Our Mental Health Professionals

Agnieszka Szymanowicz-Yalcin, M.Ed. (Psych), 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 (Qualifying)

Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying)

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 bring awareness and emotional processing and pulls from narrative and attachment family therapies with the hope of expanding on client’s 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 strenuous family dynamics.

Amal is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) and has completed a Master’s Degree in Counselling 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). 

Jesse Henneberry, MA, RP, 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 holds a master’s degree in Counselling and Spirituality from Saint Paul University and 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 adult individual team, since 2014 he has also worked at the agency’s walk-in counselling clinic—both 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.

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 working 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. He has published articles in international academic journals on the topic of grief and bereavement, was a teaching assistant and guest lecturer in a Psychopathology and Assessment course in the University of Ottawa’s MA Counselling Psychology program, and, more recently, he has conducted research on the how therapists support clients in co-constructing preferred identities in the context of brief narrative single session therapy.

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.

Marwan Abou Diwan, MSW, RSW

Registered Social Worker, Psychotherapist

Marwan A. Diwan is an internationally educated social worker who holds both a Master’s degree in Social Work and Educational Counselling and a Bachelor’s degree in Religious Sciences. He holds a Master’s degree in Living Languages / Translation as well and offers counselling in English, French, Arabic and Spanish.

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.

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.

Shakiba Ahmadi, MA, RP (Qualifying)

Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying)

Shakiba offers clients a warm, gentle, and supportive presence, accompanying them as they move through the therapeutic process. Rooted in Humanistic and Trauma-Informed lenses, she fosters strong therapeutic relationships, and emphasizes a sense of safety, trust, collaboration, and empowerment in her work. She works with clients to identify their unique goals, then takes a flexible stance, exploring and drawing from different approaches to fit the needs of her clients. Ultimately, she aims to hold an intentional space where clients can gain insight to their experiences, meet themselves with self-compassion, and build on their strengths.

In her clinical work, Shakiba has worked with issues such as complex PTSD, anxiety and avoidance, self-esteem, identity issues, multicultural issues, and LGBTQ2+ issues. She has drawn from different approaches such as Client-Centered Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, Dialectical-Behavioural Therapy (DBT), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), to name a few.

Shakiba offers therapy in both English and Farsi. She is working as part of The Counselling Group, including within its Refugees and Vulnerable Newcomers Program, and at the Walk-in Clinic. She is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) with the College of Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO), and holds a Master’s degree in Counselling and Spirituality.

Sierra Bridgwater, MA, RP (Qualyfing)

Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying)

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).