Our Mental Health Professionals

Abraar Elmi, M.Ed. , RP (Q)

Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying)

Abraar uses a compassionate, collaborative and strength-based approach to work with clients to identify goals and develop personalized therapy plans. She creates a safe, non-judgmental space for individuals to explore their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours while developing new coping strategies while strengthening existing ones. Abraar adapts her approach for each individual’s needs and draws on elements from various therapeutic approaches such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Solution-Focused therapeutic modalities, and person-centered therapies.

Abraar is passionate about providing support to the 2SLGBTQ+ community and marginalized communities. Her areas of interest include relationship difficulties, anxiety, depression, grief, ADHD, interpersonal relationships, self-esteem issues, and challenges related to life transitions.

Abraar is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) with the College of Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO). Abraar completed her M. Ed in Counselling Psychology at the University of Ottawa.

Agnieszka Szymanowicz-Yalcin, M.Ed., RP

Registered Psychotherapist

Agnieszka believes that every person is unique and an expert of their own life experience. Therefore, she adopts an integrative approach in counselling to aid in addressing client’s challenges. She tailors her approaches according to the client’s needs, and this includes humanistic, client centered, cognitive-behavioral, dialectical-behavioral, multicultural, developmental philosophies, narrative, solution focus, brief, positive psychology, mindfulness base stress reduction, motivational interviewing, anti-oppressive, empowerment and trauma informed lens within community perspective to promote healing and strengthen resiliency. Agnieszka aims to approach individuals with compassion, flexibility, and non-judgment to support their growth, healing process and improving quality of life.

She offers counselling in both Polish and English. She has completed a Master’s Degree in Education with specialization in counselling psychology. She is a full member of the Collage of Registered Psychotherapist of Ontario, CRPO.

Amira Nazarali, MSW, RSW

Registered Social Worker, Psychotherapist

Amira is a Registered Social Worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, and a member of the Ontario Association of Social Workers. She approaches counselling from humanistic and existential perspectives, which means that she views clients as innately having the inner resources to confront challenges, gain insight into themselves, pursue their self-determined goals, and create greater meaning and purpose in their lives.

Amira sees her role as providing clients with support, some appropriate tools, and an enabling environment for them to engage in their own individual process of growth. She strives to approach her clients with warmth, empathy, acceptance, authenticity and an appreciation of the uniqueness of every individual’s lived experience in the world.  She believes strongly in collaborative, anti-oppressive and trauma-informed practice.

To best suit the individual needs of each of her clients, Amira draws upon a range of approaches and therapeutic models. These include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Approaches and Positive Psychology. She is open to working with clients of all ages, but has specific experience working with youth and young adults as they grapple with concerns such as depression, anxiety, social and interpersonal challenges, academic and workplace stress, and as they navigate personal identity, life changes and adjustments.

Amira completed her graduate degree in social work at the University of Toronto. She also holds a graduate degree in public health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the UK, with a specific interest in equity and social determinants of physical and mental health. Before her counselling role, she spent time working in the global health and humanitarian assistance field.

Aya El Balaa, MA, RP

Registered Psychotherapist

Aya aims to provide a warm, judgement-free, and supportive space where the client feels safe and understood. She provides an empathetic presence that allows clients to be their authentic self and feel cared for and validated. Aya works with clients to help them identify their goals. She then works closely with her clients in developing strategies and skills that highlight their resilience and strengths. She helps them regulate their emotions and provides them with tools to help them cope with stress, improve their relationships, and bring about the desired change in their lives. 

Aya is an integrative therapist using modalities such as Emotion Focused Therapy, Narrative Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, tailoring the approaches to meet the clients’ therapeutic needs. 

Aya works as part of the Refugee and Newcomer program as well as the Adult Individual program to help people who are experiencing clinical issues in relation to stress, anxiety, depression, adjustment in life transitions, self-esteem, separation, intimate partner violence, and more.  

Aya offers counselling in both Arabic and English. She has completed a Masters Degree in Counselling and Spirituality. She is a Registered Psychotherapist Qualifying with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO). 

Bita Haghdadi, M.A., RP (Q)

Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying)

Bita has always been interested in psychology and western culture, which led her to immigrate to Canada to complete her graduate studies in Counselling and Psychotherapy. Her desire to connect with and help people makes being a therapist both professionally and spiritually fulfilling.

As a therapist, she provides a non-judgmental, empathetic space for her clients to explore, learn, and grow into mental wellness and their best selves. Furthermore, as a professional who has been educated in both non-western and western environments, she is positioned to assist her clients in mediating between their needs and the available resources.

Her psychotherapy approach is integrative. However, as a therapist, Bita believes the client is the expert on their journey. Bita and her client will determine the best psychotherapeutic techniques to explore together, addressing the client’s specific issues, the depth of the interventions, and the length of their engagement.

Some of the modalities that Bita applies in her psychotherapy services include Humanistic and Existential therapy, Logotherapy, Mindfulness, Trauma-informed therapy, Jungian therapy, Emotion-Focused therapy, and Cognitive-Behavioral therapy. Bita provides individual counseling and psychotherapy services for a range of issues, including anxiety, depression, trauma, relationship issues, emotional and intellectual disturbances, self-knowledge, self-love, and self-confidence.

