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Being 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.

Kathy Absolon-King, MSW, PhD

  • Indigenous Peoples: Addiction and Recovery

Kathy (Minogiizhigokwe – Shining Day Woman) is Anishinaabe kwe with many family and community roles. Kathy is a member of Flying Post First Nation. Her passion for wellness among her peoples and the restoration of Indigenous knowledge in Creation has been one of the driving forces in her life work as an Indigenous wholistic practitioner in child welfare, Native mental health, youth justice, community work and social work education. Her academic and cultural work has been in restoring, reclaiming, re-righting Indigenous history, knowledge, cultural worldviews and making the invisible visible. Her knowledge pathway has been both cultural and academic with an MSW in 1991 and her PhD in 2008, and her cultural education has included many Indigenous teachers, Elders and mentors. In 2011 she published Kaandossiwin: How We Come to Know (Fernood Publishing) promoting Indigenous knowledge in Indigenous research. She has authored other works in wholistic practice, social inclusion, reconciliation, community healing and wellness and Indigenous knowledge. Her most recent project is in gathering stories of resistance and resilience from her mother, a survivor of the St. John Anglican Residential School in Chapleau, ON.

Currently, Kathy is an Associate Professor and Associate Dean of the Aboriginal Field of Study in the MSW program at Laurier.

Stephanie Baker, PhD(c), RSW

  • Concurrent Disorders

Stephanie is a registered social worker who has been practising in the field for over 20 years. Her experience spans a range of areas including acquired brain injury, addictions, intimate partner violence, mental health, concurrent disorders, sexual violence, and trauma. She has provided individual, marital, family, and group counselling throughout the duration of her practice in both community and institutional settings.

Stephanie is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Social Work at Laurier, and negotiates several additional responsibilities in conjunction with her studies. Stephanie is a social worker with the Sexual Assault Domestic Violence Program at the Niagara Health System, has a small private practice offering Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy, and provides consultation/training to various community organizations. She is also an instructor for McMaster University in the Addiction Education Program and an instructor in the Master of Social Work Program at Laurier.

Elise Barrette, MSW, RSW

  • An Introduction to Animal Assisted Interventions

Elise is the second school social worker in Ontario to be working with a Canine Assisted Therapy dog from National Service Dogs. Elise and accredited facility dog, NSD Uley work hand-in-paw together at the London District Catholic School Board. Elise is also NSD Holly's secondary handler. With over 10 years' experience as a school social worker and over 15 years of working with children and families, Elise offers a unique perspective in incorporating Animal Assisted Therapy to her workshops. Elise is also a TLC Certified Trauma Consultant as well as a children's yoga instructor.

Nancy Bird, BA

  • Resource Management and Development

Nancy joined United Way Kitchener-Waterloo and Area in Jan. 2001 as receptionist/administrative assistant. Since then Nancy has held several roles at United Way KW and Area including Grants and Allocations Officer, Assistant Director, Community Development and Director, Community Development. In Jan. 2012, Nancy took on a new challenge as Vice-President, Resource Mobilization. This portfolio includes all community investment and community development work, agency relations, research, measurement and evaluation and resource development/fundraising.

Nancy believes strongly in continuing education. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Waterloo, an adult teacher/trainer certificate from Conestoga College, a Management and Leadership certificate from Laurier’s Faculty of Social Work, and is an alumnus of Leadership Waterloo Region. Passionate about coaching and mentoring others, Nancy has been a field supervisor for the Bachelor of Social Work program at Renison College, University of Waterloo for over five years and has also supervised MSW students from University of Windsor. She regularly does presentations for classes at both local universities and the local college.

Nancy’s community work focuses on schools and community. Nancy served on parent school councils for a number of years, and currently sits on the Safe and Healthy Community Advisory Committee and the Project Team for the Neighbourhood Strategy for City of Kitchener, the Housing Stability System Advisory Committee and the Housing Stability System Community Advisory Board for the Region of Waterloo.

In addition, Nancy helps support the work of United Way at a national level by participating on the national Community Investment Leaders Network, which she also chairs, and Resource Development Leaders Network.

Beth Bower, BScN, RN, MDiv, MTh, RSW, RMFT

Beth’s first profession was as a registered nurse working in public health. She completed her education as a couple and family therapist in 1996 and began working at the University of Waterloo Counselling Services in 1999. Beth’s interest in mindfulness practice led her to attend a professional retreat in mindfulness based stress reduction with Jon Kabat-Zinn in 2008. She continued her training with Michael Stone in 2009 in the 10-month course, Mindful Meditation in Clinical Practice. In 2010, Beth completed the mindfulness based cognitive therapy training with Zindel V. Segal. She has begun training in mindfulness for pain relief.

