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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.

Vashisht Asrani, MA

Vashisht is a full-time research and evaluation consultant at Taylor Newberry Consulting. His recent work includes evaluations of food systems programs, community responses to COVID and a national program designed to promote wellness for youth and seniors through dance. He graduated in 2018 with a Master’s degree in social psychology from Ryerson University. His research thesis explored prejudice and discrimination towards religious and diet-based minorities (Sikhs and vegans/vegetarians).

Stephanie Baker, PhD, RSW

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 recently started her own private practice offering counselling, clinical supervision, as well as consultation and training to various community organizations. In addition to this, Stephanie is an instructor in the Master of Social Work Program at Wilfrid Laurier University, and teaches in Laurier’s Professional Development program.

Pina Barbieri, MSW, RSW

Pina has a master of social work degree from the University of Toronto, and a double major bachelor of science/social work degree from McMaster University. Pina has decades of experience and specializes using CBT creatively with children and youth, CBT for trauma and historical indigenous trauma, and using CBT for chronic illness. 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.

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 (Leadership)

A life-long resident of Kitchener, Nancy is the VP, Strategy and Business Development with United Way Waterloo Region Communities. Serving with United Way locally for over 20 years, Nancy works closely with community organizations, local government and other funders. During her tenure at United Way, Nancy’s portfolio has included community investment and community development work, agency relations, research, measurement and evaluation, and resource development/fundraising.

Nancy is also involved in several community initiatives such as the Child and Youth Planning Table, Immigration Partnership Council and the Homelessness Partnering Strategy Community Advisory Board for the Region of Waterloo.

Education: 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 rigourously trained in CBT and is a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist with additional training in emotion focused therapy for couples and families and CBT supervision. Sarah has decades of clinical experience focusing on mental health, addictions, couples and family system issues. Trained in spiritual care, Sarah helps others incorporate their spiritual practices/beliefs into treatment. Sarah loves to work with couples and families around relationship issues (communication, conflict, mediation, affairs, parenting, etc.) using EFT and CBT.

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 $4.5 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.

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.

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.

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 clinical social worker, social work educator, and holds a certification in Thanatology. Cara has a clinical 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 Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University, where she is also a doctoral candidate. Cara has had the privilege to work with many children, youth, families, and students throughout her more than 25 years in practice. Her work with MADD Canada’s Youth Victims of Impaired Driving has spanned over 12 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 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.

Ryan James, MEd, CCC

Ryan is a seasoned cognitive behaviour therapist, supervisor, manager and director of psychotherapy and counselling services across a variety of populations and services. Working with colleagues and like-minded individuals, Ryan founded the Community Counselling Center in Prince George in partnership with the University of Northern British Columbia and Northern Health. This centre, which operated for a number of years, provided low cost counselling and practicum hours to thousands of individuals and hundreds of students. This work has inspired him to continue to build clinical skill capacity for psychotherapy students and professionals through rigorous clinical work, supervision, teaching and training. Ryan is originally from Vancouver, BC, although currently residing in Calgary, and is excited to be teaching with passion about CBT and engaging with students both online and in person.

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.

Jenny Jonker, MSW, RSW

Jenny is a dynamic leader with many years experience treating interpersonal and refugee trauma and working in outpatient mental health and the education system, as a school social worker. Jenny uses cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) to guide her treatment and is trained in CBT advanced skills for use with special populations like children, adolescents and those with histories of trauma. Having immigrated to Canada as a refugee from Nicaragua, Jenny has also dedicated much of her profession to working alongside immigrants and refugees in settlement services, and promoting mental health using creative approaches like photovoice projects. Jenny has also worked in indigenous communities, providing evidence-based practices to treat suicidal ideation, historical and intergenerational trauma.

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.

Kat Lee, MA, RDT, CCLS

Kat is a drama therapist with additional training in working with medically compromised children and their families. She treats children, adolescents and adults with severe traumatic life experiences in New Haven, CT. Kat also serves as faculty at the Kint Institute's postgraduate program for trauma and the creative arts therapies in New York City.

