Founding Team

Dr. Ariel Dalfen

Co-Founder, MD, FRCPC
She/Her/Hers

Dr. Ariel is an MD psychiatrist with 20 years of experience treating women of all ages: from the perinatal to the perimenopausal population. Dr. Ariel co-founded BRIA after running the largest perinatal mental health program in Ontario for 12 years and starting the first of its kind Perinatal Mental Health Telemedicine Program in Canada, in 2014—way before virtual care became popular! Dr. Ariel speaks frequently to public and academic audiences, and to the media about a variety of women’s mental health issues. She has also published research papers and written a book: “When Baby Brings the Blues; solutions for postpartum depression”. Dr. Ariel is dedicated to improving public awareness about women’s mental health issues and educating other health care providers and students. You will meet Dr. Ariel during a webinar, in a maxi-assessment, or during group therapy.

Dr. Bev Young

Co – Founder, MD, FRCPC

Dr. Bev is a psychiatrist with over 20 years of experience in women’s mental health care. Before co-founding BRIA, Dr. Bev developed and led two of the largest perinatal psychiatry programs in Ontario: the Reproductive Life Stages Program at Women’s College Hospital and the Perinatal Mental Health Program at Mount Sinai Hospital. She is a pioneer in telemedicine services for the perinatal population, and has been using virtual care to treat patients across Ontario since 2014. As a leader in her field, she is relentlessly dedicated to improving access to high quality reproductive psychiatric care in Canada, and has trained many other perinatal psychiatrists. You will meet Dr. Bev in a Maxi assessment, or during group therapy.

Emily Kingdom

Co – Founder, MBA

Emily spends her time on operational execution at BRIA – building the best experience for both patients and practitioners. Prior to founding BRIA, Emily worked in mid-market private equity in value creation, in management consulting, and in banking. Emily has spent the majority of her career understanding high-growth companies, and helping health care services companies grow organically and inorganically. At BRIA, Emily spends her time behind the scenes enabling our practitioners to care for our patients & scaling BRIA coast to coast.

Care Coordination Team

Michelle Amato

Care Coordinator Manager, RN, IBCLC, BA Therapist

Michelle is a Registered Nurse (RN), International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and mental health care provider with over 20 years of experience working with perinatal populations. Her experience includes supporting families through labour and delivery, perinatal loss and grief, postpartum care and lactation. Her current clinical focus and passion is helping individuals across the reproductive life stages gain timely access to the most appropriate mental health treatments and services. She also provides Behavioural Activation (BA) therapy for pregnant and postpartum individuals with anxiety and depression. At BRIA, Michelle is our Care Coordinator Manager – the lynchpin of our integrated care model. You will meet Michelle during an intro call, in a mini or maxi – assessment, or in the design of your care plan.

Tracy Robert

Care Coordinator, RPN, BA Therapist

I have been a nurse for over the last 15 years with a clinical focus in Women’s and Children’s health. Working with families and in particular women, during challenging times, has always been a passion of mine.

I have been able to provide individual counselling using behavioural activation, that has been effective in addressing anxiety and depression related to infertility, pregnancy loss, as well as relationships and issues around diversity and inclusion, just to name a few.

The therapeutic space that I foster is one that is safe and validating, with the goal that you are welcomed as you are. Through our sessions we will identify goals, problem solve, as well as make connections between your past experiences and present emotions.

In addition to my clinical work, I also volunteer with various organizations that empower BIPOC high performing athletes to chase their dreams of playing hockey at elite levels. Through this work I help facilitate difficult conversations around barriers to the game as well as racism and discrimination.

Care Team

Dr. Alison Shea

MD, PhD, FRCSC, NCMP
She/Her/Hers

Dr. Shea completed a one-year fellowship at Mount Sinai Hospital in Menopause and Reproductive Mental Health in 2017.  She is a certified menopause practitioner through the North American Menopause Society.  Prior to that she completed a BSc at the University of Maryland (2000), her medical degree at the University of Ottawa (2011) and her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Toronto.  She also earned an MSc in Neuroscience and Behavioural Sciences at McMaster University in 2003 and a Ph.D. in Medical Sciences in 2007 from the University of Toronto. Dr. Alison Shea has numerous research interests, including Menopausal Health, Perinatal Substance Use, and Perinatal Mental Health. With training in both gynecology and psychiatry, Dr. Shea is able to understand how your experiences and hormones affect your well-being.

