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Join us at Laurier

Becoming a Golden Hawk means more than just cheering on our (really good) varsity teams – it means being a student who cares about your community, who works hard in the classroom, and who takes advantage of all the learning opportunities that can happen outside the classroom, too.

Stephanie Baker, PhD, RSW, SEP

Stephanie is a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP) and registered social worker (RSW) who has been in the field for over 25 years. Throughout the course of her practice, trauma has been a consistent thread woven throughout the experiences of those she has served. Stephanie has been privileged to support people in a number of areas including acquired brain injury, addictions, intimate partner violence, mental health, concurrent disorders, sexual violence, and complex trauma, as well as provide individual, marital, family, and group therapy to a diverse range of ages and needs in both community and institutional settings. Stephanie’s expertise and interest lies in supporting people with navigating the outcomes of various types of trauma, addiction, violence, neurodivergence, and mental health concerns, including the ways in which these issues often intersect.

Stephanie has her own private practice where she provides counselling, clinical supervision, as well as consultation and training to various community organizations.

Pina Barbieri, MSW, RSW

Pina has a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Toronto, and both a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Social Work degree from McMaster University. Pina practices predominantly from a CBT-based treatment modality and enjoys working with individuals of all ages and cognitive abilities. Particular areas of focus include working creatively with children and youth, with individuals who have experienced trauma, in particular historical Indigenous trauma, and individuals living with chronic health conditions. Along with her clinical practice, Pina has discovered a new-found passion in creating, writing and instructing courses. Outside of clinical practice, Pina is an avid believer in volunteerism and spends much of her free time providing support in a variety of forums to the Type 1 Diabetes community.

Amy Beamer, CHRL

Amy is a Co-op Coordinator at Wilfrid Laurier University. She helps co-op students and employers find each other to complete rich and meaningful work. Previously she was the Manager, Human Resources at Waterloo Public Library. She holds the CHRL (Canadian Human Resources Leader) designation. She worked in this non-profit sector position for almost 10 years, preceded by 10 years working in private retail and manufacturing settings as an HR generalist. Amy graduated from McMaster with a degree in psychology and completed the HR management post-diploma course from Sheridan College. She is now pursuing her Masters of Education in Student Affairs from Wilfrid Laurier University.

Amy has trained or facilitated in all of her roles, and since 2013 has been a contract instructor and Co-op advisor at Conestoga College. She employs an experiential training style in her classroom that encourages students to interact with one another and the material. Amy uses videos, case studies, personal experiences and hands-on learning activities to enhance the learning process

Dina Bednar, MA, RP, RMFT, CSFT

Dina is a registered marriage and family therapist living in Ancaster, Ontario. She is the associate director of the Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) certificate program at OISE/Continuing & Professional Learning, University of Toronto, co-director of the Canadian SFBT Centre and an AAMFT Approved Supervisor.

Dina trains and consults with mental health agencies on integrating SFBT with single session therapy (SST). She also provides direct clinical supervision and SFBT training to agencies, graduate students, and therapists. Dina’s clinical experience includes over 15 years of practice at a children’s mental health clinic in Hamilton, Ontario. She received an award of distinction from the City of Hamilton for her brief therapy work with children, adolescents and their families in 2017. She now has a private practice in Ancaster. She is passionate about SFBT and SST, and enjoys seeing the difference it can make.

Patricia Bidgood, MSW, RSW

Patricia is a clinical social worker and accredited family mediator with more than 30 years of experience. She has worked in children’s mental health, education and private practice. Patricia provides adolescent, adult and family counselling addressing a broad range clinical issues. She offers consultation, professional development and training to educators, health care and mental health workers. She also speaks to elementary and high school parent communities on raising resilient children and teens. Patricia is a family mediator and a member of the Waterloo Region Collaborative Law Association. She promotes positive alternative dispute resolution strategies to help divorcing parents and families with a range of divorce related services, including: creating parenting plans, divorce coaching, adjustment counselling with children and teens, parenting coordination and family reunification.

Diane Biggs, MA, RP

Diane is a registered psychotherapist, Certified Trauma Integration Clinician, EMDR-trained therapist, and clinical supervisor in private and group practice. Diane has provided counselling services for children, youth and adults in a variety of community mental health and private settings since 2006. Diane is passionate about collaborative, creative and compassionate counselling service with those who are experiencing serious illness, grief and bereavement. Diane has a specialized focus in trauma and bereavement in parents, including perinatal grief/bereavement. Currently, Diane provides grief and trauma-focused individual and family counselling, education and clinical consultation through Andrea Warnick Consulting, as well as her private practice, located in the Durham region of Ontario.

Kirstin Bindseil, MSW, RSW

Kirstin has worked in the field of addictions and mental health for over 20 years. She is currently in private practice where she teaches mindfulness and has provided mindfulness training at Halton Healthcare, Joseph Brant Hospital, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Mount Sinai Hospital and Ryerson University. She has worked as a supervisor, educator and program planner in the field. Kirstin has formal training in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and has extensive experience providing mindfulness training to healthcare professionals who plan to add mindfulness to their clinical practice.

Nancy Bird, BA, MA

A life-long resident of Kitchener, Nancy has over 20 years of experience as a senior leader at United Way Kitchener Waterloo & Area and United Way Waterloo Region Communities. Nancy has also served as the interim executive director for HIV/AIDS Resources and Community Health in Guelph. Her experience includes strategy and business development, grantmaking, cross-functional team leadership, community engagement and fundraising. Nancy has worked closely with community organizations, local government and other funders. Nancy has established her own coaching and consulting business, focused on leadership coaching, engagement, team building and life coaching.

Nancy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Waterloo, Master of Arts degree in Leadership from University of Guelph, Adult Teacher/Trainer certificate from Conestoga College, Management and Leadership certificate from Laurier’s Faculty of Social Work, and is an alumnus of Leadership Waterloo Region.

Robin Williams Blake, RP

Robin is a certified Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) certified trainer, supervisor, therapist and cofounder and director of the Toronto Centre for EFT. Currently, Robin teaches EFT in the graduate program for Martin Luther University College. In the last few years, Robin has taught EFT at York University in their social work program and was invited by Mount Sinai Hospital to speak at their level two trauma clinic in 2016. He is a former adjunct faculty member at the Living Institute of Existential-Integrative Psychotherapy where he provided training in the EFT model. Robin trains EFT for local centres and communities in Fredericton, Edmonton, Cambridge, Toronto and York Region. Robin co-trained at the Toronto Externship with Sue Johnson in October 2020 and June 2021. Robin is a registered psychotherapist and has been in private practice in Toronto for 20 years where he sees individuals, couple, and families and well as provides supervision for therapists interested in becoming certified in EFT. Presently, Robin is creating a EFT Core Skills Syllabus for Canadian universities and will pilot the course in January, 2022 for MLU.

Thomas Brown, MSW, RSW

Thomas Brown is a social worker and director of clinical supervision at Qualia Counselling Services, where he offers the gold standard for CBT clinical supervision to Qualia and community clinicians. In addition to providing CBT supervision, Thomas continues to pursue his CBT passion by treating clients and delivering the cognitive behaviour interventions to those dealing with mental health challenges and life stressors.

Thomas can teach the gold standard because he has striven so excellently to achieve it. Thomas has completed a variety of rigorous training programs through the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. He has received extensive, ongoing CBT mentoring, training and supervision which has helped him emerge into the director of supervision role he holds.

Additionally, Thomas teaches CBT in a variety of contexts including workshops, conferences, university lectures and medical residency programs.

Nicole Cantelon, MA, RP

Niki is rigorously trained in CBT and has a variety of experiences within the fields of education, fitness and wellness and psychotherapy. She is also a certified yoga teacher, triathlon coach and fitness trainer (youth and adult). Her educational background includes child development and learning (BSc) from the University of Toronto as well as a Master of Arts from Wilfrid Laurier University (Psychotherapy and Spiritual Care). She is additionally trained in child and youth mental health and has experience working with students in educational settings from elementary school to university. Niki believes that a warm and caring therapeutic relationship can be the foundation for healing and growth. As a therapist, she draws from a variety of modalities that include CBT, DBT, EFT, narrative, spiritually-integrated and mindfulness approaches. She has worked with a wide range of individuals and families. She believes that strengthening the connection between mental, physical, and spiritual well-being is important for long-term health and wholeness.

