Meet Our TEAM
Dr. Dawn Decunha
About our Founder and Chief Clinical Officer
Dr Dawn DeCunha is a Clinical and Educational psychologist with over three decades of experience working with children, youth, adults, seniors, and their families.
She graduated from the University of Toronto with a doctorate in Psychology in 1991, immediately founded our parent company, Psychology Works, and has not looked back since. Her decade of work in school psychology laid the foundation for understanding of how the brain develops, learns, and regulates itself.
Her next decade of work in the community laid the foundation for understanding the difficulties families face in their relationships with each other. A pattern of profound trauma in the ordinary lives of people emerged from their stories and their struggles to rid themselves of their suffering. Deeply moved by this suffering, she resolved to become trauma-informed, delving deeply into the neuro-psychobiology of trauma and the existential meaning of suffering and loss. She avidly learned all the evidence-based trauma interventions available around the globe and her practice thrived.
With a high level of expertise in not only psychological assessment, but also psychological treatment, she soon became sought after for her knowledge and experience. Noting her background in learning, many youth were referred for treatment and educational/life planning, due to acquired brain injury in accidents. She soon became an expert in the justice system, being invited by the courts to provide expert opinion and input for many high-profile cases. She had a busy, satisfying and rewarding life in all respects.
Then, in 2015, a traumatic, life-changing event occurred in her personal life. Nothing she knew as a trauma expert was going to be helpful with the catastrophic trauma that derailed her comfortable and happy life. Her son, following in her psychological footsteps at university in Toronto, was randomly assaulted as a second year student, suffering catastrophic brain injuries that changed everyone’s life forever. He could not remember the event, so no justice, restitution or help was available. First responders and the medical team were superheroes in saving his life, but she and her daughter were left to pick up the pieces of a shattered family life.
With horror and trauma visiting her own family, recovery took on a whole new significance. Launching into research outside of the traditional evidence-based procedures, she found experimental evidence of neurogenesis (healing and recovery of brain cells) following treatment with psychedelic substances. The more she researched, the more compelling seemed the possibility of deep healing.
The more she became interested in the medicines, the more they became interested in her. Then it happened. She was ‘called’ by the medicines (Ayahuasca and Iboga) to learn about healing in an entirely non-ordinary way. She wasted no time in scheduling a month in Mexico to learn what the medicines called her to do.
The following year, Dr. Dawn formalized her medicine learning and studied for a year in the USA and completed the postgraduate Certification program in Psychedelic Assisted Psychotherapy and Research at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS).
She then further trained at Compass Pathways and soon became Lead Therapist in the Phase IIb Clinical Trials for the Health Canada approved study of Treatment Resistant Depression and Psilocybin at CAMH in Toronto.
Now, fortified with personal medicine experience, an exceptional level of specialized training and six years of experience in psychedelic psychotherapy, Dr. Dawn is a well-recognized figure in the psychedelic space, offering professional training in the latest techniques and trends in the psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy industry. She is delighted to have transitioned fully to offering psychedelically-informed clinical services through Breakthrough Therapies, while her Psychology Works practice thrives as a trauma-informed clinic.
Dr, Dawn is very excited to have acquired and launched our awesome new retreat in the City, Aspenwood, where she looks forward to achieving personal transformations for our clients in the months and years ahead.
Today, Dr. Dawn sits as an advisory board member for several public companies in the psychedelic sphere.
register for our treatment
BTT Invites you to register for our Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy Program at Aspenwood, our gorgeous retreat in the north of Toronto.