Our Counsellors

Abraar Elmi, M.Ed. , RP (Q)

Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying)

Abraar uses a compassionate, collaborative and strength-based approach to work with clients to identify goals and develop personalized therapy plans. She creates a safe, non-judgmental space for individuals to explore their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours while developing new coping strategies while strengthening existing ones. Abraar adapts her approach for each individual’s needs and draws on elements from various therapeutic approaches such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Solution-Focused therapeutic modalities, and person-centered therapies.

Abraar is passionate about providing support to the 2SLGBTQ+ community and marginalized communities. Her areas of interest include relationship difficulties, anxiety, depression, grief, ADHD, interpersonal relationships, self-esteem issues, and challenges related to life transitions.

Abraar is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) with the College of Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO). Abraar completed her M. Ed in Counselling Psychology at the University of Ottawa.

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.

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). 

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)

Carmen Urbina, M.Ed., RP

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. In addition to her qualifications, Carmen also offers clinical consultation and supervision to other clinicians in the community.

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.

Dellan Woodger, M.Ed, C.C.C., R.P. (Qualifying)

Registered Psychotherapist

Dellan works using an eclectic therapeutic approach, which draws on multiple therapeutic orientations in order to adapt to a client’s individual needs. His experience is primarily with person-centred and third-wave approaches; most frequently utilizing the following therapeutic methods: narrative therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), acceptance commitment therapy (ACT), and compassion-focused therapy (CFT). Dellan’s approach to counselling is highly collaborative and utilizes clients’ strengths and values to assist them as they navigate life’s challenges. Dellan has lived experience as a queer, neurodiverse, and transgender man. These identities informed his interest in narrative and client-centred approaches which emphasize the client as the expert in their own life.

Dellan’s primary experience lies in working with youth, families, 2SLGBTQIA+, and neurodiverse individuals. He holds an M.Ed in counselling psychology from the University of Ottawa. Dellan is a Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC) with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) and a registered psychotherapist (qualifying) with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO).

Eudes Munive, MA, RP, CCC

Registered Psychotherapist

Eudes is a highly motivated registered psychotherapist with the CRPO and a Canadian Certified Counsellor. Eudes completed a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a master’s degree in education with a specialization in counselling psychology, both from the University of Ottawa.

Eudes maintains a theoretical and practical orientation during interventions, working with a collaborative, holistic, and supportive model. Eudes provides clients with a safe environment by being nonjudgmental, empathic, and authentic. Eudes seeks to join people in their present circumstances, promoting self-awareness and insight. Helping clients understand how to see themselves, others, and the world.

Eudes strongly believes that each person is unique, has fundamental beliefs, values ideas, culture, and motivation to change. Eudes believes that people must undergo intentional changes to become more effective. Eudes draws upon a range of approaches and therapeutic models. These include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Dialectical behavioural Therapy, Emotion Focus Therapy and Narrative Therapy.

Eudes uses people’s sociocultural perspective in his practice. Eudes wants people to feel safe and understood. Eudes speaks English, French, and Spanish, and works with individuals and families.

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).

Hannah Irvine, MSW, RSW

Registered Social Worker

Hannah Irvine is a Registered Social Worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. Hannah primarily works with children, youth, and their families. She brings an empathetic, warm, and non-judgmental approach based on existentialist-humanistic and attachment perspectives. In her practice, Hannah emphasizes the process of building authentic and transformative therapeutic relationships, creating a safe and collaborative space for clients to explore issues and take risks. Through this process, she helps clients identify their unique strengths, resources, and values, which can be used to navigate distress, connect with the world, and build a meaningful life.

Hannah integrates a variety of counseling modalities to best meet the unique needs and goals of each individual. She draws from approaches such as narrative therapy, emotion-focused family therapy, play and art therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Regardless of the approach, Hannah brings a non-pathologizing and strength-based lens that understands each person within their environment and considers the impact of structural barriers and social injustices on our experiences as individuals. Hannah incorporates a trauma-informed perspective into all her work and maintains a continuous practice of self-reflection, learning, and cultural humility.

Hannah has extensive experience working with children and youth in various settings. She possesses experience and interest in working with depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, perfectionism, social-emotional difficulties, and LGBTQ+ issues. She is particularly knowledgeable in working with ADHD, Autism, and other neurodivergences and disabilities.

Hannah earned her Master of Social Work from Carleton University. She previously completed her Honors B.A. at York University, majoring in Psychology with a strong focus on child and adolescent development and mental health.

Ingrid Wright, MA, CCC, RP (Qualifying)

Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying)

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 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) with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) and a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) with the College of Registered Psychotherapist 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.

 

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, 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.

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.

Michaella James, MA, RP (Qualifying)

Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying)

Michaella aims to provide a safe and compassionate environment, one where empathy, unconditional positive regard and even humour, come together to help clients feel comfortable in the therapeutic relationship. Using this as a foundation, Michaella assists clients in gaining new insights into their experiences, generating new perspectives, and learning skills to foster their desired outcomes.