In 2018, Dr. Shea was approved for an ” Expanded Scope of Practice in Reproductive Mental Health by College of Physicians and  Surgeons of Ontario

You will meet Dr. Shea during MIDI Assessments

Deanna Kiley

Therapist, CFAS, OCSWSSW, OASW

Deanna Kiley is a Registered Social Worker specializing in reproductive health. Her areas of focus include infertility, loss and grief, third party reproduction counselling, individual counselling and couple counselling. She has graduate degrees in Social Work and Health Studies. She is a member of the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS), the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW) and the Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW). Deanna’s goal is to provide support to those with reproductive health issues who are experiencing the emotional impact, and complex psychological issues, related to both female and male factor infertility. She also specializes in helping women throughout the life cycle cope with, and improve, anxiety-related responses to stress or life changes. She has extensive experience supporting clients through the stages of grief and loss. Deanna takes a collaborative, supportive, evidence-based approach that integrates theory and techniques from Mindfulness, Narrative, and Cognitive Behavioural (CBT) therapies. Drawing on each client’s own strengths, Deanna helps clients improve self-esteem, process emotions, navigate relationships, and develop healthy beliefs about life. Special interests: women’s health issues, fertility preservation, donor conception, surrogacy, on-going pregnancy anxiety, end of treatment decisions, on-going pregnancy anxiety, post-partum, chronic illness, peri-menopause and menopause.

Emily Opthof

Registered Dietitian, RD, BScFN

Emily is a Registered Dietitian, with a special focus in non-diet fertility nutrition and menstrual health education. She practices from a weight-inclusive perspective to help women address their hormone health and build their optimal cycle without diet culture and weight stigma.

Emily graduated from Brescia University with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition & Dietetics, and completed her dietetic internship at London Health Sciences Centre. Emily is passionate about continuing education to best support her clients and maintain the highest quality of evidence-based practice.

Emily has worked in both public outpatient and private eating disorder & women’s health practice to support optimal health and manage concerns such as PCOS, endometriosis, PMS, fibroids and more.

Areas of Focus:
Period Health Nutrition
Intuitive and Mindful Eating
Fertility Prep and Support
Cycle Tracking Education

Heather Sande

Parenting Coach

I love helping frustrated parents of children under 6 end the daily struggle by offering personalized support that actually works for your family.

I’m here to support your journey in understanding your child from the inside out. Using a relationship-based, developmental approach we get to the root of the challenging behaviour. Whether it’s getting a good night’s rest, managing those epic meltdowns or mealtime cooperation, I can provide you with the insights and information you need to make a change and support to make it stick. I am also a certified baby-led sleep and wellbeing specialist and love tackling tricky toddler bedtimes.

Everything is well tested on my own two girls (4 & 6) in our home in Guelph. You will often find me on Instagram sharing parenting stories and the occasional messy craft!

Jess White

Sleep Consultant, BSc., OCT

Jessica is a Certified Infant and Child Sleep Consultant and Integrative Adult Sleep Coach who helps families and individuals get better rest. Areas of focus include adult sleep, infant sleep during the first year, toddler sleep, and sleep challenges with school aged children. Jessica looks at sleep issues holistically, taking into account parental stress, emotional well-being, sleep beliefs, readiness, timing, routines and nutrition. She meets individuals where they are to create a plan that feels manageable. When addressing and resolving sleep challenges, Jessica believes that we are most successful when we have the knowledge and the felt sense that there is another way.

Jessica is a member of the Association of Professional Sleep Consultants (APSC), has a certificate in Maternal Mental Health and has attended professional advanced training in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I). Jessica is currently working towards a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology.

What you can expect when working with Jessica:
✓ Compassionate and non-judgmental listening.
✓ A holistic and evidence-based approach.
✓ A plan that aligns with your parenting values.
✓ Action steps that feel manageable.
✓ Renewed confidence and trust.