Lauren Clark, MSW, RSW

Lauren Clark is a social worker at The Ottawa Hospital (TOH). She holds a permanent position in the Medicine Department at the Civic Campus and has been an active member of the Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) Team at TOH and with the Champlain Regional MAiD Network since 2016.

Lauren is also the volunteer President and CEO of Bridge C-14. In early 2017, she met Jan Ditchfield, the Founder of Bridge C-14, and joined its founding Board of Directors. Lauren is deeply passionate about providing families with compassionate support throughout their journey with MAiD and took over the organization after Jan stepped down from day-to-day operations in June 2019.

Lauren holds a social service worker diploma from Lambton College, a certificate in Dementia Studies from Lakehead University, as well as a Bachelor of Social Work and a Master of Social Work from Carleton University. She is a registered Member of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW), the Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW) and the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW).

Lauren was named as one of the OASW Inspirational Leaders for 2019 for her work with MAiD, and has spoken at local, provincial and national conferences. Through her post-secondary education, Lauren developed a strong interest in chronic illness and grief and bereavement. As such, she tailored much of her learning to these areas. Her current positions at TOH and with Bridge C-14 have allowed her to integrate this knowledge into practice seamlessly, both on the in-patient unit and through her participation in MAiD.

Scot Cooper, RP

Scot founded the Brief Narrative Practices Project as a means to provide specialized quality training to service providers working in time constrained therapeutic contexts. Alongside more than 18 years of direct practice he has been teaching ‘brief’ narrative and single session walk-in therapy for more than a decade locally and abroad. Scot offers the curriculum through a spirit of adventure and exploration, inviting participants to practice, stretch their skill set and transfer specific learning into everyday practice. Alongside this Scot has worked extensively in the Neighbouring Communities and Pen Pal Project; narrative practice informed relationship building initiatives between First Nations and their neighbours. Scot's most recent publications include Brief narrative practice at the walk-in clinic: The rise of the counterstory, and Quality Assurance at the Walk-in: Process, Outcome, and Learning (2014 and 2013, International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work) and the co-editing of the book Masters of Narrative and Collaborative Therapies: The voices of Andersen, Anderson, and White (2011 Routledge Publishing).

Sarah Courtney, MDiv, RP

Sarah is rigorously trained in CBT and has additional training in emotionally focused therapy for couples and families. Sarah is a registered psychotherapist and a registered marriage and family therapist. Sarah has decades of clinical experience focusing on a variety of mental health issues, addictions, couples and family system issues. She loves to work with couples and families around relationship issues (communication, conflict, mediation, affairs, parenting, etc.) using EFT and CBT. Sarah is the Couples and Family Clinical Lead at Qualia Counselling and contributes research and supervision. Sarah has experience teaching CBT workshops and courses.

Rick Csiernik, BSc, BSW, MSW, PhD, RSW, CCAC

Dr. Rick Csiernik (he/him/his), Professor, School of Social Work, King's University College is a White settler currently living on Dish With One Spoon Treaty Territory. Rick has written 10 books, edited nine, contributed to over 200 peer reviewed publications, made over 250 public presentations and been part of research teams receiving $4.6 million in funding during his career. Rick, who has been a social worker for nearly four decades, has been recipient of both the King's University College and McMaster University Continuing Education Teacher of the Year awards as well as the Hugh Mellon Excellence in Research Award, Ontario Volunteer Award, and Jeff Wilbee Award for leadership in the field of addiction.

Lorral Deline, MA, RP

Lorral is a registered psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. She has an MA in Counselling Psychology from Yorkville University and a postgraduate diploma in Addictions Treatment and Prevention from Georgian College. Over her 20+ year career, she has worked in the field of addiction and mental health in a variety of capacities including residential, hospital, and outpatient settings providing both short-term and long-term therapy. Lorral has worked with diverse client populations including those with concurrent disorders, mandated clients, women and children, cross-cultural populations, couples, and family members. She has also designed and delivered training workshops for healthcare professionals and has experience in the management of government initiative projects. Presently, Lorral is living and working in the Cayman Islands providing therapy to individuals, couples, and families. A career highlight for Lorral occurred in 2018 when she launched her online private practice offering video, phone, and chat therapy sessions to those aged 18 and over residing in Ontario.

Abdelfettah Elkchirid, MSW, RSW, PhD

Abdelfettah joined Wilfrid Laurier University in 2015. He holds a PhD in social work from the Université de Montréal. His doctoral research focuses on child rearing practices and the transmission of cultural and religious values to children of Moroccan families in Quebec. Abdelfettah joined Ottawa University in 2010 as a part-time professor and Carleton University in 2011 as a term instructor. His teaching experience and interests include structural approach to social work in direct practice and international social work; social work practice with individuals, groups and families; social work with involuntarily-assisted individuals; social work with groups; and cultural diversity.

As a clinical social worker in private practice for the last six years, Abdelfettah worked with immigrants, refugees and families, providing psychosocial evaluations in access and custody cases. He was also recognized as an expert witness in child access and custody matters by Hudson Vicinage Family Division in New Jersey and by Youth Courts in Montreal and Longueil.

As a clinical social worker with the Cultural Adjustment and Trauma Services (CATS) at the International Institute of New Jersey, Abdelfettah was trained in and applied trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy with trauma victims. He was often solicited as a guest lecturer by numerous universities such as Saint Peter’s College, Princeton Theological Seminary and Monmouth University in New Jersey, as well as New York University where he offered presentations on the topics of social work and trauma work with ethnic minorities.

Charity Fleming, MSW, RSW

Charity is a cognitive behaviour therapist with many years’ experience specializing in CBT for trauma, Indigenous populations and children and adolescents. She is president and COO of Qualia Counselling Services, which has CBT clinics across Southern Ontario, and partners with Wilfrid Laurier University to offer the entire Cognitive Behavioural Therapy program. Charity is passionate about working with priority populations, especially using CBT in flexible ways to deliver mental health interventions that result in real change. Charity is Anishinaabe from Wabauskang First Nation and is passionate about and focuses much of her CBT work and training on helping indigenous people heal from historical trauma.

Sue Gallagher, MSW, RSW

Sue is a clinical social worker living, teaching, and practicing in Waterloo, Ontario. With over 35 years of practice, Sue views the world through a trauma informed lens and embraces ongoing opportunities for integrating theory and practice. Sue teaches at a variety of universities and is an Associate with Cardinal Counselling and Mediation in Waterloo. Sue is a mother, daughter, partner, and friend who views learning as a lifelong endeavour and tries her very best to live a balanced life!

In partnership with Sandy Jardine, Sue develops and delivers workshops to various agencies, professionals, and community groups.

Maria Geleynse , MSW, RSW

Maria is a registered social worker and practices psychotherapy with clients ages 16+, addressing a diverse array of presenting issues. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in International Development from Calvin University, a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Waterloo, and a Master of Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University. In addition to psychotherapy practice, her career has also involved teaching English internationally, and working in refugee resettlement and refugee and newcomer mental health in a variety of capacities in both the United States and Canada. Maria began to study and train in acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) during her MSW, and quickly became passionate about the model. While she has trained in a variety of models, ACT has remained foundational to her practice of psychotherapy from day one, and she has engaged in ongoing training and study of the model. She has been a member of the KW-Guelph ACT Consultation Group since 2016, and has been a co-facilitator/coordinator of the group since 2018. Maria deeply values and strives to embody compassion, curiosity, respect, and authenticity in her therapy practice.

Amar Ghelani, MSW, RSW, PhD (c)

Amar Ghelani is a registered social worker, PhD candidate and instructor with the Wilfrid Laurier Faculty of Social Work. He has over 15 years of social work practice experience in addiction rehabilitation, shelters, prisons, schools, outpatient mental health, and healthcare settings. His research focuses on the relation between cannabis and psychosis and he is currently leading a qualitative study on the social relationships of youth who use cannabis and have experienced psychosis.