Julia Manuel, MSW, RSW

Julia has worked in the field of family violence for over 25 years. She began her career as Frontline Child Protection Worker where she conducted child abuse investigations and provided support to vulnerable families for over 15 years. Julia then went to work with the Ministry of Attorney General, Victim Witness Assistance Program, as a Victim/Witness Assistance Worker providing support and information to victims of violent crime as they navigated through the criminal justice system. It was during this time that Julia obtained her Master of Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University. After six years with Victim/Witness Assistance Program, Julia became the coordinator of the Family Violence Project working within a multidisciplinary team, including WRPS Domestic Violence Investigative Branch, Crown’s office, Legal Aid, Women’s Crisis, to provided wrap-around seamless services to victims of domestic violence. After five years, Julia had the opportunity to become the Director of the Waterloo Region Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centre and has been in this position for over three years.

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

Christine Mayor, PhD Candidate, MA, BCT/RDT

Christine is a registered psychotherapist, registered drama therapist and board certified trainer with experience teaching drama therapy methods nationally and internationally. Currently a PhD candidate studying trauma-informed school interventions at Laurier’s Faculty of Social Work, 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. Christine was awarded the 2016 NADTA Research Award.

Prior to beginning her studies 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.

Alison Maslin-Maratos, BSW, MSW, RSW

Alison is a clinical therapist who provides psychotherapy and therapeutic coaching at her small 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 operating her own private practice. A researcher and planner by nature, Alison developed The Practice Companion as a resource to support therapists in conceptualizing, building and sustaining their private practice. She has used her experience and knowledge to create resources which 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, encompassing various topics such as self-care, managing life changes, mental health, relationships, parenting, 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 toward their success in private practice and in remaining mindful of their self-care as they balance the roles of clinician and business owner.

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

For the past 33 years, Michelle has worked through the continuum of care in the addiction field. She has achieved certifications in addictions, gambling and gaming. She is also a registered social service worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. Michelle is currently working at Homewood Community Addictions Services as a Problem Gambling and Technology Overuse Counsellor. Michelle also enjoys teaching Understanding Relapse Prevention and Behavioural Addictions: Gambling, Gaming and Technology Overuse at Wilfrid Laurier University. Michelle’s newest role is as a Community Expert for INTENTA, a cutting-edge company offering internationally accredited training on problematic and disordered gaming.

Michelle has been intrigued with problem gambling since 1989 and for the past 18 years has provided outpatient counselling (individual, group) to problem gamblers and their significant others. She has initiated, developed and facilitated a wide range of programs and services for problem gamblers and their significant others. She has also developed relapse prevention programs for both problem gamblers and substance abusers. She is currently co-facilitating a mindfulness-based relapse prevention program for substance use and gambling.

Michelle has had the pleasure of working in all areas of the gambling field: treatment, prevention and research. She was a co-investigator on a research project titled A Comprehensive Review of Problem Gambling Self-Assessment Tools for Use on an Internet Platform and was honoured to present the findings at the 15th International Conference on Gambling and Risk Taking in Las Vegas.

Michelle has been a source for the media and has been interviewed and quoted in a variety of publications (National Post, Financial Post, Globe and Mail, Guelph Mercury, The Record, Orangeville Banner, Wellington Advertiser). She has also co-authored a book My Parents 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.

In 2017, Michelle launched a Balanced Technology Management (BTM) committee in her local community. She is a proud supporter of The Family Dinner Project (TFDP) and the Children’s Screen Time Action Network (Parent Professionals Working Group).

One of her career highlights has been her involvement with Skye Blue Acres. Skye Blue Acres is home to The Equine Intelligence Academy and specializes in offering programs on death, dying, grief and loss. As a horse lover, she has been privileged to vet the program by offering her vast amount of experience in developing groups, programs and courses.

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

Margaret Notar, MA, MSW, RSW

Margaret is a clinical social worker with over 30 years’ experience working in the mental health field. Since 1999, Marg 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 provides live and online clinical consultation to social work professionals through her private practice where she also sees adolescent and adult clients.

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 President (Board) of the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington and the past Chair of Canadian Feed the Children.

