Emotional Support Dog
My name is Theo. I am a year old Bernese Mountain dog who is currently being trained to be an emotional support dog. I am extremely affectionate and gentle. I love running outside, playing tug of war, taking long lazy naps in the sun but most of all, I love putting smiles on people’s faces. I very much welcome a good belly rub and some cuddles so don’t hesitate to approach me! I may be big but i’m extremely loving and nurturing. I look forward to helping all kinds of people, both kids and adults, by putting them at ease, reducing their stress and bringing joy to their lives!
Tina Balazovjech, M.A., CSP
Tina Balazovjech obtained her Bachelor’s in Arts degree in Psychology from McGill University and Master’s in Arts in Child Study from Concordia University. She successfully completed a board level certification for the profession of psychometry. As a Board Certified Specialists in Psychometry, Tina demonstrates the knowledge and experience needed to administer and score psychometric measures.
Over the past 20 years Tina has worked with children in a variety of settings, including at the early childhood, elementary and high school levels. Her easy going and friendly approach allows her to quickly develop a rapport with individuals of all ages and abilities. Tina currently provides clinical support to the therapists at the West Island Therapy and Wellness Centre and is involved in psycho-educational and psychological assessments with children, adolescents and adults. Tina also has a passion for yoga, meditation and believes strongly in the mind body connection. She worked as a yoga instructor for over 10 years and continues to be dedicated to her own practice.
Christina Benedetti, MSW, PSW, MFT, t.s.
Christina Benedetti is a licensed psychotherapist and social worker. She has a post Masters degree in couple and family therapy.
Over the past 15 years, Christina has worked with many people struggling with a variety of issues including: relationship and communication difficulties, depression/anxiety, sexual problems, symptoms related to trauma and loss, workplace and parenting struggles. She strives on providing a safe, caring environment for clients to explore complex and often very painful issues in a contained, constructive manner. Together with her clients she aims to develop goals and examine problematic patterns of feeling, thinking and behaving. Christina aspires to help clients move from feelings of helplessness to a sense of competency. Christina offers feedback to promote new patterns of communication and tools to reduce stress and anxiety.
Christina completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Social Work at Mcgill University. She is a certified Marital and Family therapist and is a member of the Ordre Professionel des Travailleurs Sociaux de Quebec and the Ordre des Psychologues du Quebec.
Stephanie Brookman, MSW, PSW, t.s.
Stephanie Brookman is a licensed psychotherapist and social worker who has worked in both the public and private sector for the past 15 years. She has experience working with individuals struggling with depression/anxiety, relationship difficulties, self-confidence, work-related burnout, infertility, post-partum depression/anxiety as well as parenting-related issues.
Stephanie strives to offer a warm, nurturing environment whereby her clients can safely explore their feelings, thought patterns and behaviours. Her primary focus is to accompany her clients on their journey of self-discovery, growth and development. Stephanie uses approaches such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy as well as Mindful Self-Compassion to empower her clients and help them develop the necessary tools to make positive changes and achieve their goals.
Stephanie received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from McGill University as well as her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Social Work from McGill University. Stephanie has post-master’s training in the field of marital and family therapy and is a member of the OPTSTCFQ as well as the Ordre des Psychologues du Québec.
Malina Cipriano, B.A.
Malina Cipriano joined the West Island Therapy & Wellness Centre in 2016. She currently serves as one of our administrators and office manager. Malina has many years of experience working with children of various ages as a dance teacher. She also has experience working with both regular stream and special needs students in addition to extensive volunteer work that includes assisting in social skills groups, children’s events and assisting adults with special needs at John Abbott College. Malina completed her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology at Concordia University and is currently exploring various graduate programs in hopes of returning to school to complete a Master’s degree.
Andrea Davidson has over 13 years of experience working with children, adolescents and their families. Andrea has particular expertise in areas associated with anxiety, depression, behavioral issues, peer relations, parenting challenges, body image, self-esteem, physical abuse, complex trauma, conjugal violence and crisis intervention.
Andrea is passionate about taking a client-centered approach that is flexible and accommodating to her client’s needs while remaining solution focused. Andrea strives to create a warm and non-judgmental environment where children and adolescents can express themselves freely and feel at ease.
Andrea received a Bachelor’s degree in Humanistic Studies from McGill University, a Bachelor’s of Law degree from Université de Montréal and a Master’s degree in Social Work from McGill University. Andrea is a member in good standing with the Ordre Professionnel des Travailleurs Sociaux du Québec (OTSTCFQ) and the Barreau du Quebec.
Alexandra is a creative, sensitive, nurturing and organized individual who uses all of her strengths in helping our clients feel safe and understood.
Gila Foomani M.Ed., Psy.D.(c)
including a Bachelor degree from Concordia University and a Masters degree from McGill University. Her extensive clinical experience includes work with children, adolescents, and adults in schools and hospitals, namely Douglas Mental Health Institute, Montreal Children’s Hospital and Montreal General Hospital. At the West Island Therapy and Wellness Centre, she is involved in doing psychoeducational assessments with children and adolescents.
Jessica Gottlieb MSW, PSW, t.s
Jessica Gottlieb has 17 years of experience working with children, adolescents, adults, and their families. She is passionate about empowering and motivating her clients to reach their fullest potential while creating a warm therapeutic alliance.
Jessica specializes in issues associated with depression, anxiety, learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, parenting challenges, attachment, behaviour, Autism Spectrum Disorder, conjugal violence, abuse, postpartum depression and anxiety, complex trauma, and crisis intervention. Jessica is trained in a variety of counselling techniques including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. She is also certified in ADOS and ADI-R and therefore can provide systematic and standardized methods for identifying individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Jessica received her Bachelor’s degree in Human Relations from Concordia University and her Master’s of Social Work degree from McGill University. Jessica is a member in good standing with the Ordre Professionnel des Travailleurs Sociaux du Québec (OTSTCFQ).
Jory Gruber is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist with over 15 years of experience working with children. For as long as she can remember, she has had a deep passion to work with this population in any capacity she could help them in. Jory specializes in areas associated with child development; ranging from gross and fine motor skills to handwriting skills, school and play skill development, visual motor and visual perceptual skills.
In every therapy session that Jory leads, she shows a strong passion to enhance the child’s function, independence and quality of life. Through Jory’s professional experience, she has developed a diverse set of skills that have helped her clients reach their goals and assist them in leading fulfilling lives in their classrooms and in the community. Jory strives on helping children realize their full potential, by working with their strengths to overcome their challenges.
Jory received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from McGill University and her Master’s of Occupational Therapy degree from University of Toronto. Jory is a member in good standing with the Ordre des Ergothérapeutes du Québec.
Sherri Gutberg, MSW, PSW, t.s.
Sherri Gutberg is a graduate from McGill University where she obtained her bachelor and master of social work. She has close to 20 years’ experience working in the public sector and has particular experience in working with individuals, couples and families affected by autism, intellectual disabilities, anxiety, depression, trauma, loss, stress management, relationship issues and life changes.
Sherri uses an emotionally focused approach to therapy, believing that each person is unique, bringing their own personality, experience, and perceptions into therapy. Therefore, her approach is holistic and client-centered. She aims to be very flexible and open minded, providing a safe environment for clients to share their stories. She works together with clients, helping them regain their strengths and empowering them on their journey to recovery and healing. Sherri provides both short term and long term therapy to individuals, couples and families.
Deborah Levy MSW, PSW, t.s.
Deborah has over 13 years of experience working with children, adolescents, adults, couples and families. She specializes in areas associated with anxiety, peer relationships, sibling relationships, parent-child relationships, couples and family relationships, physical abuse, sexual abuse, conjugal violence and children with special needs. Deborah has a passion for working with people and being able to really connect and listen to them in a comfortable and safe environment.
Deborah has clinical experience in the spheres of individual and family therapy, youth protection and working with special needs children and their families. All of her past experiences have contributed to her ability to work with a systems theory and solution-focused approach, while keeping her client at the core.
Deborah received her Bachelor’s Degree in Arts, Bachelor of Social Work and Masters of Social Work from McGill University. Deborah is a member in good standing of the Ordre des travailleurs sociaux et des thérapeutes conjugaux et familiaux du Québec.
Dr. Jamie Marie Duggan, Ph.D.
Dr. Jamie Duggan is a graduate from the School of Applied Child Psychology program at McGill University. Her clinical and research interests include emotion regulation, body image, self-harm, anxiety and depression, learning disabilities, and ADHD in both elementary-aged children and adolescents. Dr. Duggan completed her clinical internship and practicum at the Day/Evening Hospital at the Jewish General Hospital, a treatment centre for children with psychological, cognitive, behavioural, and family problems. She completed her combined Master’s and Doctoral degree in Education at McGill Unversity and her Bachelor’s degree in Honors Psychology at Concordia University. She has also presented at numerous national conferences and published in the Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy, Psychiatry Research, and School Mental Health. Dr. Duggan is also a member in good standing with the Ordre des Psychologues du Québec. Dr. Duggan is also a certified yoga teacher and incorporates her love for the mind-body connection and wellness into her therapeutic approach.
Dr. Fallyn Leibovitch, Ph.D.
Child and Teen Services
Dr. Leibovitch is a graduate of the School/Applied Child Psychology program at McGill University and she is a member in good standing of the Order of Psychologists of Quebec. She has over 7 years of extensive experience in the Montreal hospital system, including both inpatient and outpatient child/adolescent psychiatry departments at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute and the Montreal Children’s Hospital. Her main areas of specialty are the assessment of autism spectrum disorder and conducting therapy with adolescents experiencing a variety of difficulties, including depression, anxiety, relational difficulties, and eating disorders.
When conducting assessments, Dr. Leibovitch aims to provide insight and help individuals and families understand the difficulties experienced at home and/or school, to provide a diagnosis if relevant, and to guide them toward appropriate and helpful resources. In therapy, Dr. Leibovitch aims to create a safe and non-judgmental space for teenagers to express themselves, understand and work on the issues they struggle with in their daily lives, as well as provide support, coping skills, and hope. While her approach is grounded in empirically validated therapeutic techniques (e.g., cognitive behaviour therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy), she tailors her sessions to the needs and personality of the individual.
Jaclyn Mestel, MSW, PSW, t.s.
Jaclyn Mestel is a member of the Quebec Order of Social Workers and the Ordre des Psychologues du Québec. Jaclyn has been a part of the West Island Therapy and Wellness Centre for over 10 years. She has developed an expertise in working with young adults and truly enjoys accompanying her clients on their journeys of self-discovery.
Jaclyn enjoys working with people to determine their goals for therapy and how she can best support them. Jaclyn has over 10 years of private practice experience and 5 years’ experience working in high schools as both a guidance counselor and a group worker. She has experience in the areas of anxiety, depression, life transitions and more. Jaclyn believes that the relationship between the therapist and client is very valuable to help the client understand how they manage relationships outside of therapy. She likes to use the therapeutic relationship to help the client feel safe and understood and hopes that she can help the client transfer this acceptance and vulnerability into their lives.
Sierra Pecsi M.Ed., CCC
Sierra Pecsi is a Canadian Certified Counsellor with 8 years of experience working with children and teens in a variety of settings. Sierra is passionate about working with youth, and specializes in helping children and teens over challenges associated with depression, anxiety, anger, self-esteem, stress, bullying, and relationships. She is dedicated to working with youth and their families to establish rapport and build healthy, and meaningful relationships. Sierra uses a collaborative approach to suit the needs of her clients incorporating aspects of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, mindfulness, Solution-Focused Therapy and Play Therapy.