Carolyn Golden, MSW, RSW

Carolyn has an extensive amount of crisis-oriented and outpatient experience working with children, adolescents, adults and families for over 15 years. Among other specialties like mood disorders, substance use disorder and suicidal ideation, Carolyn is a trauma specialist with extensive training in a variety of settings (police services, child welfare, mental health clinics). Carolyn takes pride in proving evidence-based interventions. She participated as a research assistant in the Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect, 2008 (CIS-2008). She has published a peer reviewed book chapter and articles on these topics. Carolyn has also taken on leadership and training opportunities, including acting as a field instructor for social work students and doing presentations on research findings and mental health in the workplace.

Sarah Gross, MSW, RSW, Psychotherapist

Sarah has over 10 years clinical experience working with clients across the life span, specializing in child and adolescent mental health in both acute care and outpatient settings. Sarah has been a vital part of the Qualia Counselling and teaching team since the clinic first opened.

Cara Grosset MSW, PhD (c), RSW, CT

Cara is a registered social worker, social work educator, and holds a certification in thanatology. Cara has a private practice in Hamilton where she works with individuals of all ages and families facing issues such as grief, traumatic loss, PTSD, violence, and mental health challenges. Cara teaches part-time in the thanatology program at King’s University College (Western University) and at the Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University, where she is also a doctoral candidate. Cara’s research focuses on the grief and mourning experiences of people labelled with intellectual developmental disabilities. Cara was the team lead for the Intellectual Disability and Grief module for Canadian Virtual Hospice. Cara has had the privilege to work with many children, youth, families and students throughout her more than 30 years in practice. Her work with MADD Canada’s Youth Victims of Impaired Driving has spanned over 14 years, and in 2017 Cara was awarded MADD Canada’s Citizen of Distinction Award for this ground-breaking program. Cara has also developed and facilitated numerous community-based bereavement support programs, including: Missing Pieces: The Grief Puzzle (in partnership with local school boards); T.L.C. for Kids; P.A.L.S. (Peer Adolescent Loss Support); and Growing Through Grief for young adults. Cara was the 2012 recipient of the Bay Area Community Bereavement Achievement Award for her outstanding contributions to bereavement support in the Hamilton/Burlington/Niagara communities. Cara also volunteers her time and skills to Camp Quality Northern Ontario; The Hummingbird Centre for Hope; and Brant County Fire and Paramedic Critical Incident Stress Management Team.

Jennifer Hackbart, BASc, MSW, RSW

Jennifer is one of Qualia Counselling's leading cognitive behavioural therapists, specializing in CBT for children, adolescents and families and working within Indigenous communities. Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Applied Science, child, youth and family major, from the University of Guelph and a Master of Social Work degree and CBT certificate from Laurier. Additionally, Jennifer has a background in human development and has worked extensively alongside individuals with developmental disabilities, providing both individual and group support. Jennifer is also closely affiliated with Crane Lake Discovery Camp, where a wilderness therapeutic approach is used to reach at-risk youth with various mental health and behavioural challenges. Jennifer's passion for child and adolescent mental and developmental health has been a driving force in her social work career.

Karen Huber, CYC, BA

Karen is the FASD Coordinator at Sunbeam Developmental Resource Centre. She has been supporting children, youth and families in children’s mental health and developmental services for the past 27 years. For the past 13 years she has been working to build supports and understanding for individuals with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Besides supporting families living with the disability, her experience includes coordinating the Waterloo Region FASD diagnostic clinic, creating an integrated approach for FASD in Waterloo Region and advocating provincially through FASD ONE for increased identification and support of the disability. She also provides support to communities, groups, and families through private practice.

Sandy Jardine, MSW, RSW

Sandy is a graduate of the Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University and has been a clinical social worker for more than 20 years.  She is a Maritimer through and through and an Acadian in her roots.

Sandy is a Clinical Traumatologist and is trained in critical stress management and compassion fatigue/secondary traumatic stress. She facilitates debriefs to various groups and in various settings, from hospitals to local agencies to first responder workplaces. She provides education and training to workplaces across the country as a trainer and consultant.

In partnership with Sue Gallagher, Sandy develops and delivers workshops to various agencies, professionals, and community groups. She is the owner of her private counselling practice in Kitchener, where she specializes in trauma-focused work.

Sarosh Khalid-Khan, MD, DABPN, FRCPC

Dr. Sarosh Khalid-Khan is an adult and child and adolescent psychiatrist and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario. In addition to her previous administrative and research roles in the department, she has been involved in spearheading and co-developing the Family Therapy Training Program in the Division of Child and Youth Psychiatry as well as the dialectal behaviour therapy (DBT) program. Dr. Khalid-Khan completed her adult psychiatry residency training at the Institute of Pennsylvania Hospital, affiliated hospital of University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia where she trained in psychodynamic psychotherapy. She completed her Child and Adolescent Psychiatry residency training at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, previously the Philadelphia Child Guidance Centre where Salvatore Minuchin initiated and formalized structural family therapy. Dr. Khalid-Khan received family therapy training at the Philadelphia Child and Family Therapy Training Centre under Dr. Marion Goldberg who trained directly under Minuchin and adapted Minuchin’s model to ecosystemic structural family therapy (ESFT). In the past few years, Dr. Khalid-Khan has been collaborating with her colleague Patricia Marchand in teaching psychiatry residents and social work students the ESFT model. Part of Dr. Khalid-Khan’s research involves looking at outcomes of DBT and ESFT.

Annette Kussin, MSW, RSW

Annette has a master’s degree in social work, is a registered marriage and family therapist and is an advanced attachment focused therapist. She worked in children’s mental health for over 30 years as a therapist, supervisor, manager and clinical director. She was the owner/director of the Leaside Therapy Centre, a multi-discipline clinic in Toronto, for 10 years. She has had a private practice for over 30 years. She specializes in attachment focused therapy for adults, couples, adolescents and adoptive families. 

Annette has received advanced training in attachment focused therapy and has been a member of an advanced consultation group in this model of therapy. She offers consultation to mental health agencies and consultation/supervision to individual professionals. She provides training to organizations throughout Ontario including Wilfrid Laurier Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto Faculty of Social Work, SickKids Center for Community Mental Health, Mission: Empowerment! and many other training organizations, children and adult mental health services and child welfare agencies in the area of attachment, trauma and brain development. 

Annette has written and published her first book called It’s Attachment: a New Way of Understanding Yourself and Your Relationships. Published by Guernica Editions and available on Amazon and Caversham Books.

Joelle Laroche, MA, Registered Psychotherapist

Joelle currently works in private practice, providing CBT, DBT, MI and CBT for trauma services to priority populations. She is highly trained and specialized, providing services primarily to children, adolescents and adults in First Nations and rural areas. Joelle began her Doctor of Counselling and Psychotherapy through Yorkville University in the spring of 2022. With a career history of providing in home services to youth and foster families, Joelle is passionate about helping at risk priority populations with complex needs. Joelle uses a gentle and compassionate approach for individuals to find meaning in challenges and foster their strengths. Outside of her professional work, Joelle spins yarn and crochets.


Kat is in private practice as a drama therapist in Connecticut, USA, where she focuses on doing embodied work with folx who have traumatic life experiences. Kat also develops content for Greenleaf Integrative, a consulting organization specializing in burnout prevention for helpers and healers. She has served as faculty at New York University and the Kint Institute, focusing on cultural awareness and intersectionality in creative arts therapy. She is the past Director of Secondary Education for ALIVE/Miss Kendra Programs through the Post Traumatic Stress Center in New Haven, CT.

Patricia Marchand, MSW, RSW

Patricia received her Bachelor of Arts in political science with a specialization in women’s studies at the Simone de Beauvoir Institute at Concordia University. She later completed her Bachelor of Social Work at McGill University and completed her Masters of Social Work at the University of British Columbia.

Patricia has worked in oncology and palliative care at the Montreal Children’s Hospital, Military Family Resources Centre during the Canadian involvement in Afghanistan, and currently works at Hotel Dieu Hospital site with Kingston Health Sciences Centre in Kingston, Ontario where she is an adjunct lecturer in the department and supervises Residents and Fellows in group and the art of family therapy. She co-directs the Family Therapy Program in the Division of Child and Youth Psychiatry.

Working through the lens of trauma, Patricia uses a plethora of therapies such as ecosystemic structural family therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy (individual and group based), emotion focused family therapy, interpersonal therapy (IPT), emotion focused therapy (individual, family and group), family based treatment (FBT- Eating Disorders), eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR) and brainspotting.

Patricia dreams of one day taking the stage to be a stand-up comic (or at least that’s how I feel today!).

Sara Marlowe, MSW, RSW

Sara Marlowe is a clinical social worker, children’s author, university lecturer, musician and mindfulness practitioner and teacher. She currently works in private practice as an individual, couples and group therapist as well as at The Mindfulness Clinic. She is a certified mindful self-compassion teacher and she has had teacher training in MBCT (mindfulness based cognitive therapy), MARS-A (mindful awareness and resilience skills for adolescents), and MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction). She is also trained in EFFT (emotion focused family therapy) and has completed Level 3 in Gottman method couple’s therapy. Sara has developed and facilitated numerous mindfulness programs for children, adolescents, parents and families in mental health, school, hospital and community settings. She is the author of four children’s books: No Ordinary Apple: A Story about Eating Mindfully, My New Best Friend, which introduces self-compassion, The Inside Flashlight, which playfully teaches emotion regulation skills to children and No Ordinary Pizza: A Story about Interconnection. Sara is the co-creator of Mindful Monkey Magazine: Connecting families through practice & play ( She is also the author of the chapter Supporting Young Children Visited by Big Emotions: Mindfulness, Emotion Regulation and Neurobiology, in Collaborative Therapy and Neurobiology: Evolving Practices in Action (Marie-Nathalie Beaudoin and Jim Duvall, Eds.). Sara can be found online at

Alison Maslin-Maratos, BSW, MSW, RSW

Alison is a social worker and psychotherapist who provides psychotherapy and coaching at her group practice. Over her years in practice, Alison has developed an interest in mentoring and supporting other therapists, which is derived from her experience in creating and growing her own practice. A researcher and planner by nature, Alison developed The Practice Companion as a resource to support therapists in building and growing their practices. She has used her experience and knowledge to create resources that are informed by her mistakes, her successes and the lessons she has learned along the way. 

In addition to her clinical work and practice-support, Alison has been a professor and guest lecturer for post-secondary students in the fields of social work, professional practice and psychology. She provides corporate training and facilitates workshops on various topics such as self-care, managing life changes, mental health, communication skills and compassion fatigue. Alison has been a registered social worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers since 1995 and is committed to supporting fellow social workers achieve success in private practice while remaining mindful of their self-care as they balance the roles of clinician and business owner.

Christine Mayor, PhD, RP, BCT/RDT

Christine is a registered psychotherapist, registered drama therapist and board certified trainer with experience teaching drama therapy methods nationally and internationally. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Manitoba, where she specializes in critical and anti-racist approaches to trauma-informed school interventions and in arts-based approaches.

Christine has taught for Lesley University in their expressive therapies program, for Laurier in their social work program, and was the co-director of a post-graduate drama therapy certificate program in the U.S. She serves as the associate editor of Drama Therapy Review, the official peer-reviewed journal of the North American Drama Therapy Association (NADTA) and has published multiple articles and book chapters on critical approaches to trauma and the use of drama therapy and the arts for social action, clinical practice, and in school-based settings.

Prior to completing her doctorate at Laurier, Christine worked as the Director of Public Health and Social Policy at the Post Traumatic Stress Center in New Haven, Connecticut, where she led a multi-city trauma-centered drama therapy program in the schools called ALIVE. In addition to specializing in the use of drama therapy with those who have experienced trauma, she has expertise in using the arts with youth, school-based settings and in social justice work.

Shaun Metz, BEd, MSc, Registered Psychotherapist

Shaun has over 20 years of experience working especially with children and adolescents as well as adults, caregivers and families. Shaun’s specialty and focus has been in education, mental health, cognitive behaviour therapy and psychological/psych-ed assessment and treatment. Working for a variety of school boards and clinics, Shaun has been fiercely committed to his own and others’ education from the primary to post-graduate stages; teaching at elementary, university and post-graduate levels. Shaun currently resides in Edmonton, Alberta.

Dena Moitoso MSc, Psych CRPO, OACCPP, Registered Psychotherapist

Dena is a registered psychotherapist and holds a master’s degree in psychology with a specialization in traumatic bereavement. For 24 years, Dena provided individual and family counselling to those grieving the loss of a loved. She is a founding member of the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council (WRSPC) and the local chapter for Bereaved Families of Ontario. Dena has recently retired from her private practice in order to focus on teaching others what so many have taught her. As the professional consultant for WRSPC, she trains and supervises clinicians working with those who have suffered a traumatic loss. Dena works closely with local agencies as well as agencies throughout the province to establish standards of care in the field of complicated grief. It is Dena’s personal experience with loss which complements her knowledge and understanding of the challenges of grief.

Michelle Nogueira, RSSW, CAC II, CPGC, IGDC

For the past 34 years, Michelle has worked through the continuum of care in the addiction field. She has achieved certifications in gambling, gaming and addictions. She is also a registered social service worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. Michelle is currently working at The Residence at Homewood as an Addiction and Recovery Management Specialist and Digital Lead.

Michelle has been intrigued with relapse prevention throughout her career and has proclaimed that “Relapse Prevention is the cornerstone of Addiction Counselling.” She has initiated, developed, implemented and facilitated a wide range of programs and services. She has developed relapse prevention programs for gambling and substance use. She has also co-facilitated Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention Programs for substance use and gambling. She is currently facilitating a virtual group (Road to Recovery), which explores key relapse concepts.

Michelle is passionate in promoting digital wellness/flourishing through mindfulness. She is a
freelance writer/contributor for and a community expert with INTENTA. She engages with graduates of the INTENTA Gaming Disorder Clinical Training by initiating discussions, answering questions, sharing clinical experiences and resources.

Michelle has also co-authored a book My Parent’s Aren’t NOOBS! This heartfelt story for children and parents highlights the importance of technology (video games) with today’s generation of youth and promotes healthy video gaming habits. An article on The Story Behind the Story was featured in the online magazine, One Thousand Trees (March 2017).

Michelle is a proud supporter of The Family Dinner Project (TFDP). Her family was featured in TFDP’s September Newsletter, Eat, Laugh, Talk: The Family Dinner Playbook and her blog Tech, Talk and Turkey was posted on TFDP website.

In 2017, Michelle initiated and launched a Balanced Technology Management (BTM) committee in her local community. The BTM committee brought together a variety of stakeholders passionate to ensure that children and youth receive a balance between activities that promote optimal development with technology use.

Michelle has presented on gambling, technology and substance use at a variety of forums throughout her career.

Margaret Notar, MA, MSW, RSW

Marg is a social worker with over 30 years of clinical experience working in the mental health field. Since 1999, she has been a part-time faculty member with Laurier’s Faculty of Social Work, teaching clinical courses on individual and group therapy and mindfulness models, as well as providing a variety of workshops through the faculty’s Professional Development office. She has been a social work field advisor for Laurier, a sessional instructor at Renison University College’s School of Social Work and has acted as a field supervisor for many students over the years. Marg also sees clients and provides clinical consultation through her private practice.

In 2016, Marg initiated a local consultation/study group for professionals interested in learning more about acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), a topic she has presented on at the international level and provided customized training for a variety of community organizations. As well, she contributed to, and developed, eating disorders treatment, prevention and professional development services in the Waterloo region, previously as co-founder of the Eating Disorders Awareness Coalition, a non-profit charity. Marg’s current research interests are related to the impact of mindfulness practice on new social work practitioners. She has published on that topic as well as on motivational interviewing with teens, self-esteem enhancement groups, families whose loved ones have an eating disorder and mother-daughter relationships, and has conducted workshops on numerous topics across Canada. In another life, she is also an award-winning quilt artist whose work has been selected for exhibition in local museums as well as national and international exhibitions.

