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About Our Psychologists

Psychologist Dr. David Crowe offers psychological treatments and assessments in Ottawa. Our professionals are dedicated to treating each individual with a positive psychological approach. Learn more about our psychologists.

     Dr. David Crowe       Heather Sansom, PhD       Jeffrey Scharf

Dr. David Crowe

For as long as I can recall, I have had a keen interest in biography. In high school, I read all the biographies in the school library. Although I was registered in mathematics and virtually all my classmates chose university studies in engineering and science, humanities remained a strong interest for me. An undergraduate degree in economics presented a compromise of sorts.


While studying economics, I maintained an interest in better understanding the mind. I read popular literature of the time, including The Myth of Mental Illness by Thomas Szasz, The Divided Self by R. D. Laing, and The Human Person by Magda Arnold and John Gasson. These books and other readings in philosophy, such as Paul Ricoeur’s Freud and Philosophy, Herbert Spiegelberg’s Phenomenology in Psychology and Psychiatry, and Joseph Donceel’s Philosophical Anthropology, had an enormous impact on me.

Dr. David Crowe

I was particularly interested in comparative economic systems, as its focus of study included the dynamics of social, economic, and historical relationships in diverse cultures and societal circumstances. In fact, systems theory was quite popular in the early 1970s and was adapted to the mental health field by many theorists in social work and, later, in psychology and psychiatry. Its essential presupposition is that individuals cannot be fully understood without understanding the context in which they live their day-to-day lives. It was probably no surprise that after achieving an undergraduate education in economics, I would decide to pursue studies in psychology.


Having never studied psychology, I applied to the University of Ottawa as they offered a qualifying year of studies in psychology for those wanting to pursue graduate studies in the field. Their psychology program was richly grounded in both the sciences and the humanities and provided an intensive study in philosophical anthropology. The stated orientation of the graduate program in 1975, which was “Christian Personalism in a Pluralistic Context.” It struck me as a bold statement in a society that was becoming rapidly more relativistic. However, the focus on personalism was compelling, insofar as personalists believe that the human person should be the ontological and epistemological starting point of philosophical reflection.

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    I entered the field of psychology at a time when existential and humanistic philosophy and psychology were very popular, as well as both Freudian and Neo-Freudian approaches to understanding psychopathology and treatment. Consequently, I became well-versed in humanistic and psychodynamic theory and practice. At the same time, a proliferation of studies using a learning theory model of human psychology suggested a more concrete or empirical approach to treatment, resulting in a treatment that might be more readily measured and more standardized in delivery. There was also a rapidly growing interest in Albert Ellis and rational emotive therapy, Carl Rogers and person-centred therapy, and even Fritz Perls and gestalt therapy. These approaches represent sharp contradistinction, not only to the Neo-Freudians (including Adler, Jung, and later, May, Kohut, Kernberg, Winnicott, and even more recently, Sullivan and Horney) but also, more significantly, to the emerging popularity of behaviourism (founded upon the philosophy of Logical Positivism). The latter was supported by Learning theory and its product, Behaviour therapy, another rapidly expanding and increasingly popular therapeutic approach and the ancestor (so to speak) of the now predominant approach in psychotherapy, cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). These were very compelling times in psychology, with a great diversity of approaches to understanding and helping the human person. On one hand, positivists would complain of the idealism and questionable science of the psychodynamic and humanistic and existential approaches; on the other hand, idealists and realists would complain of the reductionist materialism of the positivists, who might consequently “lose sight of the forest for the trees.” The advantage of being in the centre of these controversies was the opportunity to derive what was beneficial and realistic from all these points of view, which inclined many psychologists of the time, including myself, to adopt a so-called eclectic approach to treatment.



BComm, Honours Economics, Loyola of Montreal, 1970

Thesis: A History of the Canadian Banking System


MPs, Clinical Psychology, University of Ottawa, 1975

Thesis: Self-Actualization and Influence of Therapist Values


PhD, Clinical Psychology, University of Ottawa, 1983

Thesis: Methylphenidate vs Parent Training in the Treatment of Hyperactive Children: A Two-Year Follow-Up Study

Professional Affiliations

College of Psychologists of Ontario: Registration no. 1748

Canadian Register of Health Service Psychologists: Registration no. 00306


Member of:

Ontario Psychological Association

Canadian Psychological Association

American Psychological Association

Ottawa Academy of Psychologists


Firestone, Philip; Crowe, David, et al. “Vicissitudes of Follow‐Up Studies: Differential Effects of Parent Training and Stimulant Medication with Hyperactives.” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 1986, Vol. 56(2), pp.184-194


Della Zazzera, Claude and David Crowe. Two Essays on the Philosophy of Mental Health: Reflections on the Hermeneutics of Psychopathology and Psychotherapy, Ottawa, Miamine Press, 2015



University of Ottawa, Child Study Center (Internship)

  • Psychodiagnostic assessment
  • Individual therapy (adolescents) and play therapy (preschoolers)
  • Parent counselling
  • Family and marital therapy



Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario – Intern

  • Psychodiagnostic assessment
  • Psychoeducational assessment
  • Individual, family, and marital therapy



Ottawa Civic Hospital – Intern

  • Adult psychotherapy and psychodiagnostic assessment



Queensway Carleton Hospital – Psychometrist

  • In-patient and out-patient psychological assessment
  • Group and individual psychotherapy



  • Queensway Carleton Hospital – Psychologist



  • Queensway Carleton Hospital – Chief of Department



  • Queensway Carleton Hospital – Research Ethics Board Chair

Heather Sansom, PhD
Registered Psychotherapist

Clients seek counselling feeling stuck or in distress, facing situations in which your normal coping strategies aren’t working as well. I see clients as a whole person: you have strengths, a story. You are more than the challenge you are going through. My role is to help you through your difficult time so you can thrive and find meaning, joy and purpose in life again. In the first session, you can expect to clarify the main reason you have come to therapy, share some of the stories that got you here, and work together to identify the treatment approach that fits you.


My approach to therapy draws on what we know about the connections between our physical self, thoughts, emotions, spirituality, and interpersonal patterns. I am trained in several classical talk-based psychotherapy methods, as well as creative and experiential options including art, recreation, nature, and animal-based (equine and dog) approaches that help you embody your life and balance your thinking in healthy ways. I support clients with depression, anxiety, work/academic/sports performance stress, life change, health crisis and other concerns. I have additional experience with body/food/wellness issues, and neurodiversity (higher functioning autism (Aspergers), ADHD). Virtual office video and telephone, and outdoor/walk-and-talk options are available (subject to public health restrictions).

Heather Sansom

I have a Master’s in Counselling Psychology, a PhD in positive psychology (resilience) through rural recreation, a graduate diploma in recreation therapy, a graduate diploma in spiritual care and psychotherapy, and training as a multi-faith hospital chaplain to support clients culturally and spiritually. I am also trained in Existential/Meaning Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Short-Term and Solution Focused Therapy, art therapy, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), and Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples. I have other credentials for incorporating recreation, outdoor, and animal activity. My prior management career and years as a sport and life coach and recreation therapist inform my practice. My clinical experience has been at Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, Ottawa Hospital, Morneau Shepell, other EAP services, and in private practice.


I am a Registered Psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO), and a nationally recognized counsellor through my membership with the Canadian Association of Spiritual Care (CASC).


Jeffrey Scharf, Registered Psychotherapist

Specializing in individual therapy, I bring a diverse background of counselling experience, professional training, and a focus on positive outcomes for my clients.

The goal of counselling is to empower clients to take action and work towards the positive change they desire. My goal is to work with clients to overcome whatever challenges or psychological barriers they may be struggling with. The aim is not only achieving symptom relief, but also creating a balanced and successful way for clients to be with themselves, in their relationships, and in the world.


The counselling setting is an important element of the therapeutic process. Creating a safe place for clients to receive counselling is the first step. Sessions are comfortable and informal, low on pretence, and high on support, honesty and understanding. In an open, caring and non-judgmental environment, clients are encouraged to explore their challenges and blocks to achieving their desired outcome.

Jeffrey Scharf

My counselling approach has developed through academic experience and clinical training. Combining the latest research in mental health with solid therapeutic practices and counselling tradition, I employ an evidence-based approach to therapy.

Please be in touch with any questions or to schedule a meeting.

Currently only available for online or phone meetings.


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