Dr. Erika Penner is a registered psychologist who specializes in the treatment of children, couples, and families. She works with children and adolescents who present with anxiety and behavioural difficulties, including selective mutism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorders, disruptive or noncompliant behaviour problems, and emotional dysregulation (i.e., getting overwhelmed by emotions). She works with couples navigating challenging parental circumstances such as divorce, blending families, or caring for a a child with mental health, behavioural, or medical concerns, as well as couples who would like to improve their romantic relationship.
Dr. Penner uses evidence-based, empirically validated treatments (i.e., treatments that have been shown to be effective in research studies). For child and adolescent anxiety disorders, she uses cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT); for couples’ relationship distress, she uses Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT); and for parenting support, she draws from well-validated parenting programs such as The Incredible Years, Triple P, and Parent-Child Interactional Therapy. Her goal is to ensure that family functioning is improved through these modalities, and she focuses on treatment programs that allow children, parents, and couples to continue to improve and maintain gains after treatment ends. Importantly, she appreciates the high level of distress that families may be experiencing when treatment is sought, and provides an environment that is warm and supportive (for parents and couples), and fun and approachable (for children and adolescents).
In additional to her work in the private sector, Dr. Penner is a staff psychologist at BC Children’s Hospital. She has worked with the Provincial Autism Resource Centre and Complex Developmental and Behavioural Conditions programs providing neuropsychological assessment services to children aged 2 to 19 years. She is currently affiliated with the Medical Psychology program at BCCH where she provides treatment and consultation services to families of children experiencing medical challenges (e.g., organ transplant). She is a Clinical Associate at Simon Fraser University, supervising students within the clinical psychology graduate training program. She also teaches undergraduate-level courses at SFU. Finally, she is active within the research community as a Clinical Investigator with the Child and Family Research Institute. In August, 2015, she will be participating in an intensive program for the treatment of selective mutism in New York with Dr. Steve Kurtz, who is formerly of the Child Mind Institute.
Dr. Penner received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Simon Fraser University. She completed her residency at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and prior to her current positions she worked in a variety of practice settings including Royal Columbian Hospital, Child and Youth Mental Health, Youth Forensic Psychiatric Services, and others.
Suite 246 – 515 West Pender Street
Vancouver, BC, V6B 6H5