Bridget O’Hagan, M.Ed, Registered Psychotherapist

Bridget has an abundance of experience as a seasoned clinician helping others, especially using her skills as a certified cognitive behaviour and dialectical behaviour psychotherapist. Bridget has a profound passion for working with priority populations, such as individuals with acute mental health concerns, those with histories of trauma, the Indigenous population, and women in the corrections system. Bridget is also passionate about bringing the power of her post graduate training in Compassionate Inquiry (where she studied directly under Dr. Gabor Maté) to her clients and students.

David Pell, MSc

David has extensive experience with organization change and leadership. He operated his own business and worked for government, universities and the voluntary sector. David was a partner in Development Initiatives Inc., an international consulting firm. He was the founder and president of the Community Business Resource Centre, George Brown College Foundation, a highly successful entrepreneurship training centre and consulting organization in economic development. As the CEO of the Canadian Youth Business Foundation and the Canadian Youth Foundation, David expanded the organization’s lending, mentor support and career planning programs for young people across Canada. As the CEO, David was appointed as an advisor to the Prince of Wales, Youth Business International (London, UK). David was also the CEO of Street Kids International, an organization recognized by the United Nations as a leader in youth programming. David is the author of several publications on economic and community development. David is currently working as a consultant and an instructor in professional development programs. He is a Certified Mentor with the Business Centre Guelph-Wellington. The past President (Board) of the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington and Canadian Feed the Children.

Frank Pew, MSW, RSW

Frank Pew is a registered social worker and psychotherapist who specializes in the assessment and treatment of adolescence, transitional-aged youth (18-25) and adult mental and emotional health. Over the past 15 years, Frank has worked in a variety of outpatient mental health care settings in Canada and the USA. His career started off in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he worked in community mental health and specialized in crisis intervention. After relocating to Guelph, he continued working in community mental health as a crisis worker for several years at Canadian Mental Health Association of Waterloo and Wellington (CMHA WWD) formerly know as Trellis Mental Health.

After completing his Masters of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University in 2013, he worked as the clinical lead at CMHA WWD where he pioneered the development of one of the largest DBT-informed programs in Ontario. Frank has been in private practice since 2016 and is the founder/director of Pew Psychotherapy, a boutique psychotherapy practice in downtown Guelph that specializes in the provision of evidence-based treatment interventions for emotion dysregulation, impulsivity, anxiety, depression and OCD.

Frank is intensively trained in several evidence-based treatment modalities, such as dialectical behaviour therapy, cognitive behaviour therapy, prolonged exposure, acceptance and commitment therapy and exposure and response prevention. Throughout his clinical career he has gained extensive experience working with trauma survivors, and people with borderline personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, addictions, suicide, and non-suicidal self-injury.

Lisa Pont, MSW, RSW

Lisa Pont joined the Problem Gambling and Technology Use Treatment Service at CAMH as a therapist in 2007. Lisa’s experience in counselling, community mental health and training led her to her dual role as an educator and therapist at the Gambling, Gaming and Technology Use Knowledge Exchange team at CAMH in 2009. She expanded her knowledge and experience in behavioural addictions to include hypersexuality and shopping/overspending. She has developed and facilitated treatment groups for clients with shopping/overspending in a hospital and community setting. Lisa co-facilitated groups for clients with hypersexuality and co-developed and delivered hypersexuality training to allied professionals. In 2019, Lisa took on a new role at CAMH providing cognitive processing therapy (CPT) for trauma as part of the Ontario structured psychotherapy program. She also has a part-time private practice where she provides treatment for a range of issues including excessive behaviours. She has taught both in professional development and continuing education programs at Ontario universities and has presented at domestic and international conferences. Her expertise has been sought out for print, radio and television. She has a Bachelor of Social Work from Toronto Metropolitan University and a Master of Social Work from York University.

Melissa Pyne, MSW, RSW

Melissa is a registered social worker with over 15 years experience in the field of mental health and sddiction counselling. She has experience working in both the public and private sector. Melissa has held various positions in Grand River Hospital's Adult Outpatient Mental Health and Addiction program delivering individual and group therapy. In addition to her experience with crisis and acute mental health interventions, Melissa has also worked in private clinics and now owns her own private practice where she offers a number of evidence-based modalities (CBT, DBT, EMDR, IFS) to best serve clients anywhere along the continuum of mental health and wellness. 

Melissa has completed her professional coaching certification (PCC) with the International Coaches Federation. With a hat tip to Johan Hari concept of rat park, Melissa believes that rehumanizing workplaces by deepening relationships and connecting to purpose can help foster resiliency around mental health and substance misuse. Melissa is particularly passionate about coaching front-line care providers for sustainability in careers with high rates of burnout. 

Melissa holds a BA (Hons) in psychology from York University and a Masters of Social Work from Laurier. As a continual learner, Melissa is certified in the Daring Way™ (highly experiential methodology in developing shame resiliency based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown) and loves teaching and learning from new students.

Maxxine Rattner, MA, MSW, RSW

Maxxine was the founding social worker at Kensington Hospice, a residential hospice in downtown Toronto providing end-of-life care to individuals over 18 years old with prognoses of less than three months. For a decade, she attended to the complex psychosocial and practical support needs of patients and their families, and coordinated and implemented the hospice’s bereavement support program. Prior to working in hospice, she worked in HIV/AIDS community development and public policy for seven years. Maxxine holds an MA in Public Policy and an MSW from the University of Toronto, and a post-graduate certificate in palliative and end-of-life Care from the Smith College School for Social Work. She is currently pursuing her PhD in social work at Wilfrid Laurier University with a focus on non-physical suffering within the context of palliative care. In 2019, she joined the Canadian Virtual Hospice team as a Psychosocial Specialist. Maxxine has presented at conferences nationally and internationally, and is the recipient of the 2017 award for Emerging Leader in Palliative Care Social Work from the U.S.-based Social Work Hospice and Palliative Care Network.

Julia Read, MSW, PhD (C)

Julia is currently pursuing a PhD in social work at Wilfrid Laurier University. Her research interests, inspired from both her lived experience and her work as an addiction therapist, include exploring contemporary social constructions of addiction and mental distress as well as decolonizing approaches towards understanding addiction. Julia believes people who have experienced being diagnosed or criminalized as “addicts” share unique experiences of marginalization. Based on an in-depth understanding of reciprocity, experiential knowledge and meaningful dialogue, her approach to teaching is designed to engage learners in a critical process. Through her research, Julia aims to raise awareness about the impacts of stigma experienced by people with lived drug use experience, particularly those who work in peer support services. Her recent research projects have infused participatory and community-based methodologies, while creating opportunities for community capacity building.

Julia has taught at the Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University since 2015 as a contract teaching faculty.

Susan Reid, BA (Hons), BSW, MSW, RSW, MEd

Susan is a social worker and is a currently working as a clinical lead with Qualia Counselling Services. Sue has been practicing in the field of social work primarily in healthcare and mental health. Sue specializes in CBT for children, adolescents, adults, couples and families. She holds a Master of Social Work and Master of Education from the University of Toronto and a CBT certificate from OISE and Wilfrid Laurier. Sue’s passion and experience as an advocate for her clinical work has evolved to include mentoring and educational roles within Qualia and community clinicians.

Susan has experience and training in many areas including CBT, CBT and anxiety, CBT for mental health, CBT for children, CBT for psychosis, CBT for trauma, CBT for women’s reproductive mental health and CBT for voice hearers. Susan teaches CBT in a variety of contexts and areas including workshops, lectures, courses including online, remotely and in person.

Ian Robertson, MSW, RSW

Ian currently works as a consultant and educator for community-based organizations and hospital systems to establish high-quality trauma-informed standards of care and effective service delivery approaches. He provides clinical training in trauma, mental health and addictions best practices. Ian also provides clinical supervision to therapists who operate in private practice and within community-based agency settings. Ian worked for many years as the Regional Clinical Supervisor for Addictions and Mental Health at the Niagara Health System. Ian has been a speaker at international, national, provincial and regional conferences and an organizational trainer in the clinical areas of substance abuse, trauma, concurrent disorders, mental health, youth at risk, youth threat assessment, motivational interviewing, organizational trauma-informed practices, vicarious trauma, trauma and mindfulness, polyvagal and structural dissociation theory and CBT for frontline workers. He has completed his certification as a advanced clinical supervisor from Smith College, School of Social Work in MA, USA. Ian also owns and operates a private practice in Niagara.

Laurie Robinson, MSW, RSW

Laurie enjoys working at the policy and service system level of care for all people and is a strong advocate for implementing trauma-informed service systems in Canada. Laurie completed both her BSW and MSW at the University of Calgary and started her career as a youth worker and clinical social worker in both child welfare and children’s mental health sectors. Later in her career, Laurie moved into administrative positions as director of services and acting executive director. Laurie has been consulting since 2011 and enjoys working with a variety of organizations and employers in the broader non-profit sector and government. Presenting and training others on trauma-informed theory and practice is a true passion. Initially trained on the sanctuary model of trauma-informed care, Laurie has since pursued extensive study on a variety of approaches that cover all service sectors, including mental health, addictions, developmental services and the justice system to name a few. Laurie’s early experience as a clinician keeps her interested in trauma specific interventions and cutting edge approaches in social work.

Angela Rolleman MSW, RSW

Angela is a registered social worker, speaker and trainer. She has 20 years of experience working in social service settings including child welfare, employment counselling, crisis counselling, health care (Family Health Team), outpatient addiction treatment and residential addiction treatment. She has a master’s degree in social work, an undergraduate degree in psychology and a diploma in addiction counselling.

Currently, Angela has her own business providing onsite training workshops for organizations as well as personal development workshops for individuals; she is an instructor for the Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Social Work Professional Development Program; and she is the Director of Mission: Empowerment!, a company that provides personal and professional development seminars and events. Angela has been a speaker at several conferences on topics including addiction, motivational interviewing, self-esteem, overcoming limiting beliefs and positive psychology. She has also delivered several personal development workshops for clients on topics including happiness, self-esteem, overcoming limiting beliefs, emotional eating, and achieving your dreams. To learn more, visit

Kate Ross-Rudow, MSW, RSW

Kate is a practicing clinical social worker with over 30 years of experience, concentrating in child and adolescent mental health. In addition, Kate has been a part-time educator for the Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University since 2000, teaching a variety of courses for the graduate and undergraduate programs including Advanced Family Therapy, Reflexive Practices, Ethics, Crisis Intervention, Children and Families and Group Therapy. Kate also taught Addictions and Mental Health at Renison University College at the University of Waterloo.

Kate worked as an individual, family and group therapist for 29 years at an outpatient hospital mental health clinic for children, adolescents and their families who experienced complex mental health concerns. She specializes in the areas of trauma, anxiety and depression, externalizing behaviours, attachment and relationship issues, family violence, and acute concerns. In addition, Kate offered extensive consultation and numerous workshops to community partners. Kate currently has an active private practice where she works with youth, adults and their families.

Ceilidh Eaton Russell, PhD(c), CCLS

Ceilidh is a Child Life Specialist, a lecturer at McMaster University, a consultant and a PhD candidate at the University of Guelph. Ceilidh’s teaching and consultation draw on 15 years of clinical work beginning at SickKids Hospital and then the Dr. Jay Children’s Grief Centre, supporting children, youth and families living with a family member’s serious illness, dying and death. Her research has explored family communication and siblings’ experiences when a child has a life-threatening illness, experiences of grieving youth, and concerns related to parenting grieving children.

Sarah Scanlon, MSW

Sarah has spent the last 16 years working within the gender-based violence (GBV) movement in Ontario. As a white, non-binary, queer, middle class, settler and survivor they strive to be responsive and accountable to the ways their positionality impacts how they show up to gender justice and trauma healing work. With roles across nearly a dozen organizations and initiatives focused on responding to issues of gender-based violence, they have extensive experience working with individuals (and their supports) who have experienced interpersonal, institutional or state violence. Sarah uses trauma counselling, group work, advocacy, education, systems work, non-punitive accountability models, facilitation, art projects and activism as paths to challenge sexual violence and create safer and more accountable communities. They have delivered speeches and facilitated discussions nationally and internationally on gendered and sexual violence, focused on trauma informed responses and strategies for prevention and alternative accountability practices.

Sarah is currently the Sexual Violence Response Manager at Wilfrid Laurier University, a consultant for both profit and non-profit organizations, and a member of the advisory council for the Transformative Accountability & Justice Initiative.

Michael Schiel, MA

Michael is founder and director of the Strategic Change Group, a niche consulting firm that helps empower individuals, teams and community organizations to achieve their maximum potential and reach peak performance. Michael has over 20 years of experience working with individuals and teams to plan out, implement and track projects that help them improve their service delivery model, reduce costs, find efficiencies, or work more effectively together. He does this by bringing to bear over 20 years of experience in operational improvement, organizational design, process improvement, change management, Lean six Sigma and High Performance (and High Performance Team) coaching.  He has managed over 113 projects of various sizes, planning and coaching teams to reduce costs, improve service levels, increase quality levels and transform their service delivery models.

Michael has set up project management offices, completed PMO audits, created numerous project controls across his 113+ projects, and managed projects ranging in size from $8,000 to $220 million.

Michael has led seminars on managing successful projects for the Project Management Institute, the Institute for Public Affairs of Canada, the University of Toronto, PAVRO and numerous others. Michael has his diploma in change management from Cornell University and has been certified in project management, ITIL v3 (IT Information Library) and Lean Six Sigma. Michael is working towards his certification in High Performance Coaching. Michael holds a Masters in International Economics from the London School of Economics.

Sarah Schlote, MA, RP, CCC, SEP

Sarah is a registered psychotherapist, Canadian certified counsellor, and Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner. She holds a trauma-focused masters in counselling psychology and has additional training in EMDR, Brainspotting, Deep Brain Reorienting, structural dissociation theory for ego state and parts work, Body Memory Recall, the Touch Skills Training for Trauma Therapists, the Somatic Resilience and Regulation – Early Trauma Training (touch for attachment rupture and repair), and trauma-focused equine-facilitated therapy and ecotherapy. She also weaves mindfulness and DBT-inspired skills as well as psychodynamic therapy, attachment-oriented psychotherapy, Gestalt therapy, animal-assisted therapy and Indigenous principles into her work. She has been involved in the field of animal-assisted interventions since 2003, including the development of standards of practice, and is the creator of EQUUSOMA®, a training model incorporating Somatic Experiencing®, attachment theory, and polyvagal theory into horse-human interaction professions. Fluent in English and French, she is a sought-after trainer and frequently delivers trainings and workshops throughout the province and Canada on trauma-informed care and treatment. For more information, please visit and

Peter Sheffield, MSc, MSW, RSW

Peter is a social worker and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) specialist. He has worked as an individual and group therapist in primary care, private practice and within the MVA and WSIB systems, and has trained professionals in ACT across Ontario. Currently, he is pursuing his PhD in social work at the University of Toronto. He is also super bald.

Washington P. Silk, BA, MSW, RSW

Washington Silk (they/them) is a registered social worker. They hold a BA in anthropology from the University of Lethbridge (2010) and a Master of Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University (2013). Wash is a passionate transgender and queer social worker with over 10 years of clinical and community experience. They are a white settler from Alberta. They have lived experience of ADHD and learning disabilities. Their life experiences informs their approaches and motivation for the work. Wash has focused their career on providing support that enhances people’s sense of wellbeing. Wash has been a trans care educator for the past six years with a focus educating social workers, mental health care providers, medical professionals and education professionals. 

Kate McGoey-Smith, DipNrsg, MSW, RSW (AB & ON), FM

Kate is a clinically-trained Master level social worker with over 25 years of experience in non-profit, for profit and academic settings. Kate has held teaching and training positions at Catholic University of America, Wilfrid Laurier University, Algonquin College, Mount Royal University, University of Calgary, Alberta Advanced Education and Bredin College. Kate’s clinical work includes serving people from infants to elderly seniors living in Central or Western Canada, United States or the United Kingdom. Kate’s working philosophy is to view clients as experts of their situations and therefore facilitate solutions from within through the interventions of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). Kate believes becoming more psychologically flexible means ‘loving yourself as much as you love others’. Facilitating psychological flexibility involves interacting with clients by being respectfully curious, compassionately present, emotionally validating, and contextually practical – all done with appropriate playful humour!

Sylvie Smith, RP, ICADC, CDWF

For over 20 years, and in various settings, Sylvie's work has included supporting those struggling with substance use, addiction and mental health challenges. In a full-time role in an outpatient community program, she provides individual and group counselling to people coping with substance use and gambling, video gaming and overuse of technology. In addition, she helps support family members who have loved ones dealing with these issues. Sylvie immensely enjoys working with university students struggling with substance use or having family members who are struggling with substances. In addition, she presents education sessions to various clients, other health professionals and community partners.

In her various roles, Sylvie has always had a particular interest in supporting families living with addiction. She believes that it is vital to help families find support and healthier means to cope. She has facilitated the development of programs and sessions concerning various addiction issues. She has been instructing in the Addiction Certificate program at Laurier since its inception.

Sylvie is a registered psychotherapist and a member of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. She has diplomas in social service work and drug and alcohol counselling and a BA in Social Development Studies. In the fall of 2019, she began Phoenix Rising Psychotherapy, her part-time work in private practice to support a wider range of people and utilize her training in The Daring Way™, a highly experiential methodology on the research of Dr. Brené Brown.

Lesley Sprickerhoff, MSW, RSW

Lesley works in private practice with Qualia Counselling Services and has specialty training in CBT and trauma treatment. Her areas of interest are helping adults with anxiety, OCD, perfectionism, intergenerational trauma and PTSD. Lesley is passionate about helping others find growth and meaning after trauma. She believes that even small changes can have a great impact on a person's wellbeing. Lesley loves reading, running and being outdoors.

Alisha Stubbs, MSW, RSW, PhD (c)

Alisha (she/her) is a settler on colonized land. She has been a practicing social worker for over 10 years working in various capacities such as developmental services, frontline mental health, crisis, supervision, school board, hospital, employee assistance, private practice, post-secondary education and research. Over the last seven years her personal and professional worlds merged to spark a passion in autism and social work. Alisha’s PhD research engages in the role school social workers can play in addressing the non-academic needs of autistic female identified students in public education. Alisha uses her personal experience of having a daughter with autism, exploring her own neurodiversity, and merging it with her clinical expertise of social work, therapeutic intervention, and crisis management.

Jaisa Sulit, BEd, MScOT

Jaisa is an occupational therapist with 15 years of experience in neuro-rehab. In 2010, a spinal cord injury led her to discover the benefits of mindfulness and self-compassion. She then went on to become a medical qigong and Chinese shamanic medicine practitioner and teacher of the mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) and mindful self-compassion (MSC) programs.

Jaisa’s inspiring journey of healing is published in the book Purpose in Paralysis: From Chronic Pain to Universal Gain which became an Amazon bestseller. Jaisa now lives and works in Toronto where she teaches mindfulness, self-compassion and medical qigong at the Proactive Pelvic Health Centre and the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies.

Hannah Sun-Reid, MA, MDE, CPT-S, CTT, CTS, CDDPT, RP

Hannah is a Certified Play Therapist, Supervisor, and an Approved Training Provider with Canadian Association for Play Therapy. She is a Certified Practitioner, Consultant and Trainer in Theraplay and DDP (Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy). Hannah has more than 30 years’ experience working with children and families who experience life challenges including developmental and emotional difficulties, trauma and loss. Hannah provides supervision and consultation to therapists and organizations, and conducts training workshops nationally and internationally. Hannah is also an author of children’s books and therapeutic games.

Raquel Sutherland, MSW RSW

Raquel has a passion for working with children, youth, adults and families throughout the life and family cycle. Raquel is rigorously trained in CBT and has training in motivational interviewing, non-violent crisis intervention, suicide intervention and conflict resolution skills as well. Before joining private practice, Raquel has years of experience in adult, child and youth crisis, residential, outpatient and group mental health service provision. Raquel has worked for CAMH, employment and youth services as well. Raquel loves working with children in creative and playful ways that also embrace best practice so children, youth and families can recover from life stressors that bring them to treatment.

Andrew Taylor, PhD

Andrew is co-owner of Taylor Newberry Consulting (TNC), a company based in Guelph that specializes in helping non-profit groups make better use of research evidence. He is a program evaluation consultant with more than 20 years’ experience and has worked with a wide range of government departments, social service agencies, grassroots groups and foundations on program evaluation projects. He is also an experienced trainer. TNC’s approach to program evaluation employs a participatory, developmental approach and focuses on generating practical, useful information that can inform action. Andrew teaches program evaluation at the University of Guelph and acts as Resident Evaluation Expert at the Ontario Nonprofit Network.

Anna Toth, MSc, RP, RMFT

Anna is a Registered Psychotherapist, Registered Marriage and Family Therapist, and Clinical Supervisor with over 25 years’ experience in the social services. She trained extensively in Canada and abroad with a focus on feminist, narrative and collaborative therapies. She is a former Chair of the Ethics Committee of the Ontario Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Anna currently works in private practice in the GTA offering individual and couple therapy and clinical supervision to both new and seasoned therapists alike.

Lysa Toye, MSW, RSW, ExAT

Lysa is a registered social worker and psychotherapist whose clinical focus for nearly two decades has been grounded in the care of individuals and families of all ages living through grief and trauma, with an expanding focus on complex trauma and dissociative disorders in recent years. Prior to moving into full time private practice in 2018, her organizational work included positions with the Dr. Jay Children's Grief Centre and the Hospital for Sick Children. In addition to her client work, Lysa also writes, teaches and offers clinical consultation. She has been engaged in contemplative life and practice in various streams of yoga and Buddhism for over two decades. Lysa is passionate about supporting people of all ages living through adversity, loss and trauma to give voice to their experiences and to discover their own innate wisdom and resilience.

Elisha Van Harte, MSW, RSW

Elisha is the founder of A Mindful Change, a private practice in Guelph that specializes in mindfulness-based practices and dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT). She also works with many southern Ontario agencies in the development, implementation and training of DBT within their programs. Over the last 18 years, Elisha has held many clinical and managerial roles within the mental health inpatient and community-based sectors. Within all her roles, Elisha has facilitated clinical implementations of DBT, as well as provided education, training and supervision in the practice of DBT, cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and other evidenced-based interventions. In the last several years, Elisha has provided training at all levels of DBT within hospitals, residential treatment homes, community outpatient and school-based programs. Elisha has a Master of Social Work degree from Wilfrid Laurier University and an Honours BA in psychology and crime and criminal justice and public policy from the University of Guelph.

Marg Van Herk-Paradis, MA

As co-founder and president at Credence, Marg Van Herk-Paradis specializes in working with workplaces to address conflict, transform organizational culture and clarify organizational mission and vision through the use of creative tools. Having worked extensively across North America, Marg specializes in facilitation, coaching and mediation for groups and individuals. Marg has worked with universities, social service organizations, not-for-profits and a variety of faith-based organizations.

Marg’s professional experience includes over 25 years in not-for-profit organizations, of which 17 years were in a leadership position. She has a BA in applied social science from Concordia University in Montreal and recently completed a Masters degree at Conrad Grebel University College, affiliated with the University of Waterloo. Marg is a Qualified Mediator with the ADR Institute of Canada and a member of the ADR Institute of Ontario. She is a certified MBTI trainer for individuals and groups.