A significant part of Beth’s clinical practice has been with students dealing with disordered eating. She attended a workshop with Dr. Jean Kristeller on mindfulness based eating awareness and then developed and offered a mindful eating group for staff and students at the University of Waterloo. Beth has been delighted to facilitate various mindfulness based workshops at the University of Waterloo.

Jaime Brown, PhD

  • Program Evaluation

Jaime uses her high level of expertise in research and facilitation to help bring clarity to the work of non-profit organizations, utilizing research and evaluation evidence as tools for organizational learning, strategic planning and action. Jaime earned a PhD in applied social psychology from the University of Guelph, with a focus on health and social justice issues. She has over 10 years of experience working, both regionally and nationally, with not-for-profit organizations, government, grant-making organizations, and universities on issues related to health systems, health equity, disability rights and supports, public health and health promotion, food security, family relations, and child and youth development. Jaime has experience facilitating professional training and development sessions about evidence-informed decision-making and knowledge translation and exchange, and teaching university psychology, statistics and program evaluation. Before joining Taylor Newberry Consulting, Jaime coordinated a national project to support knowledge translation in public health practice and policy for the National Collaborating Centres for Public Health at McMaster. Jaime’s research has won awards from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (2011) and the US National Council on Family Relations (2014).

Thomas Brown, MSW, RSW

  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Level I

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.

Scot Cooper

  • Single Session Therapy
  • Narrative Therapy with Individuals, Groups and Communities

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).

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

  • Pharmacology

Professor, School of Social Work, King's University College at Western University, Rick has written and edited eight books, including Substance Use and Abuse: Everything Matters, Responding to the Oppression of Addiction and Wellness and Work: EAP in Canada, authored 140 peer reviewed articles and book chapters and has been an invited presenter to over 200 national and international conferences, workshops and seminars. He has been part of research teams that have received over $3 million in funding and has been on the King's University College honour role of teaching 14 consecutive times. Rick was the co-developer of the McMaster University Addiction Studies Program where he has taught for over 25 years and was the inaugural recipient of the McMaster University Instructor Appreciation award.

Lorral Deline, MA, RP, ICADC

  • Counselling Techniques in Addiction Practice

Lorral has a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology from Yorkville University and a post-graduate diploma in Addictions Treatment and Prevention from Georgian College. Over her 17 year career, she has worked across the continuum of care in various capacities. This includes working within residential and outpatient settings where she has gained extensive experience in group facilitation and individual counselling and the opportunity to treat diverse client populations including clients 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. A career highlight includes employment in the Cayman Islands to develop and implement residential treatment protocols for government funded programs. Presently, Lorral is employed with William Osler Health System in the mental health and addictions program providing outpatient crisis counselling services. She is a Registered Psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario.

Laura Donelan, MSW, RSW

  • An Introduction to Animal Assisted Interventions

Laura is a school social worker with the London District Catholic School Board. She is the first school social worker in Ontario to receive an accredited facility dog, NSD Holly, to partner with in her work with students. In addition, Laura is a certified yoga instructor, trained in adventure therapy and trauma intervention. Laura believes wholeheartedly in the healing power of nature and animals. She is the co-founder of Dancing Creek: Adventures in Balance Inc., a therapeutic adventure company and has worked with children, youth and their families for more than 20 years. Laura is the author of Holly’s Pawsitive Life Lessons, a book for children, parents and educators.

Abdelfettah Elkchirid, MSW, PhD (c)

Abdelfettah joined Laurier in 2015. He holds an MSW and is currently a PhD candidate in a joint program between the Université de Montréal and McGill University (with an anticipated defence in July 2016). 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 includes 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 behavioural 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.

Brett Fleming, BA, MA

  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Level II
  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Immersion

Brett is a psychotherapist and Qualia Counselling’s headquarters clinic manager. Brett’s intelligence, innovation and knowledge have led to the creation and development of all of Qualia’s leading edge cognitive behavioural interventions and DSM CBT protocols, and has earned him the position of clinic lead for research and development. His extensive expertise has made him invaluable not only to the clients he sees but also as part of the team that teaches CBT to medical residents and other professionals. Brett also specializes in using cognitive behavioural interventions with spiritual care.

Charity Fleming, MSW, RSW

  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Levels I and II
  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Immersion

Charity is a registered social worker with 10 years’ experience concentrated in psychotherapeutic outreach to priority populations. She is the founder and clinical manager of Qualia Six Nations/Brant, a secondary location of Qualia Counselling Services Inc., a full service counselling agency specializing in CBT. A proud Anishinaabe woman (bear clan), Charity is currently researching and developing a new model for treating historical trauma in First Nations. Called Sacred Circle CBT, the model is a delivery of the clear intentions of CBT for mental distress, combined with ethnocultural practices, values and beliefs of Aboriginal groups across the lifespan.

Charity is an alumnus of Laurier’s Master of Social Work program.

Diane E. Frederick, RN, MA, ICADC, ICCS

Diane is a registered nurse, therapist, certified addictions counsellor, trainer, author and instructor at workshops and seminars integrating a mindful and compassionate perspective with client-centred therapy. Diane holds an MA in adult education, a BA in social development studies and diploma in addiction studies and certificate in management studies. In 1992, Diane became certified as an international certified addiction counsellor and supervisor with the Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation where she served as a past president and director for over 10 years.

Diane’s professional experience includes nursing management positions, coordinating and teaching at Conestoga College and assessment/aftercare counsellor in a women’s treatment centre for substance use disorders. Currently, she is an instructor with Fanshawe College in the addictions certificate program.

In 1999, Diane completed a professional training program with Jon Kabat-Zinn, originator of the mindfulness based stress reduction program. Since that time, mindfulness practices have been integrated into her private practice and teaching. To promote mind-body awareness, she developed a practical guidebook in a workbook format with an accompanying CD titled You’re Breathing Anyway, that guides individuals through mindfulness/awareness practices. She creates courses that focus on mindfulness, compassion and self-compassion.

Diane’s personal meditation practices and passion to promote and encourage self-care for healthcare professionals and others pointed the way to the work of Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer. After completing a workshop with Kristin Neff in 2014, Diane completed the intensive training in mindful self-compassion with Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer the creators of the mindful self-compassion programs in January 2016.

Sue Gallagher, MSW, RSW

  • Core Counselling Skills

Sue has been practicing in the field of social work for over 30 years and has focused on work in the field of crisis and trauma as well as social work education. Sue worked for over 20 years as a member of the Waterloo Region Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centre where she responded to acute cases of sexual and domestic violence through the emergency departments of two local hospitals. She also provided ongoing counselling to those men, women and children who had experienced sexual and/or domestic violence. Currently, Sue offers general counselling through Cardinal Counselling and Mediation in Waterloo.

Sue teaches and provides field education in the social work programs at York University, University of Calgary, Renison University and Laurier, as well as in the social services program at Conestoga College. Sue teaches a course on trauma and trauma healing at Conrad Grebel University College with the Peace and Conflict Studies Program.

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

Michelle Graham, RSW, MSW

  • Trauma and Addictions: Online

Michelle Graham has extensive experience in the field of addictions and mental health. Clinical approaches used by Michelle to support her therapeutic approaches are Trauma Incident Reduction (TIR), which is an effective clinical treatment for trauma, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Motivational Interviewing and Solution Focused Therapy. Michelle did her clinical practicum at the Niagara Health System (NHS) within mental health. She has worked also in withdrawal management services at the NHS for six years. Michelle is currently pursuing her certification in MBCT at the Toronto School of Mindfulness Practices. At the agency, Michelle leads mindfulness groups for clients with anxiety, depression, substance use and ADHD. 

Karma Guindon, MSW, PhD (candidate)

  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

Karma is PhD candidate at the Faculty of Social Work, Wilfrid Laurier University. Her dissertation research is exploring ecological ethics for therapy practice. She is a registered social worker and registered marriage and family therapist. Karma has been a practicing therapist since 1994, beginning her career as a group therapist for child, adolescent and adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse and supervisor of group therapy interns. Since this time, she has practiced in the areas of adolescent eating disorders and adult mental health. Karma also practiced for 15 years at a child and family therapy program at a York Region teaching hospital. Currently, she is in private practice providing couple and family therapy and individual therapy to children, adolescents and adults. She is a part-time faculty member with the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology and Renison University College, University of Waterloo, and has been an instructor with the Master of Social Work degree program at Wilfrid Laurier University. She has also presented at numerous national and international conferences. Karma has provided supervision to students and therapy trainees and consultation to mental health professionals.

Karma co-authored a DBT workbook for teens, which was published in 2009. She uses a systems-based and integrative approach to practice and is informed by DBT, narrative therapy, CBT and psychodynamic models.

Karen James-Abra, MDiv, MEd, RSW, RMFT

Karen is a registered social worker and registered marriage and family therapist. Since 1995, she has counselled individuals, couples, families and groups. Her work is informed by her experience as a wife and mother, and by extensive training in mindfulness-based and body-centred approaches to healing. Karen is currently co-owner of The Space Within, a wellness centre in Stratford, Ontario.

As a private practitioner, she is able to help with relationship issues, parenting struggles, anxiety and depression, grief, trauma and abuse, life transitions, faith crises and stress management.

Sandy Jardine, MSW, RSW

  • Core Counselling Skills

Sandy is a graduate of the Faculty of Social Work at Laurier. Prior to her social work career, Sandy taught school in PEI and BC.

In her 18 years as a clinical social worker, Sandy has worked in various settings. She spent 10 years working with the Waterloo Region Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centre, responding to acute cases of sexual and domestic violence. She worked in corrections for many years, has been a clinical investigator with the Office of the Children's Lawyer and has been faculty and coordinator of the applied counselling post-degree program at Conestoga College. She is currently a field educator coordinator and sessional lecturer with Renison School of Social Work, as well as owner of her private counselling practice in Kitchener.

Sandy is a certified Clinical Traumatologist and is trained in critical stress management and compassion fatigue/secondary traumatic stress. She facilitates critical debriefs in various settings, from hospitals to first responders, as well as various agencies. She provides education and training to workplaces across the country and works with individuals and families, both through various EAP programs, as well as a fee for service provider. All of her clinical work is through a trauma-informed lens.

Veena Kaur, MSc, PhD

  • Clinical Supervision

Veena is the director of Training, Multicultural and Trauma Services at KW Counselling Services. She is an AAMFT approved supervisor and a part-time university instructor.

Veena has a particular interest in trauma recovery and has worked with families recovering from family violence, sexual abuse, addictions, grief and loss. She has worked extensively with new immigrants, refugees and Aboriginal peoples. Issues of diversity, marginalization and oppression remain central to her work as a therapist, teacher and supervisor and as a community developer. She has collaborated with leaders from various ethno-cultural groups in developing and delivering cultural competency trainings to service providers in the region.

Veena graduated from the Couple and Family Therapy Program at the University of Guelph in 2000. She has worked in the communities of Peel Region, Kitchener-Waterloo and the remote, isolated communities of the Western Arctic region.

Heather Kerr, MSW, RSW

  • Engaging Challenging Clients: Working with Specialized Populations in Addictions

Heather is a registered social worker, therapist, consultant and trainer providing workshops and teaching as part of her private practice. Heather holds a BA in psychology/law and criminology from Carleton University and a Masters of Social Work from Laurier. She is also a certified Equine Therapist.

Heather has over 25 years of experience specializing in addictions and trauma. She has worked extensively in provincial and federal corrections. Heather has provided training in Ontario and across Canada and the United States. She has also been an instructor at Conestoga College.

Heather has been the Executive Director of Stonehenge Therapeutic Community in Guelph for 13 years. She completed a secondment with the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network as lead for Addictions Integration in 2013. Heather is one of the founding members of the Canadian Association of Women’s Criminal Justice Residential Options.

Hilton King, BSW, MSW

  • Indigenous Peoples: Addiction and Recovery

Hilton is Anishinaabe from Wasauksing First Nation and his Anishinaabe name is Wahmahtig (Leaning Tree). He is first degree Mediwiwin. Hilton is a product of the 60s scoop, where young Native girls and boys were taken from their homes and placed in non-native homes across the country. Hilton has a background working in Native mental health, addictions, justice and child welfare. He has recently completed his Masters of Social Work degree at Laurier. More recently, Hilton is a lecturer at Renison University College, University of Waterloo and teaches Indigenous Peoples and Social Work in the School of Social Work. Additionally, at Laurier, Hilton is the part-time field coordinator and lead helper with the Aboriginal Field of Study program’s culture camps. Hilton is also a talented drum maker and has facilitated many cultural based workshops on the drum, shakers and teachings of the Anishinaabe peoples. His social work practice is rooted in his cultural identity as an Anishinaabe man.

Annette Kussin, MSW, RSW

  • Adult Attachment: Redeveloping Security in Adulthood
  • Attachment in Adolescence: The Wonky Brain that Allows for Change

Annette is a registered marriage and family therapist and advanced attachment focused therapist. She was the owner/director of the Leaside Therapy Centre, a multi-discipline clinic in Toronto until 2012. She has a private practice where she specializes in attachment focused therapy for adults, couples and adoptive families. She has worked in children’s mental health as a therapist, supervisor, manager and clinical director.

