Meet our Researchers

Current Research Team

Sophia Murray

Sophia Murray

Westland Researcher | Masters Student | Fall 2019 - present

Background: In 2017, Sophia graduated from UBC with a dual degree in Visual Arts and Psychology. Her experience ranges from working in art galleries to volunteering at a crisis line call centre. She began to synthesize her two areas of study more fully once she started Adler University’s Master of Counselling: Art Therapy program in fall of 2019. She intends to continue to explore the cathartic nature of artistic creation as she works toward a career in counselling art therapy.

Why Sexual Health Research? Sophia was inspired by the lectures of the sex therapist, Dr. Jason Winters, and the sexual health educator, Maureen McGrath. They made her aware of the gaps in sexual health research and in the knowledge base of many medical and counselling professionals. She became motivated to volunteer at Dr. Rosemary Basson’s Sexual Health Lab at VCH, which is currently leading the research on provoked vestibulodynia (a female genital pain disorder). Sophia aims to help Westland contribute to community wellness through the power of education.

Topics of Interest: Art therapy is designed to help clients use the art-making process as a means to work through trauma. Sophia’s work at Westland will help her to better address client traumas that are of a sexual nature.

Mia D.

Mia D.

Westland Researcher | Masters Student | Spring 2019 - present

Background: In 2011, Mia received her BA in Communication, Art and Technology from Simon Fraser University. She subsequently accepted a scholarship to Vancouver Film School where she studied Screenwriting, and has worked as a Screenwriter/Story Editor, since. Mia also manages an Emmy-nominated Visual Effect Studio in Vancouver. However, her passion for counselling has incited a career change. She is currently completing her MA in Counselling Psychology at Adler University, in hopes of pursuing her calling.

Why Sexual Health Research? Mia believes that sex-education is significant in attaining holistic health. Sexual expression is instrumental in building intimacy, and is significant in physical, cognitive and emotional functioning. Research shows that healthy sex-lives encourage immune system function, diminish cardiovascular problems, ease stress and create mental clarity.

Topics of Interest: Regarding sex therapy, Mia is interested in studying sexual satisfaction in relation to mental wellbeing. Specifically, how (all-encompassing) sexual dysfunction influences psychological maladaptiveness.

Deema Abu-Hannoud

Deema Abu-Hannoud

Westland Researcher | Masters Student | Spring 2019 - present

Background: Deema graduated from Simon Fraser University with a BA in Psychology. After working as a Behavioural Interventionist with children on the Autism spectrum she became more interested in counselling and moved towards getting her Master of Counselling. She is currently enrolled in Adler University’s Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology program.

Why sexuality research: Sexuality plays a significant role in our lives and often it is an undereducated topic. As a result, it is important for current and future practitioners to be educated and up to date on current standards and theories.

Topics of Interest: Deema is interested in mood and anxiety disorders, however as she hopes to become a relationship counsellor in the future her primary interest is within the cultural effects on overall relationship satisfaction, with sex being one of the many aspects.

Jennifer Parlee

Jennifer Parlee

Westland Researcher | Doctoral Student | 2018-present

Background: Jennifer graduated from York University with a BA in Psychology. After working at a psychiatric hospital for several years, she moved to Vancouver to continue her education. She is currently enrolled in Adler University’s doctoral program for clinical psychology.

Why Sexuality Research? Aware of the lack of education and training in sexuality in most clinical circles, Jennifer is interested in learning more in order to inform her future practice and theoretical orientation.

Topics of Interest: Although Jennifer is primarily interested in trauma, mood and anxiety disorders, she would like to incorporate sex-positive practices in her clinical work. She is also interested in teaching, and hopes to use her experience at Westland to help her communicate complex ideas in interesting and accessible ways.

Brittany Young Tenn

Brittany Young Tenn

Westland Researcher | Doctoral Student | 2018-present

Background: Brittany graduated from the University of Manitoba with a BA (Hons.) in Psychology. Post-graduation she volunteered as a counsellor on a Crisis line, and recently moved to Vancouver in pursuit of a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology at Adler University.

Why Sexuality Research? Brittany believes that openness and a sex-positive perspective will aid in providing care for those in need. She also recognizes that sexuality is an area that has been researched more recently. Therefore, there is so much to be understood, and she is eager to be a part of that.

Topic of Interest: Although depression and anxiety are among Brittany’s research interests, she is also largely interested in the LGBTQ2+ community.

Abisheikh (Abi) Sharma

Abisheikh (Abi) Sharma

Westland Researcher | Doctoral Student | 2018-present

Background: Abi graduated from University of British Columbia with a BA in Psychology. Continued education in Ryerson University and University of Toronto in health related studies. He is currently enrolled in Adler University’s Doctoral program for Clinical Psychology.

Why Sexual Health Research? Abi worked at a sexual health clinic serving the Toronto community. He became interested in various topics of sexual health and the lack of communication and education given to individuals.

Topics of Interest: Abi is particularly interested in learning from the various communities across the sexual spectrum. Through his experiences at Westland how to incorporate positive and kink friendly practices in future clinical work with clients.

