Our Counsellors

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

Clinical Manager and Counsellor in 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.

Derek Cozzi, M.Ed., RP(Qualifying), CCC

Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying)

Derek provides an affirming and non-judgmental space where clients can safely explore personal concerns and begin making meaningful shifts in their lives. Derek values transparency and collaboration and strives towards building strong, positive relationships with clients. Believing that clients are the experts of their lives, Derek works with them to discover their strengths and resilience, bolster self-agency, and conceive new possibilities and ways of being.

Derek uses an integrative Narrative Therapy approach, incorporating elements from Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). His genuine, warm, and compassionate nature is known for helping clients feel safe and comfortable. Derek takes a post-Feminist and intersectional approach to counselling that acknowledges social identities and the impact of oppressions on well-being. Derek is a LGBTTIQQ+ positive counsellor. His areas of interest include identity exploration, anxiety, depression, self-esteem/self-worth, anger, loss, and interpersonal challenges.

Derek completed his Master of Education in Counselling Psychology at the University of Ottawa. He also possesses a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) degree in Psychology from Ryerson University.

Jennifer Goldberg, M.Ed., RP, CCC

Registered Psychotherapist

Jennifer believes in fostering introspection and self-acceptance in order to promote positive relationships with both the self and with others. She offers a safe, non-judgmental space for clients to work on personal growth and positive change.

Jennifer practices with an integrative, collaborative approach. Much of her approach is comprised of a unique blend of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Psychodynamic Theory, and Emotion-Focused techniques. She works with clients to reach their goals by tailoring her therapeutic approach to meet their unique needs.

Jennifer has experience working with a wide variety of clinical issues, such as depression, anxiety, trauma, self-esteem, and relationship challenges. She has also worked extensively with individuals struggling with anger and aggression.

Jennifer has a special interest in working with couples, with a specific interest in working with couples to heal following infidelity within the relationship.  She provides a safe, therapeutic space to help couples improve communication and to better meet each other’s emotional needs. By establishing an understanding of relationship dynamics, Jennifer assists couples to change patterns of escalation and hurt, and to foster deeper levels of connection.

Jennifer is a Registered Psychotherapist and graduate of the University of Ottawa Master’s Degree in Education Counselling Program.

Jennifer Munroe, MSW, RSW

Registered Social Worker, Psychotherapist

Jennifer is passionate about supporting children, youth, and their families by using an attachment-based lens to rebuild trust and strengthen connectedness between children, youth, and their parents. Jennifer works collaboratively through a strengths-based and client-directed approach to support youth and family engagement. She listens closely to identify individual and family strengths, and supports clients to use these strengths to achieve the goals that are co-developed in session.

Jennifer has experience supporting clients with anxiety, depression, social-emotional difficulties including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, behavioural challenges, substance use, and harm to self and/or others. She has also worked with families who have experienced separation/divorce and/or have custody and access concerns, as well as with adopted and blended families.

Jennifer has worked in a variety of settings including community and hospital-based children’s mental health agencies, residential treatment homes, and within the criminal justice system. She has supported clients from diverse and marginalized populations who have experienced the ecological impacts of mental health, substance use, and intergenerational trauma.

Jennifer incorporates multiple modalities within her counselling approach, including: Emotion-Focused Family Therapy, Developmental Dyadic Psychotherapy, Dialectic Behaviour Therapy, Trauma-Informed Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Narrative Therapy and Motivational Interviewing. Jennifer maintains a trauma-informed lens with all clients.

Jennifer completed her MSW at the University of Queensland in Australia. She also has a Master’s degree in Criminology from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, where she specialized in attached-based interventions. Jennifer is a Registered Social Worker and is a member of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers and the Ontario Association of Social Workers.

Jessica Courville, M.Ed., RP, CCC

Registered Psychotherapist

Jessica’s approach to therapy is nonjudgmental, warm and strengths-based. She deeply values the collaborative relationship that develops between the client and therapist and approaches a person’s experience with a compassionate lens. Jessica places an emphasis on the “here and now”, endeavouring to assist others in creating more space between their actions and reactions.

Jessica specializes in working with youth, young adults, and adults who experience anxiety, depression, chronic stress, grief/loss, emotion regulation issues, interpersonal relationships issues, addictions and problematic substance use, low self-esteem, low self-confidence, as well as difficulty adjusting to life’s transitions. Her practice incorporates Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Mindful Self-Compassion Therapy (MSC).

Jessica is currently working with the Ontario Structured Psychotherapy (OSP) project, a province-wide initiative funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that provides access to structured Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for adults with mild to moderate anxiety and depression symptoms.

Jessica holds a Master’s Degree in Counselling Psychology (M. Ed.) from the University of Ottawa. She is a Registered Psychotherapist (RP) with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario and a Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC) with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association.

Julia Sage, MSW, RSW

Registered Social Worker, Psychotherapist

Julia has a passion for supporting people on their path to wellness. Her priority is building strong, collaborative therapeutic relationships and meeting people “where they are”.