Annette has received advanced training in attachment focused therapy from Daniel Hughes and is a member of an advanced consultation group in this model of therapy. She offers consultation to agencies and individual professionals and regularly provides training to organizations throughout Ontario including Laurier's Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto Faculty of Social Work, Safeguards Children’s Services Training, Hincks-Dellcrest Institute and many children's mental health services and child welfare agencies in the area of attachment, trauma and brain development.

Linda Mackay, MSW, RSW

Linda is trained in various mindfulness based therapies including mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT), trained under Zindel Segal, Steven Hickman and Pat Rockman. She is a level two LifeForce Yoga (LFY) practitioner and is on the faculty and a mentor with the LifeForce Yoga® Healing Institute. She has a background in the performing arts and has been working at the University of Waterloo's Counselling and Psychological Services for many years. She is co-owner of The Space Within in Stratford where she offers individual therapy, LFY workshops and mindfulness based classes and programs. She has created and leads a primary school mindfulness program called Minding Your Mind.

Sara Marlowe, MSW

Sara Marlowe is a clinical social worker, children’s author, university lecturer, musician and mindfulness practitioner and teacher. She has developed and facilitated numerous mindfulness programs for children, adolescents, parents and families in mental health, educational and community settings. She is the author of two children’s books, No Ordinary Apple: A Story about Eating Mindfully and My New Best Friend, which teaches self-compassion to children. 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

Colin McVicker, BA, MA, RP

  • Group Counselling

Colin has worked in the addictions field for over 15 years. He has had the opportunity to work in the U.S. and Ontario healthcare systems treating individuals and their families for concerns around problematic substance use and gambling. He is currently working in the addictions field in a clinical capacity.

Colin has experience working with clients at a variety of levels in the healing process of addiction treatment and has worked with individuals ranging from ages 13 to 89. He is an experienced presenter and has had the opportunity to present at international conferences about new treatment approaches used in the clinical field.

Colin has had the privilege of treating clients in both individual and group counselling approaches and he looks forward to supporting students in cultivating a deeper understanding of the importance of group counselling in the treatment process of addictions.

Colin has recently completed his Masters of Health Leadership at Royal Roads University in Victoria, B.C. He focused his major research project on developing collaborative treatment practices for concurrently diagnosed patients/clients. Colin has helped facilitate organizational learning sessions on mentorship, team building and conflict resolution and has a keen interest in how teams work together to achieve common goals.

Helen Mullen-Stark, MSW

  • Program Development and Project Management

Helen has been the president of HMS Inc. Human Resource Solutions since 1995. As an independent consultant Helen has engaged in numerous successful consulting ventures within both the private and public sector. Helen has undertaken a number of project management assignments for Children’s Aid Societies, the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Society, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and children’s mental health organizations and has also provided facilitation services to a variety of social service providers for organizational restructuring and program development. She has over 30 years experience in the child welfare sector with several Children’s Aid Societies throughout Ontario. Helen brings a wealth of knowledge and experience of organizational systems, interagency and intergovernmental linkages.

Michelle Nogueira, RSSW, CAC II, CPGC

  • Introduction to Relapse Prevention

For the past 29 years, Michelle has worked through the continuum of care in the addiction field. She has achieved certifications in gambling and addictions and is a registered social service worker. Michelle is currently working at Homewood Community Addictions Services as a Problem Gambling Counsellor.

Michelle has been intrigued with problem gambling since 1989 and for the past 14 years has provided outpatient counselling (individual, group) to problem gamblers and their significant others. She has initiated, developed, implemented 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.

Michelle has had the pleasure to work in all areas of the gambling field and has developed partnerships with key stakeholders in all facets of the gambling industry: treatment, prevention, gambling venues and research. Michelle 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). She has collaborated with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) to develop a video that promotes treatment and self-exclusion (

Michelle has also co-authored a book My Parent’s Aren’t NOOBS! This heartfelt story for children (ages 5 to 8) and parents highlights the importance of technology (video games) with today’s generation of youth and promotes healthy video gaming habits.

Michelle has also had the opportunity to present on gambling, gaming and substance use at a variety of forums throughout her career.