Omer Vandevyvere, MSW, RSW

Omer completed a general arts degree from King’s University College in 1999 and travelled overseas to teach English for a period of five years. He then completed his Bachelors of Social Work at King’s University College, University of Western Ontario and worked as an addictions/mental health counselor and then a program coordinator at Addiction Services of Thames Valley in London. He completed his Masters of Social Work also at King’s University College in 2009. In September 2011 Omer assumed the role of the Regional Coordinator of Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Services of Southwestern Ontario, offering specialized case management to individuals with complex needs, often including addictions and/or mental health concerns, with a special interest in the correctional system. Omer was also the identified ABI system navigator for the Southwest Local Health Integration Network, working collectively with the other ABI system navigators by focusing on the service delivery system and addressing any gaps. Omer is currently a Coordinator of the Operational Stress Injury Clinic at St. Joseph's Health Care London.

Jan Varner, MBA, CTDP

Jan retired as the CEO of United Way Kitchener-Waterloo & Area where she held the role for 12 years. Prior to this role, Jan was also a full- and part-time faculty member at Wilfrid Laurier University’s School of Business since 1995. She was also the Director of the Laurier Institute, the management and executive development arm of the School of Business. She joined the faculty after serving 15 years in the private and public sector. Jan and her husband Dave also owned an experiential training and development business that included their own team building challenge course. Jan has been teaching with the Faculty of Social Work Professional Development program since 2006.

Hanneke Verbeek, Mdiv, RP

In addition to extensive training in CBT, Hanneke also has a Developmental Service Work Diploma and further training in narrative therapy, Theraplay, and CBT supervision. Hanneke has worked in a therapeutic and supportive capacity with families and children in daycare centres, schools, group homes, government counselling agencies and private practice. Hanneke has assisted children, adolescents, young adults and their families through a collaborative relationship that is anti-oppressive, encourages self-advocacy, autonomy, and is strength based. Hanneke uses an interactive, respectful, playful, engaged approach with children and youth and informed through a family system, attachment, narrative and cognitive behavioral lens.

Ruth Virgo, MSW, PhD (c)

Ruth has an MSW degree and is currently a PhD. candidate at Wilfrid Laurier University, completing her studies in Human Relationships, Spiritual Care and Psychotherapy. She spent over a decade working in child welfare and currently works in private clinical practice at Winrose Oasis and Qualia Counselling Services. Ruth is of African ancestry and was born in the Caribbean. She has lived experience with social barriers as an Afro-Canadian. As a psychotherapist she appreciates people who negotiate social barriers in their community and realizes how important advocacy is, to know who you are and not to be told who you are. Ruth has a passion for serving others.

Wanda Wagler-Martin, MSW, RSW

Wanda has worked in the field of mental health and well-being for 33 years, as a social worker and administrator. Wanda has taught group work in the Master of Social Work program in the Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University for 21 years and is committed to educating practitioners about the integration of theory and group counselling practice. Throughout her career she has maintained a counselling, coaching and consulting practice in addition to her administrative role.

Sarah Waldman, MA, RP

With over 15 years of clinical experience, Sarah specializes in working with children, youth, adults and families experiencing a variety of mental health challenges. Currently, Sarah works in a post secondary environment providing brief interventions to students seeking mental health and well-being support. Sarah is trained in several therapeutic modalities including ACT, CBT, solution focused brief therapy, narrative therapy and creative arts therapies. Sarah is also an experienced researcher and writer with a successful record of accomplishments designing, developing and facilitating award-winning educational curriculum for a variety of audiences.

Barbara Ward, BA, MSW, RSW, PhD

Barbara is a leader in children’s mental health and well-being with over 30 years’ experience in the field. Her training and knowledge of the impact of child and youth trauma has been a strong focus during her career as well as the interconnections between staff wellness and organizational trauma and stress. Barbara is currently employed by School Mental Health Ontario as an Implementation Support Coach and Learning and Training Portfolio Support. She is on secondment from her position of Mental Health Lead with the Waterloo Region District School Board, influencing the education system as it attends to student mental wellness. Her work in part is focused on equipping staff in schools with resources for implementing everyday practices in schools such as brain calming strategies, self-regulation strategies and other universal practices to incorporate well-being into student’s lives. She also develops resources to support school mental health professionals, and supports school boards across the province on implementation of these resources. Barbara’s work embeds anti-oppression throughout.

Barbara previously served as the Director of Services, as well as a manager and a clinician in the Child and Family Therapy Program in a large children’s mental health organization in the Waterloo Region. She operationalized effective treatment and organizational interventions that attended to client and staff well-being, resiliency and trauma healing.

Barbara completed her PhD in psychology with the Taos Institute and Vrije University Brussels, Belgium and also has a Master of Social Work (MSW) from Wilfrid Laurier University. She strongly believes in the collaboration and partnerships that successfully create “a village to raise a child”. She also believes that if universal well-being strategies that are “necessary for some but good for all” were a stock in the stock market, she would invest all her money in that commodity.

Andrea Warnick, RP, RN, MA

Andrea is a registered psychotherapist whose passion lies in helping families and communities support people of all ages who are grieving the illness or death of someone close to them. With a degree in nursing, a Masters degree in thanatology (the study of dying and death) and years of nursing and counselling experience both in Canada and abroad, Andrea brings to her work a rare mixture of medical and psychosocial expertise.

For seven years Andrea was a grief counsellor at the Dr. Jay Children’s Grief Centre in Toronto, where she was also the director of Camp Erin Toronto, a free overnight bereavement camp. Andrea developed and teaches the five-day certificate program in Children’s Grief and Bereavement at SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health in Toronto, and was a founding member of Ontario’s Children and Youth Grief Network. She was also a founding board member of the Nightingale Centre for Grieving Children, Youth and Families in Guelph.

Andrea is a member of the clinical team at Canadian Virtual Hospice (CVH) where she responds to questions about children and grief asked by professionals and family members from across Canada. Andrea was the project lead for the development of CVH’s free online grief resources and for Educators.

Andrea lives in Guelph, Ontario, from where she runs Andrea Warnick Consulting, a group practice of over 25 therapists who provide grief counselling across Ontario and grief education across Canada.

Jennifer Will, MA, Registered Psychotherapist

Jennifer has been in the addiction counselling profession for more than two decades and is currently working in primary care settings as a mental health therapist. She graduated with a BA in psychology from Laurentian University, achieved a post-graduate diploma through Georgian College in the Addictions Treatment and Prevention program and has completed a Masters in Counselling Psychology. She has earned a certificate in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy from McMaster University and is a registered member of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario.

Jennifer has enjoyed a diverse career in the addiction counselling field including group and individual counselling in both residential and intensive day treatment settings as well as in the community with substance dependent clients. Additionally, she specialized in the problem gambling/behavioural addiction field for over 15 years and has worked in both the public and private sectors.

Jennifer’s current position within a family health interdisciplinary team has allowed her abundant practice in utilizing a cognitive behavioural therapy approach with individuals suffering from anxiety, mood and addiction related struggles. Furthermore, the year 2020 brought about many new challenges in the wellness sector and marked the opening of Jennifer’s private practice, Will Thrive Psychotherapy and Consultation, where virtual and in-person counselling is offered to individuals and couples who are experiencing challenges with addiction and mood related disorders.

Over her career, Jennifer has presented at conferences nationwide and has been regularly featured as a guest expert on multiple media platforms. She has developed and facilitated a number of workshops for helping professionals and adult learners, and has been a workshop facilitator with Wilfred Laurier since 2015.

Anathèle Zamor, OT, RP

Anathèle has been working as an occupational therapist since 2009, and in outpatient mental health since 2012. She is also a registered psychotherapist. She has specialized in evidence-informed care for severe and persistent mental illness, and now is working as a CBT clinician with the Ontario Structured Psychotherapy Program, which seeks to increase access to mental health care for residents of Ontario. Working as a CBT clinician has provided her with the opportunity to work with a wide variety of persons in mental health. Now more than ever, the state of the world is highlighting the importance of access to quality and timely mental health care for everyone.


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