Our Mental Health Professionals

Carmen Urbina, M.Ed., RP, Registered Psychotherapist

Clinical Manager, 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.

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.

Ghadir Kawar, M.Ed., RP (Qualifying)

Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying)

Ghadir understands that the foundation of any therapeutic work is a strong therapeutic relationship between herself and her clients. She strives to build a warm, compassionate, judgment-free, and empathic space, in which clients can speak freely about their traumas, while feeling heard and validated.

Ghadir is an Arabic, English, and French speaking counsellor with the Refugees and Vulnerable Newcomers program. She works with adult clients experiencing a wide variety of emotional and psychological challenges in their lives.

Ghadir’s work draws from an integrative, person-centered, cross-cultural, and trauma-informed approach. She collaborates with each client, tailoring her approach to meet their therapeutic needs. Her clinical practice is informed by Attachment, Psychodynamic, Systemic, Cognitive-Behavioural, and Narrative theories.

Ghadir is a graduate of Ottawa University and holds an M.Ed. in Counselling Psychology. Prior to that, she graduated from Carleton University with an M.A. in Psychology.

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 (Qualifying)

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.

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.

Julia Sage, MSW, RSW

Registered Social Worker, Psychotherapist

Julia has a passion for supporting people on their path to wellness. Her priority is building strong, collaborative therapeutic relationships and meeting people “where they are”.

Julia’s therapy practice is ever growing but is currently influenced by her experience as a student and teacher of yoga, Mindfulness-based interventions & Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy.  She currently sees only adults. Her areas of specialty and interest include working with caregivers, anxiety including panic attacks, PTSD & OCD, depression, stress and issues related to navigating life transitions. She also has experience facilitating Mindfulness groups.

Julia is currently working with the Ontario Structure Psychotherapy (OSP) project, a province-wide initiative funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that provides access to structured CBT therapy for adults with anxiety and depression symptoms.  Referrals for this program are done through the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre.

Julia holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work and is a Registered Social Worker in good standing with the Ontario College of Social Workers & Social Service Workers and with the Ontario Association of Social Workers.

Kelly Firth, MA, RP (Qualifying)

Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying)

Kelly uses a warm, empathetic, and client-centred approach in her work. She aims to create a compassionate and non-judgemental space and to empower her clients to achieve their unique goals. Kelly uses an integrative and collaborative approach by drawing from various therapeutic approaches, such as Narrative Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Psychodynamic theory, Internal Family Systems, and Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFCT). Kelly collaborates with each client, tailoring her approach to meet their therapeutic needs.

Kelly is experienced in working with adult individuals and couples. Her areas of experience include working with anxiety, depression, trauma/PTSD, addiction, grief and loss, interpersonal relationships, and relationship conflict. Kelly is a LGBTQ2+ positive and kink-friendly counsellor and aims to honour the experience of all of her clients.

Kelly 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 the University of Ottawa. She is also a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO).

Layla Matar, MA, RP

Registered Psychotherapist

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 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.

Marianela León de Mujica, M.Ed., RP

Registered Psychotherapist

Marianela brings warmth, gentleness and an ability to provide a safe environment conducive to self-directed growth and wellbeing. She believes that people deserve kindness, understanding and support as they navigate new chapters and challenges in their lives.

Marianela works with the Refugee and Vulnerable Newcomers program and offers a wealth of experience supporting Immigrants, Newcomers and Refugees in both Spanish and English. She holds an integrative person-centred, anti-oppressive approach with a cross-cultural perspective and a deep commitment to Social Justice. She is strained and use techniques from, Gestalt therapy, Somatic Experiencing Trauma Therapy, Self-compassion Focused Therapy, CBT, Art and Play Therapy and Narrative therapy.

Marianela works primarily with adult clients experiencing issues such as symptoms of depression, anxiety, grief and loss, relational challenges and traumatic stress. Marianela also specializes in domestic violence prevention, parenting skills and pre/post immigration & cultural issues.

Marianela holds a Master’s Degree in Education and Counselling, is a Registered Psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario and is member of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. In her home country, Venezuela, Marianela combined her clinical counselling work with other professional activities at Universidad Pedagógica Experimental Libertador, as a professor and social researcher of family, community and education.