Our Counselling and Wellness Team:
When you come to the Counselling and Wellness Centre at MDABC, you will be welcomed into a caring community where others like you are seeking to be empowered by therapeutic learning and sharing. The team at the Centre also works closely with the psychiatrists of the MDABC Adult Psychiatric Clinic with the goal of offering the most innovative and effective programming in the field of mental health. We all work together to meet the needs of the whole person which includes physical, emotional, social and creative dimensions.
Everyone who joins the staff and therapy team at our non-profit association is passionate about offering people a safe place to heal and grow. You will not find judgment here; we will instead express our admiration that you have had the courage to take steps in the direction of the life you want.
Vanessa Silva, MA, RCC
Vanessa is a Registered Clinical Counsellor with a Masters’ degree in Counselling Psychology from the University of British Columbia. Her approach is collaborative, trauma informed, and unique to each individual. She uses an eclectic framework, drawing from various psychotherapy models including attachment, body-based (somatic), emotion-focused, and mindfulness therapies.
She has specialized training in grief and loss, with additional training in chronic illness and caregiving. She has also worked in several clinical and community agency settings supporting individuals from various walks of life, partnering with clients on wide ranging issues including
depression, anxiety, grief and loss, major life transitions, trauma, relationship challenges and cross-cultural struggles. No matter what a client comes in for counselling about, Vanessa strives to first and foremost understand and honour your experience.
In the counselling room, Vanessa seeks to create a warm and safe environment, believing that trust and connection is the foundation to the counselling work. She states that, “each individual has the capacity to live into growth regardless of where they have come from and what experiences they have had along the way. When we experience safety and acceptance in a counselling relationship we can begin to undo what keeps us stuck and tap into our inner resources and strength. Ultimately, this growth can take root and extend beyond the counselling room into all aspects of our lives.” Vanessa believes it is a gift to journey with another in this process and, together, to explore the deep and profound potential that lies within each person.
Jason Somersett, MA, RCC
Jason received his Masters in Counselling Psychology, and he is a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the B.C. Association of Clinical Counsellors. He has experience working with adults, youth, and families struggling with depression, anxiety, trauma, career and life transitions, chronic pain, ADHD, and self-harming behaviour. Jason uses an integrative approach that encompasses aspects of Person-Centered Therapy, Play Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, and Observed Experiential Integration, depending on the needs and wishes of the client.
Jason states, “As a counselor, there is nothing more important than developing a trusting relationship with my client. Part of this responsibility is to foster an environment whereby the client feels safe to discuss issues that can be very difficult. Much of the work in therapy involves developing awareness; this includes recognizing personal strengths, as well as the patterns in situations, behaviors, thoughts and, emotions. It can take a great deal of courage and work to face these things, and I believe that it is an honor to be present with a client during this journey of self-exploration.
Outside of counseling, one of the things I enjoy is being active, which includes hiking along some of the great trails in BC with my dog.”
Alexandra Regier, MA, MEd, RCC
Alex is a Registered Clinical Counsellor and obtained her Masters’ degree in Counselling Psychology from the University of British Columbia. She brings her life experience and a background in working with LBGT+ individuals, chronic illness, and loss to her practice. Alex works with diverse individuals who are experiencing a wide range of concerns, including anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders, self-esteem issues, interpersonal difficulties, and life transitions.
Alex’s approach is collaborative, strengths-based, and holistic (mind, body, spirit), incorporating Person-Centred Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), mindfulness, and experiential techniques to accommodate the unique needs of each individual client.
Alex states, “Discovering that there is a different way to do things allows us the freedom to change and make healthier choices for ourselves. We all have the ability to move towards healing and self-acceptance and away from the old patterns of thinking and behaviour that bring pain. When we realize what is truly meaningful to us, and brings us joy, we are open to our genuine self. We are then able to re-direct our energy towards finding a deeper peace, greater life balance, and higher level of personal strength and contentment”.
Victoria Enns, Masters in Counselling Psychology (MCP), RCC
A warm welcome to those seeking extra support. You may be wondering,
What is the role of therapy now, when many problems are so much bigger than the individual?
