CGPA Board of Directors

Joan-Dianne Smith, MSW, RSW, FCGPA (Winnipeg, MB) President
Ruth BZ Thomson, MSW (Winnipeg, MB) Secretary
Ken Schwartz, MD, FRCPC (Toronto, ON) Treasurer
Stephen Gillies, LLB (Toronto, ON)
John Sherry, PhD, RPsych (Prince George BC)
Aida Cabecinha, OT (Toronto, ON)
Andre Roch, MD (Sudbury, ON)
Lois Goodman, RN, FCGPA (Prince George, BC)
Samantha Surkis, Psy.D. (Montreal, QC)
Edward Voltan (Toronto, ON)

CGPA Board Members

Kasra Khorasani MD, FRCPC

Group psychotherapist, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst practicing in Toronto, Kas assumed the role of president of the association in September of 2015.

He facilitates process groups and supervision groups for psychotherapists as well as supportive interpersonal groups for the elderly in nursing homes and patients in psychiatric units. He is a faculty member with the University of Toronto, and on staff at St Michaels Hospital and at St Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto. He is the founder of TS Medical Centre, a multi disciplinary community of psychotherapy practitioners working in a supportive collegial setting in downtown Toronto.

Joan-Dianne Smith MSW, RSW, FCGPA

Joan-Dianne maintains a private practice in Winnipeg, providing individual, couples and group therapy. She is also a group therapy supervisor and has been a member, leader and mentor with the Manitoba Group Therapy Network for many years. She has a particular interest /passion for group therapy training and education. Joan-Dianne is a long-standing member and was awarded a CGPA Fellowship in 2001. She has served nationally in various roles and now serves as a director on CGPA’s inaugural board. Joan-Dianne is also an author and poet. Her work has been published in The Globe and Mail, Cahoots Magazine, The Dalhousie Review, Transition Magazine, and in two anthologies; Christmas Chaos, and Torn: True Stories of Kids, Career, and the Conflict of Modern Motherhood. Her first full volume, All Things Considered: Stella and Other Poems, was short listed for Best First Book in the Manitoba Book Awards for 2012.

Ruth BZ Thomson MSW

A clinical social worker in private practice, Winnipeg Manitoba, with an older adult specialization, Ruth has experience as a group therapist who has created interpersonal, mindfulness based groups for older adults in retirement residences. Her practice includes individual and family therapy to assist in the life transitions in the later stages of life. She is involved with CGPA locally as the treasurer and regularly attends the annual conference.

Ken Schwartz MD, FRCPC

Is a psychiatrist, Psychoanalyst and a group therapist with older adults both at Baycrest Psychiatric Day Hospital for Depressed Elderly and at three long-term care homes in the Toronto area. He is also an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto. Ken has been involved in CGPA for several years and recounts that he originally got involved to learn more about group therapy and to meet people of various backgrounds who share his interest/passion for group therapy “which I now value much more as a therapy than my analytic training” Ken presents his work on group therapy with older adults at national and International conferences.

Stephen Gillies LLB

Is a lawyer practicing in Toronto. Before embarking on his career in law Stephen worked for many years in the not for profit sector with the United Way.

In 2011 he offered legal guidance to the working group tasked with drafting the new CGPA bylaws and facilitated the revival of the corporation in 2011.

Stephen joined the CGPA Board of Directors in 2013 and has assumed a key advisory role with the CGPA executive. He is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario and the University of Windsor. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and was admitted to the bar of Ontario in 1994.

John Sherry

John has over 20 years as a clinician and his academic and clinical work has focused on couples, family, and group therapy. He has been instrumental at implementing these components at UNBC’s training clinic, and currently facilitates process groups for graduate students and professionals in the community. His research interests tend to center around counsellor training and development with a special interest in experiential approaches to teaching and clinical supervision. More specifically, he is interested in the ways in which counsellors use countertransference in their work. John has been a member of CGPA for three years and is the President of the Prince George Chapter of the Canadian Group Psychotherapy Association (CGPA). He has been the recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award at the University of Northern British Columbia and prior to his appointment there, has received awards for his work in peer education and student affairs.

Aida Cabecinha

Aida has been a mental health practitioner for 29 years practicing as an occupational therapist/group psychotherapist in a variety of settings including Whitby Psychiatric Hospital, the Addiction Research Foundation, Toronto East General Hospital, community mental health in COTA/VHA Rehab Solutions and in private practice. She has extensive experience in group therapies ranging from open-ended and time-limited psychodynamic groups, milieu therapy, psycho-educational and structured activity groups.

Aida is a founding member of the Toronto Institute of Group Studies, was training module coordinator and faculty member of the CGPA Toronto Training Section and has been on the faculty of CGPA’s National Training Day for several years.

Andre Roch

Graduated from the Universities of Montreal and Toronto, André has been a physician psychotherapist for 31 years. He has maintained a private practice in Sudbury providing individuals, couple, family and group therapy for the past 28 years. He is a psychotherapy supervisor and a certified psychotherapist through the General Practice Psychotherapy Association, American Group Psychotherapy Association and Canadian Group Psychotherapy Association.

He has maintained his active staff privileges at the Health Sciences North in Sudbury since 1987. He is an assistant professor at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine and has been the francophone lead for many years. He is presently interested in developing psychotherapy training including group psychotherapy training in Northern Ontario. He is also developing new psychotherapy groups in long-term care homes and residential homes in the Sudbury area. He has been a member of the Board of Médecins Francophones du Canada (Francophone Doctors of Canada), and has developed educational programs for francophone healthcare professionals in Northern Ontario and he is a strong advocate of inter-professionalism. He has been working at the Sudbury Jail as a physician-psychotherapist prescribing Methadone for the past 17 years and has a particular interest in helping people living with addiction using an eclectic psychotherapy model including mindfulness. André really comes alive in a group therapy setting and likes to innovate in the field of medical psychotherapy.

Loise Goodman RN, FCGPA


Lois is a Full Fellow of the Canadian Group Psychotherapy Association. Her background is in Mental Health Nursing. She has worked in a variety of settings and has been a member of CGPA since the late 1980’s. Lois has formed, led and co-led a wide variety of groups. Lois completed the Group Training Program with the Canadian Group Psychotherapy Association according to National Standards via long distance. Lois is presently involved with the Canadian Group Psychotherapy Training and Education Committee at a National Level and a Member of the Board. Lois is Past President and Founder of the Canadian Group Psychotherapy Association Chapter in Prince George.

Samantha Surkis Psy.D.


Dr. Samantha Surkis is a obtained her Psy.D. from Adler University in Chicago, Illinois and is licensed the State of Virginia. She has conducted groups with individuals across the lifespan with a multitude of biopsychosociopolitical and spiritual concerns. Dr. Surkis has developed a professional curiosity regarding interpersonal process and how it facilitates and inhibits the perception of choice.

Edward Voltan


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