Our Counsellors

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.

Amira Nazarali, MSW, RSW

Registered Social Worker, Psychotherapist

Amira 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. She approaches counselling from humanistic and existential perspectives, which means that she views clients as innately having the inner resources to confront challenges, gain insight into themselves, pursue their self-determined goals, and create greater meaning and purpose in their lives.

Amira sees her role as providing clients with support, some appropriate tools, and an enabling environment for them to engage in their own individual process of growth. She strives to approach her clients with warmth, empathy, acceptance, authenticity and an appreciation of the uniqueness of every individual’s lived experience in the world.  She believes strongly in collaborative, anti-oppressive and trauma-informed practice.

To best suit the individual needs of each of her clients, Amira draws upon a range of approaches and therapeutic models. These include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Approaches and Positive Psychology. She is open to working with clients of all ages, but has specific experience working with youth and young adults as they grapple with concerns such as depression, anxiety, social and interpersonal challenges, academic and workplace stress, and as they navigate personal identity, life changes and adjustments.

Amira completed her graduate degree in social work at the University of Toronto. She also holds a graduate degree in public health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the UK, with a specific interest in equity and social determinants of physical and mental health. Before her counselling role, she spent time working in the global health and humanitarian assistance field.

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). 

Bahara Hamidi, BA, (Qualifying)

Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying)

Bahara believes that the therapeutic alliance is an important catalyst of change. As such, Bahara strives to create an open and nurturing environment that empowers individuals to reach their full potential and to build a more purposeful life. Bahara takes a structured, collaborative, and relaxed approach to help clients set and meet therapeutic goals.

Bahara’s therapeutic orientations are Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (MCBT), Trauma-Focused, Solution-Focused, and Attachment-Based Therapy. In addition, Bahara’s approach to therapy is holistic in nature in that it considers the mind, body, and spirit connection.

Bahara has a background in diversity, equity and inclusion work and has experience working with clients who are racialized, part of the LGBTQ2+ community, and persons with disabilities.

Bahara offers therapy in Dari, Farsi, and English. Bahara is a member of The College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO).

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.

Dalia Wood, 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.

Evelyn Wong, MSW, RSW

Registered Social Worker, Psychotherapist

In her work with individuals and families, Evelyn provides a person-centred, non-judgmental and compassionate space to explore and navigate a range of life experiences including critical illnesses, addictions, grief and loss, interpersonal relationships, stress, anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideations.

Evelyn views her role to be that of a co-navigator in the process of psychotherapy. Her goal is to journey with individuals and families in their quest to reconnect with what is most important to them, with a focus on promoting resilience and growth for each individual and family that she works with.

Practicing from Narrative Therapy and Attachment-Based frameworks, Evelyn also draws on other therapeutic modalities (Emotionally Focused, Feedback-Informed, Trauma-Informed, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy-Informed, and Internal Family Systems) to help individuals and families chart their own roadmap from where they are to where they would rather be.

Evelyn holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Carleton University and a One-Year Training Certificate in Narrative Therapy from Dulwich Centre, Australia. Evelyn 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).

Florence Mak, M.A., C. Psych

Licensed Psychologist

Florence is a licenced Psychologist registered with the Ontario College of Psychologists. Her clinical practice is guided by cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) while integrating principles and tools from solution-focused therapy, motivational interviewing, dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and mindfulness based cognitive therapy. Florence believes that each client is an expert of their own experience and therefore tailors her approach to meet their unique needs. She provides a non-judgmental, supportive, warm and empathetic environment. This setting allows for collaboration with clients to promote personal growth and help them reach their treatment goals

Florence has nearly ten years of experience treating those with a wide range of difficulties, from mild everyday stress to more complex conditions. Florence provides evidence-based treatment to adults with a wide range of presenting concerns. Florence has worked in counselling services in post-secondary institutions and a family health team providing individual and group psychotherapy. When Florence is not working, you will find her travelling, skiing, spending time with her family and dog.

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.

Ingrid Wright, MA, CCC

Counsellor

Ingrid uses a warm, compassionate, person-centred and strength-based therapeutic support. She believes that a trusting therapeutic relationship is foundational and strives to create a safe space for clients. She draws from therapeutic approaches such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Narrative Therapy and Solution-Focused Therapy with the aim of helping her clients navigate through life’s challenges and reach their goals. She has experience working with adult individuals, children, couples, and families.

Ingrid offers counselling in both in English and Spanish. She completed a Master of Arts in Counselling with a concentration in Mental Health and Marriage & Family Therapy. She is a Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC) and is currently working towards registration with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO).

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.

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 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.

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. 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.

