Our team

Get to know our growing psychedelic family.

Dr. Dawn DeCunha

Psychologist & Founder

Dawn DeCunha has practised as a clinical psychologist for more than 25 years. After graduating from the University of Toronto, she opened her own clinic and never looked back. She is Trauma Informed and works with children, youth and their families.

A few years ago, a traumatic, life-changing event occurred in her personal life. Nothing she knew, as an experienced psychologist, was going to be helpful with the catastrophic trauma that derailed her comfortable and happy life.

Dr. Dawn’s investigative research outside of her traditional psychological training and beyond her mainstream practice, took her to the intersection of both indigenous plant medicines knowledge and leading edge novel psychological therapies.

So compelling was the research and so promising the opportunity for deep healing, that she formally studied for a year in the USA and completed the postgraduate Certification program in Psychedelic Assisted Psychotherapy and Research at CIIS.

Shortly afterwards, she trained at Compass Pathways and has participated in Phase IIb Clinical Trials for the Health Canada approved study of Treatment Resistant Depression and Psilocybin.

Now, Dr. Dawn is very pleased to evolve her practice from a Trauma Informed clinic to a Psychedelically Informed clinic.

Dr. DeCunha completed her Undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of Guelph. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a Master’s and Doctoral degree in Psychology. She is a member of the College of Psychologists of Ontario and the Canadian Register of Health Service Psychologists.

“Out beyond notions of rightness and wrongness is a Field. I’ll meet you There.”

Rumi 

Jessica Rose

Operations

Jessica will oversee all business related matters. This includes but isn’t limited too, community programs and outreach, social media, website maintenance and development, marketing, and tech support.

Jessica is a University of Guelph Commerce Graduate. Her experience lies mostly in business to business, and business to consumer sales and marketing.

“Sometimes you have to take a step back to take two steps forward” 

Livia Elias

Office Manager

Livia Elias is the Office Manager at Breakthrough Therapy. She has a broad legal background and worked for several years in Family and Labour Law. In the past few years, Livia has transitioned into office management and is committed to ensuring smooth delivery of all our services to all our clients. Livia coordinates services provided by therapists, all events hosted by us, as well as all of our billing and scheduling at the clinic. 

In her leisure time, Livia enjoys travelling, hiking, crocheting and spending time with her loved ones.

Livia holds a law degree from the University of Brazil. 

Do onto others as you would have them do to you. 

Dr. Brian Richards

Psychologist

Dr. Richards was formerly a Clinical Director with MedOptions, the largest behavioral health provider in the United States.  He also provides diagnostic psychological testing at Oasis, an acute outpatient center in Maryland. Dr. Richards is a Lead Trainer and Mentor for Compass Pathways (a UK-based Life Sciences Company) and he also mentors students at the California Institute for Integral Studies, a Psychedelic Medicine Certificate Program.  Dr. Richards is now working on clinical research protocols administering psilocybin for Treatment Resistant Depression at Sheppard Pratt Hospital, a Compass Center of Excellence.  He is Lead Psychologist on an innovative simultaneous group administration psilocybin trial with Cancer patients at the Aquilino Cancer Center in Rockville, Maryland (also with Compass Pathways).  This cutting-edge, purpose-built psychedelic medicine clinic—located in a busy outpatient oncology center, is the first of its kind in the world, and may serve as a prototype for future clinics nationwide.  It is the first purpose-built Psychedelic Medicine Clinic in the United States.

 

Dr. Richards’ clinical and research interests include nondual experience, accelerated self-actualization, brain science based approaches to health and wellness, and working with treatment refractory patients. He finds joy and meaning practicing yoga, gourmet cooking, being in nature, landscaping, and feeding all of the wild animals in his back yard. 

Brian D. Richards, PsyD, completed a Masters degree in Existential-Phenomenological Psychology at Duquesne University, a Psy.D. at the University of Denver, and a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Johns Hopkins Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit, where he contributed to some of the original research administering psilocybin with cancer patients and healthy normal adults. 

Peggy Sam

Graduate Student, Supervised Practice

Peggy Sam is currently in supervised practice attending Adler Graduate Professional School. She has over 4 years of experience in working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). She also has experience in conducting psychological assessments for individuals involved in motor vehicle collisions.  Peggy enjoys traveling and learning new things.

York University – Bachelor of Arts in Psych
Adler Graduate Professional School – Master of Psych
Peggy had completed her Bachelor of Arts at York University and is currently a 

Peggy’s philosophy of care is to facilitate self-awareness and change with the individual through empathy, trust, and compassion.

Sarah Pravato

Researcher & Writer

Sarah is an alumnus of the University of Guelph and holds an Honours degree in Biological Sciences with a minor in Neuroscience. With her educational background in the sciences and her work experience in communication and design, Sarah works with a foot in both worlds to bridge the gap between these two fields to make cutting-edge research accessible to all in order to empower the individual. 

Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) Honours in Biological Sciences and a minor in Neuroscience

“Be the change you wish to see in the world”

– Gandhi 

Marley DeCunha

Therapy Assistant

Marley is a senior therapy fellow at our clinic. When Marley was 13 weeks old, he suffered a spinal cord injury resulting in incomplete paraplegia.  He required months of rehabilitation and taught us all about vulnerability and good self-care.

Marley knows quite a bit about suffering and even more about how to cope with adversity. He recognizes the power of a good back scratch (touch), a leisurely walk in a park (exercise) and some gentle words (communication).  He sleeps a lot (restorative practice), guards Dr. D’s house (has meaning and purpose) and hangs out with kids that visit the clinic (makes others happy).  He has a number of allergies and often has to be encouraged into eating good food (diet and nutrition). 

He has learned Acceptance and how to live in the moment.

Graduate of Psychology Works, therapy dog & office support training., registered D.O.G.

Due to Marley’s spinal cord injury in his early years, he was not able to attend Puppy School and was often isolated from his doggy peers in the neighbourhood.  Interestingly, his lack of puppy education did not stop him from being indiscriminately social with everyone, regardless of species. As for developing good doggy manners, this did take a little bit longer, but he eventually did learn and now he is not only very handsome and social, but also very polite as well.

Marley was named after Bob, because of his lovely dreadlocks and happy nature. Marley’s philosophy about his life is simple: ‘Don’t worry. Be happy. Every little thing is gonna be alright.’

 

What We Believe

We believe there are many ways of knowing ourselves and the world we live in.  These medicines have been practiced for hundreds of years in Indigenous cultures around the world. We believe plant medicines have wrongly be Scheduled and this needs to change safely and quickly. We believe the suffering in the world can be significantly reduced with safe and supervised used of these remarkable compounds. 

We gratefully acknowledge the Original Territories of the Mississauga Indigineous Peoples land, where we live and practice. 

Latest Blog

If you're interested in learning more about psychedelics but not quite ready to reach out, check out our blog page for some general information on the latest news and research

Why We Urgently Need Psychedelic Medicine Now

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