Michaella uses an integrative approach which draws on various modalities such as narrative therapy, cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and mindfulness, among others. In doing so, she is able to tailor her therapeutic approach to meet each client’s unique needs.

Michaella is experienced in working with individuals (aged 12+). Her areas of experience include helping people navigate life transitions, anxiety and depression, interpersonal relationships, self-esteem and stress. She also has experience working with individuals experiencing and/or healing from domestic violence and abuse.

Michaella received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour from McMaster University, and subsequently completed her Master’s degree in Counselling Psychology at the University of Ottawa. Michaella is registered with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) as a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying).

Nancy Al Kayal, M.A., C. Psy. Assoc.

Psychological Associate (Supervised practice)

Nancy is a Psychological Associate (supervised practice) currently registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario and a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) registered with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario.

She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in educational psychology, a master’s degree in clinical psychology, a diploma in Mediation, among other certifications. Her work is centered on a hybrid approach that combines psychodynamic, art therapy, and mindfulness techniques.

She believes that all individuals have the right to feel safe and comfortable, allowing them to focus on their well-being and deal with their personal struggles while optimizing their personal growth.

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.

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

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.

Samantha Ledon, MA, RP (Qualifying)

Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying)

Samantha believes in creating a caring and non-judgmental space where people can explore their different emotions, sensations, and thoughts that may be causing discomfort. Samantha values preserving that space where people can express their own human experiences as well as journeying together alongside her clients toward a place of meaningful change.

Samantha utilizes an integrative approach that is informed mainly by Emotionally-Focused and Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT), Narrative Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Samantha also integrates an attachment and culturally sensitive perspective while also incorporating self-compassion and somatic techniques into her therapeutic work with clients.

Samantha works collaboratively with her clients to meet their needs and goals. She has experience working with individuals, couples, and families. Her interests and experiences in providing counselling services include grief, interpersonal relationships, relational conflicts, self-esteem issues, trauma, anxiety, and depression.

Samantha offers psychotherapy in both English and Spanish. She is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) and has completed a Master’s Degree in Counselling and Spirituality with a Concentration in Couple and Family Counselling at Saint Paul University. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, and graduated from Universidad de las Américas, A.C., in Mexico City.

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.

Sierra Bridgwater, MA, RP

Registered Psychotherapist

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 other people, 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. Additionally, she extends her expertise by offering clinical consultation and supervision to other clinicians in the community.

Valerie has taught mindfulness since 2004 and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) since 2010 which remain 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 has been working in the Ontario Structured Psychotherapy program since 2018 providing cognitive behavioural therapy to people dealing with anxiety, depression, panic, avoidance, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and trauma including treating PTSD. She works with individuals of all ages, including children, adolescents, adults, and families. She values diversity in all of its forms, including working with people from marginalized communities.

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 Ontario 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, 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.” Additionally, Wendy offers clinical consultation and supervision to other clinicians in the community.

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.

Yoko Feinman, MSW, RSW

Registered Social Worker

Yoko is a registered social worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW). She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Maryland and a Master of Social Work from Carleton University.

Yoko believes in the inherent dignity of every person. No one is ever just one thing, and certainly cannot be reduced to their most challenging moment. Yet the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, or the ones that we inherit, can often keep us feeling stuck, small, and alone. Within the safety of the therapeutic relationship, we can reflect on and even question these stories and how we come to know ourselves and our place in an ever-changing world. In addition to our sense of self are the skills and resources we call upon in the face of challenges. Yoko aspires to provide an empathetic brave space as well as a practice ground for new relational skills.

Yoko’s work with young adults, adults, and couples is informed by attachment theory, narrative therapy, internal family systems, and a developmental model of relationships. Her years of experience as a dancer, choreographer, and yoga instructor, along with her continued studies of neurophysiological approaches such as polyvagal theory and sensorimotor psychotherapy, have all contributed to Yoko’s understanding of the natural intelligence of our bodies. She is passionate about the connection between the body and mind and often incorporates body-based work to support trauma and grief processing, helping clients approach emotional regulation and self-awareness with gentleness and play.

Yara Tanios, M. Psych, RP (Q).

Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying)

As an empathic psychotherapist with a background in humanitarian work, Yara has had the privilege of witnessing the incredible strength of individuals in the face of life’s challenges and adversities. Her approach to counseling is person-centered, collaborative, evidence-based, and rooted in empathy and resilience, guiding individuals towards transformative personal growth. Key skills and qualities that define her practice include cultural competence, empathetic listening, multicultural awareness, and effective communication, along with language proficiency.

Being trilingual (Arabic, English, and French-speaking), she can bridge language gaps, ensuring that therapy is accessible to all. Yara strives to create a safe and inclusive space where individuals can express themselves freely without fear of miscommunication or judgment, allowing them to grow and find their own path to positive change. Yara is committed to helping individuals navigate life’s challenges and celebrate their unique strengths and resilience.