Katherine Marr, MA, RP, CCC

Clinical Manager, Centre for Children, Youth, and Families

Katherine believes that we, as human beings, are beautifully complex and perfectly imperfect. In her work, she holds the intention of helping people reduce their sense of overwhelm, increase their sense of belonging, find freedom from their suffering, improve their relationships with self and others, and improve their overall quality of life.

Katherine has been working in the mental health and social service field for over twenty years, with most of that time focused within the child, youth, and family service sector. She began her career as a child and youth care worker and programs coordinator in schools, community agencies, youth mental health treatment centres, as well as detox and addiction recovery programs. She has now been practicing counselling and psychotherapy in Ottawa since 2011 and has grown her career to include working directly with adults of all ages, as well as managing mental health services and providing clinical supervision to other therapists. Katherine is equally experienced in working people who suffer from complex, unresolved traumas as she is in working with people who are seeking support in acute moments of suffering or when they simply can’t see the solutions to their problems clearly.

Katherine holds a master’s degree in counselling psychology from the Adler School of Professional Psychology in Vancouver, B.C. She is a Registered Psychotherapist (RP) with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) and a Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC) with the Canadian Counselling & Psychotherapy Association (CCPA). In addition, Katherine is a Certified Yoga Therapist with the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT), a mindfulness and meditation teacher, and is nearing the end of her practitioner training in Somatic Experiencing with Somatic Experiencing International. In her work with children, youth, and their families, she relies on her foundational training in Adlerian psychology and incorporates a variety of other approaches in which she is trained, such as Systems Theory, Collaborative Problem Solving/ Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS), Non-Violent Communication (NVC), Positive Discipline, and Positive Youth Development.

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.

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

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.

Michael Gershuny, MSW, RSW, 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.

Mikaela Wasserman, M.Ed. , RP (Q)

Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying)

Mikaela creates a warm and compassionate environment in therapy. Guided by the values of empathy, unconditional positive regard, and genuineness, she takes a client-centred approach in her work. Mikaela works with her clients in a collaborative manner to help them reach their therapeutic goals. She uses an integrative approach, practicing humanistic psychotherapy informed by training in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), Narrative Therapy, and Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT), while also drawing from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness practices, and Psychodynamic and Internal Family Systems theories. The approach taken for each client is designed uniquely to meet their expressed needs and goals.

Mikaela works with individuals and couples of all genders to navigate a variety of difficulties by creating a safe, non-judgmental, and supportive environment. She has clinical experience and training in sex therapy, trauma, interpersonal conflict, and grief/loss, as well as managing issues related to depression, anxiety, shame, and anger. Mikaela is an LGBTQ2+ positive and sex positive counsellor and wants to respect the individual experiences of all her clients.

Mikaela Wasserman is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) and a University of Ottawa graduate of the Master of Education Counselling Psychology program. She also holds a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Psychology with a specialization in Behavioural Neuroscience from Concordia University. She has substantial research and clinical training in human sexuality.

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.

Rana Musa, MA, RP

Registered Psychotherapist

I believe that we all experience challenges and yet through insight, compassion and action we are able to grow and transform. I offer clients a safe space through my warm, non-judgmental, caring and person-centered stance. I work from an integrative and collaborative approach drawing on various counselling theories based on clients’ needs and goals. My approach is primarily informed by Attachment, Psychodynamic, Systemic, Existential and Narrative Theories. I work with clients to build coping and resiliency while exploring sources of distress to confidently confront life’s struggles. I integrate cultural sensitivity that takes into consideration clients’ marginalized identities and the complexity this may add-should clients wish to explore and incorporate this into counselling. I have worked with individuals wanting to heal from a traumatic past or finding their path, and couples feeling stuck in dysfunction or wanting to heal from infidelity.

I offer counselling in both Arabic and English. I am a Registered Psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario(CRPO). I graduated from Saint Paul University with a Master of Arts in Counselling and Spirituality and a concentration in Couple Counselling. I am also an Intake counsellor at The Counselling Group. My role includes completing telephone intakes with clients wishing to access services and working to match clients with a counsellor to fit their needs.

Rebecca Worden, MCCP, RP, MTA

Registered Psychotherapist, Certified Music Therapist

Rebecca offers a relaxed, safe space to share and explore your concerns. Whether you are tackling a new life challenge or moving forward from previous difficulties, she is ready to bring a thoughtful, caring presence to you. Rebecca takes a client-centred approach and honours the reality that you are the expert of your experience.

Rebecca is a registered psychotherapist with 25 years of experience in the creative art therapies and specializes in music psychotherapy. Accessing your creativity has the potential to open new possibilities and can offer solutions that seemed out of reach.  Even if you are not musically inclined, there may be valuable insight from exploring an instrument, discussing song lyrics, or sharing images in response to moving music.

Rebecca has received training in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness, Narrative Therapy, and Culturally Responsive Socially Just (CRSJ) counselling.  In an eclectic approach, she works to combine different therapeutic models to meet your needs and tackle each concern in a unique way.

Rebecca received her Bachelor of Music Therapy from Wilfrid Laurier University and her Master of Counselling in Clinical Psychology from Athabasca University. Rebecca is a certified music therapist with the Canadian Association of Music Therapists and a registered psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario in good standing.

Sabine Jean, M.Ed.

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.

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).

Stephanie Wolfert, MSW, RSW

Registered Social Worker, Psychotherapist

Stephanie’s work with clients is collaborative, client centered and non-judgmental. She strives to create a safe and comfortable space for clients to identify and reach their goals. Stephanie supports clients in exploring challenges they face and moving towards their goals. She uses approaches including Dialectical Behaviour, Cognitive Behavioural, Narrative, Solution-Focused therapeutic modalities. Counselling with Stephanie involves components such as goal setting, psychoeducation, curious exploration, action planning, processing, reframing and mobilizing resources.

Stephanie 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.

Valerie Repta, MA, MSW, RSW

Registered Social Worker, Psychotherapist

One of Valerie’s greatest strengths is her ability to connect with clients, understanding their perspective, to create a safe and trusting therapeutic relationship. In this warm and nonjudgmental atmosphere, Valerie works with clients to develop a toolbox of strategies to support them toward their goals.

Valerie has taught mindfulness since 2004 which remains a cornerstone of her practice. She uses mindfulness to increase awareness, acceptance and self-compassion, and to support mental health when shown to be effective. She also draws on dialectic behaviour therapy, emotionally-focused therapy and interpersonal therapies. Valerie currently works in the Ontario Structured Psychotherapy (Mindability) program providing cognitive behavioural therapy to people dealing with anxiety, depression, panic, avoidance, obsessive-compulsive disorder and trauma. She works with individuals of all ages, including children, adolescents, adults and families. She values diversity, including working with people across the gender spectrum.

Valerie holds a Master’s Degree in psychology (neuroscience), in which she studied the effects of mindfulness on health and well-being. She also holds a Master’s Degree in social work. She is a member of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, and the Canadian Association of Social Workers.

Victoria Martindale, M.Ed., RP, CCC

Registered Psychotherapist

Victoria approaches her work with warmth, compassion, and empathy. She strives to create a safe space for her clients to process emotions, live in line with their values, and find meaning in their experiences. Victoria has experience working with youth and adults. She has a particular interest in working in areas of self-esteem, trauma, anxiety/panic, depression, grief/loss, and identity issues. Victoria is an LGBTQ+ positive counsellor and has past experience working as a counsellor in Post-Secondary School and private practice settings.

Victoria’s therapeutic practice is primarily influenced by a Narrative, Strengths-based, and Collaborative perspective. She also incorporates techniques from self-compassion, Mindfulness, Positive Psychology, Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT), and Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

Victoria holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Education in Counselling Psychology from the University of Ottawa. She is a Registered Psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) and a Canadian Certified Counsellor with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA). Victoria works at Jewish Family Services of Ottawa as part of The Counselling Group and The Walk-In Counselling Clinic.

Wendy Cotton, MSW, RSW, Registered Social Worker, Psychotherapist

Clinical Manager, Individual Counselling

Wendy’s practicing philosophy is that every person deserves an opportunity to heal, to grow and to seek support in doing so: “Our personal growth has a profound impact on how we understand ourselves and function in the world. When we create change within ourselves, we can develop healthier relationships with others, and with the world around us. We are all worthy of this process.”

Wendy has worked in the counselling field for over twenty-five years. In her work with adult clients, she reflects an appreciation of diversity and the unique knowledge that clients hold about their history and current situation. She helps people manage emotionally challenging situations and life transitions, and is experienced in working with anxiety, depression, family of origin dynamics, sexual abuse, grief and loss, and trauma-related issues. Wendy works with the modalities of Narrative Therapy, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Attachment Theory, Emotion-Focused Therapy, and Mindfulness and Experiential-Systemic Theory. Her approach to therapy is collaborative and inclusive, and she offers a calm, respectful, and supportive environment where clients feel understood and encouraged.

Wendy’s counselling experience includes EAP counselling, intensive in-home therapy, group facilitation, Play Therapy, and private practice. Wendy also has many years of experience working specifically with adult survivors of sexual abuse and early childhood trauma.

Wendy holds 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, and the Ontario Association of Social Workers.