Ainsley Jenicek

Ainsley Jenicek is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work, McGill University and a practicing clinical social worker, Couple and Family Therapist, and psychotherapist. Her program of research focuses on chosen families, or family-like relationships formed outside of biological and legal ties, and how clinicians can effectively offer support. Building on research about fictive kinship, voluntary kinship, chosen families, and related concepts, she is investigating how these relationship structures can present in clinical work and what clinical approaches are best suited to their realities. Her aim is to promote the needs of these often marginalized relationships within clinical training and practice to encourage creative, reflective practice with families as a whole.

She teaches Couple Therapy, Understanding & Assessing Families, Adult Mental Health, Trauma and Resilience, and Ethics in Couple and Family Therapy at the graduate level.

Before joining the McGill School of Social Work, she worked for several years as a social worker and couple and family therapist in youth psychiatry and private practice. In youth psychiatry at the Jewish General Hospital, she created an intake evaluation system that blended wait list management strategies with risk assessments and crisis management. She also practiced individual and family therapy with youth dealing with suicidality, major depression, anxiety disorders, and other mental health issues. In her ongoing clinical work, she offers therapy to individuals, couples, and families dealing with communication, conflict, trauma, intergenerational, and various mental health difficulties. In addition to her training as a Couple and Family Therapist, she has completed the multi-year training to become a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP) and a fellowship year with the Canadian Psychoanalytic Society, Quebec English Branch.

Aside from her clinical work, she also worked for the Ordre des travailleurs sociaux et thérapeutes conjugaux et familiaux (OTSTCFQ) from 2015-2017 to support the creation of the four Référentiels that describe and frame the competencies required for Couple and Family Therapists in Quebec.

Prior to becoming a clinician, Ainsley worked for over a decade in the community sector doing popular education, community building, group facilitation, and offering informal support within the LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and migrant communities based in Quebec. This work inspired her to become a clinician and continues to influence her therapeutic work.


Bachelor of Arts, 2007 - McGill University

Master of Arts, 2009 - Concordia University. Media Studies

Master of Social Work, 2014 - McGill University

Master of Science Applied, 2015 - McGill University, Couple and Family Therapy Programme

Doctor of Philosophy, in progress - McGill University, School of Social Work


2022 – present: Assistant Professor, McGill University, School of Social Work

2019 – 2022: Course Lecturer, McGill University, School of Social Work


MacIntosh, H.B., Marzinotto, E., & Jenicek, A. (2021). Échelle COVID-19 dans le milieu familial.

Steering committee member (OTSTCFQ):

1) Référentiel d’activité professionnel lié à l’exercice de la profession de thérapeute conjugale et familiale ou thérapeute conjugal et familial au Québec

2) Référentiel d’inspection professionnelle lié à l’exercice de la profession de thérapeute conjugale et familiale ou thérapeute conjugal et familial au Québec

3) Référentiel de réflexion sur la pratique professionnelle en thérapie conjugale et familiale

4) Référentiel d’évaluation et de reconnaissances des personnes formées à l’étranger voulant exercer la profession de thérapeute conjugale et familiale ou thérapeute conjugal et familial au Québec (to come)


Areas of interest and specialization:

  • Couple and Family Therapy
  • Chosen Family & Voluntary Kinship
  • Trauma-Informed Therapy & Somatic Techniques
  • Mental Health in Adolescents, Young Adults and their Families
  • Stigmatization, Marginalization, & Interpersonal Power Dynamics



Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Jenicek, A., & MacIntosh, H.B. (in press). What about our chosen kin? Determining who counts as family within family therapy. Revue Intervention.

Jenicek, A., Lee, E., & Wong, A. (2009). “‘Dangerous Shortcuts’: Representations of sexual minority refugees in the post-9/11 Canadian press.” Canadian Journal of Communication, 34(4): 635-58.




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