Recent Publication

| Jeff McKillop |

Recently, I had the pleasure of working with two exceptional students: Vanessa Hazelwood from Western University and Maha Alvai who is attending Brescia University College.  The project that we worked on was a review of websites of psychologists in private practices across Southern Ontario.  That review has been recently published in the Summer edition of Psynopsis.  Psynopsis is a quarterly news magazine published by the Canadian Psychological Association and is available both in print and online.

What Should I Expect From Treatment?

| Karen Scarth |

Prospective clients often wonder what to expect when they begin therapy. This experience is shaped by your therapist’s training and approach as well as your needs and goals.

It may be helpful to think about the therapy process in components. This can be a useful way to understand what occurs when you engage in therapy.

One of these components is understanding or insight. This is the time when we begin trying to make sense of our thoughts and emotions, figuring out where they come from and what causes them. Many individuals, for instance, feel nervous about getting married or entering a committed relationship. In their own lives they may never have witnessed a stable, happy or functional relationship so it becomes difficult to believe that there can be such a thing. Understanding that our beliefs and reactions are connected to our lived experience can help us examine those beliefs and evaluate how they apply or do not apply to our present circumstances. Sometimes we are not aware of the beliefs we carry that shape our choices in life. Separating beliefs from truths is an important part of gaining insight into our feelings and behaviours.

Another component is a more emotional and less cognitive process in which we explore methods for processing emotion. This work is more challenging but also the most rewarding. This is the stage where individuals learn to deal with feelings of anxiety, anger, sadness and grief. Our fear of feeling our own emotional pain is what leads to avoidance behaviour such as drinking, drugs, helping everybody else, gambling, shopping, and busy-ness. When we learn that there are methods that allow us to tolerate difficult emotion, we no longer need to put so much effort into avoiding it. When we stop avoiding our emotions, they have a chance to do their job as messengers and over time, become less intense and more manageable.

A third component of therapy involves dealing with our external world. This generally means our relationships at home, at work, and with friends. Difficulty dealing with relationships is one of the most significant reasons people seek out therapy. Our attachments to others influence our emotional well being perhaps more than any other single factor. This part of therapy involves defining relationship boundaries, identifying our own needs in the context of relationships, and developing the skills to create the kind of relationships we really want.

As you can imagine, these components are not linear or sequential. Therapy typically involves moving from one to another and back again as we deal with different issues.

Therapy is most effective when we trust the person we are working with and when we have privacy to talk about any of our concerns.

Welcome to Our Practice

Welcome to the psychology practice of Dr. Karen Scarth and Dr. Jeff McKillop.  Our offices are located in London and Woodstock Ontario.  We are pleased to offer assistance to individuals, couples, and families.


Dr. Karen Scarth

I graduated from Queen’s University in 1994 with my doctorate in clinical psychology. I came to London Ontario in 1993 to complete my pre-doctoral internship at the London Health Sciences Center and stayed on to work in the community. I am interested in working with individuals across the lifespan and I have a broad range of clinical interests.

I started a private practice in 1996, providing treatment and assessment services to children, adolescents and adults as well as couples and families. In 1999 my husband Dr. Jeff McKillop (also a psychologist…..I know….) joined my practice and since 2002 as our practice expanded we have been pleased to work with very talented associates.

In addition to my private practice, I have worked with The Centre for Children and Families in the Justice System, Madame Vanier Children’s Services, the Child and Parent Resource Institute as well as the Prison for Women in Kingston. I have co-authored a treatment manual for Conduct Disorder and resource manuals for individuals working with Child Witnesses. I have provided consultation and supervision services to local treatment agencies as well as supervision of psychologists entering the profession. I have also conducted workshops and training seminars on a variety of topics including trauma, domestic violence, anger management, stress management and Conduct Disorder.

My primary interest is providing treatment services. My approach could best be described as integrated. I use a client centered approach which is informed by cognitive behavioural and psychodynamic theory. I make use of techniques associated with experiential and mindfulness approaches. With young clients I use play and art therapy techniques to facilitate expression.

I see clients who experience difficulties with depression, stress, anxiety, intimate relationships and parenting. I work with many individuals who are dealing with traumatic experiences ranging from accidents to child abuse. I provide couples counselling and I work with families undergoing separation and divorce. I provide treatment to children and adolescents dealing with anxiety, depression, trauma, and social/peer issues.


Dr. Jeff McKillop

I completed my PhD in clinical psychology at Queen’s University. In 1993, I moved to London Ontario for my residency at University Hospital. Following residency, I was fortunate to join the practice of Dr. Michael MacDonald. In 1999, I was doubly-fortunate to join the practice of Dr. Karen Scarth.

I have worked for the St. Thomas-Elgin Association of Community Living, Queen’s Counselling Services, Lennox-Addington Addiction Services, St. Joseph’s Health Centre, and the Homeless Outreach Clinic at the London InterCommunity Health Centre. I have served on the Board at Changing Ways, the London InterCommunity Health Centre, and the London Regional Psychological Association.

My approach to treatment is strongly influenced by client-centered theory, attachment theory, and existential theory. Most of the people that I help are experiencing distress due to past, current, or pending loss. I try to help people identify their strengths and then use those strengths to gain resilience when coping with challenges. I believe our capacity to withstand and rise above is enhanced through choice, responsibility, and support from those we love.


Wendy Lewis MA

I completed my Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology in 2000. Prior to graduating with my M.A., I also completed my Ph.D. course work, published a number of articles, and received scholarships and grants to support my research. I have a broad range of experience and interests which include pain management, rehabilitation psychology, forensic psychology, and the psychology of human sexuality. During the past ten years, much of my clinical work has involved helping individuals and their families recover from the loss associated with injury, chronic pain, and accident-related trauma. I also have experience in conducting psychovocational and medical-legal assessments.

My clinical orientation to intervention is primarily cognitive behavioural, informed by mindfulness, with a healthy dose of humour. I see my role as that of therapist-coach. I am currently developing and expanding my clinical practice to include working with children, adolescents, families, and couples. Outside of work, I maintain (with the occasional lapse…) my own meditation practice and, since 2008, I have been volunteering annually at a youth leadership program at a yoga retreat in Northern Michigan.


Tatiana Murkin MA

My doctoral training in Clinical Psychology and Health Sciences has prepared me for working with individuals experiencing crisis, providing individual and group psychotherapy, and facilitating personal, professional and academic development. Having completed a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology, as well as all pre-dissertation requirements for a Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology at the Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago, I began a Ph.D in Health Promotion at Western University, where I am currently studying resilience within individuals exposed to trauma. I am registered as a Psychological Associate with the College of Psychologists of Ontario.

Guided by insight-oriented therapy, cognitive behavioural principles, and mindfulness practice, I work with adults experiencing depression, anxiety, panic, trauma, grief, anger, irritability and impulsivity. I am also interested in working with individuals focusing on stress management/burnout prevention, academic success, self-esteem enhancement, interpersonal effectiveness and mindful living. I am experienced in conducting group psychotherapy for anxiety, stress, performance enhancement, emotion regulation and distress tolerance. I also offer psycho-educational seminars on a variety of topics related to mental health and personal success.

I believe that physical and mental health are interconnected and therefore take a holistic approach to helping people access health-promoting resources within themselves, their families, their work environments and their communities. In both individual and group contexts, I support my clients while they navigate a path toward health.