About Susan McKendry
I am a registered Social Worker in Canada and I have a private practice in the East end of Barrie, Ontario. I completed my certification with the Academy of Cognitive Therapy in July 2016 and shortly afterward, I was granted certification with the Canadian Association of CBT Therapists. I am an ongoing member of the Association of Social Workers and the Professional College of Social Workers. I graduated from Laurentian University in 1992 and I completed my Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Toronto in 1993.
My career path has offered me a number of valuable learning opportunities including work in hospitals, adult and children’s mental health, schools and in youth rehabilitation. I have worked in the field of custody access, crisis of disclosure with the Children’s Aid Society, the Native Residential Schools Victims Support & Crisis Program, the Internet Child Exploitation Program, and Victim Crisis Assistance Program. My full time private practice has been in existence since 2000 and I serve children over the age of twelve, youth and adults with anxiety disorders and depression.
It was during an eight-year stint working as a school social worker, my awareness regarding the high number of anxious students created a strong desire to become more proficient in CBT and increase my understanding anxiety disorders in general. The prevalence of school refusal, erratic attendance and the use of drugs for self-medicating purposes caught my attention. It became extremely clear that anxiety disorders, depression and substance abuse have a tremendous impact on our youth and have an enormous cost to individuals, families and the community as a whole. Having a front row seat to the repercussions of expulsion and suspension for anxious students ignited my desire to be in a better position to provide “evidenced based” treatment and to better position myself to be able to treat these co-existing mental health issues. I realized very quickly that in order to be truly effective as a CBT therapist, it would take more than providing a “set of methods or techniques” or two or three universal strategies in order to truly affect change. I also recognized that CBT could not be provided as a “one size fits all methodology” especially given the complexity of the nature of the various anxiety disorders. With this in mind, I decided to pursue certification with the Academy.
From 2009 to 2016, I pursued relevant professional learning and supervision opportunities including the completion of over 400 hours of CBT training with various leaders in the field including Dr. Phillip Kendall, Dr. Christine Padesky, Dr. Dennis Greenberger, Dr. Judith Beck, to name a few. In 2012, I met the requirements for certification with the National Association of CBT therapist (Dr. Also Pucci). More recently, I completed my Anxiety Specialist Certification with the University of Toronto. My professional focus continues to be providing CBT for anxiety disorders and depression and I continue to work with many anxious youth in the community who are juggling the demands of school and mental health issues.
Certification with the Academy has created the very opportunities that I was striving for. There is an incredible wealth of new learning through access to the largest network of skilled CBT therapists and leaders in the field. I have taken advantage of direct and indirect clinical feedback from the most knowledgeable educators in the CBT field. The impact of my training and certification has undoubtedly been invaluable in terms of knowledge, personal and professional growth, clinical confidence and most importantly, better treatment outcomes for my clients. The certification process appears to have created a form of personal accountability for my work as I strive for “evidence based” and “gold standard” models of treatment for my clients.
My clinical work and my interactions with other CBT clinicians have challenged me to keep refining my skills and I take every opportunity to continue learning and challenge myself to reach higher. Over the years, I have developed many professional collaborative relationships in my community and I am delighted to be able to have conversations with physicians, psychiatrists and other mental health professions about ways in which CBT may assist their clients/patients with a wide variety of problems.
Through the Academy, I have been fortunate to connect with a handful of other certified CBT therapists in Ontario and this has increased communication locally and it will undoubtedly increase the opportunities to network with likeminded professionals in Canada including opportunities for peer supervision and other clinical opportunities. Presently, I am the only Diplomate or certified CBT therapist in Barrie, Ontario and my hope is that this will change. There are some obvious challenges when living in a small community especially as it relates to the ability to secure supervision hours for certification. My goal is support my colleagues who wish to obtain their certification with the America or the Canadian Association of CBT.
Susan McKendry, M.S.W., RSW
Diplomate, Academy of Cognitive Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapist