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In-person services at Eastwood Psychologists during the coronavirus pandemic

On May 26, 2020, the Ministry of Health amended Directive #2 to support the gradual restart of all deferred and non-essential and elective services carried out by Health Care Providers.  This includes the work of psychologists, who are regulated health professionals. For Directive # 2

At Eastwood Psychologists, we are gradually resuming in-person services where indicated .  We are following the Ministry of Health’s Covid-19 Operational Requirements: Health Sector Restart document, also published on May 26, 2020. For COVID-19 Operational Requirements: Health Sector Restart:

Specifically, we are applying a hierarchy of hazard control methods, as recommended by the government.

1.         Elimination and Substitution

The most effective way to contain health hazards is to eliminate in-person health care visits, and substitute them with telehealth.  By offering services virtually, we are able to prevent possible exposure to the coronavirus.   We continue to recommend that clients see their psychologist virtually wherever possible, to ensure everyone’s safety.  Research to date (with adolescents and adults) suggests that virtual therapy is just as effective as in-person therapy.  Thus we expect that it will make sense to continue to offer telehealth services to most of our clients.  For more information about virtual therapy, please see Dr. Naomi Carpenter’s blog post. At Eastwood Psychologists we have two general options for clients to participate in telehealth.

From your home:    This option works well when you have a private space in your home where you can go to meet with your psychologist.  This option also works best when you have a strong Internet connection, particularly when you want to meet with your psychologist using videoconferencing.  Meeting with your psychologist from your home is often more convenient, because it eliminates the need to travel to our office.

From our office:      Now that we have begun to re-open our physical office, you have the option to use one of our offices in order to meet with your psychologist virtually.  Your psychologist will join you virtually from their remote office.  This option works well when you have few options for a private meeting space in your home.

Although we continue to recommend virtual therapy wherever possible, there are some circumstances where virtual therapy is not advisable, possible, practical, or effective.  Before deciding to see a client in-person, we will discuss the need for in-person services and whether it makes sense to proceed.  For clients who will be attending sessions in-person, the following health hazard control measures will apply.

2.         Engineering and Systems Control Measures

These include the use of equipment/barriers to keep people apart and to increase ventilation, in order to reduce opportunities for transmission.  At Eastwood Psychologists, we have installed plexiglass screens that physically separate clinicians and staff from clients.  When the weather allows, windows will be opened to increase ventilation.  When the windows are closed, we will run HEPA filters to assist in removing potential pathogens from the air.

3.         Administrative Control Measures

These measures include the implementation of policies, procedures, training and education with respect to infection prevention and control.    Our policies include the following (subject to regular review and revision as needed):

Education and training:

  • Informed consent process for clients.
  • Passive screening (i.e. signs posted) reminding everyone of symptoms to watch out for and where to get help.


  • Active screening when appointments are booked and the day before the appointment.
  • Clients and clinicians must be symptom free in order to proceed with in-person sessions.

Physical Distancing:

  • All staff, clinicians and clients will wear masks at all times while at the office.
  • The waiting room will not be used.
  • Clients will wait outside (on the porch or in their vehicle) until they are cued to come in for their appointment (via text message).
  • Client appointments will be scheduled such there will be at least 15 minutes between sessions to minimize the overlap of clients coming to the office. 
  • When appropriate, individuals accompanying clients but not participating in the session, such as those providing transportation, will be asked to wait elsewhere and return to meet the client after the appointment.
  • Office rooms are furnished to allow physical distancing between clinicians and clients.
  • Our office manager will continue to work from home most of the time, but she is able to assist as needed via phone.


  • All staff/clinicians and clients will wash hands upon arrival at the office.
  • Staff/clinicians wash hands after every client interaction.
  • Signage throughout the office will direct clients regarding where to go and how/when to sanitize their hands.
  • Common areas and other high-touch surfaces and objects handled by clients/patients (e.g., reception counters, chairs and seating areas, door handles, handrails, credit card machines, washroom fixtures, etc.) will be cleaned and disinfected after each use with a hard surface area cleaner approved by Health Canada.
  • Assessment materials or other equipment or items handled by multiple clients/patients will be cleaned and disinfected after each use as above.
  • Sufficient supplies will be available for proper hand hygiene, including hand sanitizer, soap, warm running water and paper towels. Non-touch, lined waste disposal receptacles for use by both staff and clients are provided throughout the office.

An important note about your privacy:

Your privacy is important to us.  It is important for you to be informed that we may be required to share some information about you with public health.  We will be keeping a daily log of everyone coming to the office, staff and visitors alike, in order to provide contact tracing should a case of COVID-19 be associated with our office.   The log will include arrival and departure times of each individual.  The log will be shared with public health if needed/requested.

COVID-19: For Parents

The post below was written by Michele Palk.

