Lynda M. Ashbourne, Ph.D., RMFT

Associate Professor, Couple & Family Therapy (Director) 
Dept. of Family Relations & Applied Nutrition (CFT) 
University of Guelph, Guelph, ON Canada N1G 2W1

Phone: 519.824.4120 x54237 

I am an Associate Professor in the interdisciplinary department of Family Relations & Applied Nutrition at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. I teach and supervise the beginning practice of M.Sc. student interns in the Couple & Family Therapy (CFT) curriculum area of the department, and occasionally end up holding the Program Director ‘talking stick’ as it is shared with my CFT faculty colleagues. I worked for about 15 years as a couple and family therapist in community-based agencies – from a collaborative, dialogic positioning that encouraged clients, colleagues, and me to stay attuned to the multiple and complex constructions of meaning in relationship interactions, as well as broader systems and discourses that can serve to limit or expand such meaning-making.

Shifting from working primarily as a therapist and community-based supervisor in 2008, I moved to a full-time academic position that opened up possibilities for research and training of early-career CFT professionals. As with many shifts of this nature, this has led to lots of ‘shaking up’ with respect to my thinking and perspective-taking and ideas about learning, change, competence (my own),and life. It has also allowed me to experience with more intention the sometimes exhilarating and sometimes terrifying journey into practicing new skills alongside what has become familiar.

I continue to practice from a collaborative, constructionist position with individuals, couples and families at transition points in their lives; facing loss, the effects of trauma, and change; and attempting to understand themselves and others in compassionate ways that appreciate differences and commonalities as they are expressed in relationships. I am challenging myself and the students with whom I work to appreciate the value of ‘fumbling’ and ‘repair’ in dialogue with clients, supervisors, and peers alongside compassion for the humanness of oneself and others.

My research has recently been primarily directed at capturing the voices of parents and adolescents in immigrant and marginalized contexts – reflecting on the day-to-day and more mundane interactions in families (such as storytelling and negotiating time and space together and apart) as they influence relationships, and listening for the influences of broader cultural/structural discourses and practices on family relationships and well-being. I see this orientation as augmenting a more predominant focus in parent-adolescent research on conflict and monitoring. In addition to family relationships, I am interested in supervisory processes – how these unfold, what both therapist and supervisors see as helpful or evidence of practice-development, and how meaning about therapy and clients’ experiences are constructed in the supervision context. I am interested in qualitative methods that capture, in some measure, multiple voices, unfolding stories, and collaborative meaning-making. My current research and publications are listed at:

The other important ‘stuff’ of my life involves my partner, Dan, our adult children (who continue to teach me more than I ever could have imagined…) and sitting by a northern lake listening to the loons while watching the moon rise, or watching the waves crash on the Newfoundland coast.

Lynda M. Ashbourne, Ph.D. Files & Links