Dr. Malak Abu Shakra, Ph.D, C. Psych
Executive Director & Clinical Psychologist
Dr. Abu Shakra is a Clinical Psychologist registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario. She earned her Ph.D. degree from McGill University in Montreal. Her doctorate research focused on the vulnerability for addiction, and specifically addressed the different motivational systems underlying alcohol misuse across at-risk individuals with distinct personality profiles.
She held positions at the Jewish General Hospital’s Teenage Health Unit and Goldman Herzl Family Practice Centre, Montreal General Hospital’s Pain Clinic, and Royal Victoria Hospital’s Allan Memorial Institute. She then worked in different private practices in Toronto and Oakville, Ontario prior to opening her own.
Dr. Abu Shakra specializes in working with adolescents and adults presenting with a wide range of psychological concerns, including alcohol and substance abuse, anger management, anxiety (generalized anxiety, social anxiety, panic disorder, phobias), post-traumatic stress, depression, chronic pain, interpersonal relationship problems, feeling stuck in life or struggling to find a sense of meaning. She has worked with gifted individuals, competitive athletes, members of the LGBTQ community, and survivors of childhood abuse and narcissistic abuse. She is additionally highly experienced in developing and implementing research-based personality-tailored interventions targeting alcohol and substance misuse.
Dr. Abu Shakra has extensive education and experience in using various evidence-based, empirically-supported therapeutic approaches, including but not limited to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Emotion-Focused therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Mindfulness, Psychodynamic Therapy, Existential Therapy, and Schema-Focused Therapy. Her approach is integrative, and her interventions are personalized and tailored to clients' individual needs.
Dr. Abu Shakra has a particular interest in and knack for working with individuals who may be considered “difficult”, as well as those who have worked with multiple mental health care professionals before, with limited success.
Dr. Abu Shakra is fluently trilingual and can provide services in English, Arabic and Hebrew.
Dr. Hanna McCabe-Bennett, Ph.D, C. Psych
Dr. Hanna McCabe-Bennett completed her Master’s degree and PhD in Clinical Psychology at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University). She completed her predoctoral internship at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH) where she completed a major rotation in the Anxiety Treatment and Research Clinic, and minor rotations in the Borderline Personality Disorder Service, and the Clinical Neuropsychology Service. She has previously held positions as a psychologist in the Mental Health Program at the WSIB Specialty Clinic (SJHH) and in private practice. Other clinical experiences have included the Mood Disorders Program (SJHH), the Psychology Training Clinic (St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto), and the HIV Prevention Lab (Ryerson University).
Dr. McCabe-Bennett has experience providing comprehensive diagnostic assessments and evidence-based treatment for an array of mental health concerns. Her primary focus is in anxiety (e.g., social anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, excessive worry) and anxiety-related concerns (e.g., OCD, hoarding and severe clutter, perfectionism, depression). She uses a trauma-informed cognitive-behavioural approach and integrates additional techniques (e.g., mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, interpersonal skills, and acceptance-based interventions) when appropriate. She offers a safe, inclusive environment where clients can freely express themselves and work collaboratively toward their goals. She enjoys working with clients who have had difficulty connecting with other therapists in the past, who may be new to therapy, or who are looking to find practical ways of coping with longstanding or new difficulties in their lives.
Dr. McCabe-Bennett’s distinctions include a Doctoral Research Award from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2015-2018), Ontario Graduate Scholarships (2013-2014), a Master’s Research Award from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (2012), and certificates for academic excellence from the Canadian Psychological Association for her Master’s (2015) and Doctoral research (2018). She has co-authored publications on the topics of perfectionism, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Phobias, and Hoarding Disorder. She has made multiple media appearances and is passionate about providing the highest possible quality of mental health care to each of her clients.
Ms. Valerie Presti
Ms. Valerie Presti is the clinic manager at Dr. Malak Psychology Group.
She is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario with a Bachelor’s degree in Administrative and Commercial Studies, and throughout her career has excelled in a number of executive administrative roles in the fields of Healthcare and Advertising.
Valerie is absolutely committed to ensuring you have the best experience possible when you reach out to the Clinic. She is focused, empathetic, and brings the highest standards of care and attention to detail to Dr. Malak Psychology Group.