Our Mental Health Professionals

Agnieszka Szymanowicz-Yalcin, M.Ed., RP

Registered Psychotherapist

Agnieszka believes that every person is unique and an expert of their own life experience. Therefore, she adopts an integrative approach in counselling to aid in addressing client’s challenges. She tailors her approaches according to the client’s needs, and this includes humanistic, client centered, cognitive-behavioral, dialectical-behavioral, multicultural, developmental philosophies, narrative, solution focus, brief, positive psychology, mindfulness base stress reduction, motivational interviewing, anti-oppressive, empowerment and trauma informed lens within community perspective to promote healing and strengthen resiliency. Agnieszka aims to approach individuals with compassion, flexibility, and non-judgment to support their growth, healing process and improving quality of life.

She offers counselling in both Polish and English. She has completed a Master’s Degree in Education with specialization in counselling psychology. She is a full member of the Collage of Registered Psychotherapist of Ontario, CRPO.

Amal Ahmed, MA, RP

Registered Psychotherapist

Amal’s foremost focus is to provide a safe, warm, and validating therapeutic space where clients can feel heard and understood. She uses an integrated approach to help raise awareness and facilitate emotional processing, drawing from narrative and attachment family therapies with the hope of expanding on clients’ strengths.

Amal has experience working with a variety of clinical issues, such as depression, anxiety, burnout, life transitions, and relationship challenges. She has also worked with individuals struggling with anger, school difficulties, and challenging family dynamics.

Amal is a Registered Psychotherapist and has completed a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Spirituality.

Aya El Balaa, MA, RP

Registered Psychotherapist

Aya aims to provide a warm, judgement-free, and supportive space where the client feels safe and understood. She provides an empathetic presence that allows clients to be their authentic self and feel cared for and validated. Aya works with clients to help them identify their goals. She then works closely with her clients in developing strategies and skills that highlight their resilience and strengths. She helps them regulate their emotions and provides them with tools to help them cope with stress, improve their relationships, and bring about the desired change in their lives. 

Aya is an integrative therapist using modalities such as Emotion Focused Therapy, Narrative Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, tailoring the approaches to meet the clients’ therapeutic needs. 

Aya works as part of the Refugee and Newcomer program as well as the Adult Individual program to help people who are experiencing clinical issues in relation to stress, anxiety, depression, adjustment in life transitions, self-esteem, separation, intimate partner violence, and more.  

Aya offers counselling in both Arabic and English. She has completed a Masters Degree in Counselling and Spirituality. She is a Registered Psychotherapist Qualifying with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO). 

Bita Haghdadi, M.A., RP (Q)

Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying)

Bita has always been interested in psychology and western culture, which led her to immigrate to Canada to complete her graduate studies in Counselling and Psychotherapy. Her desire to connect with and help people makes being a therapist both professionally and spiritually fulfilling.

As a therapist, she provides a non-judgmental, empathetic space for her clients to explore, learn, and grow into mental wellness and their best selves. Furthermore, as a professional who has been educated in both non-western and western environments, she is positioned to assist her clients in mediating between their needs and the available resources.

Her psychotherapy approach is integrative. However, as a therapist, Bita believes the client is the expert on their journey. Bita and her client will determine the best psychotherapeutic techniques to explore together, addressing the client’s specific issues, the depth of the interventions, and the length of their engagement.

Some of the modalities that Bita applies in her psychotherapy services include Humanistic and Existential therapy, Logotherapy, Mindfulness, Trauma-informed therapy, Jungian therapy, Emotion-Focused therapy, and Cognitive-Behavioral therapy. Bita provides individual counseling and psychotherapy services for a range of issues, including anxiety, depression, trauma, relationship issues, emotional and intellectual disturbances, self-knowledge, self-love, and self-confidence.

Bita can provide services in both English and Farsi. She is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO)

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.

Jesse Henneberry, PhD, RP, MA, CCC

Registered Psychotherapist

Jesse is a Registered Psychotherapist (RP) with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) and a Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC).

He has worked with The Counselling Group since 2011 as a member of the adult individual team. In his practice he supports individual adults who present with a broad range of concerns including trauma (both current and historical), grief, anxiety, depression, life transitions, relationship stress, addictions, and anger management.

The primary therapeutic modalities that he draws upon in his work with clients include narrative therapy, existential therapy, attachment therapy, interpersonal therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy. He strives to bring a calm and relaxed energy to all his work with clients, working collaboratively, and at a pace that is respectful to all those with whom he meets.

In addition to being on the adult individual team, since 2014 he has also worked at the agency’s walk-in counselling clinic—as a therapist seeing clients who access the clinic, and as a clinical supervisor providing clinical support to both therapists on the team and to therapists-in-training. Jesse also offers clinical consultation and supervision to other clinicians in the community.

He has a wide breadth of experience in various non-profit public mental health settings, including previously working as a therapist at an Employee Assistant Program (EAP), and as a therapist in a Partner Assault Response (PAR) program—a program funded by the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General for clients who have been charged with a domestic assault and mandated to attend counselling as per probation conditions.

A lifelong learner in the field of psychotherapy, he frequently attends workshops and reads books on the process of psychotherapy to continually refine his practice. In addition, he has published articles in international academic journals on the topic of grief and bereavement and was a teaching assistant and guest lecturer in a Psychopathology and Assessment course in the University of Ottawa’s MA Counselling Psychology program.

