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.

Dalia Wood, BA, MA, RP

Registered Psychotherapist

Dalia’s primary therapeutic focus aims at creating a safe and comfortable space for clients to feel heard and supported facilitating the unfolding of stories. She believes that clients are the authors of their own story. Some of Dalia’s strengths are active listening, positive regard to the client’s journey and history, and prioritizing resiliency and client’s strengths.

Dalia specializes in working with individuals who are experiencing concerns related to depression and anxiety, life-changing transitions, intimate partner violence, school difficulties, bullying and self-image issues.

Dalia’s work is informed by modalities such as Narrative Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Solution-focused brief therapy.

She offers counselling in both Arabic and English. Dalia has completed a Master’s Degree in Spiritual Care and Psychotherapy. She is a full member of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario, CRPO.

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 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.

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.

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.

Sarah Alderwick, MSW, RSW

Registered Social Worker, Psychotherapist

Sarah provides counselling to individuals facing a wide variety of emotional and psychological challenges in their lives. With compassion, caring and acceptance, Sarah’s strength lies in building strong therapeutic relationships with her clients.  She strives to support clients to draw from their inner strength and wisdom to help foster positive change in their lives. Sarah creates a safe and open environment to assist with a variety of challenges including anxiety, depression, interpersonal issues, domestic violence, grief/loss, and postpartum difficulties. She welcomes opportunities to work with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures and is LGBTTIQQ+ positive.

Sarah collaborates with each client, tailoring her approach to meet their therapeutic needs. Her practice draws from Narrative, Attachment, Feminist, and Cognitive-Behavioural Theories, and is Trauma-Informed. She is passionate about social justice and poverty reduction. She has worked in a variety of community settings and has extensive experience assisting clients to navigate the different social services, housing, and welfare systems.

She completed her Master of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University, is a Registered Social Worker in good standing with the Ontario College of Social Worker and Social Service Workers and is a member of the Ontario Association of Social Workers.

Shannon LaValley, M.Ed., RP, CCC

Registered Psychotherapist

Shannon’s work with clients is guided by the understanding that all individuals and families strive to do well. Shannon collaborates with clients to assess what is currently challenging in their life at home, school, or work and to build or access valuable skills to meet these challenges. As a family therapist, Shannon supports families in rebuilding connectedness and understanding for one another.

Shannon provides compassionate and playful therapy to children, youth, adults and families. Shannon works with therapeutic approaches such as Collaborative Problem Solving, Narrative Therapy, Play Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Strength Based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. She integrates neuroscience in her work with clients who have been impacted by trauma.

Shannon is experienced in working at community-based children’s mental health agencies and schools. She specializes in addressing severe emotional, social, and behavioural difficulties for children and youth and supporting parents in problem-solving with their children. Shannon is a therapist with the Centre for Children, Youth, and Families and JFS Ottawa’s mental health program supporting Syrian refugees and vulnerable newcomers.

Shannon completed her Master in Education at the University of Ottawa. She is a Canadian Certified Counsellor and a Registered Psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario.

Shannon Sweeting-Woods, MSW, RSW

Registered Social Worker, Psychotherapist

Shannon’s collaborative, intuitive, and compassionate approach makes connecting with clients one of her greatest strengths. She offers a supportive environment where clients feel heard. Shannon believes that a central part of her role as a therapist is to evoke, within each individual, their own inner wisdom, strengths, resources, and values, while also supporting them in making connections between their family of origin experiences, lived experiences, social location, and the issues they face, in order to facilitate healing, growth, and change.

Shannon works with individuals, couples, and families and has trained in Emotionally Focused Couples/Family Therapy. She has also completed Beginning I in the Somatic Experiencing® Method of Trauma Resolution. Shannon’s clinical practice is differentiated based on client diversity and needs but is heavily informed by Attachment, Psychodynamic, Feminist, and Narrative Theories, while also incorporating Mindfulness strategies. Her use of these approaches is grounded in an understanding of trauma and the multiple possible paths to healing. In her work with couples, Shannon supports partners to develop an understanding of their interactions, and to shift from reactivity to responses that are connected and attachment affirming. She believes that when attachment needs are met, couples have the capacity to resolve the problems/issues they face together.

Shannon has a Master’s Degree in Social Work and is a Registered Social Worker in good standing with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. She also has a Bachelor’s degree in Education and is an Ontario Certified Teacher. Her experiences working with children, youth, and adults with exceptionalities, in a teaching role, has provided her with sound knowledge and understanding of the challenges and issues facing these individuals within the school system and work environments.