Reyna Fisher

Reyna Fisher

Westland Researcher | Masters Student | 2018-present

Background: Reyna graduated from the University of South Florida in 2015 with a Bachelors in Sociology and a Minor in Philosophy. Since then, she’s briefly worked in adolescent counselling in a drug and alcohol prevention program. In mid-2016, she moved abroad and lived in both Australia and England before moving to Vancouver in September of 2018. She is now attending Adler University to earn her MA in Counselling Psychology.

Why Sexuality Research? Sex affects every human being. Understanding the relationship between sex and an individual is crucial in the counselling field. Reyna believes that since this is such a taboo topic in our society, we need to overcome the uncomfortable feeling we may have and learn how to approach this topic in therapy. With research and understanding, this hurdle may be easier to tackle, which in turn, will help more clients in the long-run.

Topics of Interest: In sex therapy, her interest is how sex affects personality, relationships, mood, and self-esteem. She is also interested in how sexual concerns affect the daily life of people from various backgrounds who come into therapy with diverse problems.

David Mahadevan

David Mahadevan

Westland Researcher | Masters Student | 2018-present

Background: David graduated from Nanyang Technological University with B.Eng. in civil and structural engineering. He did his MBA at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in international business. Deciding to go into counselling, he graduated from the University of Hertforshire, with a university diploma in counselling; and, volunteered at a seniors’ helpline. He is currently enrolled in Adler University’s master of arts program for counselling psychology.

Why Sexuality Research? Talking about sex being taboo in Asian countries, he feels it has been given a bad rap; and wants to find out more about the misinformation and to dispel any misconceptions others may have.

Topics of Interest: BDSM; fetishes; ED; low libido; non-monogamy; working with LGBTQ2S+, Trans, and Asexual clients

Elyssa Carroll Goldman

Elyssa Carroll Goldman

Westland Researcher | Masters Student | 2018-present

Background: Elyssa is currently a student at Adler University in the Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology program. She holds a BA in Women’s and Gender Studies from Mount Allison University, and attended UBC’s Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice as a visiting student.

Why Sexuality: Elyssa views sexuality (including asexuality) as an important and under-examined aspect of the human experience that can deeply impact our sense of wellness, identity and belonging. In her future practice as a sex therapist, she plans to work with diverse clients who may be experiencing conflict, shame, stigma, anxiety and/or depression related to their sexuality. She intends for her practice to be affirming of all genders, sexualities (including kink), and relationship styles (including ethical non-monogamy).

Topics of interest: Consent and communication, STI stigma, the impact of systems of power on sexual expression and relationships, sexuality as a site of creativity, reproductive rights, disability and sexuality, BDSM, alternative relationship and family structures, and cultural adjustment/conflict related to sexuality.

Simone Deahl

Simone Deahl

Westland Researcher

Background: Simone holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Ottawa. She lives in Toronto, where she works as a caregiver for people with disabilities.

Why Sexuality: As an undergraduate student, Simone took classes with sex therapist Dr. Peggy Kleinplatz and was inspired by her stories. She wants to become a sex therapist herself, and be able to help people understand themselves and find healing, joy, and intimacy.

Topics of interest: Optimal sexual experience, female libido, and the impact of systems of privilege and power on sex and relationships.

Aysha Dhala

Aysha Dhala

Westland Researcher | Masters Student

Background: Aysha is currently enrolled as a student at Adler University in the Master’s of Counselling Psychology program, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies from Simon Fraser University. She is a Leather hetero-queer, progressive humanist feminist, passionate about providing service to LGBQAI2+, Trans*, kink explorers, fetishizers, and the BDSM community.

Why Sexuality: Besides sex therapy, she is passionate about sexual health education and sex-positive activism. She is a sexual pluralist, and a kinky Switch (both a Sadist and service bottom) and has been mentored and formally trained in a broad spectrum of Sadomasochistic activities, except rope.

Topics of interest:  High protocol power exchange relationships i.e. Masters/slaves, Gor, Leatherpeople, Dominants/submissives, individuals with paraphilias, and other fringe or alternative sexualities.

Interested in joining our passionate volunteer research team? We have a variety of roles available for enthusiastic students, advocates, and allies looking to lend their research skills and gain additional experience, join team consultations, and increase their knowledge in the field of sex and sexuality. Contact us here for more information.

Research Alumni

Alaina Chun

Research Alumni 2016 - 2017

Mason Shell

Research Alumni 2017

Chelsea Cameron

Research Alumni 2016 - 2017

Veronica Li

Research Alumni 2015 - 2016

Emily Hanson

Research Alumni 2015 - 2016

Brittany Underhill

Research Alumni 2014 - 2015

Qingsheng Qiu (Ryan)

Research Alumni 2018

Adrianna Xue

Research Alumni 2016-2017

Diana Sadat

Research Alumni 2016 - 2017

Teah Scotten

Research Alumni 2016 - 2017

Jules Ku-Lea

Research Alumni 2014 - 2015

Codie Jordan

Research Alumni 2014 - 2015

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