The Eastwood Psychologists team remain committed to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of our clients and community as we face COVID-19.  Now more than ever, parents may wonder how best to support their children and youth deal with uncertainty, strong emotions like anxiety and sadness, and isolation from regular supports and social opportunities like school, recreation, respite, spiritual, community and other gatherings.

Given the next while will be a period of transition for us all, we want to provide some suggestions that may be helpful for your children and family:

1)   Help children learn how to accept uncertainty: At times it is difficult for all of us to accept that many things are actually outside of our control.  Now is an excellent time to teach children the difference between what they can, and is within, their control (i.e. choices, behaviour, attitude), and what is beyond their control (i.e. how long social distancing will be needed, how long schools will be closed).  

2)    Be available to listen: Although parents often want to help by fixing whatever is going wrong for their children, it is often more helpful to sit back, listen closely, and tell your children you love them.  Helping your children by giving them the language to talk about, and name, challenging and intense feelings will also be helpful.  Instead of waiting for your children to come to you, consider regularly checking in with them, and asking directly about how they are feeling at that particular moment.    

3)   See social media as social support and connection: The majority of children and youth are already connected to one another via various social media and gaming platforms; now is the time to let your children show you all they know, become involved in their online worlds, and encourage ongoing connection with friends and loved ones.  This is also a natural way to monitor your children’s television and gaming routines.  Consider things like scheduling times to be online with other families for gaming competitions, watching movies and television shows “together” at the same time, learning how to cook and bake that vegetarian lasagne your child’s friend always brings to potlucks by watching their uncle make it “live,” learning how to make kinetic sand from scratch, amongst others. These are just some of the many things your children, family and social connections can do “together” during the next while using available technology.

4)    Promote a healthy, consistent routine with healthy options: During times of stress, often the first things we sacrifice are the very things that are most helpful: sleep, exercise, nutritious foods, hydration, meditation, mindfulness, laughter, amongst others.  Help your children by modelling, scheduling, and encouraging healthy choices each day.  Keep a regular bedtime routine, schedule in daily exercise/movement, tell jokes, remember funny stories, and eat your fruit and vegetables.  Reminders and modelling about hand hygiene, greetings using elbow pumps, coughing and sneezing with a tissue or using the crooks of their elbows, social distancing, and letting you know as soon as they begin experiencing any symptoms of fever, cough, and cold will go a long way to supporting both your family and our larger community.

5)    Help our community: When children and adults alike experience stress, anxiety, depression and other strong emotions, the desire to withdraw into, and focus on ourselves becomes very enticing.  While on the one hand that focus is important to (re)establish and practice healthy routines like those mentioned above (regular sleep, exercise, health eating), helping others is another important way children and adults alike can support their mental health.  During this time, connecting with you and your child’s friends, parents/caregivers, neighbours, and extended families and determining what kinds of support are needed, and who can provide them, will show your children they can help others even when they are experiencing stress and other challenging feelings.

 Our world is currently going through rapid changes, so it makes sense to feel confused about the best ways to support our children and families.  Being honest, available and open, creating healthy routines and choices, maintaining social connections and offering social support are important ways to help foster the skills our children, families, and communities need to help manage the current, as well as future trying times, and prosper thereafter.

Letter to MPP about the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth

November 16, 2018

Dear Prabmeet Singh Sarkaria,

My name is Adrienne Eastwood; I am a psychologist in Brampton, and a resident of your riding. I am writing to express my disbelief and discontent with the Progressive Conservative’s decision to repeal the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Act, 2007 and close the Office of Child Advocate (“Advocate’s Office”). As you know, the Advocate’s Office ensures that young people in the care of the government are aware of their rights, and that their voices are heard and considered when decisions are made about their lives. The Advocate’s Office serves the children in child welfare services, youth in the justice system, Indigenous youth, as well as youth with disabilities and mental illness. In the 2016-2017 fiscal year, there were 12 794 children and youth in the care of children aid societies across the province, which reflects only a fraction of the people served by the Advocate’s Office. The closing of the Advocate’s Office leaves these children and youth without an independent body to protect them. It also means that Ontario becomes the only Canadian province without an independent child advocate.

It is appalling that this decision comes less than two months after an investigation by the Ontario Office of the Chief Coroner regarding the suicides of 12 youth in the care of child protective services. This investigation, and countless other examples, confirm the importance of an independent body that oversees and investigates the treatment of children in the child welfare system, and that reviews government policies and practices that impact society’s most vulnerable children and youth. Simply rolling the program into the Ombudsman’s office is not sufficient to ensure that some of the most vulnerable individuals in our society have a voice. The government cannot and should not monitor itself.

Given that the PC government claims to be “working for the people”, I would like to urge you and your fellow MPPs to consult and reconsider this short-sighted and faulty plan. I believe strongly that the provincial government needs to take a lead in putting forth policy initiatives that support children and youth’s rights to individual rights advocacy, systemic advocacy, and independent investigations. In doing this, the government is strongly encouraged to follow principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.


