Our Mental Health Professionals

Carmen Urbina, M.Ed., RP

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. In addition to her qualifications, Carmen also offers clinical consultation and supervision to other clinicians in the community.

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.

Irene Salidis, MA, RP

Registered Psychotherapist

Irene is a Registered Psychotherapist who speaks both English and Arabic. Irene completed her Master’s Degree of Arts in counselling psychology through Yorkville University.

Irene’s approach emphasizes the mutual development of goals for therapy and the provision of ongoing evaluation of the therapeutic approach. She believes in working in partnership with clients to utilize their strengths to help them sort out their challenges and achieve their goals. She also realizes how important it is to identify all aspects of an individual’s life that impact their well-being in this process, including their physical health, support systems (family, friends, etc.), work or school environment, and faith/spirituality.
Irene loves working with individuals, couples, and families from various cultural backgrounds. She believes everyone should have a safe and healing place to work through life’s difficulties.

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.

Samantha Ledon, MA, RP (Qualifying)

Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying)

Samantha believes in creating a caring and non-judgmental space where people can explore their different emotions, sensations, and thoughts that may be causing discomfort. Samantha values preserving that space where people can express their own human experiences as well as journeying together alongside her clients toward a place of meaningful change.

Samantha utilizes an integrative approach that is informed mainly by Emotionally-Focused and Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT), Narrative Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Samantha also integrates an attachment and culturally sensitive perspective while also incorporating self-compassion and somatic techniques into her therapeutic work with clients.

Samantha works collaboratively with her clients to meet their needs and goals. She has experience working with individuals, couples, and families. Her interests and experiences in providing counselling services include grief, interpersonal relationships, relational conflicts, self-esteem issues, trauma, anxiety, and depression.

Samantha offers psychotherapy in both English and Spanish. She is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) and has completed a Master’s Degree in Counselling and Spirituality with a Concentration in Couple and Family Counselling at Saint Paul University. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, and graduated from Universidad de las Américas, A.C., in Mexico City.

Sierra Bridgwater, MA, RP

Registered Psychotherapist

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).

Yoko Feinman, MSW, RSW

Registered Social Worker

Yoko is a registered social worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW). She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Maryland and a Master of Social Work from Carleton University.

Yoko believes in the inherent dignity of every person. No one is ever just one thing, and certainly cannot be reduced to their most challenging moment. Yet the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, or the ones that we inherit, can often keep us feeling stuck, small, and alone. Within the safety of the therapeutic relationship, we can reflect on and even question these stories and how we come to know ourselves and our place in an ever-changing world. In addition to our sense of self are the skills and resources we call upon in the face of challenges. Yoko aspires to provide an empathetic brave space as well as a practice ground for new relational skills.

Yoko’s work with young adults, adults, and couples is informed by attachment theory, narrative therapy, internal family systems, and a developmental model of relationships. Her years of experience as a dancer, choreographer, and yoga instructor, along with her continued studies of neurophysiological approaches such as polyvagal theory and sensorimotor psychotherapy, have all contributed to Yoko’s understanding of the natural intelligence of our bodies. She is passionate about the connection between the body and mind and often incorporates body-based work to support trauma and grief processing, helping clients approach emotional regulation and self-awareness with gentleness and play.