vancouver, el Dr. Jacobson trabajó en Kaiser Permanente en Santa Rosa, California. El lleva siete años en el Departamento de Psiquiatría Infantil. Trabajó como gerente de casos para jóvenes con trastornos del espectro autista y otras discapacidades del desarrollo, y fue codirector del Programa Intensivo para Adolescentes. Además de atender a los pacientes a través de Westcoast Child Development Clinic, el Dr. Jacobson también asesora a Spectrum Works, brindando apoyo a adolescentes y adultos autistas con trastornos concurrentes de salud mental. Además, el Dr. Jacobson se especializa en asuntos de adopción / crianza, familias combinadas, y ha trabajado extensamente con sobrevivientes de abuso y negligencia. Él ha tratado una amplia variedad de problemas de salud mental, que incluyen depresión, ansiedad y pánico, rechazo escolar y comportamiento autodestructivo.
Tiene más de diez años de experiencia como médico y tiene capacitación especializada en las áreas de Breve Terapia Familiar Estratégica, Terapia de Comportamiento Dialéctico, Terapia Cognitiva Conductual, Diagnóstico de Autismo y Terapia Grupal. El Dr. Jacobson también ha realizado capacitaciones para médicos en la evaluación del suicidio adolescente y las intervenciones terapéuticas para individuos en el espectro del autismo. Ha dado charlas en una amplia variedad de agencias, incluidas escuelas y organizaciones de cuidado de crianza.
El Dr. Jacobson integra varias modalidades diferentes en su trabajo, pero generalmente trabaja como terapeuta interpersonal. Alienta la participación familiar total en el tratamiento psicoterapéutico de niños y adolescentes.
Dr. Katia Jitlina (#2417) Registered Psychologist
Dr. Katia Jitlina has worked with children and families in different capacities since 2003. She completed her Ph.D. in School Psychology at the University of British Columbia. Her research has focused on the development of Anxiety Disorders in children with Autism, as well as translating clinic-based anxiety interventions to the school setting. She is passionate about early interventions for mental health and overall development, as well as promoting the mental health and emotional well-being of children and youth with Autism.
She finished her residency in Clinical Child Psychology at McMaster Children’s Hospital, where she worked in the Child and Youth Mental Health and Autism Spectrum Disorder services. She previously completed practica with Child and Youth Mental Health, the Calgary Learning Centre, the Early Childhood Mental Health Program at Richmond Hospital, and worked as a psychometrist with the Neonatal Follow-Up Programme at BC Children’s Hospital.
In providing treatment, she uses a collaborative therapeutic framework that is influenced by cognitive-behavioural, developmental, interpersonal and family therapy approaches.
Dr. Jitlina is available to conduct diagnostic, developmental and psychoeducational assessments, and to provide therapeutic and consultation services.
Dr. Anisha Varghese (#2396) Registered Psychologist
Dr. Anisha Varghese is a Registered Psychologist who provides assessment and therapy services to children, adolescents, and adults. She is passionate about using psychological assessment to help clients understand their unique profile of strengths and needs, as well as what supports might be helpful. In her therapeutic work, she uses evidence-based (primarily cognitive-behavioural, as well as emotion-focused, and mindfulness-based) approaches to support clients with understanding and managing difficulties which include anxiety, OCD, depression, health concerns, and stress. She believes in the importance of collaborating with parents to help them build upon their strategies for understanding and supporting their children. Dr. Varghese also values creativity, playfulness, humour, and she incorporates these into her therapeutic work.
Dr. Varghese relocated to Vancouver to complete her residency at BC Children’s Hospital after completing her doctoral training in Clinical Psychology at the University of Waterloo. Following her residency, she continued to work in a number of programs and clinics at Sunny Hill Health Centre and BC Children’s Hospital (BCCH), at which she is a Staff Psychologist. She currently works with the BCCH Medical Psychology team, which involves inpatient and outpatient treatment of health related challenges which include pain, stress associated with health conditions, and procedural anxiety. During her three years at Sunny Hill, she completed assessments of neurodevelopmental and associated conditions as part of the Complex Developmental and Behavioural Conditions (CDBC) program. She also previously worked with the BCCH Provincial ADHD Clinic, which involved assessments for ADHD and co-occurring conditions, and group intervention for parent-led behavioural management of ADHD symptoms. Dr. Varghese’s hospital roles also allow her to invest time in her passion for supervision, teaching, and consultation.
Kate Kha Clinic Administrator
Kate is one of the Westcoast Child Development Group Clinic Administrators. She provides information to clients about services at the clinic, provides referrals, supports daily front desk procedures, and manages client accounts.
Kate graduated with a dual degree in law and forensic criminal studies from Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University in the Ukraine, and recently completed a professional diploma in hospitality management in Vancouver.
She is dedicated to providing high quality administrative services and values working in an environment that supports psychological health.
In her spare time, Kate enjoys listening to music, hiking, and going to concerts. She also enjoys reading books and poetry. She is fluent in English, Russian and Ukrainian.
Shafayat Teimur Clinic Administrator
Shafayat is also a Clinic Administrator at Westcoast Child Development Group. She provides information to clients about services at the clinic, provides referrals, coordinates assessments, and manages daily front desk procedures.
She graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from Bahcesehir University, and a M.A. in Organizational Psychology from Bilgi University in Istanbul, with a focus on women in the workplace. Shafayat is fluent in English, Turkish, and Russian.
Her passion for psychology and human resources motivates her in helping to cultivate a healthy workplace and clinic, where clients and clinicians feel comfortable and supported.
In her spare time, Shafayat loves to explore the outdoors, bake, paint, spend time with her friends, and read.
Dr. Andrea Hamel (#2448) Registered Psychologist
Dr. Andrea Hamel is a registered psychologist who specializes in mental health issues in teenagers and young adults. She provides treatment to youth with social anxiety, performance anxiety, generalized anxiety, phobias, depression, low self-esteem, and/or body image issues. Using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and other scientifically-supported techniques, she helps her clients build skills in emotion regulation, distress tolerance, stress management, mindfulness, and self-compassion.
Dr. Hamel works together with teens and young adults to design a treatment plan that works best for them. Her goal is to help young people build more confidence in themselves so that they can overcome their difficulties and reach their full potential.
Dr. Hamel completed her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology at Simon Fraser University. She completed her psychology residency through the University of Manitoba’s Clinical Health Psychology program. She has also trained at BC Children’s Hospital and the Maples Adolescent Treatment Centre, an agency that provides services to teens all over the province who are struggling with severe mental health issues.
Dr. Hamel also has extensive experience providing psychoeducational assessments for teens with a variety of difficulties including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disorders, developmental disabilities, giftedness, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, and/or aggression.
In addition to her work with teens and young adults, Dr. Hamel provides support to parents who wish to learn strategies for better managing their teen’s behavioural/emotional difficulties. She has also conducted research on eating disorders in teens and has presented her work at international conferences.
Dr. Hamel is on leave from the clinic September 2020 to late 2021.