Adrienne Eastwood, Ph.D., C. Psych., BCBA

Working to close the “practice-research gap” in psychotherapy and clinical psychology

The Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) recently published a report prepared by the Task Force on Outcomes and Progress Monitoring in Psychotherapy.  You can find and read the report, entitled Outcomes and Progress Monitoring in Psychotherapy” on the CPA website at the following link:

This important report discusses:

  • The importance of monitoring both client progress and outcomes in psychotherapy, and,
  • The barriers to using progress and outcome measures by Canadian psychologists and psychotherapists.

The report defines outcome and progress monitoring as follows:

Outcome monitoring should involve the assessment, at both intake and at the cessation of treatment, of patient functioning by the therapist, patient, and/or a third party in areas deemed important by the patient and therapist.

Progress monitoring involves repeated assessment of patient progress during therapy, typically conducted from the patient’s perspective at every session or every other session. A key aspect of progress monitoring involves continuous feedback to the therapist on the patient’s status, which facilitates the assessment of treatment progress and may suggest changes to the course of treatment, if necessary.“ (Page 4)

Although considerable research demonstrates that psychotherapy is more effective when clinicians systematically monitor client progress and outcomes, a recent survey found that only 12% of Canadian psychologists routinely track client progress in their clinical practices (Ionita & Fitzpatrick, 2014).  When clinical practice is not well informed by research, we refer to the situation as a “practice-research gap”.  Practice-research gaps are common in all health care fields; it is challenging for busy clinicians to keep up with research findings, and to sort through sometimes conflicting results.  So, it is helpful when professional organizations such as CPA put together reports that help translate key research findings into actionable steps that clinicians can use to improve their practice.

The Outcomes and Progress Monitoring in Psychotherapy” report makes recommendations in the following areas:

  • Implementing outcome and progress monitoring in clinical contexts
  • Ensuring uptake and maintenance of outcome and progress monitoring
  • Training (of psychotherapists and psychologists)
  • Ethics

At Eastwood Psychologists, we are pleased to report that progress and outcome monitoring has been a routine part of our practice since 2011, and that we are already implementing the recommendations put out by the CPA task force.

At Eastwood Psychologists, we also strive to close the “practice-research gap”, by working hard to stay on top of current research in our areas of practice.  We benefit from Dr. John Eastwood’s role as an Associate Professor of clinical psychology at York University, where he participates in research in several areas pertinent to our practice.  Training the next generation of clinical psychologists, Dr. John is well apprised of current psychological science, and he regularly shares his knowledge with the whole team.

All our doctoral-level psychologists come from a strong science-based background and have conducted original research in a variety of domains including:

  • The predictors of early reading skills.
  • Neuropsychological deficits in children with Learning Disabilities and ADHD.
  • Moment-to-moment interactions between clients and therapists in psychotherapy that result in good outcome.
  • Understanding how to help psychotherapy clients tell their stories in new, healthy ways.
  • Development of community-based programs to support immigrant families.
  • Experiences of South-Asian mothers who parent children with Autism.

Some of our clinicians are also actively involved in clinical science – getting involved in relevant clinical trials such as the “Better Days Better Nights” program out of Dalhousie U (see for more information).

Our clinicians also support knowledge translation efforts including and, thereby working hard to decrease that “practice-research gap”.

All clinicians at Eastwood Psychologists also participate regularly in professional development, including workshops and professional training programs, and discussion of research articles during our regular group meetings.  We take pride in being “scientist-practitioners” – relying on the research literature to inform what we do.


Ionita, G., & Fitzpatrick, M. (2014). Bringing science to clinical practice: A Canadian survey of psychological practice and usage of progress monitoring measures. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie canadienne, 55(3), 187-196.

Boredom in the classroom

A talk given at the Annual General Meeting for the Learning Disabilities Association of Peel Region, by Dr. Adrienne Eastwood, Psychologist

Good evening, and thank you for inviting me to speak at your AGM.

Tonight I would like to talk to you about some interesting research about the feeling of boredom, and how it impacts learning in the classroom. I hope my talk won’t bore you!

We have all experienced boredom at one point or another, and no one likes the feeling. Boredom is an unpleasant feeling that happens when we want something interesting to do, but for whatever reason, we can’t find it.When do you feel bored? Continue reading…

Encouraging success in all students

A talk given at the Annual General Meeting for the Learning Disabilities Association of Peel Region, by Dr. Adrienne Eastwood, Psychologist

Good evening everyone, thank you for this opportunity to speak about a topic that I am quite passionate about – the potential for success that lies in each and every student.

As a psychologist, my job involves assessing children, diagnosing learning disabilities, and helping parents to understand what it all means for their child.  Understandably, parents of a child newly diagnosed with a learning disability are often worried and concerned – will my child succeed at school? Go on to post-secondary education? Be successful in life? Continue reading…

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