Julia’s therapy practice is ever growing but is currently influenced by her experience as a student and teacher of yoga, Mindfulness-based interventions & Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy.  She currently sees only adults. Her areas of specialty and interest include working with caregivers, anxiety including panic attacks, PTSD & OCD, depression, stress and issues related to navigating life transitions. She also has experience facilitating Mindfulness groups.

Julia is currently working with the Ontario Structure Psychotherapy (OSP) project, a province-wide initiative funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that provides access to structured CBT therapy for adults with anxiety and depression symptoms.  Referrals for this program are done through the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre.

Julia holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work and is a Registered Social Worker in good standing with the Ontario College of Social Workers & Social Service Workers and with the Ontario Association of Social Workers.

Karen McIntosh, MSW, RSW

Registered Social Worker, Psychotherapist

Therapy is a process of growth and discovery within a caring, professional relationship. Karen’s clients can expect to feel heard, valued and validated, and deeply cared for. She guides clients in identifying their individual goals and supports them in their movement toward living life in line with their preferred way of being while seeing them as whole and capable as they are. She holds space for self-discovery and self-acceptance. Finally, Karen strives to bring lightness, humour, and playfulness to the heavy issues affecting her clients.

As a therapist, Karen works with adults across the age span, experiencing struggles such as anxiety, panic, depression, stress, and anger. She is client-centred, working with client’s expertise in their own lived experience and their strengths to collaboratively set goals and work toward them. She is an integrative therapist, using such approaches as narrative therapy, interpersonal neurobiology, attachment theory, and mindfulness, dependent on the client’s needs, goals, identity, culture, and preferences. Karen works from a trauma-informed and anti-oppressive lens. Finally, she works to incorporate a mind-body awareness into her work with a social justice perspective.

Karen is a Registered Social Worker in good standing with the College and is a member of the Ontario Association of Social Workers.

Marianela León de Mujica, M.Ed., RP

Registered Psychotherapist

Marianela brings warmth, gentleness and an ability to provide a safe environment conducive to self-directed growth and wellbeing. She believes that people deserve kindness, understanding and support as they navigate new chapters and challenges in their lives.

Marianela works with the Refugee and Vulnerable Newcomers program and offers a wealth of experience supporting Immigrants, Newcomers and Refugees in both Spanish and English. She holds an integrative person-centred, anti-oppressive approach with a cross-cultural perspective and a deep commitment to Social Justice. She is strained and use techniques from, Gestalt therapy, Somatic Experiencing Trauma Therapy, Self-compassion Focused Therapy, CBT, Art and Play Therapy and Narrative therapy.

Marianela works primarily with adult clients experiencing issues such as symptoms of depression, anxiety, grief and loss, relational challenges and traumatic stress. Marianela also specializes in domestic violence prevention, parenting skills and pre/post immigration & cultural issues.

Marianela holds a Master’s Degree in Education and Counselling, is a Registered Psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario and is member of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. In her home country, Venezuela, Marianela combined her clinical counselling work with other professional activities at Universidad Pedagógica Experimental Libertador, as a professor and social researcher of family, community and education.

Mawdah Albatnuni, MA(Q), RP(Qualifying)

Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying)

Mawdah believes deeply that her role as a counsellor is to create a warm, non-judgmental, safe space where her clients feel heard and validated. She values offering a client-centred, cultural lens and through this supportive and collaborative stance, her clients are encouraged to become more aware of their strengths, values, and self.  She believes that every person has a story to tell.

Mawdah is an English and Arabic speaking counsellor with the Refugee and Vulnerable Newcomers program. Through a client informed process, Mawdah tailors her approach to best suit her clients’ individual needs. Using an integrative approach she draws from various therapeutic models including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Positive Psychotherapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Whatever the techniques used, Mawdah works from a trauma-informed lens as well as a cultural frame. Mawdah works with adult individuals, families, youth, and children. Her areas of interest include identity formation, anxiety, self-esteem, behavioural difficulties, grief, and depression.

Michael Gershuny, MSW, RSW, Registered Social Worker, Psychotherapist

Director of Counselling and Mental Health Services

Michael Gershuny is an internationally educated social worker who holds both a Master’s degree in Social Work and Educational Counselling. He is a registered member of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers and the Ontario Association of Social Workers.

Michael’s main role is the Director of The Counselling Group. In this role, he works closely together with the staff counsellors to ensure and further develop the high quality of services provided by the Group.

In addition, Michael provides counselling to individuals, dealing with a wide range of emotional and psychological issues. His areas of specialty and interest include interpersonal relationships, depression, anxiety, self-esteem issues, trauma, grief and loss, ageing, chronic mental health and, LGBTQ+ related issues and identity-related issues. Michael is bilingual and offers counselling in both English and Hebrew.

Michael is trained with a range of therapeutic models including psychodynamic, narrative, CBT and existential therapy. In collaboration with the individuals he works with, Michael tailors a personal care plan to assist individuals in returning to a place of health, ease and comfort. Michael’s work is person-centred and strength-based and respects each individual for who they are and who they want to become. Michael’s working philosophy is that the individual’s inner and external resources are the main drives for their recovery and will help them in achieving meaningful change in their life.