Margaret Notar, MSW, RSW

  • Mindfulness-Based Therapies: A Look at MBSR, MBCT, DBT and ACT
  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
  • CBT: Beyond the Basics
  • Acceptance Commitment Therapy
  • Eating Disorders
  • Suicidal or Self-Harming? Assessment and Treatment of “At Risk” Teens

Margaret is a clinical social worker with over 25 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 is also a social work field advisor for Laurier and a part-time faculty member with Renison University College’s School of Social Work. She has acted as a field supervisor for many students over the years and provides live and online clinical consultation to social work professionals through her private practice where she also sees adolescent and adult clients.

Marg has 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. As well, she initiated and facilitates a local consultation/study group for professionals interested in learning more about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Marg’s current research interests are related to the impact of mindfulness practice on new social work practitioners. She has published on topics such as 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.

Raechel Pefanis, MDiv, MSW, RSW

  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) Levels I and II
  • CBT Immersion

Raechel is a registered social worker with 15 years’ experience in the field of psychotherapy. She received her Master of Divinity in Marriage and Family Therapy from Tyndale University College and Seminary and her MSW from Flinders University in Australia. She is a Diplomate with the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, largely considered the world’s preeminent body for certification, training and dissemination of CBT.

Throughout her social work career, Raechel has held positions at a number of agencies including Participation House, Cardinal Counselling and Mediation, Family and Children’s Services of the Waterloo Region and the Centre for Family Medicine. In 2010 Raechel and a partner founded Qualia Counselling Services Inc., a full service agency specializing in CBT with individuals, couples, families and groups. Today the agency employs more than 20 administrative staff and psychotherapists, all of whom specialize in CBT.

Raechel is also an adjunct faculty member with McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine where she participates in training medical residents preparing to practice family medicine.

David Pell, MSc

  • Accepting and Adapting to Organization Change in a Turbulent Environment

David has extensive experience with organization development and management. 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. He is the author of several publications on economic development and community and corporate partnerships. David is currently working as a consultant and an instructor in the professional development program at Laurier. He is a member of the Guelph Mercury Community Editorial Board and Chair of Canadian Feed the Children with responsibility for strategic planning.

Lisa Pont, MSW, RSW

  • Behavioural Addictions

Lisa started at the Problem Gambling Service at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) as the older adult specialist in 2007. Prior to that, she was hired at CAMH in 2002 to develop and coordinate the telephone support line. Lisa’s experience in counselling, outreach, community work and training led her to her position as a trainer/therapist at the Problem Gambling Institute of Ontario at CAMH. Currently, she is involved in responsible gambling industry training and specializes in the area of online gaming, gambling and Internet overuse. Lisa continues to provide group and individual counseling both at CAMH and in private practice where she specializes in Behavioural Addictions. Lisa teaches 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

  • CBT Immersion

Melissa is a registered social worker with 10 years experience in the field of mental health counselling. She works in the Outpatient Mental Health and Addictions program at Grand River Hospital delivering individual and group therapy to adults in acute mental health crisis. She also provides field supervision to Laurier's MSW students. In addition to her work at the hospital, Melissa works at Qualia Counselling Services Inc., a full service counselling agency specializing in CBT.

Melissa holds a BA (Hons) in psychology from York University and an MSW from Laurier. She is certified in concurrent disorders and the Daring Way™ (highly experiential methodology in developing shame resiliency based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown).

Ian Robertson

  • Trauma and Addictions

Ian currently works as the Regional Clinical Supervisor for Addictions and Mental Health at the Niagara Health System. Previously, Ian was 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 a certified clinical traumatologist, compassion fatigue specialist 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 on topics such as substance abuse, trauma, concurrent disorders, mental health, youth at risk, youth threat assessment, Motivational Interviewing, Stages of Change, and Organizational Trauma-informed Practices. He is currently working on his Advanced Certification as a Clinical Supervisor from Smith College, School of Social Work in MA, U.S. Ian also owns and operates a private practice in Niagara.

Laurie Robinson, BSW, MSW

Laurie has a passion for 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. She started her career as a youth worker and clinical social worker, completing both her BSW and MSW at the University of Calgary. As a consultant, Laurie enjoys working with a broad variety of organizations and employers in the broader non-profit sector and government. She has been presenting and training others on trauma informed theory and practice for several years. 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

  • Fundamentals of Addiction
  • Motivational Interviewing in Addiction Treatment
  • Motivational Interviewing for Helping Professionals
  • Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness

Angela is a registered social worker, speaker and trainer. She has additional training and expertise in addiction counselling and has worked in both outpatient and residential (short-term and long-term) addiction treatment settings as well as implementing the Ontario Works Addiction Services Initiative in Guelph. 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 Laurier's Faculty of Social Work Professional Development Program and she works on staff as a social worker with the Family Health Team in Woodstock. 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