For some, the answer is simple: What is going on does not mean that your own healing journey has to take a back seat. Many are engaged in therapy in the same way they were before, because the pursuit of a good life is always a worthwhile investment.
For others, therapy in the time of COVID-19 is about staying grounded, connected, and positioned to do the very best you can with what you have. It is processing the emotions that come up so that they don’t take you over. It is managing your expectations of yourself as well as how you are treating yourself. It is navigating relationship changes and challenges so that your valued relationships remain strong and healthy. It is a necessary safety net, for some, during one of the most difficult periods they will ever experience. Finally, it is about receiving new opportunities and possibilities amidst the loss. Change and loss are stressful and deeply painful, yet indivisible from cleared space and new beginnings. What you choose to do with it can change your life for the better.
I have a Masters’ Degree in Counselling Psychology and a background in preventative health. I use an elective style, working primarily with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), person-centered, and holistic (body-mind-spirit) therapy. I have experience working with a variety of concerns including anxiety disorders, depression and bipolar disorder, life transitions, and issues of self-worth. Mental health skills are not overly complex, but they are not common knowledge and are sometimes even counter-intuitive. I teach clients what processes facilitate real, enduring change and what processes only make things worse. Individuals seeking therapy are diverse and I collaborate with each to create a unique treatment plan. However, almost everyone requires one thing to grow and heal: an environment that is safe, compassionate, and non-judgmental. Not only do you get to experience this through therapy, but you learn to create that environment within yourself. That’s when you become your own ally, and everything starts to change.
Rosie Wilbur, MA, RCC
Rosie is a Registered Clinical Counsellor and holds a Master’s Degree in Counselling from City University. She has experience supporting a multitude of concerns, including substance misuse, depression, anxiety, gender identity, sexuality, trauma, grief, and self-worth.
Rosie values diversity and collaboration, believing in the inherent wisdom of individuals’ lived experiences and understanding clients within the context of their lives. She strives to empower clients to encounter their unique strengths, resources, and resilience.
She utilizes an integrative counselling approach, with a foundational trauma-informed, multicultural, and anti-oppressive oriented perspective. Additionally, she draws from Mindfulness and Somatic Therapy. Rosie believes that our minds do not exist in isolation from our bodies. Through conscious, safe exploration, we can lean into our felt sense of emotional experiences; this awareness breathes new life into the present moment and creates space for self-compassion and self-discovery. Through dynamic, empathic, therapeutic conversations, clients can gain access to alternative ways of being grounded in transformative growth, vitality, and aliveness.
therapy, but you learn to create that environment within yourself. That’s when you become your own ally, and everything starts to change.
Nathalie Chang, Masters in Counselling Psychology: Art Therapy
Are you feeling overwhelmed, depressed, or anxious? Are you struggling with managing your daily life in pandemic and feeling like you are drowning? Let’s talk about it or express it creatively!
Nathalie is a prospective clinical counsellor and art therapist in B.C. She has experience working with adolescents, adults, and seniors struggling with depression, anxiety, trauma, substance misuse, life transitions, and self-worth in English and Mandarin Chinese. Nathalie practices an integrative and trauma-informed approach, including Art Therapy, Adlerian Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Solution-Focused Therapy, and Mindfulness-Based Somatic Therapy.
Nathalie believes counselling is a collaborative journey between counsellors and individuals. Through verbal language and expressive art activities, she assists individuals to visualize their life challenges, express their emotions, and explore themselves in a safe and non-judgmental manner. Art therapy and somatic therapy also provide individuals with an opportunity to listen to their bodies and connect with their emotions, body, and self.
If you are interested in art therapy, please do not worry if you are not familiar with artmaking, it is not about the beauty of the products but the process of making art. The artmaking activity will be gentle and can be accommodated to individuals’ needs.
