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.

Evelyn Wong, MSW, RSW

Registered Social Worker and 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).

Gabrielle Wilson, MSW, RSW

Registered Social Worker, Psychotherapist

Gabrielle believes that clients possess expert knowledge of themselves and she listens closely to their unique insights to guide the treatment goals and process. She works collaboratively with clients to develop an individualized program best suited to their needs. Gabrielle believes in the importance of a strong therapeutic relationship and approaches all clients with compassion, respect and warmth.

Gabrielle specializes in working with children, adolescents and families. She is passionate about fostering enhanced wellbeing through expressive art and play-based approaches. In her work with adult clients, she incorporates this same playfulness and creativity.

Gabrielle’s work is informed by a variety of therapeutic modalities including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Play Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Mindfulness and Structural Family Therapy. Outside of her work as a counsellor, Gabrielle is a musician/songwriter and she incorporates this knowledge into her work by developing narratives with clients to explore personal history, thoughts and emotions.

Gabrielle has worked in a variety of settings including women’s shelters, schools, community-based children’s mental health agencies and residential treatment homes. These experiences have led to a strong foundation in working with clients who have experienced trauma. She specializes in working with children and youth facing anxiety, depression, behavioural challenges, aggression and social difficulties. She also provides support for parents and works towards enhancing parent-child attachment.

Gabrielle completed her Master of Social Work at the University of Toronto. She 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.

Jennifer Goldberg, M.Ed., RP, CCC, Registered Psychotherapist

Clinical Manager, The Centre for Couples and Relationships

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 Grindon, M.Ed., RP (Q)

Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying)

As a therapist, Jennifer aims to provide clients with a safe and supportive space where they can slow down and connect to themselves. She believes that each person has the innate resources to grow and heal when they feel seen and supported. Jennifer encourages her clients to explore how their past experiences are affecting their current life, with the intention of moving toward a satisfying life with meaningful connections.
Jennifer uses an integrative, collaborative therapeutic approach. She predominately works from psychodynamic, attachment, and emotion-focused lenses to support both individuals and couples. However, she understands that each individual and couple is unique, and therefore, she works to tailor her therapeutic approach to meet each client’s unique needs.
Jennifer has experience working with a wide variety of clinical challenges, such as depression, anxiety, trauma, self-esteem, chronic illness, grief, and relationship challenges.

Jennifer has a special interest in supporting couples in healing from a variety of challenges, including infidelity and conflict. She provides a safe and non-judgmental space to help couples improve their ability to communicate, and to better understand and meet each other’s needs. Jennifer’s main goal in couple’s work is to help couples understand their relational dynamics, to help them change patterns of disconnection and hurt and move toward deeper levels of attunement, understanding, and connection.
Jennifer is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) who graduated from the Univerisity of Ottawa’s Master’s in Education- Counselling Psychology program. Jennifer has worked in mental for over ten years and has experience working in community, hospital, private and school settings.

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.

Layla Matar, MA, RP (Qualifying)

Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying)

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 (Qualifying) 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.

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.

Sabine Jean, M.Ed.

Counsellor

Sabine works in the Refugees and Vulnerable Newcomers program, providing social and insightful emotional support and counselling to address both the immediate and long-term psychological needs of refugees and newcomers. She has experience working with immigrants and has a sensitive awareness about their life experience which fosters a better understanding of their needs and focuses on building a trusting therapeutic relationship. By understanding the complexity of a migration journey, Sabine makes sure she creates a comfortable and safe environment for clients to feel supported and heard. Sabine’s strengths are practicing active listening, her unconditional positive regard and her capacity to always prioritize the client’s well-being.

Sabine uses various therapy models in her practice such as Narrative Therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, elements of Play Therapy and Client Centered Therapy from a culturally sensitive perspective. Sabine has experience working with individuals and families; providing counselling in areas including depression, anxiety, grief and loss, anger management, relationship distress, migration, those who have gone through traumatic events and other life transitions. She also works with youth and children who experience difficulties in managing their emotions.

Sabine is a graduate from the University of Ottawa who has a Master’s Degree in Counselling Psychology and previously a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. She is a member of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association and offers counselling services in multiple languages such as French, Spanish, English, and Creole.

Sara Youbi, MSW, RSW

Registered Social Worker, Psychotherapist

Sara works from a strength-based approach and invites each client to explore and discover their inner strengths, resilience and problem-solving skills. She is knowledgeable of the structural and societal factors that could pose as barriers that may impact a person’s ability to thrive. Sara meets clients where they are in their journey and collaborates with them as they navigate their healing process. She is passionate about social justice and social inequalities in health.

Sara’s clinical practice incorporates Narrative Therapy, Anti-Oppressive Practices, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques and aspects of Mindfulness from a culturally sensitive and Trauma-Informed approach. She provides counselling to individuals adults facing a wide variety of emotional and psychological challenges in their lives. Sara has worked in a variety of community settings and has extensive experience assisting clients to navigate the different social services, housing, and welfare systems. Throughout her profession in social services, she has worked with seniors, adults with chronic illness, as well as newcomers and immigrants’ parents.

Sara completed her Master of Social Work at The University of Ottawa and is a Registered Social Worker in good standing with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers and is a member of the Canadian Association of Social Workers. Sara provides counselling in multiple languages including French, English and Arabic.