Sarah Schlote, MA, RP, CCC, SEP

Sarah is a trauma specialist and founder of The Refuge: Centre for Healing and Recovery in Guelph, an integrative facility focusing on top-down and bottom-up trauma and attachment treatment approaches, including the EquuSpirit: Healing with Horses program. Her 15 years of clinical experience are supported by a trauma-focused master's degree and training in the Somatic Experiencing trauma resolution method, Body Memory Recall, the Touch Skills Training for Trauma Therapists, the Somatic Resilience and Regulation – Early Trauma Training, EMDR, and trauma-focused equine-facilitated therapy and ecotherapy. A practitioner of mindfulness since 2003, she weaves mindfulness and DBT skills as well as psychodynamic therapy, ego state/parts work, attachment-oriented psychotherapy, Gestalt therapy, animal-assisted therapy, and indigenous principles into her practice. She has also been involved in the field of animal-assisted interventions since 2003, including the development of standards of practice. Fluent in English and French, she is a sought-after trainer and frequently delivers trainings and workshops throughout the province and Canada. For more information, please visit

Sylvie Smith, BA, ICADC

  • Addiction and the Family

With over 17 years in the addictions field, Sylvie has worked in several areas along the continuum, including withdrawal management, harm reduction, methadone maintenance and short- and long-term residential treatment. In her current role, she provides individual and group counselling to people struggling with substance use/abuse. She also helps support problem gamblers/gamers as well as their loved ones. This past year, she has immensely enjoyed working with University students who are struggling with substance use or have family who members who are struggling with substances. Sylvie also presents education sessions to clients, the community and other health professionals. She is active in in various committees within her community including harm reduction, domestic violence and sexual assault. As a co-investigator, Sylvie presented findings of her research, A Review of Problem Gambling Self-Assessment Tools for Use on Internet Gambling Platform, at the International Conference on Gambling and Risk Taking, in Las Vegas (2013).

In her various roles, Sylvie has always had a special interest in supporting families living with addiction find supports and healthier means to cope. She has helped develop programs and sessions for teens that have parents abusing substances and for teens who abuse substances themselves.

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, as well as a BA in social development studies. She is an internationally certified alcohol and drug counsellor with the Canadian Addiction Counsellor Certification Federation.

Cathy Snyder, FCPA, FCMA, CHRP

  • Human Resource Management
  • Resource Management and Development

Cathy joined United Way in 2008 as CFO and became CFO/CAO in 2010. Her areas of responsibility include finance and accounting, human resources, technology, administration, facilities, marketing and communications, policy and compliance, risk and strategic planning/measurement. Prior to joining United Way, Cathy was vice-president, finance at Ontario Teachers Insurance Plan (OTIP) in Waterloo.

Cathy is a graduate of the University of Waterloo (BA), Conestoga College (certificate in human resources) and has completed the risk management program at Laurier. She is a chartered professional accountant, certified human resources leader and a certified risk manager. She is also a graduate of the Rotman School of Management not-for-profit essentials governance program.

Cathy is an active community volunteer, having served on many boards and committees including United Way, Greater KW Chamber of Commerce, St. Monica House, KW Big Brother Big Sisters, CMA Canada and CMA Ontario, and St. Jerome's University. She is currently on the board of her neighbourhood association. In addition, Cathy has volunteered with KidsAbility, Great Ride and Stride to Beat Cancer and the MS Walk. Cathy was a member of the review committee that assisted with the creation of CMA Canada’s Management Accounting Guideline "Performance Measurement of Not-for-Profit Organizations."

Cathy has spoken at various events including events held by Sustainable Waterloo Region, the Grand Valley Chapter of HRPA and the Institute of Corporate Directors. She was awarded the CMA Ontario Community Services Award in recognition of her volunteer efforts with CMA Ontario and the local community, is a Fellow of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario and is a recipient of the KW Oktoberfest Professional Woman of the Year award.

Andrew Taylor, PhD

  • Program Evaluation

Andrew is co-owner of Taylor Newberry Consulting, 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 and has run workshops on topics related to program evaluation across Canada. Andrew's approach to program evaluation employs a participatory, developmental approach and focuses on generating practical, useful information that can inform action.

Andrew recently assisted the Ontario Trillium Foundation in the development of their new outcomes-based investment framework. Together with Jaime Brown, he developed the investment framework used by United Ways across Canada. He is an instructor in the Program Evaluation post-degree certificate program at Wilfrid Laurier University and a Resident Evaluation Expert at the Ontario Nonprofit Network. He has a PhD in social and developmental psychology.