Karen Phinney

Therapist, MSW, RSW

Karen holds nearly 20-years of perinatal experience having worked at Mount Sinai Hospital’s Women & Infants’ Health Program. Areas of interest and expertise include fertility, interrupted pregnancy, premature delivery, birth trauma, and post-partum adjustment.

Blending elements of evidence-based therapies (such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Compassion Therapy) and utilizing a variety of approaches (such as Trauma-Informed/Sensitive, Strengths-Based, Solution-Focused) Karen addresses issues of anxiety, depression, grief/loss, changing family dynamics, identity shifts, and role-strain. Karen empowers women to explore their values and lived experiences to find deeper meaning and purpose within their relationships and their identity. Karen offers therapy that provides tools to achieve personal change, foster growth, and lead to new discoveries.

Karen is an easy-going, warm, and genuine therapist who is available to partner together with you, listen with compassion and empathy, help build on your strengths, and find a middle way between acceptance and change so you can find relief, connection, and joy.

Kelly Borins

Lactation Consultant, MSN, Paediatric NP, IBCLC

Kelly is a Registered Nurse with her Master in Nursing, as well as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Kelly has been working with newborns since 2012 both in the hospital setting and in the community. Having breastfed two children of her own, one with a tongue-tie, and experiencing 5 bouts of mastitis, she understands the many challenges that a breastfeeding journey can hold. She is empathetic, understanding and passionate about helping families achieve their unique infant feeding goals (fed is best!). With BRIA, Kelly is available to help you prepare for breastfeeding while pregnant, and also with all breastfeeding needs you may have postpartum.

Laura Reisman

Therapist, MSW, RSW

Laura Reisman, MSW, PMH-C, is a Registered Social Worker, focusing on the health and well-being of women and families. Laura is a trauma informed therapist who has experience working with women, children, and complex family structures.

Along with a Masters in Social Work, Laura is a registered Perinatal Mental Health provider and is formally trained in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). Laura believes it is important to be knowledgeable and supportive in multiple therapy modalities. She has studied Mindfulness, Talk Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy and Trauma Informed Care. In the realm of Perinatal Mental Health Laura has received accreditation by Postpartum Support International and the Canadian Perinatal Mental Health society.

Laura’s practice focuses on topics including infertility, perinatal mood disorders, generalized anxiety, sex and intimacy, childhood/adult-based traumas, and difficult partner and family relationships. Laura ensures counselling meets each individual’s needs. During sessions she can help you identify, develop, and strengthen coping skills, while also finding effective solutions to individual problems.

Laura strives to build a strong therapeutic alliance which will be the foundation of your work together, and she is committed to making your time in therapy a stimulating and supportive environment.

Leslie Born

Therapist, MSc PhD RP

Leslie is a Registered Psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario.  She has a Master’s in Mental Health Counselling and a PhD in Medical Science. Leslie is a part-time faculty member of the Department of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at McMaster University, and enjoys teaching seminars and supervising learners in Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Midwifery programs. Leslie has close to 25 years of psychotherapy experience. Leslie has tailored her practice to relationship issues, working with individuals and couples who struggle with mood problems and life transitions, including pregnancy/postpartum transition, adjustment to parenthood, as well as later-in-life issues and relationship changes leading couples to feel disconnected, distanced from one another, frequent conflicts or contemplating separation. With certifications in relational therapies including Relational Life Therapy, Interpersonal Psychotherapy and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, Leslie offers a unique approach to helping individuals and couples with life transitions, reduce stress and conflict in their daily lives, and improve the “connected and protected” feeling between partners.

Marni Bleeman

MAXI Mental Health Assessor, OT Reg.

Marni Bleeman, OT Reg. (Ont.) Marni has worked as an Occupational Therapist for over 20 years in the area of mental health focusing on clinical assessments, treatment and coordination of discharge plans for individuals with depression and anxiety in an outpatient setting. She has provided individual, family and group support and counseling using a range of therapeutic modalities. She works from a client-centered framework and strongly values the therapeutic relationship she develops with her clients. Her excellent interpersonal, communication, problem-solving and critical thinking skills lend well to her new role as a Bria Mental Health Intake Assessor. She is thrilled to join the Bria team and looks forward to expanding her role in the future. Marni’s licensure is in good standing with the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario (COTO). She is also a member of the Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists (OSOT).