Lisa Pont, MSW, RSW

Lisa Pont joined the Problem Gambling Service at CAMH as a therapist in 2007. Lisa’s experience in counselling, outreach, community work and training led her to her dual role as an educator and therapist at the gambling, gaming and technology use knowledge exchange team in 2009. She has been involved in responsible gambling industry training and specializes in the area of behavioural addictions including problem gaming, gambling, technology use and hypersexuality. Currently, Lisa has started a new position at CAMH providing cognitive processing therapy for trauma as part of the Increasing Access to Structured Psychotherapy initiative. Lisa has taught both in professional development and continuing education programs at two Ontario universities and presents at domestic and international conferences. Her expertise has been sought out for print, radio and television. She has a Bachelor of Social Work from Ryerson 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 Wilfred 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 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. 

Saria Reynolds, MSW, RSW

Saria is a veteran social worker, psychotherapist and CBT certified clinician currently employed by Qualia Counselling Services Inc. Her passion and experience as a humanitarian advocate has evolved to include mentoring and educational roles. Since 1993 she has worked exclusively in the field of mental health. This has included providing psychosocial rehabilitation therapy in community-based programs like ACTT and transition teams, as well as within tertiary and primary care facilities across Southwestern Ontario. Saria is adept in dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) skills training, motivational interviewing, crisis intervention and trauma informed principles through a CBT lens. Previous employment and volunteer roles have afforded her in-depth expertise into the topics of consent, capacity, dementia, cognitive and developmental disabilities, hospice palliative care and end of life (EOL) issues. Presently at Qualia she conducts individual, couple, family and group work therapy and serves colleagues in a supervisory role.

Saria obtained her certificate in gerontology and BSW from the University of Windsor and her MSW from Renison at the University of Waterloo. She is currently registered with the OASWSSW, OASW SWHPN.

Ian Robertson, MSW, RSW

Ian currently works as an organizational consultant for community-based organizations and hospital systems to establish high-quality standards of care and effective service delivery approaches. He is a clinical trainer in trauma, mental health and addictions best practices throughout the province for several hospitals and community-based programs. Ian also provides consultation and clinical supervision to therapists who operate in private practice and within agency settings. Ian worked for many years as the Regional Clinical Supervisor for Addictions and Mental Health at the Niagara Health System. In his earlier years, Ian worked as a substance abuse counsellor at the Niagara Withdrawal Management Centre, the New Port Centre, as a clinical therapist for Mental Health Services, Regional Facilitator and Trainer for Mental Health, and also consultant for several community organizations. He is certified as a Clinical Traumatologist, Compassion Fatigue Specialist and ARP, and Substance Abuse Counsellor. He is trained in Trauma Incident Reduction (TIR), Level 1 and 2 of EMDR, threat assessment, cognitive behavioural therapy, dialectical behavioural therapy, cognitive process therapy and motivational interviewing. Ian has been a speaker at international, national, provincial and regional conferences and an organizational trainer in the clinical areas of addictions, trauma, concurrent disorders, mental health, youth at risk, youth threat assessment, motivational interviewing, organizational trauma-informed practices, various trauma, trauma and mindfulness 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 with additional training and expertise in addiction counselling. Angela has 19 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.

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 Certified Child Life Specialist, a lecturer in Child Life and Paediatric Psychosocial Care at McMaster University, and aPhD candidate in the Family Relations and Human Development program at the University of Guelph. Since 2001, Ceilidh’s clinical work and teaching has focused on supporting children and families living with the serious illness, dying or death of a family member. In her research as a graduate student at SickKids Hospital, and Director of Research and Evaluation at the Dr. Jay’s Children’s Grief Centre until 2020, Ceilidh’s collaborative work focused on exploring family communication and grief when a child has a life-threatening illness, and children’s experiences when a sibling is dying.

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

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. 

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.

Jaisa Sulit, BEd, BPHE, 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 qualified mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) teacher, a certified medical qigong and Chinese shamanic medicine practitioner and a teacher-in-training of the mindful self-compassion program.

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.