He holds a master’s degree in counselling and spirituality from Saint Paul University, and a doctorate in education from the University of Ottawa where he conducted research on how psychotherapists effectively use brief narrative therapy to support the development of client preferred identities in single session settings.

Prior to his work as a psychotherapist, he completed a bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal Justice at Carleton University and subsequently worked in various front-line social service settings across Ottawa. These included advocacy groups supporting victims of violent crime, a homeless shelter, and as a volunteer in the Ottawa Civic Hospital’s ICU family lounge where he provided emotional support to families with loved ones in the Intensive Care Unit.

 

Marina Andrawis, MSW, RSW

Registered Social Worker

Marina has worked at Jewish Family Services (JFS) since the end of her placement, she started as a summer student. She has had the opportunity of working with the Refugee and Vulnerable Newcomer (RVN) team providing counselling services to youth and adults in the Arabic language. She has experience working with seniors, caregivers, at risk youth, racialized individuals, persons with disabilities and individuals dealing with intimate partner violence (IPV).

Marina strives to create a warm, welcoming and non-judgmental space for clients to be able to share their stories and feelings without hesitation. Marina approaches work with clients with a collaborative, strength based and trauma informed lens. Marina uses different modalities based on the client needs: Narrative therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Solution-focused brief therapy.

Marina holds a bachelor of Sociology and religious studies and a Master of Social Work, as well as a Social Service Worker Diploma. She is a registered social worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, and a member of the Ontario Association of Social Workers.  Marina has worked in a variety of settings within the field of social services for 5 years.

Marwan Abou Diwan, MSW, RSW, Psychotherapist

Clinical Manager, Centre of Couples and Relationships.

Marwan A. Diwan is an internationally educated social worker who holds a Master’s degree in Social Work and Educational Counselling, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Religious Sciences. He also has a Master’s degree in Living Languages/Translation and offers counseling services in English, French, Arabic, and Spanish. Additionally, he provides clinical consultation and supervision to other clinicians in the community.

Marwan is experienced in working with adult individuals and groups 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/PTSD, grief and loss, chronic mental health and Refugee and Vulnerable Newcomers, LGBTQ+, People living with HIV and identity-related issues.

Marwan is trained with a range of therapeutic models including, Humanistic approach, Narrative Therapy, EMDR, Hypnosis, Drama Therapy, etc. In collaboration with the individuals, he works with, Marwan tailors a personal care plan to assist individuals in returning to a place of health, ease, balance and comfort. Marwan work is person-centred and strength-based and respects everyone for who they are and who they want to become. Marwan’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.

In his home country, Lebanon, Marwan has combined his clinical counselling work with other professional activities with the Danish law enforcement agencies in the fields of anti-radicalization, communication, leadership, and other soft skills areas.

Matthieu Kim, MSW, RSW

Registered Social Worker, Psychotherapist.

Matthieu 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), who practices on the traditional, unceded territories of the Anishinaabe Algonquin nation. As a settler of this land, Matthieu is aware of the negative systemic impacts of colonialism, and how these historic and current wrongdoings can hinder a person’s ability to thrive in society.

In his work with children, youth, and their families, Matthieu looks to support individuals through a person centred lens and aims to build a therapeutic relationship by working collaboratively with clients to help guide them as they take the steps necessary to achieve their goals. In his practice, Matthieu draws from multiple modalities, both Western and those rooted in non-Western knowledge. Primarily, Matthieu draws from Dialectic Behaviour Therapy, Trauma-Informed Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Narrative Therapy, and Emotion-Focused Family Therapy.

Matthieu has been privileged enough to have honed his practice in a variety of settings including community and healthcare-based children’s mental health organizations, as well as within the education system here in Ottawa. During these experiences, he supported individuals with anxiety, depression, personality disorders, self-harming behaviors, as well as social-emotional difficulties including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and behavioral challenges. Throughout his career Matthieu has worked with individuals who historically have been identified as marginalized and he has found success in taking the stance of informed not knowing and hopes to bring cultural humility to these relationships.

Matthieu completed his MSW at Carleton University in Ottawa. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Honors Psychology from the University of Guelph, where he specialized in Child and Family Studies.

Quinn Rivier Gatt, MSW, RSW

Registered Social Worker

Quinn has worked at Jewish Family Services (JFS) since 2016 starting as a summer student. She has had the advantage of working in many departments learning various positions to better support people within the agency.  She has experience working with seniors with cognitive impairments, vulnerable populations such as low-income Jewish individuals, children, students of all ages, adults, racialized individuals, persons with disabilities and LGBTQ2S+ community members and is passionate about working with these populations again.

Quinn is a very empathetic and energetic person who can connect with others easily. She is a great listener and observer and values diversity, believing she can learn as much from others, as they can from her. Quinn believes a therapeutic and working relationship should be collaborative, understanding, and supportive of one another.

Quinn prioritizes creating a space that is shared, free of judgment, warm, compassionate, and encouraging, where all individuals feel safe and comfortable, with an understanding that each therapeutic relationship will be different and not everything works for everyone.

Quinn works from a strength based, solution focused perspective, utilising techniques from narrative therapy, emotional-focused therapy, trauma informed therapy, and mindfulness. She believes the mind, heart, body, and spirit are all connected and must be respected during the therapeutic process. Quinn also believes societal pressures and systemic issues impact all individuals and must be taken into account when discussing personal journeys.

Quinn holds both a bachelor and a Master of Social Work, as well as bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology. She is a registered social worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, and a member of the Canadian and Ontario Association of Social Workers. She has been working in various non-profit agencies for more than 6 years.