Lynda M. Ashbourne

Associate Professor
Department of Family Relations & Applied Nutrition
Phone number: 
519-824-4120 x54237
Macdonald Stewart Hall, Room 324

Research interests: family relationships (intergenerational, spousal); family migration; family violence/safety; couple and family therapy, dog-human relationships in families and therapy/facility supports.

Area: Family Relations & Human Development

Description of research: Lynda M. Ashbourne, PhD, RP, RMFT

Taking a social constructionist stance, I am interested in understanding how people make sense of their lives in interaction with others, especially in family relationships. With a resiliency perspective, I examine how broader social systems and events (culture, war, marginalization) influence relationships. I use qualitative methods (Grounded Theory, Narrative Analysis) and write about my research findings for practitioners, educators, family members, and policy-makers.

Accepting graduate students: MSc.FRHD

Fall 2021: No

Description of Research interests 

My program of research focuses in two areas: (i) people’s interactions and meaning-making in family relationships; and (ii) the connections and potential gaps between various community services and supports for families. I conduct qualitative research, primarily using Grounded Theory or Narrative Analysis and have also been engaged in Participatory Action Research.

I have examined parent-adolescent relationships in immigrant and non-immigrant families. I have demonstrated the ways in which these family members use time together and apart to adapt and change their relationships to account for new life stages. I have also interviewed immigrant parents and teens about the stories they tell each other, and how these contribute to their relationships. With colleagues from London, ON and Doha, Qatar, we have interviewed men and women forced to flee conflict zones in Syria and Iraq with their families about the impact of these pre-migration, migration, and settlement in Canada experiences on their spousal and parent-child relationships.

With regard to service-providing systems, I am currently interested in understanding how best to provide culturally integrative services for newcomer families from collectivist communities who may be at risk of family violence. My colleague, Dr. Mohammed Baobaid (London, ON) and I have proposed a model for cultural brokerage of formal and informal services for such families and we continue to investigate its application. I am interested in determining best practices at the level of community systems for supporting and ensuring the safety of families. With my colleague, Dr. Andrea Breen, I am interested in examining the human-dog interactions in families and in therapy/support contexts.

I am interested more generally in the social construction of meaning in interaction with others: as this is applied to therapy interactions as well as supervisory interactions, and in families.

PhD Family Relations & Human Development, University of Guelph, 2008

MSc Couple & Family Therapy, University of Guelph, 1993

Ashbourne, L.M., Tam, D., Al Jamal, A., Baobaid, M., Badahdah, A. (2020). Arab families’ stories of migration from war zones: Gender roles and family relations in flux. Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies, online 18 Mar 2020.

Ashbourne, L. M., Atalla, S., Al Jamal, A., & Baobaid, M. (2020). Understanding the effects of involuntary migration on family relationships: Meaning construction by parents and service providers. Journal of Constructivist Psychology, online 02 Mar 2020.

Ashbourne, Lynda M., & Baobaid, M. (2019). A collectivist perspective for addressing family violence in minority newcomer communities in North America: Culturally integrative family safety responses. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 11, 315-329.

Baobaid, M., Ashbourne, Lynda M., Tam, D., Abdallah, B., & Al Jamal, A. (2018). Pre and Post Migration Stressors and Marital Relations among Arab Refugee Families in Canada. Submitted to Doha International Family Institute.

Baobaid, M. & Ashbourne, Lynda M. (2017).  Family Violence Interventions with Muslim Communities: Culturally Integrative Family Safety Response.  New York: Routledge.

Ashbourne, Lynda M., *Fife, K., *Ridley, M., & *Gaylor, E. (2016). Supporting the Development of Novice Therapists. In Sally St. George and Dan Wulff (Eds.), Family Therapy as Socially Transformative Practice: Practical Strategies (pp. 125). New York:  Springer.

