Our Mental Health Professionals

Carmen Urbina, M.Ed., RP, Registered Psychotherapist

Clinical Manager, The Refugees and Vulnerable Newcomers Program

Carmen’s educational journey includes a five-year program in Education, majoring in science and minor in counselling from the University of Chile and a master’s degree from the University of Ottawa. In addition, Carmen completed a three-year post-graduate program to become a Gestalt Psychotherapist at the Gestalt Institute of the National Capital. Furthermore, Carmen completed the one-year Advanced Clinical Supervision Certificate at the prestigious School of Social Work, Smith College, Massachusetts, USA.

Carmen has worked extensively in the field of cross-cultural counselling supporting newcomers to Ottawa for over twenty years, first as a counsellor and later as clinical supervisor and program manager. She has been instrumental in developing and sustaining resources in the community to make Ottawa a more inclusive and welcoming city highlighting the mental health needs of immigrants and refugees settling in Ottawa. She has trained and mentored dozens of students and young clinicians interested in developing cross-cultural counselling skills and has collaborated closely with other service providers such as lawyers and teachers.

Carmen believes in the power of active listening and unconditional positive regard as a first step to silently acknowledge the client presence and willingness to trust and engage in a therapeutic process that builds a positive model of a relationship with oneself and with others regardless of where the person is from or the present circumstances.

Carmen is keenly interested in listening to people’s experiences and how the cultural/social norms and the individual uniqueness shape the person’s evolving identity and the capacity to reach their potential. Carmen uses many of the well-known counselling approaches such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Emotion Focus Therapy and Narrative Therapy supplemented by a socio-cultural perspective that uniquely reflects the client’s preferences. Carmen is bilingual (English/Spanish) and works with individuals and couples.

Kelly Firth, MA, RP

Registered Psychotherapist

Kelly uses a warm, empathetic, and client-centred approach in her work. She aims to create a compassionate and non-judgemental space and to empower her clients to achieve their unique goals. Kelly uses an integrative and collaborative approach by drawing from various therapeutic approaches, such as Narrative Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Psychodynamic theory, Internal Family Systems, and Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFCT). Kelly collaborates with each client, tailoring her approach to meet their therapeutic needs.

Kelly is experienced in working with adult individuals and couples. Her areas of experience include working with anxiety, depression, trauma/PTSD, addiction, grief and loss, interpersonal relationships, and relationship conflict. Kelly is a LGBTQ2+ positive and kink-friendly counsellor and aims to honour the experience of all of her clients.

Kelly received her Master’s degree in Counselling and Spirituality with a specialization in Couple and Family Counselling from Saint Paul University and her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Ottawa. She is also a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO).

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.

Mikaela Wasserman, M.Ed. , RP (Q)

Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying)

Mikaela creates a warm and compassionate environment in therapy. Guided by the values of empathy, unconditional positive regard, and genuineness, she takes a client-centred approach in her work. Mikaela works with her clients in a collaborative manner to help them reach their therapeutic goals. She uses an integrative approach, practicing humanistic psychotherapy informed by training in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), Narrative Therapy, and Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT), while also drawing from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness practices, and Psychodynamic and Internal Family Systems theories. The approach taken for each client is designed uniquely to meet their expressed needs and goals.

Mikaela works with individuals and couples of all genders to navigate a variety of difficulties by creating a safe, non-judgmental, and supportive environment. She has clinical experience and training in sex therapy, trauma, interpersonal conflict, and grief/loss, as well as managing issues related to depression, anxiety, shame, and anger. Mikaela is an LGBTQ2+ positive and sex positive counsellor and wants to respect the individual experiences of all her clients.

Mikaela Wasserman is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) and a University of Ottawa graduate of the Master of Education Counselling Psychology program. She also holds a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Psychology with a specialization in Behavioural Neuroscience from Concordia University. She has substantial research and clinical training in human sexuality.

Sierra Bridgwater, MA, RP (Qualyfing)

Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying)

Sierra uses a warm, empathetic, and client-centred approach in her work. She aims to create a supportive space to empower clients throughout their therapeutic journey while helping them identify and achieve their unique goals. She holds a compassionate, non-judgemental space to allow clients to feel cared for and validated.

Sierra tailors her therapeutic approach to meet each client’s needs. She uses an integrative person-centered approach which draws on various modalities from Psychodynamic Therapy, Attachment-based therapy, Narrative therapy, and Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFCT). Along with these modalities, she uses Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) tools and Mindfulness-based techniques.

Sierra is experienced in working with adult individuals ages 18 and over, as well as couples. Her areas of experience include working with interpersonal relationships, relationship conflict and communication issues, trauma/ PTSD, grief and loss, anxiety, depression, stress, and self-esteem. Sierra is an LGBTQ2S+ positive counsellor and aims to honour the experience of all her clients.

Sierra received her Master’s degree in Counselling and Spirituality with a specialization in Couple and Family Counselling from Saint Paul University and her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Carleton University. She is also a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO).