I am one of the few fully Certified Child and Play Psychotherapists in Toronto and Certified Play Therapist Supervisor (Qualifying) through the Canadian Association for Child and Play Therapy. I am a Clinical Social Worker who has extensive experience in working with children, youth, and families from various ethno-racial and cultural backgrounds. I am a Registered Social Worker through the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. I completed a Master in Social Work with a Collaborative Program in Addiction Studies from the University of Toronto. I offer general and sexual trauma assessments as a Certified Trauma Assessor. I am also trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy, as well as Trauma Focused -Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I have training in expressive arts therapy through the CREATE Institute. I have completed two levels of Theraplay (an attachment-based therapy). I received training in narrative therapy and solution-focused therapy through Oolagen Community Services (Skylark).
I have 20 years of experience in the mental health field working within children's aid societies, hospital, residential, school, and community settings. Since 2006, I have provided individual, family, and group therapy within the First Nation/ Inuit/ Metis community of Toronto. I am a registered therapist with Indigenous Services Canada and spend one week per month flying into a remote Northern reserve to provide therapy (although currently I am seeing these clients virtually). I also see clients referred through 2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations. I am also a service provider for Victim Services Toronto and for the Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) program with BOOST Child and Youth Advocacy Centre.
I provide therapy for children and adolescents with issues including: complex/ developmental/ intergenerational trauma; family violence; attachment issues; grief and loss; separation and divorce; anxiety and phobias; depression and mood disorders; suicide prevention; self-harm; abuse (physical, emotional, sexual, and neglect); social skills/ relationship issues; self-esteem/ self-worth; identity (gender, sexual, cultural, life stage); eating issues; adoption/ foster experiences; bullying; and addictions.
I use an integrative approach in my work by applying multiple modalities to meet the unique healing needs of each individual -- I am trained in: Play Therapy, Theraplay, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Mindfulness, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, and Expressive Arts Therapy, to name a few.
I am also passionate about providing support and consulting with caregivers as well as strengthening attachments and relationships in the family system.
I am experienced in working with foster and adoptive children and their biological and adoptive families in both child welfare and in a counselling capacity.
I am skilled at creating and facilitating groups as I have run groups for children and families who have experienced family violence. More recently, I created a girls group for ages 9 to 12 years of age to empower them and foster a sense of identity as girls emerging into womanhood and with an emphasis on the importance of their culture.
I worked with dually diagnosed adults as a Community Support Worker and Group Home Supervisor at York South Association for Community Living.
I was a group counsellor for adolescents with behavioural and emotional problems in an outdoor treatment program in the United States.
I am highly skilled in providing comprehensive crisis assessments as I worked in an ER at a busy hospital and worked as part of a mobile team responding to crisis calls in the community from adults 16 and over with a serious mental illness. All of my roles required me to remain calm under pressure in providing crisis intervention, assessment services, and linking my clients with referrals to community support services.
My MSW placements were at Oolagen Community Services (Skylark) where I counselled adolescents and their families on an outpatient basis and at Bellwood Health Services, where I co-facilitated a therapy group for youth and adults with various types of addictions. In addition, I volunteered for several years as a Telephone Counsellor and Trainer at the Scarborough Distress Centre.
But Who Am I?
Aside from my clinical work, I enjoy salsa dancing (and many other dances!), yoga, nature walks with my dog, gardening, creating artwork, visiting art galleries, festivals, and watching documentaries and movies.