*de Leon, K., Ashbourne, Lynda M., & *Robson, J. (2016).  The effects of neighbourhood, community, and social networks on marginalized youths' well-being: An arts-based approach.   Canadian Journal of Family and Youth

Ashbourne, Lynda M. & Baobaid, M. (2014).  Parent-adolescent storytelling in Canadian-Arabic immigrant families (Part 1): A grounded theory. Qualitative Report.

Ashbourne, Lynda M. & Baobaid, M. (2014).  Parent-adolescent storytelling in Canadian-Arabic immigrant families (Part 2): A narrative analysis. Qualitative Report.

*denotes student author

I work closely with the Muslim Resource Centre for Social Support and Integration (MRCSSI) in London, Ontario. I have collaborated with them on research projects and consulted regarding programming and research planning since 2008.

I am a Registered Psychotherapist in Ontario and RMFT (registered couple and family therapist in Canada). I have worked in community mental health since 1993 in various Ontario communities, and continue to maintain a small private practice, primarily "pro bono" (free) therapy for clients who fall between the ‘gaps’ in community-based services.

I have been actively engaged in my provincial, national, and international professional associations since the mid-1990’s. I recently completed a 3 yr term as a member of the Taos Institute Associates Council - – enhancing opportunities for exploring with international colleagues various applications of social constructionist ideas to practice and theory.

Together with Drs. Denise Whitehead, Dan Ashbourne, & Donna Lero, we have initiated and begun connecting with a Community of Practice focused on Family Law and Family Conflict for practitioners in law and mental health who are working with separating and divorced families.

Research Collaborations

I have collaborated with Dr. Mohammed Baobaid and his colleagues at MRCSSI in London, ON on several projects with immigrant and refugee families since 2008. We have recently been working with the Doha International Family Institute (DIFI), Qatar, exploring the impact of migration from conflict zones on the family relationships of Arab refugees now in Canada. In this work, we also collaborate with Dr. Dora Tam, University of Calgary, and Dr. Abdallah Badahdah at South Dakota State University.

I have been involved in a CIHR Team Grant: Gender, Violence, and Health (PI: Helene Berman, Western University and a larger team of researchers), conducting participatory action research with marginalized youth. We currently have an anthology in press related to this research.

In the area of couple & family therapy research and writing, I have collaborated with Dr. Olga Smoliak (University of Guelph), Dr. Marshall Fine (Wilfred Laurier University), Drs. Sally St. George and Dan Wulff (University of Calgary).

(2016-2017) Doha International Family Insititute, Qatar

(2011-2016) CIHR Team Grant: Gender Violence and Health – Voices Against Violence

(2011-2012) SSHRC Standard Research Grant – Intergenerational Storytelling in Immigrant Families

Research group investigating human-dog interactions in families and therapy/supports for family members.

Influence of pre- and post-migration stressors on spousal and family relationships among Arab refugee families in Canada

Assessing application of Culturally Integrative Family Safety Response (CIFSR) with Syrian refugee families in London, ON

Potential future projects

Continuing work assessing application of CIFSR model in various contexts

Communities of Practice: Effective ways of facilitating connection across disciplines and service sectors – current particular focus on those working in the area of family law and family conflict

Best practices and impacts on dogs, mental health professionals, and clients of working with facility and therapy dogs.

What are the qualities of a student who would be successful in your lab?

  • You are curious, creative, organized, and self-motivated. You have good writing skills and are interested in using qualitative or mixed research methodologies.

How would you describe your mentoring style?

  • I like to work collaboratively with students in determining an initial direction for their work; to set timelines and expectations clearly at the onset and revise accordingly as time goes on; to encourage student accountability and responsibility for meeting agreed-upon expectations and bringing problems or concerns to me for discussion of solutions.

Is there anything else you’d like your potential students to know?

  • I have appreciated opportunities to co-author papers with students and to invite participation in the qualitative research that I do. I do not usually have additional funding for travel and conference presentation.



Area of Research

Family Relations and Human Development