Mila Arsenijevic

Therapist, MSW, RSW

I am a warm and empathetic therapist who will work with you to help you gain a better understanding of yourself and recognize and resolve problem areas with which you struggle.I specialize in working in pregnancy and postpartum care. I have supported women and couples struggling with infertility, relationship stress and mood challenges related to the pregnancy and postpartum period at Mount Sinai Hospital for the past 10 years. I provide a safe and non-judgmental space in which you can explore your feelings and thoughts and unveil factors that may be holding you back. We would then work together to resolve these challenges and address painful feelings which can affect our well-being . My passion is to help individuals and couples free themselves of emotional distress and lead a more fulfilling, more joyful life. I am committed to staying current in leading therapy practices and have attended a variety of post graduate training courses. In my work I employ a range of evidence based approaches including Emotionally Focused Therapy, Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Mindfulness.

Nakema Rea McManamna

Therapist, MSW, RSW

Nakema is passionate about supporting people throughout their perinatal mental health journey. While completing her training at Women’s College Hospital in the Reproductive Life Stages program she supported women through pregnancy planning, infertility, grief, processing labour and delivery, and post-partum transitions. Nakema has extensive experience advocating for the needs of children, youth and their families engaged in the child welfare and youth justice systems as well as a background in community development. In addition to her practice, Nakema is also a Research Associate at the University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and volunteers with organizations supporting women who use substances. Nakema believes that the therapeutic relationship is a sacred space and is known for her caring and comfortable presence. Her approach is grounded in collaborative relational and interpersonal psychotherapy. She draws on multiple modalities, including elements of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, mindfulness-based therapy, solutions focused therapy and anti-oppressive practice. During your time with Nakema you can expect a warm, judgment-free environment where you can feel safe navigating your perinatal mental health journey. Nakema’s clinical areas of focus include: post-partum adjustment, relationships, identity and grief and loss.

Nicole Schroeder

Therapist, BSW, MSW, RSW

Nicole Schroeder, BSW, MSW, RSW Nicole Schroeder is a Registered Social Worker with the College of Social Workers in Ontario (OCSWSSW). She obtained her Bachelor of Social Work from University of Victoria, and her Masters of Social Work from University of Toronto. She has also completed post-graduate training in couple and individual therapy in emotion focused therapy and sex therapy. She is a certified member of BESTCO (Board of Examiners in Sex Therapy and Counselling in Ontario). She currently works in an outpatient gynaecology clinic at a downtown Toronto hospital and in private practice, with a focus on individual, relationship, and sex therapy.

Sari Shaicovitch

Therapist, BA, BSW, MEd, RSW

Sari Shaicovitch is a registered social worker who specializes in anxiety, depression, infertility, and reproductive loss. She has undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Social Work, and a graduate degree in Educational Counseling Psychology and Special Education. Sari has also received extensive training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Infertility Counseling. Sari is currently a member of the Ontario College of Social Workers, the Ontario Association of Social Workers, the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS), the Canadian Counseling and Special Interest Group, and is affiliated with Fertility Matters Canada. 

Sari has been working as a counselor and social worker for more than 25 years. Working with individuals and couples, Sari has extensive experience helping her clients identify where they are struggling and helping them to formulate personal and realistic goals for change. Her practice is influenced by Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Brief Solution-Focused Therapy, Assertiveness Training and Social Skills Training. 

Over the course of her career, Sari has presented on numerous topics to women’s groups, support groups and prenatal groups all around Toronto on topics such as Post-Partum Depression, Adoption Disclosure, and Methods to Increase a Child’s Self Esteem. Sari currently works with a number of Toronto-area fertility clinics where she consults with patients who are looking to use third-party gametes to grow their family. 

