Welcome to OCD North!

Our Team

Located in Barrie, Ontario, our team is a growing group of committed individuals from a wide range of different backgrounds. We were brought together by our passion to provide the best treatment available for our clients.

Merrisa Little

Merrisa Little

MSW, RSW, Founder, CEO & Clinical Director

Innovating OCD care in Canada is more than a vision; it’s a calling. My passion for improving access to effective treatment facilitates creative solutions to this complex societal issue. Through training and mentoring master’s level social work students, I help interns at OCD North to develop their competency in OCD treatment, shifting from expert-in-training to ERP therapists at OCD North and abroad. Additionally, I have developed OCD-Informed Practice (OCD-IP): An innovative approach to counselling an individual with OCD. OCD-IP is not a substitute for ERP, but rather eliminates the therapist barrier so that anyone can counsel someone living with OCD without exacerbating symptoms. An assignment in graduate school led me to explore treatment options for those living with OCD: Research necessitated the use of exposure and response prevention, yet I could not find any specialists in my area to serve the significant population living with OCD. Intrigued by the disorder and more so by the treatment protocol, (and yearning to do anything but talk-therapy with my career), OCD treatment spoke to me, and unfortunately, I knew there were many individuals suffering without help. After graduate school, I sought training in ERP at the Perelman School of Medicine through University of Pennsylvania, followed by certification in ERP, becoming the first Canadian to do so (Read More Here). Certification in ERP is not a requirement for therapists, nor is it a regulated profession; however, achieving this milestone has deepened my knowledge and passion for the work I do. I do my best work with families who have children living with OCD struggling to find recovery. Using a parent-based model, I teach parents how to support their child’s recovery rather than inadvertently giving into the OCD. I help parents get their families, and their life back from this terrible disorder.

I quit my job after graduate school to pursue training in Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), and open OCD North. I pursued certification in ERP, becoming the first Canadian to do so (Read More Here). It’s important to mention certification in ERP is not a requirement for therapists, nor is it a regulated profession. Over the course of a year, I spent many hours developing my specialization in OCD through the certification program, and my consultant is why I am so good at what I do (shout out to Dr. Jeremy Tyler @ UPenn).

I have two stepchildren, Luke and Reese, a cat named Pilot, and a loving fiancé, Adam. My family and I love to boat on the Georgian Bay, ski, and travel. I’m enjoying learning how to play piano, and despite being at it for years, I’m still learning how to enjoy running.

At OCD North I mentor, train, consult and supervise Social Work interns and new therapists. If you’re as passionate as I am about working with those living with OCD, advocating for change, and learning, come work with us!

In addition to the hours of consultation required for the certification program, I’ve taken the following courses/trainings:

  • Advanced Topics in EX/RP for OCD 1-day workshop, University of Pennsylvania
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for OCD in Children and Adolescents, Massachusetts General Hospital Psychiatry Academy
  • Pediatric OCD training, Behaviour Therapy Training Institute (BTTI) through the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF)
  • Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions (SPACE)
  • Clinical Social Work Supervision, University of Calgary

I have participated in numerous consultation groups, including:

  •  Pediatric OCD Consultation, Dr. Aureen Wagner
  •  Family OCD Treatment Consultation, Perrie Merlin MSW
  •  Advanced OCD Consultations, Dr. Fred Panzel
Heather Armstrong

Heather Armstrong

Clinic Manager

Heather is a new addition to the OCD North team. She is a married mother of two children and has a 120 lb furbaby French Mastiff named Ginger. In her spare time, Heather enjoys baking, sewing, gardening, and going for walks with her dog. Some of her other passions include attending renaissance faires, camping, and cosplaying as Wonder Woman. Heather is delighted to join the OCD North team and looks forward to a bright future with them.

Sarah Bryson

Sarah Bryson

ERP Therapist

Sarah practices from a solution-focused and goal-oriented framework, blending the tenants of cognitive behavioral theory into her work. Sarah appreciates the complexity of the mind and is passionate about working with clients in their pursuit of overall well-being.

Shaina Charles

Shaina Charles

ERP Therapist

Shaina is a Registered Social Worker trained in Exposure and Response Prevention for the treatment of OCD at the CTSA, Perleman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, and Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions (SPACE) at the YCSC, Yale School of Medicine, Yale University. Shaina recognizes the bravery it takes to advocate for oneself and seek help and celebrates with each individual who does so. Shaina wholeheartedly believes that there is no shame surrounding the OCD experience and that overcoming OCD is possible. Her absolute favourite day of treatment is when she can say goodbye to her clients with confidence that they can handle OCD on their own.

Melissa Walker

Melissa Walker

ERP Therapist

Melissa is a social worker that has been working in the community for over 7 years. Melissa believes in meeting clients where they are at in their mental health journey, and working from there. With lived experience of OCD, Melissa is committed to supporting folks to reach their goals.

Monique Obeng

Monique Obeng

ERP Therapist

Monique completed her practicum at OCD North, where she discovered her passion for working with the OCD community. Monique is a therapist with 5 years of experience working from an anti-oppressive lens to support the mental wellness of children and families. Monique is a Registered Social Worker and is trained in ERP for the treatment of OCD by the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.

Samantha Boddington

Samantha Boddington

ERP Therapist

Samantha is a Registered Social Worker with more than a decade of experience supporting individuals and families. She applies a strengths-based and trauma-informed lens to emphasize the unique capabilities of everyone, in a safe and supportive environment. Samantha completed training in Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions (SPACE) at the YCSC, Yale School of Medicine, Yale University, and has also received specialized training in ERP. She is passionate about bringing OCD-informed support to individuals living with OCD & their loved ones.

Erin Fairbanks

Erin Fairbanks

Intern ERP Therapist

Erin will graduate from the MSW program at the University of Windsor in May 2024 and has training in Exposure and Response Prevention (EX/RP) for the treatment of OCD from the Perleman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions (SPACE) at the Yale School of Medicine. Erin is a veteran of connecting with clients to understand their unique circumstances and cater their care to their own needs and goals. She helps her clients understand how OCD consumes their life and guides them in finding healthier versions of themselves. She is the owner of a private medical foot care practice, and an empathetic social work intern who excels at one-on-one counselling and group oversight with children, youth, and adults.