S. Gerald Hann, DEd
As director of the practice, Dr. S. Gerald Hann is a registered psychologist who has worked for three decades helping children, adolescents, adults, and couples enrich their lives and find freedom from self-defeating behaviours, anxiety, and depression. He holds an assistant professorship in Dalhousie University’s Department of Psychiatry. He frequently presents and regularly provides supervision to a wide variety of mental health professionals, including psychologists, psychiatrists, physicians, and counsellors. He routinely offers treatment to healthcare providers and, in particular, offers assistance with identifying and remediating unconscious and maladaptive emotional patterns that could trigger countertransference, thereby negatively affecting them and/or their patients/clients.
Dr. Hann has 15 years of post-doctoral training and experience utilizing Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP). He is one of only two consultant psychologists who offered patient treatment for the Diagnostic Interview for Stress Disorders pilot project, which served as the foundation for the Medically Unexplained Symptoms Clinic at the QEII Health Sciences Centre, a service that has operated continuously since 2009. Dr. Hann offers clients at his practice the same treatment they would receive at the Medically Unexplained Symptoms Clinic but with quicker access than through the public system. Common presenting problems for which clients seek treatment include functional neurological syndrome, psychogenic pain, vomiting, and seizures, dissociation, nausea, irritable bowel syndrome, emotional numbing, and many other common manifestations of somatic symptoms.
In addition to providing consultation and treatment using ISTDP, Dr. Hann also has interest and expertise in working with neurodivergent individuals across the lifespan. His early experiences as a teacher, coupled with being a National Certified School Psychologist (NSCP; USA) has created a strong foundation and understanding of school-aged children and adolescents, suspected to be neurodivergent and/or on the autism spectrum. Dr. Hann is also keenly interested in working with adults suspected of being on the spectrum (with possible trauma issues), who may experience difficulties coping with emotional states and impairment in social interactions in later life.
Kayla Truswell, PhD
Dr. Kayla Truswell is a registered psychologist who completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Saskatchewan. She has generalist clinical training in assessment, consultation, and treatment of individuals across the lifespan with a variety of psychological conditions, including anxiety disorders, mood disorders, PTSD, somatic disorders, and personality disorders. Through her graduate training, she gained a breadth of experience from working with individuals with diverse backgrounds in numerous settings, such as hospitals, community organizations, a child development centre, and forensic facilities.
Dr. Truswell also has clinical training and experience completing comprehensive psychological evaluations. She is proficient in a number of assessment contexts, including psychodiagnostic evaluations, cognitive assessments, and psychoeducational assessments with school-aged children and adults. Dr. Truswell has training in a number of treatment modalities, although she primarily uses Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP) when working with adults and adolescents. ISTDP is an emotion-focused, psychodynamic therapy that integrates attachment theory to help address underlying root causes of symptoms.
Dr. Truswell works to develop a collaborative alliance with clients to help them address their current difficulties in the context of a non-judgmental therapeutic relationship.
Adena Cox, MA
Adena Cox is a candidate register psychologist who completed her MA in School Psychology at Mount Saint Vincent University. She has specific training in assessment, diagnosis, and consultation for a variety of psychological conditions in school-aged children and youth, including specific learning disorders, intellectual disability, and ADHD making her proficient in comprehensive psychoeducational assessments.
Although her graduate training is specialized in school psychology, she has a breadth of experience as a researcher in various collaborative community and healthcare settings and clinics, including Pediatric Chronic Pain, the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Clinic, Teen Mental Health, the Language and Literacy Lab, the Healthy Populations Institute, the Department of Family Medicine, and the Medically Unexplained Symptoms Clinic.
Additionally, Adena enjoys working within the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Dalhousie University as a part-time academic, teaching undergraduate psychology courses. She developed her passion for teaching after a number of years working as a teaching assistant, leading her to also have a side niche of helping parents to get their babies and pre-school-aged children get better sleep in her spare time.
Adena has a passion for working with children and families and is looking forward to expanding her knowledge and experience in various counselling and psychotherapy techniques, as well as expanding the range of assessment service she provides. She is passionate about working with children and youth from historically marginalized groups that have a trauma history and providing a warm and supportive environment to the families she serves.
Sarah Hutchins, BSc (Hons), BEd
Sarah Hutchins is a psychometrist and psychological assistant at the practice. She completed her BSc in Psychology (Honours) at Acadia University in 2017 and then obtained her BEd (Elementary) from Mount Saint Vincent University in 2019. She is a permanent contract teacher with the Halifax Regional Centre of Education (HRCE) and is currently enrolled in the MEd in Counselling program at Acadia University. After graduating in 2024, Sarah plans to become a school counsellor.
Sarah’s positions involve the completion of a variety of tasks, including booking clients, executing consent forms, conducting assessments, scoring and interpreting test data, preparing draft reports for review, and other miscellaneous duties. Sarah is also trained to administer and score psycho-educational and psycho-vocational assessments.
Through her work and volunteer experiences, Sarah has discovered a passion for working with children and adolescents and is eager to learn and expand her knowledge in the field of counselling in the coming years.
Alison (Ali ) Willshaw, BA (Honours Equiv.)
Ali is a psychometrist at the practice specializing in psycho-educational and autism assessments. She completed her BA in Psychology (Honours Equivalent) at McGill University in 2007 and plans to obtain her MA in School Psychology in the near future. In the meantime, Ali spends her free time chasing after her two young children.
Ali is trained to review reports and administer and score cognitive, academic, and neuropsychological assessments. She has more than 15 years of experience working with children from ages two to 18, as well as adults.
During her 10 years working as a psychometrist at the Hospital for Sick Children, Ali gained a breadth of experience working with children of all ages with various physical and cognitive concerns. Ali has a true passion for working with children and adolescents. She takes a flexible and adaptable approach and uses her calm demeanour to work collaboratively with clients to help them feel at ease in the unfamiliar assessment setting.
Noah Hann, BSc (Honours)
Noah has also been heavily involved in competitive sports, such as alpine ski racing and soccer, which have given him an appreciation for the power of tenacity and resilience. Specifically, he believes that maintaining a healthy mind and body is the key to tackling life’s challenges.
Noah Hann is a psychometrist at the practice. He recently completed his BSc in Psychology (Honours) from Mount Allison University and is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in Clinical Psychology program at Antioch University New England (AUNE). Upon graduating from AUNE, he plans to return home and practice as a clinical psychologist.
One of Noah’s primary interests is clinical health psychology, such as medically unexplained symptoms, somatic complaints, and the impact of early attachment trauma on physical and mental health disorders. Additionally, he is interested in psychodynamic therapy, including intensive short-term dynamic psychotherapy (ISTDP), emotion regulation techniques with anxiety disorders, and attachment.