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.

  • Rebecca Bliss, MSW, RSW

    Clinical Therapist

    How did you get here?

    Kyla introduced me to her vision for recovery more than a decade ago when we were both particpating in a public speaking committee about disordered eating and recovery. Since then, our paths have crossed many times both personally and professionally and the eventuality of us landing together was inevitable.

    I received my Masters Degree in Social Work from from the University of Toronto and have worked in many different settings in healthcare and also in the community with elite artists and athletes. I feel truly honoured that people share their stories with me and grateful to be a part of their recovery.

    Why do you love working at the Centre?

    The environment Kyla has created allows for healing and recovery to feel safe, respectful and judgment-free. The team’s commitment to every person that comes through the door is incredible and amazing to be a part of.

    What is something no one would guess about you?

    I was a dance teacher for more than a decade and now am certified to teach yoga!

  • Malerie Lipa, MSW, RSW

    Clinical Therapist

    How did you get here?

    Working with people has always been my passion—I am constantly amazed by humanity’s capacity for compassion and resilience. I am so fortunate that people are willing to share their stories with me and allow me to be a part of their recovery journeys.

    I graduated from McGill University with a Bachelors in Social Work and received my Masters of Social Work from New York University. My professional background has focused on child welfare and mental health, both in the public and private sectors. I am registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, as well as the Ontario Association of Social Workers. I also hold a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Certification and have been trained in Solution Focused Therapy.

    Why do you love working at the Centre?

    I love working at the Centre because I believe wholeheartedly in Kyla’s philosophy. Mental health and physical stability are deeply interconnected and one cannot heal without honouring and caring for the other. Much like social work’s macro approach to helping individuals, the Centre’s circle of care allows for a person, along with their family members, to heal from a holistic approach, while being supported by a team of kind and caring individuals.

    What is something no one would guess about you?

    After graduating from NYU, I backpacked South East Asia for four months… solo!

  • 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,

    Yoga Instructor

    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.

  • Ninat Friedland, MA, RP

    Art Therapist

    How did you get here?

    I have always loved making art, ever since I was a little girl. I love getting my hands dirty with clay, doodling, and taking pictures of trees. I received my undergraduate degree in fine arts and psychology from York University, in Toronto, and went on to receive my Master’s degree in creative arts therapy from Concordia University in Montreal. I received additional training in narrative therapy at the Gail Appel Institute, affiliated with the Hincks Dellcrest Centre (now Sick Kids Centre for Community Mental Health) and with the University of Toronto. My approach to therapy through art-making combines strengths-based, narrative approaches, with mindfulness, and depth psychology. I believe that healing happens in art therapy when people are willing to take risks, play, problem solve, and explore their ideas and emotions through creative expression.

    Why do you love working at the Centre?

    I love the holistic approach taken by The Centre. Recovery happens when we are open, not only with our minds, but with our hearts, bodies and soul. I am inspired by the people who come here, and humbled by the immense capacity for human resilience.

    What is something no one would guess about you?

    I love the open sea. I am fairly certain that I was a sailor in a past life.

  • Joanna Furtado,

    Reiki Practitioner

    How did you get here?

    I began working with Reiki in 2003 and became a Reiki a Master in 2005. For the last decade, I led various healing workshops for people recovering from eating disorders and was witness to many inspirational transformations. I am currently studying to become a psychotherapist at The Integral Healing Centre.

    Why do you love working at the Centre?

    I love the holistic approach to recovery here and I am grateful to be a part of the healing journey. It is my core belief that when we open our hearts and connect to the wisdom of the body that anything is possible.

    What is something no one would guess about you?

    I love to make up my own dance videos!

  • 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.

  • Larissa Punzalan,

    Office Manager

    How did you get here?

    I have always been passionate about nutrition and contributing to the well-being of others. I have an Honours Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Toronto. During my undergrad, I studied many health-related course including Health and Disease and Human Nutrition. I am currently enrolled at The Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Toronto to become a Holistic Nutritionist.

    Why do you love working at the Centre?

    The holistic approach to healing at The Centre is in line with my own values in life. I have always believed in a more natural method of healing which encompasses the mind, body, and spirit. This is that makes The Centre so unique and why I find it rewarding to be part of a team that shares the same values as my own.

    What is something no one would guess about you?

    I’ve gone skydiving!

  • Nicole Girt,

    Administrative Assistant

    How did you get here?

    I have had an interest in holistic therapy from a young age. Being raised in a household that focused on a holistic lifestyle I developed an interest in nutrition, health, and well-being which led me to the University of Toronto to pursue a degree in Psychology. I graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Science Degree from U of T and am looking to further explore a career in holistic health and wellness.

    Why do you love working at the Centre?

    I love the approach that the Centre utilizes and being part of a team filled with friendly, compassionate and down-to-earth individuals who share the same values as me.

    What is something no one would guess about you?

    When I’m not working here at the Centre you can usually find me being creative; mainly singing/playing the guitar or acting in various projects.

  • Kira Simon,

    Administrative Assistant

    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!

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