Education & Training
Dr. Molly McCarthy completed her MA and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at York University in Toronto. Her dissertation research focused on couples’ relational and sexual adjustment to life with an ostomy after colorectal cancer and was awarded the Frederick Banting and Charles Best Doctoral Award by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Her work aimed to address the supportive care needs of an underserved group of patients within oncology and is a reflection of Dr. McCarthy’s professional aspiration to increase access to mental health support within the medical system.
Prior to joining the Toronto Psychology Clinic, she completed her predoctoral residency at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, with rotations in Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry Service, Chronic Pain, Borderline Personality Disorder Service, and Neuropsychology. She also previously trained at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the Odette Cancer Centre at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and the York University Psychology Clinic and worked as a research-consultant for the Ontario Ministry of Labour. In addition to her time at the Toronto Psychology Clinic, Molly is a staff member of the Community Psychiatry Clinic at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, where she provides individual and group therapy and conducts psychological assessments with adults.
In her clinical practice, Dr. McCarthy strongly values and prioritizes her relationship with clients. She understands that seeking psychological support can be challenging and works collaboratively with clients to develop goals for therapy. Her style is warm, genuine, and non-judgmental and she aims to create an environment where individuals and couples can feel safe to explore their concerns. She believes that it is within the safety and trust of the therapeutic relationship that clients can come to new insights and understandings, experiment with different ways of thinking and behaving, and create meaning of their experiences. Dr. McCarthy works with individuals from diverse backgrounds; she is committed to delivering culturally sensitive care and her practice is LGBTQ+ affirming.
Dr. McCarthy integrates approaches and techniques from evidence-based therapies including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), and Mindfulness to individualize treatment to the needs, values, strengths, and readiness of the individual or couple. She has also completed additional clinical training in sex therapy through the University of Guelph, Emotion-Focused Therapy for couples, and Gottman Method Couples Therapy. Whenever possible, she continues to seek out learning opportunities to improve her practice of evidence-based interventions.
Dr. McCarthy has experience in supporting individuals with diverse challenges including:
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder/complex trauma
- Difficulty managing overwhelming emotions
- Challenging life transitions (e.g., caregiving to aging parents or ill-partners, workplace stress, academic anxiety)
- Coping with medical conditions (e.g., chronic pain, cancer, kidney disease)
- Perinatal and perimenopausal depression and anxiety
- Difficulties with sleep
- Grief and bereavement
- Distress in relationships
- Difficulties with sex and intimacy
Dr. McCarthy was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario. She has an extensive family history of cancer and a higher-than-average genetic risk for developing cancer. She believes these personal experiences have provided her with an appreciation for the life-changing experience of illness as well as the challenge we are all presented in accepting uncertainty in life. Motivated by these experiences, she strives to increase access to mental health support within the medicalized healthcare system through her work in research and education.
McCarthy, M., Fergus, K., Isaacs, J, & Miller, D. (2020). Couples’ sexual adjustment to a permanent colostomy after rectal cancer: A grounded theory analysis. [Manuscript in preparation].
McCarthy, M., & Fergus, K. (2020). Why don’t couples participate in psychosexual research after cancer? Perspectives of Health Professionals. [Manuscript in preparation].
McCarthy, M., Fergus, K., & Miller, D. (2016). ‘I-We’ boundary fluctuations in couple adjustment to rectal cancer and life with a permanent colostomy. Health Psychology Open, 3(1), 1-14.
Ahmad, S., Fergus, K., & McCarthy, M. (2015). Psychosocial issues experienced by young women with breast cancer: The minority group with the majority of need. Current Opinions in Supportive Palliative Care, 9(3), 271-278.
McCarthy, M. C, & Lumley, M. N. (2012). Sources of emotional maltreatment and the differential development of unconditional and conditional schemas. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 41(1), 288-297.
Selected conference presentations & guest lectures:
McCarthy, M. (2020, June). Grief…Sometimes it gets complicated: Issues in assessment and treatment. Presentation at the Mental Health and Addictions Rounds, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, Hamilton, ON.
McCarthy, M. (2019, February). A novel online psychosexual intervention for bladder and colorectal cancer patients with an ostomy and their partners. Invited in-service to the Radiology Department, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, ON.
McCarthy, M. C., Fergus, K., Turner, A. Chadwick, S., Vanstone, R., & Dunkley, M. (2018, October). Let’s talk about sex… with an ostomy: A formative evaluation of a novel online psychosexual intervention for colorectal cancer patients with an ostomy and their partners. Oral presentation at the International Psycho-Oncology Society World Congress, Hong Kong.
McCarthy, M. (2018, November). Are you concerned about sex and intimacy while living with an ostomy? Invited lecture at the Annual Patient Education Event for Individual with an Ostomy and their Families, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, ON.
Canadian Psychological Association
Ontario Psychological Association
Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology