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Sharon MacIsaac-McKenna

PhD; Psychotherapist; Instructor

Sharon MacIsaac-McKenna

Sharon MacIsaac-McKenna is a practicing psychotherapist and a founding Faculty Member of the Centre for Training in Psychotherapy in Toronto, Canada. She tries in her teaching and practice to recognize the broad interrelationships that psychotherapy has with other fields and disciplines. She is a lecturer, author, mother and grandmother.

Academic Background and Training

Sharon MacIsaac-McKenna’s university degrees are in history and philosophy, and in theology and psychology (psychoanalysis). In 1962 she was granted a B.A. with Great Distinction, from the University of Saskatchewan and received an award for Highest Academic Standing in the Humanities.

In 1964 she was granted an M.A. in theology, with Highest Academic Standing, by the University of St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto. She went on there to study at the doctoral level and completed a cross-disciplinary dissertation in theology and psychoanalysis. She was granted a Ph.D in 1971 from the same University.

In 1965, she entered both personal and group psychotherapy in Toronto in a centre later called Therafields. By 1970, she entered psychotherapy training and supervised practice herself.

Professional Experience

Sharon MacIsaac-McKenna began teaching during her own academic studies. She has taught at the high school level in Saskatoon, Canada in 1961-1962, and in 1969-1970 for the Toronto Board of Education. During the period from 1968 to 1980, she taught at George Brown and Humber Colleges in Toronto, courses in English and mathematics, psychology and human relations, and developmental psychology. In 1967 she lectured in early Christian thought at St. Basil’s Seminary in Toronto.

One specialization in her academic studies had been interfaith relations and specifically Christian-Jewish relations. From 1967 to 1968, Sharon MacIsaac-McKenna became Executive Secretary in the Commission on Ecumenism of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in Toronto/Ottawa. The position entailed giving talks and interviews, facilitating interfaith workshops among the laity. She facilitated an international conference on Jewish Christian relations at York University in 1968.

In 1972, Sharon MacIsaac-McKenna accepted the post of Assistant Professor in Psychology of Religion at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. In 1975, she made the difficult decision to start a family and to turn to the practice of psychotherapy in Toronto. She has since offered courses on Freud and Jung at McMaster University and at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada (1979 and 1985), as well as on gender and ethics to St. Jerome’s College in Waterloo, Ontario in 1985.

From 1975 to 1984, she became increasingly involved in teaching psychoanalytic theory and practice to student and practicing psychotherapists in Toronto. In 1984, she was part of the Kendal Group who offered a first organized training program in psychodynamic psychotherapy in Toronto. It quickly led to a wider collaboration among other psychotherapists who planned and launched the Centre for Training in Psychotherapy in Toronto in 1986. Sharon MacIsaac-McKenna has been on the faculty of the CTP to the present day. Her activities include lecturing, with a specialization in Freud, leading seminars in dream interpretation and in clinical sources, supervision, co-leading psychoanalytic psychodynamic training groups, and liaisons with professional groups and activities outside CTP.

In 2005, Sharon MacIsaac-McKenna became involved with the process of regulation of  psychotherapy in the province of Ontario. She made oral and written submissions on behalf of the CTP to the Ontario Government’s public consultation in 2005. As CTP representative she helped co-found the Alliance of Psychotherapy Training Institutions (APTI) in 2006. She has prepared APTI’s major submissions to the Ontario Government and its advisory body (Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council (HPRAC). From 2008 to 2010, she has acted as APTI representative with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in the Ontario Government. She co-presented a submission to the Select Committee on Mental Health and Addictions, Government of Ontario in September of 2009. 

Professional Associations

Sharon MacIsaac-McKenna has been a member of the Canadian Association for Psychodynamic Therapy (CAPT), Toronto, Ontario, since its inception in 2000. She has been instrumental in creating its Resource Collective for the ongoing and reciprocal professional training of its members.

She is also a founding member of the Alliance of Psychotherapy Associations (APTI) of Ontario, since 2006.