For over 7 years, she co-facilitated a monthly fertility support group. She has written articles for Huffington Post, has been quoted in Readers Digest, has appeared on Rogers Daytime and has blogged for online magazines. Sari is currently affiliated with Good Grief Bereavement Healing Services, and sits on the Advisory Board for Brave the Waves, a program which builds resiliency for middle school students and their families.

Sari and her husband currently live in Toronto with their three daughters, all of whom were conceived via fertility treatments.

Sharon Lorber

Therapist, MSW, RSW

Sharon is a registered social worker with nearly 20 years of experience supporting clients with mental health concerns related to pregnancy, labour & delivery, and the postpartum period. Using a strengths-based, trauma-informed approach, she specializes in helping clients navigate anxiety, depression, loss, and the transition to parenthood. Her training in Infant Mental Health also lends itself to support clients build attachment-based relationships with their children, creating a strong foundation for parenting from infancy through adolescence.

Sharon takes a collaborative approach, creating a safe environment where clients can acquire new skills, overcome challenges, and reach their goals. She draws from a variety of modalities, prioritizing the ‘best fit’ for the client which may include cognitive behavioural, dialectical behavioural or narrative therapies and mindfulness-based practices.

Sharon is committed to her own professional development and also enjoys facilitating training for other health care providers from across disciplines. She has been recognized for her clinical practice, teaching skills and her contribution to research at SickKids Hospital where she has worked for the past 18 years.

Shelley Read

Therapist, MSW, RSW

Shelley is a Registered Social Worker who has spent 20 years supporting clients struggling with their mental and emotional health and well being. Shelley has a Master’s degree in Social Work and is registered in good standing with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. She is also a member of the Ontario Association of Social Workers.
Shelley’s specialties include Perimenopause/Menopause, Grief and Loss as well as Aging Well Services. She is a Clinical Trauma Specialist and has extensive experience working with women who have experienced trauma.
Shelley’s interest in supporting women dealing with Perimenopause was sparked by her own experiences as she struggled with this transitional time of life. Along with the physical changes, mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, relationship issues and grief and loss are common topics identified and discussed in our sessions. A woman’s transition through Perimenopause/Menopause can be complicated as it often coincides with other stressors associated with this time of life. These stressors may include children leaving home, retirement, unprocessed trauma and grief.
Shelley focuses on helping adults clearly define and reach their personal wellness goals from a holistic perspective and works collaboratively with clients to ensure that therapy is molded around individualized needs. She works from a Strength-based, Trauma Informed perspective focusing on a person’s internal strengths and resourcefulness. Narrative Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Solution Focused therapy are models used in her practice.

 

Sonia Taylor

MEDI Assessor, P-PHC, MSc, BScN

Sonia Taylor is an experienced Nurse Practitioner who works in the primary care setting. She is committed to empowering women to take charge of their health at all stages of life. While working as a Nurse Practitioner she has supported women physically and emotionally as they try to conceive, during their perinatal period, and as they embark on their menopausal transition. She completed her Master’s Degree in Science at Pace University in New York City and became licensed with the College of Nurses of Ontario as a Registered Nurse in the Extended Class (Nurse Practitioner). At the beginning of her career she graduated from McMaster University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Over her two decades of experience she has delivered care in Labour and Delivery, Women’s Gynecology/Oncology, Neonatal ICU, Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Primary/Community Care. She looks forward to meeting you and working together on your Midlife MEDI Assessment.

Stacey Cook

MAXI Mental Health Assessor, MSW, RSW

Stacey holds a Master’s degree in Social Work and is a Registered Social Worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW). Stacey predominantly worked with individuals who have experienced trauma, but experiencing pregnancy and parenting during the pandemic highlighted the intense needs of mothers during this time. She completed the Perinatal Mental Health Certification training in order to combine her experience as a mom of 2 with clinical knowledge to best support mothers.

With each client, she creates a specialized case plan based on your goals using evidence-based models of treatment in order to have the most effective therapy that helps you feel relief faster. She believes that therapy should be a collaborative, nonjudgmental, and empowering process to enhance your skill set to cope with the challenges of motherhood. Stacey practices from several evidenced based approaches such as: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), and Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). She is also trained in Level 1 Gottman Method Couples Therapy.