Sierra received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Concordia University and her Master’s in Counselling Psychology from the University of Ottawa. She is a member in good standing with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association and is working towards obtaining her psychotherapy license. Sierra has worked as a university career counsellor and co-facilitated parenting groups that focused on developing a positive and strong relationship between parent and child. Sierra currently divides her time between Montreal and Ottawa where she works at a university providing one-one career development support to students
Christina Puliatti, B.Ed.
Christina Puliatti graduated from McGIll University in 2012, with a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education. Christina specializes with the English Language Arts and Social Studies curriculum, and has been working as a Secondary teacher at the Lester B Pearson School Board teaching Secondary I-V, since 2012. She also has experience working in a resource room setting with students with learning disabilities, anxiety, depression and various learning challenges. Christina is currently working as a specialized tutor; helping students to implement organizational structures, practice correct study habits based on each student’s learning style, how to effectively deal with test anxiety and reading/writing support.
She will help each student to develop an individualized plan to ensure academic success. Her main focus with her students is to always create a calm, inviting environment which enables students to thrive. Christina also has experience helping senior students prepare for final exams and explore future programs in Cegep and University.
Nataki Roberts, M.S.W., P.S.W., T.S.
Nataki Roberts MSW,psw has over 20 years experience working in mental health. Nataki works with adults and adolescents who are facing issues associated with anxiety, depression, adjustment disorder and burnout. Nataki offers a safe space where she works collaboratively with clients finding their inner strength and developing the necessary tools to address the issues they are struggling with. Nataki helps individuals reach their therapeutic goals utilizing approaches such as systematic approach, solution focused therapy, and CBT techniques. Nataki offers both long term and solution focused therapy
Nataki also has extensive experience with individuals and their families from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds, who have been affected by Autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disabilities.
Nataki received a masters degree in Social Work from McGill University and is a member of l’Ordre des Travailleurs Sociaux du Québec.
France Turcotte B.Ed.
France Turcotte was an elementary school teacher for 35 years. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in preschool and elementary education. During her long career, she participated in the development of the French immersion program for Kindergarten and created a working document for students in Grade 3 called “L’Ouvre-boîte” for the Montreal Protestant School Board.
Mme. Turcotte is currently working as a French language tutor and assists in identifying learning difficulties in children. Her aim is to first develop self-esteem within her clients and then provides them with tools to help improve their academic performance and extend their interest in learning. Teaching children different facets of their intelligence so that they can flourish as a child and as a learner, is a teachers most exciting adventure.
Let us teach them from the heart!
Christina Weber, B.A., CTACC
Chrissy Weber is a Certified Life Coach specializing in working with adolescents, young adults and families. She is also the founder of The Female Self-Esteem Movement, an organization dedicated to promoting confidence and self-esteem in women of all ages.
As a coach, Chrissy takes pride in empowering and motivating her clients to work towards pushing past their limitations in order to achieve their personal goals.
Chrissy earned her Bachelor of Human Relations from Concordia University and attained her coaching certification through the Coach Training Alliance. She has been actively coaching individuals and families for 5 years.
Tarina Wagschal is a certified life strategist and executive coach who has worked over the last 18 years both in the private sector and with individuals. She has earned the reputation for a gold standard expert in life strategy and working with people to discover and live the best versions of their lives. Tarina has a direct and pragmatic communication style and is known for her ability to help people transform their lives and drive them towards deliberate successful action.
Tarina specializes in working with our clients who want to take their journey to the next level and have a plan that they are ready to put into action. Whether that be a young adult striving to find their career path, a professional who wants to build a successful side business, or a stay at home parent wanting a better work-family life balance. Tarina works with her clients to execute a master plan to achieve life goals.
Tarina received her Bachelor’s of Sociology and Human Relations at Concordia University. Tarina also holds numerous post university certifications related to individual/ team transformation. Tarina is an author of a # 1 international bestseller book and the co-author of an award-winning book written with the mental coach of Roger Federer.