Meet the Breakwater team
Our knowledgeable, caring and supportive team consists of psychologists, registered social workers (MSWs), a consulting psychiatrist, practicum students (both Clinical Psychology PhD and MSW students), and administrative staff.
Dr. Nicole Ethier,
Dr. Ethier is passionate about helping individuals and services prevent operational stress from causing lasting psychological injury. She is involved with various first responder services throughout Ontario, providing consultation to peer support teams, conducting preventative mental health checks, and pre-employment psychological screening of new hires. She also provides individual assessment and therapy to first responders.
Dr. Ethier earned her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Waterloo.
Dr. Shannon Gifford, Clinical Psychologist
Dr. Gifford is dedicated to serving those affected by operational stress and trauma. She offers assessment and therapy services to individuals, is involved in peer support initiatives, and provides clinical training and supervision to Breakwater associates. Prior to working with Breakwater, she provided psychological services to currently serving and veteran members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the RCMP through the Operational Stress Injury Clinic in London, Ontario.
Dr. Gifford earned her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Waterloo and has been a clinical adjunct faculty member with UW’s Clinical Psychology PhD program since 2008.
Dr. Philip Toman,
Dr. Toman’s area of special interest within Breakwater is the use of brain-based techniques for assessment and intervention (in particular, rTMS for depression and PTSD, quantitative EEG, neurofeedback, and biofeedback), bringing psychology and physiology together. He also provides assessment and psychotherapy to Breakwater’s clients. His research interests lie in predicting who will be resilient to the impact of operational stress, monitoring the early onset of symptoms, and developing early interventions to keep people on the job.
Dr. Toman completed his PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Waterloo
Dr. Beth Keleher,
Dr. Beth Keleher earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Waterloo. During her graduate and residency training, she provided assessment and treatment for RCMP and Canadian Armed Forces members via rotations at the Parkwood Institute Operational Stress Injury (OSI) Clinic, the Calgary OSI Clinic, as well as for first responders at Breakwater Institute. She uses an integrative approach for treatment, drawing on a number of therapeutic techniques (e.g., cognitive-behavioural, interpersonal, and emotion-focused therapies) to address clients’ distinct needs and goals.
Kevin Capobianco has experience assessing and treating PTSD and other mental health challenges in hospitals, OSI clinics, and other outpatient clinic settings, and finds working with first responders, CAF members, and their families particularly rewarding. He integrates various psychotherapeutic techniques in his clinical work in order to tailor his approach to best fit the needs of each client.
Kevin has earned his PhD from the University of Waterloo.
Carla Kane earned her Master of Social Work (MSW) from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo. She focused her graduate studies on trauma, with a particular interest in the effects of operational stress injuries on individuals and family members including spouses and children. Prior to earning her MSW, Ms. Kane was a police officer for nine years having spent time in patrol and detectives. As a former first responder, Ms. Kane has intimate knowledge of the operational stressors that can impact individuals and families. At Breakwater, she offers services to individuals, couples, and families, using a trauma-informed approach to collaboratively identify coping skills and build resiliency.
Tali Barclay earned her Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto. Her training included modern approaches to psychotherapy over the life course. Her area of interest at Breakwater includes examining and treating the impact of occupational stress on family structures. Ms. Barclay provides therapy services to individuals, couples and families.
Nick Zabara has experience assessing and treating clients with anxiety, depression, and PTSD in outpatient and inpatient settings. His clinical experience has included working with first responders and veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Mr. Zabara is nearing the completion of his PhD in Psychology at the University of Waterloo.
Dr. Rickinder Sethi,
Dr. Rickinder Sethi completed his residency training in the Department of Psychiatry at Western University. After residency, he completed a fellowship in Psycho-Oncology and end-of-life care at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto. Dr. Sethi also has interests in novel psychiatric treatments including rTMS, ketamine, and psilocybin. He splits his time working at University Health Network in Toronto and providing psychiatric care in under-serviced clinics within Ontario.
Vanja Vidovic has experience with assessment of individuals in a Specialized Mental Health Unit inpatient setting, as well as at outpatient psychology clinics. In addition to assessment, she is passionate about providing individual psychotherapy to adults with a range of issues, including depression, anxiety, OCD, and PTSD. Ms. Vidovic takes an integrative approach to treatment, drawing on various therapeutic modalities as she works with each client to meet their mental health needs and goals. Ms. Vidovic is nearing the completion of her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of Waterloo.
Katie Finch received her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Waterloo in 2018, and is nearing completion of her Ph.D. She has worked in a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings, and has experience assessing and treating PTSD as well as anxiety, mood, and interpersonal concerns. Ms. Finch has experience in numerous therapeutic orientations (e.g., cognitive-behavioural, emotion-focused, and compassion-focused therapy) and works collaboratively with clients, drawing from different therapies based on their needs.
Alex Milovanov is experienced in assessing and treating individuals with PTSD, anxiety, depression, and interpersonal issues. His approach prioritizes the needs of his clients while paying careful attention to the unique challenges faced by first responders and CAF members. He works with clients to develop individualized treatment plans and uses a range of therapeutic techniques (e.g., cognitive-behavioral, emotion-focused) to help them move towards their desired goals. Mr. Milovanov is nearing the completion of his Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Waterloo.
Julia McNeil studied clinical psychology at the University of Waterloo and has experience treating a variety of mental health issues in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Previously, Ms. McNeil worked with the RCMP and members of the Canadian Armed Forces through the Operational Stress Injury Clinic in London, Ontario. She completed her clinical residency at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. In therapy, Ms. McNeil focuses on evidence-based care, and she integrates different psychotherapeutic techniques in her clinical work to best serve her clients. Ms. McNeil is nearing the completion of her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of Waterloo.
Dr. Sutherland earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Waterloo. Her experience includes providing assessments and treatment to veterans and actively serving members of the RCMP and Canadian Armed Forces in an Operational Stress Injury (OSI) clinic, and for first responders and their families at Breakwater Institute. Acknowledging the impact of traumatic stress injuries on close relationships, Dr. Sutherland also provides consultation and relational therapy to couples who are facing interpersonal challenges. She uses an evidence-based, client-centred approach to treatment that incorporates cognitive-behavioural (CBT, DBT, ACT) and attachment-based (e.g., interpersonal, emotion-focused) therapies to support clients in pursuing their individual goals.
Olivia Merritt earned her Masters in Clinical Psychology from the University of Waterloo and is nearing the completion of her PhD. She has experience providing assessment and intervention to first responders at Breakwater Institute, as well as to military and RCMP members and veterans through a Veterans Affairs Canada Operational Stress Injury (OSI) clinic. She has extensive experience treating anxiety, mood, interpersonal, and trauma-related difficulties, and brings a collaborative, evidence-based, goal-focused approach to treatment.
Terri Currie earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Social Work from the University of Waterloo and is a registered social worker. She has administered aptitude tests for police and special constable applicants across the province for Ontario Police Services, governed by the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, and has clinical experience working with children, youth, adults, and families. At Breakwater, she is a neuromodulation administrator, providing repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and neurofeedback treatment for anxiety and depression. Ms. Currie also works alongside Breakwater’s clinical psychologists to facilitate peer support and employment screening activities.
Brian Morrison has worked in law enforcement and emergency response for over 40 years. He has specialized training and vast experience in the field of peer support, having worked with various ministries and agencies across Ontario, assisting with team development, instruction and providing one on one and group-based peer support.
Christina Gelinas is a neuromodulation technician at the Breakwater Neuro Clinic, providing rTMS (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation) and neurofeedback treatments for clients with symptoms of anxiety, depression and PTSD. Her focus is to provide all the necessary information and care to help clients feel comfortable, safe and confident in their treatment plans. With years of peer support facilitation experience, she also works with Breakwater clinicians to administrate and facilitate peer support training.
Sandy’s kind voice is generally the first you’ll hear when you call into Breakwater. She knows how stressful it can be to reach out for assistance and will ensure your questions are answered and your next steps are made clear. Her many years of customer service experience, calm style, and commitment to helping clientele in any way she can make her an invaluable member of the Breakwater Team.