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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Reina McSheffrey, M.Ed., RP, CCC-S

Registered Psychotherapist

Reina takes a holistic approach, looking at the whole individual (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual) and believes that the answers lie within us. Her approach in counselling is direct, down-to-earth and empathetic.  She works as a partner in self-discovery using eclectic interventions and theoretical orientations.

In her practice, Reina utilizes Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, integrating Attachment, Emotion-focused and Humanistic theories. Reina works primarily with adults and her areas of interest include: relationship issues, self-esteem & boundaries, enhancing communication skills, trauma, anger management and parenting issues. Reina also specializes in supporting individuals who have experienced intimate partner violence and is an LGBTTQ+ positive counsellor. She manages “Transformations”, the anger management group that is offered through TCG.

Reina maintains “Supervisor’s Certification” with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association and is a licensed supervisor with the CRPO, providing field supervision to university interns training for a counselling career.

Reina graduated from Queen’s University and Carleton University with degrees in Psychology. She is also a graduate of the University of Ottawa’s Master of Education (Counselling Psychology) program.

Sabine Jean, M.Ed., RP(Qualifying)

Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying)

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.

Samiyah Zawawi, M.Ed., RP, CCC

Registered Psychotherapist

Coming from a cross-cultural background, Samiyah has always appreciated the richness of each individual’s history and narrative. Samiyah works collaboratively with clients from diverse populations and draws on her own lived experiences and cultural understandings. She values creating a safe environment where clients can build self-awareness and the capacity to overcome challenges.

Samiyah has extensive experience working with individuals who have experienced trauma, anxiety-related challenges, depression, identity loss, migration, grief, and attachment-based issues. Samiyah’s experience working with immigrants, refugees, and vulnerable populations have led her to develop a holistic therapeutic approach that focuses on client needs. Samiyah draws from Narrative Therapy and Attachment Informed Therapy techniques while incorporating the client’s values to provide an enriching experience.

Samiyah holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Counselling and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Ottawa. She provides counselling in English, Arabic, and Spanish. Samiyah values her ability to provide services in the client’s native tongue, as this is not only a bridge of communication but also the root of one’s culture.