Jan Varner, MBA, CTDP

  • Fundamentals of Management

Jan is currently and has been the CEO of United Way KW and area since 2005. Prior to this role, Jan was a faculty member at Laurier for 10 years. She was also the Director of the Laurier Institute, the management and development arm of the Lazardis School of Business and Economics. She joined the faculty after serving 15 years in the private and public sector. Jan and her husband Dave own Innersee Initiatives Inc., an experiential training and development business that includes their own team building challenge course. Jan has been teaching with the Faculty of Social Work Professional Development department since 2006.

Elisha Van Harte, MSW, RSW

  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy: Beyond the Basics

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 Implementation Lead at Kinark Child and Family Services. Over the last 15 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, 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 Masters of Social Work from Laurier and an Honours BA in psychology and crime and criminal justice and public policy from the University of Guelph.

Barbara Ward, BA, MSW, RSW, PhD

Barbara is a leading expert in children’s mental health with over 25 years’ experience in the field. Her training and knowledge of child and youth trauma encompasses family violence, abuse and neglect, complex trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder and children’s mental health. She has presented across Canada on how trauma impacts children’s wellness including their social, emotional, spiritual and physical development, in addition to their ability to learn. This includes working from the perspective of posttraumatic growth, positive psychology, well-being and social constructionism. Barbara’s presentations also focus on the significance of providing a trauma-informed system that is responsive to the needs of children, youth and their families. Barbara also has a strong focus on building staff resilience and understands 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.

Among her significant previous positions in a large children’s mental health organization, Barbara served as the Director of Services, Children’s Mental Health, and Manager, Child and Family Therapy Program where she provided clinical leadership to intensive services, including the school, residential, clinical, respite and per diem programs. As a child and family therapist, she led families and treatment teams in creating and operationalizing effective treatment interventions that attended to the client’s wellness, resilience and trauma healing.

Barbara recently completed her PhD in psychology with the Taos Institute and Vrije University Brussels, Belgium. She is a member of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW) and has an MSW from Laurier and an honours BA (Psychology) from University of Waterloo. She has specialized training in Heart-Centred Hypnotherapy (Wellness Institute, Seattle), Trauma Focused Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (TF CBT) and is an experienced trainer in safeTALK (suicide prevention).

Barbara Wilkinson

Barbara has been a mindfulness trainer for a few decades, teaching mindfulness based stress reduction, mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT) and mindful eating. She has done her own training with Jon Kabat-Zinn, who first introduced mindfulness to North America in the 1970s, Zindel Segal and Jon Teasdale, creators of the MBCT program to prevent relapse of depression, Saki Santorelli, director of the Center for Mindfulness, and Tara Brach, founder of the Insight Meditation Community in Washington. She has taught mindfulness in Europe, Asia and North America. Her articles on mindfulness and well-being have been published widely.

Barbara also works as a registered psychotherapist in private practice in Guelph. She is presently developing a courses in compassionate mindful communication. An Adlerian certified trauma therapist, she is part of a crisis management team and holds two Master's degrees in International Relations and Counselling as well as teaching certificates in education and special needs. Her workshops reflect experience garnered over a lifetime of parenting, teaching, counselling, travelling and all that goes into being a human being in a stressed-out world that pushes us to be “human doings.”

Jennifer Will, BA, Registered Psychotherapist

  • Counselling Techniques in Addiction Practice

Jennifer Will has been in the addiction counselling profession for nearly two decades and is currently employed with William Osler Health System in the Mental Health and Addictions Program. She graduated with a BA in psychology from Laurentian University and obtained a post-graduate diploma through Georgian College in the Addictions; Treatment and Prevention program. In more recent years she obtained a certificate in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy from McMaster University. Jennifer has enjoyed a varied career in the counselling field including group and individual counselling in both residential and intensive day treatment settings as well as delivering intake/screening services in the community treatment setting with substance dependent clients. She has been specializing in the problem gambling field for more than 10 years and has worked in both the public and private sectors. Her current position involves providing individual and group counselling in an outpatient setting and also provides consultative and educative services to the early psychosis program at Brampton Civic Hospital. Over her career, she has presented at conferences nationwide on the topics of treating concurrent disorders and older adults and has developed and facilitated a number of workshops for helping professionals. Additionally, Jennifer is a member of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario.

Contact Us:

Lynne Jordan, Coordinator, Professional Development

T: 519.884.0710 x5265


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