Soo Sen Lee, RCC
I have been involved in the mental health field since 2014, serving individuals who face multiple challenges. My specialty is working with individuals who:
• have experienced relational trauma due to neglect and/or abuse
• long for a break from their chronic anxiety and/or depression cycles
• constantly feel overwhelmed by what is around and within them
• desire to develop new and satisfying ways of relating to significant others
• want to create and maintain life-giving boundaries for work, life, and relationships
• seek to heal from profound grief and loss
• are feeling burnout from caregiving, the pandemic, and/or the overwhelm of life.
I bring to my counselling work a trauma-informed approach and a strength-based perspective. I am sensitive to the multi-faceted ways that traumatic events affect the lives of people while honouring the innate resilience and resources that humans possess. One of my roles, therefore, is to help clients uncover and connect to these deep reserves of strength and authenticity while processing the trauma that is often held in the body. To do so, I pull from several theoretical approaches that help clients develop the ability to stay grounded, safe, and present even in the most difficult of emotions or troubling memories. As this ability grows, clients will be able to move trauma through their system and acquire new skills and alternate ways of relating and going about life.
One of the results is often a healthy sense of self which further changes one’s approach to life and others. As Dan Siegel said, “If you have a fight with yourself, who can win?” In addition to a Masters of Counselling from City University of Seattle in Canada, my training also includes, Interpersonal Neurobiology, Somatic Relational Transformation, Counselling Sexual Assault Survivors (Assoc. of Alberta Sexual Assault Services), Neurobiology of Safety: Boundaries inside and out, Narrative Therapy, Internal Family Systems (basic), Gottman Couples Therapy (Level 1), and Systematic Training for Effective Parenting. I am also a registered Clinical Counsellor with British Columbia of Clinical Counsellors.
Joe Letwin, Masters Degree in Counselling Psychology, RCC
Working with clients is a collaborative and creative process of discovery and healing. My role as a counsellor is to offer understanding, support, and compassion to help the process unfold. I believe in and am committed to creating a safe, open, and caring relationship with clients as they look more deeply into their lives.
My work as a counsellor is influenced by several therapeutic orientations and theoretical approaches, and is uniquely tailored to the individual views, needs, and goals of the client. Drawing upon my clinical skills and experience, I creatively work with thoughts, feelings, behaviours and spiritual concerns in a holistic and integrative way. Clients benefit from a transformative journey that involves greater self-awareness, understanding, and freedom as they take the steps that lead to change. They find and connect with their natural wisdom, strength, and healing capacity. As they stand within the truth of their own experience they can more meaningfully and effectively deal with life challenges.
I hold a Masters Degree in Counselling Psychology and am a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors. I have received clinical training in many areas, including cognitive-behavioral, narrative, family systems, trauma, and existential approaches along with somatic and mindfulness practices. I have worked extensively with individuals, families, and couples. helping clients identify and heal emotional wounds, find effective ways to deal with depression and anxiety, manage addictive behaviours, and reduce and manage stress
Donna Chen, RCC
Donna (she/her) believes that our mental health struggles are powerful, meaningful, and appropriate responses to harmful systemic forces, experiences of relational trauma, and a deep loss of safety, trust, connection, or culture. She sees counselling and the therapeutic process as a conduit for reclaiming sensations, feelings, resources, and choices that can mobilize us toward aliveness, dignity, ease, rest, and joy.
As a Registered Clinical Counsellor, Donna is passionate about working with clients to identify and honour triggers and patterns that stem from survival strategies and defences, while collaborating on growing curiosities, skills, and capacity to transform these strategies. Most of her clinical experiences are with communities and individuals living with Complex Trauma, in supporting them around navigating anxiety, depression, anger, grief, chronic pain, substance use, sexual abuse and assault, intimate partner violence, life transitions, relationship conflict, and racial-cultural identity struggles in a variety of settings.
Donna’s therapeutic approaches centre culture, the body, creativity, and resilience, and combine somatic and expressive arts modalities with narrative, internal family systems, solution-oriented and cognitive behavioural approaches for meeting clients where they are. She is purposeful in integrating rituals in the therapeutic context, especially when accompanying clients in their explorations of intergenerational and ancestral healing.
Donna’s ancestral name is 棠棠 Tangtang (pronounced as t-ong t-ong), given to her by her great grandfather to mean crab apple blossoms.