Specialists in Arts-based Education

Bill GaynorBill Gayner, BSW, MSW, RSW, is a Registered Social Worker and Psychotherapist with the Centre for Psychology and Emotional Health and a Mindfulness and Wellness Clinical Educator, Health Arts and Humanities Program, University of Toronto.

Bill developed Emotion-Focused Mindfulness Therapy (EFMT), adapting mindfulness-based interventions to target internal conflicts and unfinished business, navigate issues in daily life, and cultivate growth and flourishing. He researches and provides professional training and mentoring in EFMT. He presents his work on mindfulness at national and international conferences and trainings.

Bill is a pioneer in providing professional mindfulness training in Toronto. He has trained and mentored mental health professionals, psychiatry residents and social work students in mindfulness-based approaches for fifteen years and leads an annual residential EFMT retreat for mental health professionals at the Ecology Retreat Centre, north of Toronto. Bill led a randomized-controlled trial of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for gay men living with HIV that was the first to indicate psychological improvements for mindfulness in this population. This study inspired him to explore integrating self-compassion more deeply into mindfulness-based interventions to better address harsh self-criticism, shame and inter-personal injuries, leading him to develop EFMT.

Karen Gold

Karen Gold, PhD, MSW, RSW is a clinical social worker and educator with a longstanding interest in narrative and arts-based pedagogies. As the IPE Lead at Women’s College Hospital, she has taught communication skills, trauma-informed practice and team-based collaboration. Karen has worked in a variety of clinical settings and has supervised students in social work, counseling psychology, and creative arts therapy. Her doctoral research, completed in 2013, focused on narrative inquiry and clinician writing. She has done advanced narrative medicine training at Columbia University and is a certified Amherst writing facilitator. Her work has appeared in peer-reviewed journals and anthologies, and she is currently a reviewer for the journal Reflections: Narratives of Professional Helping. Her musings can be found at www.artofthestoryblog.com.

Hartley Jafine

Hartley Jafine is an instructor in the Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) program and Arts & Science program at McMaster University, where he facilitates theatre and arts-based courses. He is also a lecturer (part-time) with the Department of Family Medicine. His areas of teaching and research are in health humanities, applied theatre, and arts-based research practices. For over a decade he has been integrating drama and serious play within health professions education. He is interested in questions of how the arts can enhance education and the performance of healthcare roles, build community, and raise critical consciousness.

He has been honoured to receive four McMaster Students Union Teaching Awards for his work in the Faculty of Health Sciences and the Arts & Science Program. When not on the McMaster campus, Hartley works as a communication coach with the University of Toronto’s Postgraduate Medical Education program and an arts educator at Baycrest Health Sciences. He is an enormous fan of the TV show Survivor and is a clown nose enthusiast.


LJ Nelles

LJ Nelles, RP, MFA, PhD (candidate) brings years of experience as a theatre professional to her work with health care professionals. Her work as an actor, director and voice teacher led her to investigate the ways in which performance training can assist non-performers including clinical practitioners and learners to develop self-awareness and an embodied ability for “being with” both self and others.  LJ is a registered psychotherapist in private practice and an educator in geriatric psychiatry at The Reitman Centre Sinai Health System.  She works with individuals, couples and groups.

Elysse Leonard

Elysse Leonard M.A. is a film educator and programmer who works at the intersections between film, mental health, and community engagement. With a background in Psychology and Cinema Studies, she is passionate about creating inclusive, interdisciplinary spaces for people to connect, learn, and express themselves through film. Elysse is the film education lead for the Health, Arts & Humanities programme. She also oversees TIFF’s Mental Health Outreach programme, which brings film screenings and film-craft workshops to mental health programs across Toronto.

Eva-Marie SternEva-Marie Stern, RP, MA, Adjunct Professor U of T Dept of Psychiatry, is a psychotherapist, art therapist, and medical educator. She co-founded the Women Recovering from Abuse Program (WRAP) at Women’s College Hospital, where she spent 20 years learning and teaching at the intersections between art, therapy and trauma. She is a recipient of the Award of Excellence in Supervision from the Department of Psychiatry; co-authored “The Visible Curriculum” (in Health Humanities in Postgraduate Medical Education, Oxford U Press); offers seminars and workshops that explore witnessing as a transformative act in therapy and everywhere else; and maintains a private practice for therapy and consultation, artandmind.net.