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YUPC Bio Pic - Jennifer

Dr. Jennifer Hunter,
PhD, C. Psych


My name is Dr. Jennifer Hunter and I am a licensed Clinical Psychologist. I look forward to meeting you. I am a kind person who listens closely and celebrates human connection and transformation. I believe that growth is always possible, and that it’s never too late to step out of our limiting patterns. I have an unending enthusiasm for the power and kindness of people, and the possibility for human connection to help us withstand the difficulties and suffering that life/oppressive systems/our current way of living can bring.

Why I Became A Psychologist

My love of stories first drew me to the field of Clinical Psychology. An avid reader from a young age, I had an early introduction to the power of stories and relationships through a children’s book series that chronicled the unlikely friendship of a mouse (Mac) and a cat (Tab). In a shocking and traumatic turn of events, the series ends with Tab eating Mac.* I cried for days and almost swore off reading for life. Something about this experience stayed with me, though, and I pursued an undergraduate degree in English literature at the University of Toronto. I particularly enjoyed graphic novel memoirs (e.g., Fetch by Nicole J. Georges and Fun Home by Alison Bechdel) and T.S. Eliot’s poetry. As I neared the end of the degree, I realized that my love for literature was largely due to my interest in understanding and facilitating human connection.

Following this interest, I enrolled in the Master of Social Work (MSW) program at the University of Toronto. As part of the MSW, I completed a transformative placement at the University of Toronto Scarborough’s Health & Wellness Centre, providing individual and group psychotherapy to university students. Listening to my clients’ experiences and helping them enter into and transform their stories was a profound privilege. It also made me realize that I wanted more in-depth training in psychotherapy and assessment.

Consequently, I pursued a MA and PhD in Clinical Psychology at York University, working under the research supervision of Dr. John Eastwood. During my studies, my scholarship-funded research investigated what helps us be creative, and how to prevent boredom in the post-secondary classroom. I completed placements at the York University Psychology Clinic, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre's Odette Cancer Centre, and North York General Hospital’s Adult Eating Disorder Program. During this time, I also pursued my own psychotherapy, and learned from my wonderful therapist about the balance between supporting and challenging clients; dream work; and how funny, inspiring, difficult and transformative therapy can be.

Today, it is a pleasure to draw upon my breadth and depth of training to work with the stories clients bring, and to help them re-author the parts of the stories they want to change. Although my love of stories introduced me to Clinical Psychology, it is the amazing clients I work with who have sustained my joy in the work. It is a privilege to work with such wonderful people every day.

* The series later attempts to undo this trauma with a follow-up story where you find out that it was all a misunderstanding and Mac is alive and well. The original injury is not directly discussed or explained. Without emotional processing and thus integration of the trauma, the reader (like many who suffer unprocessed trauma) is left vacillating between dissociation and unregulated emotion.

Alvi Dandal, M.A.


My name is Alvi Dandal, and I am a PhD student working under Dr. Jennifer Hunter’s supervision to provide emotion-focused therapy and psychological assessments. I completed my M.A. in Clinical and Counselling Psychology at the University of Toronto and will complete the Ph.D. program in Summer 2024. During my studies, I received clinical training across various mental health clinics situated in the community (DBT Hamilton; Central Toronto Youth Services), universities (University of Toronto; York University; Toronto Metropolitan University), and a hospital (Markham Stouffville Hospital). My training across these sites focused on providing crisis intervention; psychological assessments; individual, couple, and group psychotherapy (CBT, DBT, CPT, and EFT); and assisting in the clinical supervision of master’s students. 

If you choose to work with me, you can expect our sessions to be a safe, non-judgmental space that flexibly balances structure with open exploration. My past clients and clinical supervisors have described my approach as warm, thoughtful, and empathic. I strive to be a steady and consistent presence along your journey toward healing and positive well-being.

Why Do I Want To Become a Psychologist?

From a young age, I was inspired to pursue a career in the helping professions after watching my mom find so much meaning and fulfillment in her work as the coordinator of a community centre for Filipino newcomers to Canada. She would often take me along with her during my P.A. Days and summer break, and it was then that I got to see her in action. I witnessed first-hand how she made a significant difference in people’s lives by running various community programs that provided social support and empowerment to Filipino newcomers.

My interest in helping people, specifically on a psychological level, was primarily influenced by my coming-out experience. Although I was already quite introspective as a child, I became even more self-reflective as I tried to make sense of my identity and reconcile my internal feelings (of sexual and romantic attraction to the same gender) with my external (heteronormative) environment. This experience humbled me to the innate and dynamic nature of our thoughts and feelings, which then sparked my desire to gain a formal and systematic understanding of the human mind and human behaviour, not only related to sexuality but also to our overall psychological functioning. The experience of coming out to another person also taught me that it was easiest to explore and disclose my most vulnerable feelings if the other person was non-judgmental, affirming, and willing to keep what I told them confidential – all essential qualities of a skillful therapist.

Growing up, I thought the only path to becoming a therapist was by becoming a psychiatrist; however, I soon learned of the many paths available. In Ontario, there are six different health professions authorized to perform the controlled act of psychotherapy. As I researched the various options, psychology spoke to me the most for three main reasons. First, it offered the most comprehensive education on the biological, cognitive-affective, social-cultural, developmental, and personality factors involved in psychological functioning. Studying the full range of scientific theories and research in psychology would not only satisfy my desire to understand the nature of our thoughts and feelings, but I also believed that it was vital that I had a strong foundation of psychological knowledge to draw on to effectively and ethically help people on a psychological level. Second, out of the six professions, psychology provided the most extensive formal training in psychotherapy and assessment. In Ontario, psychologists are required to complete a minimum of 3600 hours of supervised clinical training before they can practice autonomously. It was important to me to receive extensive clinical training not only to hone my clinical skills but also to serve as a solid foundation to supervise and train psychology students in the future.

Third, psychologists are trained to be adept consumers of research by requiring substantial hands-on research training in conjunction with their clinical training. For my master’s thesis, I investigated how 2SLGBTQAI+ survivors of hate crimes make meaning and cope with such a traumatic experience that harmed an integral part of who they are. Currently, I am completing my doctoral dissertation investigating the identity development and well-being of asexual people. These research experiences not only provided me with the knowledge that can be useful to clients struggling with issues relevant to their gender and sexuality, but they also equipped me with the fundamental skills to evaluate, synthesize, and translate research on a range of mental health difficulties, including depression, anxiety, and trauma.

Thus, becoming a psychologist combines my passion for learning about psychology and being able to use that knowledge to help people heal, change, and grow.


Book a Free Online Therapy Consultation

Please use the contact form below to get in touch if you would like to book a free initial 20 minute conversation or ask any questions. I welcome questions and comments from folks at all stages of their journey, whether you’re researching options, curious about therapy, or ready to book an appointment.

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