Bita can provide services in both English and Farsi. She is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO)

Dellan Woodger, M.Ed, C.C.C., R.P. (Qualifying)

Registered Psychotherapist

Dellan works using an eclectic therapeutic approach, which draws on multiple therapeutic orientations in order to adapt to a client’s individual needs. His experience is primarily with person-centred and third-wave approaches; most frequently utilizing the following therapeutic methods: narrative therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), acceptance commitment therapy (ACT), and compassion-focused therapy (CFT). Dellan’s approach to counselling is highly collaborative and utilizes clients’ strengths and values to assist them as they navigate life’s challenges. Dellan has lived experience as a queer, neurodiverse, and transgender man. These identities informed his interest in narrative and client-centred approaches which emphasize the client as the expert in their own life.

Dellan’s primary experience lies in working with youth, families, 2SLGBTQIA+, and neurodiverse individuals. He holds an M.Ed in counselling psychology from the University of Ottawa. Dellan is a Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC) with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) and a registered psychotherapist (qualifying) with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO).

Evelyn Wong, MSW, RSW

Registered Social Worker, Psychotherapist

In her work with individuals and families, Evelyn provides a person-centred, non-judgmental and compassionate space to explore and navigate a range of life experiences including critical illnesses, addictions, grief and loss, interpersonal relationships, stress, anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideations.

Evelyn views her role to be that of a co-navigator in the process of psychotherapy. Her goal is to journey with individuals and families in their quest to reconnect with what is most important to them, with a focus on promoting resilience and growth for each individual and family that she works with.

Practicing from Narrative Therapy and Attachment-Based frameworks, Evelyn also draws on other therapeutic modalities (Emotionally Focused, Feedback-Informed, Trauma-Informed, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy-Informed, and Internal Family Systems) to help individuals and families chart their own roadmap from where they are to where they would rather be.

Evelyn holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Carleton University and a One-Year Training Certificate in Narrative Therapy from Dulwich Centre, Australia. Evelyn is a Registered Social Worker in good standing with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW) and is also a member of the Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW).

Hannah Irvine, MSW, RSW

Registered Social Worker

Hannah Irvine is a Registered Social Worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. Hannah primarily works with children, youth, and their families. She brings an empathetic, warm, and non-judgmental approach based on existentialist-humanistic and attachment perspectives. In her practice, Hannah emphasizes the process of building authentic and transformative therapeutic relationships, creating a safe and collaborative space for clients to explore issues and take risks. Through this process, she helps clients identify their unique strengths, resources, and values, which can be used to navigate distress, connect with the world, and build a meaningful life.

Hannah integrates a variety of counseling modalities to best meet the unique needs and goals of each individual. She draws from approaches such as narrative therapy, emotion-focused family therapy, play and art therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Regardless of the approach, Hannah brings a non-pathologizing and strength-based lens that understands each person within their environment and considers the impact of structural barriers and social injustices on our experiences as individuals. Hannah incorporates a trauma-informed perspective into all her work and maintains a continuous practice of self-reflection, learning, and cultural humility.

Hannah has extensive experience working with children and youth in various settings. She possesses experience and interest in working with depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, perfectionism, social-emotional difficulties, and LGBTQ+ issues. She is particularly knowledgeable in working with ADHD, Autism, and other neurodivergences and disabilities.

Hannah earned her Master of Social Work from Carleton University. She previously completed her Honors B.A. at York University, majoring in Psychology with a strong focus on child and adolescent development and mental health.

Layla Matar, MA, RP

Registered Psychotherapist

Layla’s key importance is creating a safe space for clients to feel comfortable and relaxed to open up and unpack throughout their therapeutic journey. She brings a warm, non-judgmental approach to her sessions and seeks to be a caring witness to her clients and their stories. She wants her clients to feel safe and accepted for their full selves.

Layla uses an integrative and collaborative approach by drawing from different therapy and counselling theories; her work is tailored to best meet her clients’ needs. The approaches Layla uses help guide her clients to discover their hidden strength and resilience. Layla works with her clients’ strengths to support them in unpacking and exploring the issues and distress that bring them to therapy. The key therapeutic approaches which inform her practice are Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Narrative Therapy, Art Therapy, Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFCT), and Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy (PACT).

Layla is experienced in working with adult individuals and couples. Her experience involves working with depression, anxiety, trauma, self-development, childhood wounds, interpersonal relationships, and relationship conflicts.

Layla is a Registered Psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO). She graduated from Saint Paul University with her Master’s in Counselling and Spirituality and has a Graduate Diploma in Couple Counselling and Spirituality.

Marina Andrawis, MSW, RSW

Registered Social Worker

Marina has worked at Jewish Family Services (JFS) since the end of her placement, she started as a summer student. She has had the opportunity of working with the Refugee and Vulnerable Newcomer (RVN) team providing counselling services to youth and adults in the Arabic language. She has experience working with seniors, caregivers, at risk youth, racialized individuals, persons with disabilities and individuals dealing with intimate partner violence (IPV).

Marina strives to create a warm, welcoming and non-judgmental space for clients to be able to share their stories and feelings without hesitation. Marina approaches work with clients with a collaborative, strength based and trauma informed lens. Marina uses different modalities based on the client needs: Narrative therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Solution-focused brief therapy.

Marina holds a bachelor of Sociology and religious studies and a Master of Social Work, as well as a Social Service Worker Diploma. She is a registered social worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, and a member of the Ontario Association of Social Workers.  Marina has worked in a variety of settings within the field of social services for 5 years.