Olivia Tischler, MSW, RSW, MPH

Olivia is a registered social worker who holds a masters degree in social work and public health from Columbia University. Over the course of her career, Olivia has worked in various capacities working with children affected by cancer, families of children with life-threatening illnesses and with the Victim Services Program at Bellevue Hospital in NYC. Olivia works in private practice with a focus on supporting individuals and families who are grieving. She has offered workshops and education sessions within the realm of grief to multiple organizations across Ontario, as well as facilitated multiple debriefs across congregate care settings. Olivia is passionate about supporting individuals in their grief, as well as sharing knowledge within grieving communities so that they can best support each other.

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 social worker and psychotherapist whose clinical focus for nearly two decades has been grounded in the care of children, youth and adults living through grief and trauma, with an expanding focus on complex trauma and dissociative disorders in recent years. She has held positions at the Dr. Jay Children's Grief Centre and the Hospital for Sick Children and is now in full-time private practice. 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 By Clinical Design, a mental health treatment, training and development company. She also works in private practice in Guelph and in the role of Clinical Trainer at Kinark Child and Family Services. Over the last 17 years Elisha has held many clinical and managerial roles within the mental health inpatient and community-based sectors. Within all of her roles, Elisha has facilitated clinical implementations of dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) as well as provided education, training and supervision in the practice of DBT, cognitive behavioural 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 recently retired as the CEO of the local United Way where she held the role since 2005. 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 development arm of the School of Business and Economics. 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 department 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.

Wanda Wagler-Martin, MSW, RSW

Wanda has worked in the field of mental health and well-being for 32 years, as a social worker and executive director. Wanda has taught group work in the Master of Social Work program in the Faculty of Social Work Wilfrid Laurier University for 20 years and is committed to educating practitioners about the integration of theory and group counselling practice. Throughout her career she has maintained a clinical counselling (individuals, couples, families and groups), coaching and consulting practice in addition to her administrative role.

Barbara Ward, BA, MSW, RSW, PhD

Barbara is a leader in children’s mental health and well-being with over 25 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 the 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 with resources for implementing everyday practices in schools such as mindfulness, self-regulation strategies and other universal practices to incorporate well-being into student’s lives.

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 recently 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 over 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 is 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. At CVH Andrea was also the project lead for the development of, a free online grief resource which was launched in November 2017, and is currently the project lead for for Educators, which will launch in the fall of 2020.

In addition to her education and consulting work, Andrea runs a group practice of grief therapists providing services throughout Ontario.

Jennifer Will, MA, Registered Psychotherapist

Jennifer has been in the addiction counselling profession for more than two decades and is currently employed with Regional Services within the Homewood Health Centre in Guelph, ON. 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 intake/screening services, 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 at Homewood Health Centre involves providing individual and group counselling in rural Wellington in a partnership with a large family health team. 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 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 on the topics of treating concurrent disorders and older adults. In 2019 she was a regular guest on the CBC morning radio talk show speaking to the topic of digital dependency. 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

Kurtis Wright MDiv, RP

Besides his extensive training in CBT, Kurtis is additionally trained in non-violent conflict intervention, suicide intervention, emotion focused therapy, ACT and addiction treatment. Kurtis currently works at Qualia Counselling Services, and previously spent years supporting adults living in emergency shelters and supportive housing. Through a gentle and collaborative approach, Kurtis seeks to walk with others through the challenges that life brings so that together, they can come to a constructive sense of meaning and wholeness. Outside his professional work, Kurtis is a musician, woodworker and nature-lover.

“We must know that we have been created for greater things, not just to be a number in the world, not just to go for diplomas and degrees, this work and that work. We have been created in order to love and be loved.” -- Mother Teresa

Dylan Zambrano, MSW, RSW

Dylan is a registered social worker, psychotherapist and trained mPEAK Coach. He has taught mindfulness and compassion courses, workshops and meditations sessions to hundreds of professionals in various fields, including education, healthcare, first-response, corporate leadership and athletics. Dylan has developed and teaches mindfulness and compassion courses at both Wilfrid Laurier University and University of Toronto.


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