Kyla Fox, MSW, RSW

Founder and Clinical Therapist

Kyla’s story

In my late teens and for years thereafter, I struggled severely with anorexia and an over-exercise addiction. I was in desperate need of medical and therapeutic attention. Due to the lack of immediate and ongoing services available in Toronto for those affected by eating disorders, I could not get the help I needed. I was put on 6-12 month wait lists for treatment and saw countless medical professionals who had very limited eating disorder knowledge and most, I felt, lacked concern for my life-threatening situation. I was told to take medication or I was simply told to “eat”.

Because of my lack of options, I had to learn how to recover on my own – something no one should have to go through. When I was well enough, I enrolled back into University where I was determined to study to become the therapist that I would have always wanted to have had myself.

Over the many years I have been practicing, I’ve dreamt about a way to bridge the gaps in our Toronto system for those affected by eating disorders. The Kyla Fox Centre is the opportunity for people to have clinical therapy and holistic healing right when they need it. It is the opportunity for people to receive treatment from those who deeply understand eating disorders and from those who have immense compassion for those who suffer. It is the opportunity for people to choose the way(s) in which they want to heal so that it meets their personal needs. It is the opportunity to recover. The Kyla Fox Centre is everything that I believe recovery should be about and I hope you will feel the same.

Kyla is a Master’s level clinician with degrees from both the University of Toronto in the Master’s of Social Work program as well as an Honors Bachelor of Arts Degree in Women’s Studies. Kyla is a member of the Ontario Association of Social Workers and is registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. She is also a member of the Academy of Eating Disorders and the National Eating Disorders Association.

Before opening the Kyla Fox Centre in February of 2012, Kyla spent almost a decade in private practice along with running groups in the field. She is a public speaker, writer, educator, advocate and media expert for eating disorders. Because of the years of silence in her suffering, Kyla has made it her mission to get loud about changing the way we understand eating disorders in our culture.

  • Izzy Mackenzie Lay, M.Ed.CP, RP

    Clinical Therapist

    How did you get here?

    When I was younger, I trained in Toronto arts schools where students were deeply affected by eating disorders and addictions. This impacted my understanding of addiction culture, embodiment, and the paradoxical relationship one can have with the performing arts. My arts training helped me uncover challenging ways of being in the body that have deeply influenced my work as a Registered Psychotherapist.

    My healing journey led me to study Counselling Psychology at the University of Toronto as well as Gestalt Therapy at the Gestalt Institute of Toronto. Taking a holistic, feminist, trauma-informed approach in my clinical work, I support clients to become ‘directors’ of their own experience and reclaim ways of being in the body and in the world that resonate more fully with who they are.

    Why do you love working at the Centre?

    I love working at the Kyla Fox Centre because of its focus on clinical therapy and holistic healing – a two-pronged approach missing in many recovery programs. I am passionate about holistic healing and am so thrilled to be part of a centre that better focuses on a wide spectrum of recovery needs.

    What is something no one would guess about you?

    In my twenties, I worked as a visual and performing artist. My work was focused in the disability arts scene and LGBTQ+ social justice initiatives with arts collectives and organizations across the GTA.

  • Melissa Di Fonzo, MSW, RSW

    Clinical Therapist

    How did you get here?

    Ever since I heard about the Kyla Fox Centre (back to when it first opened) and its integrative holistic approach, I felt my heart being called and knew that it was where I wanted to work.

    I did my undergraduate degree at The University of Toronto, post-graduate program at Lakehead University, and went on to pursue my Masters in Social Work at Laurier University. I feel deeply privileged that I get to journey alongside individuals to help them achieve true and lasting changes in their lives.

    Why do you love working at the Centre?

    I love working at the Kyla Fox Centre because of the inspiring people I get to meet and be a part of their healing journey with.

    What is something no one would guess about you?

    I am a certified laughter yoga teacher!

  • Sarah Berneche, RHN, BAH, MA

    Clinical Nutritionist

    How did you get here?

    I attended the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition out of a passion for food and communications. After working as a nutritionist in a number of areas — corporate wellness, fitness studios, B2B consulting, health writing — I realized the gap in conversation around *relationship* with food and body. I completed training in intuitive eating, the neuropsycho-endocrinology of regulating eating, eating disorders, and body positivity to teach and empower my clients to honour their health — mind, body, and spirit — using a Health At Every Size®, evidence-based approach to well-being.

    Why do you love working at the Centre?

    The commitment to each client by the entire team is truly inspiring and unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I’m regularly reminded of what a privilege it is to hear our clients’ stories and play a part in their healing.

    What is something no one would guess about you?

    I’ve studied astrology since I was a teenager.

  • Alessandra Magisano, RD, MHSc

    Clinical Nutritionist

    How did you get here?

    As a child I was surrounded by cooking, love and my grandmothers in the kitchen, and so sharing the love of food has always been special to me.

    As a Registered Dietitian I take an evidenced based approach as I work with others to heal their relationship with food through a non-dieting approach. I use Intuitive Eating, Mindful Eating, Motivational Interviewing and a Health at Every Size (HAES) style of nutrition counselling in my practice. I hold an undergraduate degree in Nutrition and Food Science and a Master of Health Science in Nutrition Communication from Ryerson University. I completed clinical training and competency through my dietetic internship at the University Health Network Hospitals, in Toronto. I belong to the College of Dietitians of Ontario, a regulatory body of health professionals (allied health) as well as belonging to the professional association of Dietitians of Canada which acts as resource for professional development.

    Why do you love working at the Centre?

    I love working at the Centre because the team is so passionate about helping people and there is a good energy that radiates from all those who work here.

    What is something no one would guess about you?

    When I was seven yrs old I loved the Spice Girls band so much that I started my own and invited the whole neighbourhood to watch the performances!(We toured living rooms everywhere!)

  • Dr. Alexandra Triendl, ND

    Naturopathic Doctor

    How did you get here?

    I believe I’ve always been a Naturopath at heart since a young child. I took a long, winding and adventurous road to get to be a Naturopath. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Art History from Queen’s University and a Doctorate of Naturopathy from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. I am licensed with the College of Naturopaths of Ontario. I am a member of the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors and of the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors. As a Naturopath I ensure physical stabilization through vitamin/mineral therapy, acupuncture, acupressure, botanical medicine and I assist clients to differently connect and understand their bodies.

    Why do you love working at the Centre?

    I love the integrative approach to healing and the opportunity to work with other health professionals to provide the absolute best care for our clients.

    What is something no one would guess about you?

    One of my dreams is to learn to fly an airplane.

  • Krista Starr,

    Embodiment & Reiki Practitioner

    How did you get here?

    The journey was a bit wild and twisting, as most lives are. Rising up out of my own darkness, I found what gave my life the most meaning was being of service, being there for others. I went to University to seek ways to do that, I found yoga, I’ve traveled and journeyed. Here I am, and I want to hear others’ stories.

    Why do you love working at the Centre?

    The clients. They are the reason.
    They are amazing and I am so excited to get to know each one of them.

    What is something no one would guess about you?

    I am a huge sci fi/fantasy nerd and I secretly totally believe in magic.

  • Amanda Stokes, BSc

    Yoga & Reiki Practitioner

    How did you get here?

    I’ve been practicing yoga and studying yoga philosophy for almost a decade and have incorporated it into many faucets of my life: in my own daily practice, in teaching yoga and meditation, and in my studies of psychotherapy. I find human behaviour, emotions, thoughts, and the physical body all quite fascinating and love to see the interconnectedness of it all! I graduated from University of Guelph with a B.Sc. Psychology and have trained in healing modalities such as Reiki, Thai Massage, Trauma Sensitive Yoga, and Spiritual Psychotherapy. I feel that finding a safe way to be in your own body (and mind) is important and empowering and provides the opportunity to explore the Self — and that is where the healing can happen.

    Why do you love working at the Centre?

    I feel so honoured to be a part of each client’s healing journey. I am excited to implement a trauma informed approach to yoga and embodiment and be a member of this integrative and supportive team.

    What is something no one would guess about you?

    I lived in China for about 6 months, but managed to learn zero Cantonese.

  • Suzanne Reesor,

    Administrative Director

    How did you get here?

    I have had an interesting, varied career in social services support work as well as office management. My primary experience has been working with women and the LGBTQ2 community. The Kyla Fox Centre felt like the perfect place for me.

    Why do you love working at the Centre?

    I love the team approach to holistic treatment and working with such passionate and caring practitioners. I feel truly blessed to witness and support the hard work our clients are doing.

    What is something no one would guess about you?

    I LOVE Neil Diamond, like in a big way.

  • Kira Simon,

    Office Manager

    How did you get here?

    I studied Psychology and Anthropology at The University of Toronto and Human Resources at George Brown College. I began seeing a Naturopathic Doctor 12 years ago and have since developed a real passion for holistic health and wellness.

    Why do you love working at the Centre?

    I love working at The Kyla Fox Centre because it is an environment that nurtures the mind, body and spirit. The healing that takes place here is truly inspiring, and I’m grateful be a part of the team!

    What is something no one would guess about you?

    I love reading interior design books and dreaming up different ways to decorate my home!

  • Hannah Martin,

    Administrative Assistant

    How did you get here?

    I received my Bachelor’s degree in Sociology at the University of Alberta and I am currently working on a certification in Sexual Health and Wellness. When I first heard of the Kyla Fox Centre, I knew the dedication to wellbeing was something I wanted to be close to. I am very excited to be here in Toronto and be on this amazing team!

    Why do you love working at the Centre?

    I love being around our passionate, dedicated practitioners and our incredible clients! I really believe in the multidisciplinary approach the Kyla Fox Centre takes on recovery and wellbeing and I am very grateful to be a part of it.

    What is something no one would guess about you?

    I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado!

  • Caitlin Janzen,

    Administrative Assistant

    How did you get here?

    I took the long way! I completed a Bachelor of Social Work at Ryerson University and Masters of Social Work from the University of Victoria, during which time I worked in youth and family services. After completing my MSW, I worked as a Research Manager on a number of projects ranging from homelessness, violence against women and children, to addictions. I am currently completing my PhD in Sociology at York University and was looking for an opportunity to work collaboratively with others who share my commitment to women’s wellness. I found what I was looking for at the Kyla Fox Centre!.

    Why do you love working at the Centre?

    Everyday I learn something new about what health, wellness, and care can mean in the life of each individual. I love being part of a team that is doing something different by working from its own lens of holistic recovery. Beyond the people, it is an absolute privilege to work in such a beautiful, calm, and inviting physical space.

    What is something no one would guess about you?

    I am totally into very bad, very campy movies. The lower the production value, the higher my appreciation!

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