Dr. Cheng’s Professional Qualifications Include:
  • University of Toronto, Fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • University of Ottawa, Residency in Psychiatry with Certificate in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Queens University in Kingston, Medical Degree
  • University of Toronto, BSc
Mind/Body/Spiritual Approach to Treatment

We start by identifying healthy goals, e.g. feeling better; dealing with stresses; increasing meaningful connections and activities in one’s life, etc.

Then we co-construct a way to work towards those goals.

Universal healthy goals for mental wellness are (re)connecting them to the people and things that give
  • Purpose,
  • Belonging,
  • Meaning
  • Hope.
The problem in life is that modern society disconnects our kids from us, and they tend to connect to people (e.g. negative peers) or things (e.g. screens, unhealthy values, processed foods, sugar and the gaming couch) which are not meaningful or healthy.

Along the way, we may need to Identify any obstacles getting in the way.

In the collaborative proactive solutions (CPS) philosophy, people do well if they can; everyone wants to succeed.

So if a child or youth is having difficulties, it is because there is some condition or issue getting in the way.

Our job is to help identify any obstacles getting in the way such as:
  • Physical stressors such as medical problems, or conditions such as regulatory-sensory processingdr conditions, mood or anxiety conditions, ADHD, learning disorders, sensory processing/regulation or other conditions
  • Psychological or social stresses with home, work or school
Once we figure out what the obstacles are, then we can put together a comprehensive plan to ensure that things are back on track

Therapeutic approaches that I might use depending on the specific situation (and how busy things are in the clinic) include
  • Dyadic developmental psychotherapy (DDP)
  • Brainspotting and other 'subcortical interventions'
  • Self-regulation and sensory processing interventions, in a polyvagal framework
I may integrate some of the above principles, but depending on the complexity, may recommend other professionals (e.g. speech/language, occupational therapists) to implement those — some of these may be publicly available, but note that some are not unfortunately.

The usual top recommendations with the current families that I see usually include
  • Increasing your child's direct face to face time with other humans, e.g. other children, and most importantly, adults. Connection to adults is essential for learning social skills, as well for learning to look up to adults. (Both of the latter skills are a struggle for many of today's youth, who struggle with social skills, connect more with screens than people, and overvalue peers, and devalue parents and adults).
  • Encourage nature time
  • Limiting screen time — note the order of these interventions, in that limiting screen happens AFTER one has increased connection to healthier activities.

Selected Publications
  • Cheng, M.C., Wolski J. (2011). Mental Health Meets New Media: A Powerful New Portal for Increased Access to Mental Health Services. In Estrine, S., Hettenbach, R., Arthur, H., Messina., M. (Eds.), Service Delivery for Vulnerable Populations: New Directions in Behavioural Health (pp. 379-396). New York: Springer Publishing Company.
  • Manion M, Buchanan B, Cheng, M.C, Johnston J, Short K. Embedding evidence-based practice in child and youth mental health in Ontario, Evidence & Policy, 2009, 5(2): 141-153.