Aviva Laye-Gindhu, Ph.D.
Co-Founder and Co-Director
Dr. Aviva Laye-Gindhu earned her Ph.D. (School Psychology) from the University of British Columbia. With over 15 years of experience supporting children, youth, and families to live more fully, happily, and productively, Aviva’s warm, gentle, and practical approach helps to put her clients at ease. Aviva specializes in the assessment and treatment of emotional, behavioural, and learning concerns in children and youth and has a background in both community mental health and school settings. A skilled clinician, she works collaboratively and flexibly with parents and their child/teen to build on existing strengths and to promote new learning for healthy development. Important skills learned in sessions inspire confidence and support families in creating lasting change. A mother herself, Aviva recognizes the challenges involved in parenting and appreciates the resilience of families and youth who seek support. In addition to clinical work, Aviva has also been involved in conducting research, program evaluations, and workshops on non-suicidal self-injury and on the prevention and treatment of anxiety problems in children and youth.
Liliana Cortes, M.A., R.C.C.
Co-Founder and Co-Director
Liliana Cortes is a Registered Clinical Counsellor who holds a Master of Arts degree in Counselling Psychology and who is in the fourth year of the Doctoral program in Counselling Psychology at the University of British Columbia. Liliana also completed the International OCD Foundation Pediatric Behaviour Therapy Training Institute. She has been in private practice working with anxious children and their families since 2004. Liliana has conducted research looking at the effectiveness of school-based anxiety prevention programs in BC. She also delivered workshops to teachers and counsellors throughout BC in the anxiety prevention program FRIENDS for Life with MCFD. Liliana has extensive and specialized experience in evidence-based treatments for anxiety and depression in children and adolescents. Liliana is conducting a study that seeks to understand how mental health mobile applications can best be integrated as tools in therapy to support clients. She is a proud mother of 3 young children, who have been her greatest teachers.
Stephenie Gold, M.A., R.C.C.
Co-Founder and Co-Director
Stephenie Gold, MA (McGill, UBC) is a Registered Clinical Counsellor in private practice supporting children, youth and families since 2003. Stephenie frequently delivers workshops on a variety of parenting and mental health-related topics across BC, and has co-authored several peer-reviewed research papers on the impact of anxiety prevention/early intervention programs for children and youth. For over 15 years, Stephenie has worked on several school-based anxiety prevention curriculums, most recently an expert consultant and content developer for EASE (Everyday Anxiety Strategies for Educators). As a past frequent contributor and project coordinator for Anxiety Canada, Stephenie co-authored the sections for teens and was one of the original consulting developers for the Mindshift CBT app. Stephenie also integrates the lens of attachment-theory and developmental science into her approach when working with parents and youth, and is a graduate of the Advanced Studies program at the Neufeld Institute. She is a past committee member for the Dalai Lama Centre for Peace and Education, and is a current Advisory Board member of the non-profit The Reading Bear Society. Stephenie is passionate about helping parents and educators support the healthy emotional development of children and youth, and tailors her approach to meet the unique needs of each client and family. At the root of her treatment philosophy is a belief in the importance of developing a trusting therapeutic relationship and in the power of children, youth, and families to harness their strengths to make real changes in their lives. Stephenie is also a proud mother of two children.
Mandana Sharifi, M.A., R.C.C
Mandana Sharifi, M.A, is a registered clinical counsellor. She received her masters degree in counselling psychology from Trinity Western University in 2008. She has over 10 years experience working with preteens, teens, and their respective families to help them learn new tools in managing anxiety, depression, trauma, and stress. Mandana utilizes a systemic approach to therapy as well as a variety of evidence based techniques. Being a mother of 3 children herself, she believes in not only involving parents in the process of therapy but also providing them with a solid understanding of mental health issues, the symptoms and treatment options. In the last 6 years, Mandana has been working with youths and families through EAP agencies as well. She provides “Parenting After Separation” workshops which are focused on helping parents support their children after the separation/divorce using healthy co-parenting techniques. Her research background explored how trauma and stress affected individuals’ attachment system. Mandana is fluent in both English and Farsi (Persian) and can conduct therapy in both languages.
Michelle Deshaw, M.A. R.C.C.
Michelle is a Registered Clinical Counsellor and has a Masters Degree in Counselling Psychology from the University of Victoria. She has worked since 2003 providing evidence-based treatment for children and adolescents with anxiety, mood, emotional and behavioural concerns. Michelle has extensive experience working in a range of clinical settings providing therapy and consultation such as Child and Youth Mental Health with the Ministry for Children and Family Development, Employee Family Assistance programs, Community Non-Profit Counselling, Schools, Hospitals and Post-Secondary Settings.
Michelle works from a flexible and collaborative framework using CBT, DBT, Attachment Theory, Child Development, and Solution-Focused techniques. She enjoys working with clients to help them develop insight into the problem and give them tools and strategies based on their individual needs and experiences. Michelle strives to create a warm, safe, and non-judgemental space for children, adolescents and families and enjoys helping clients to develop more effective ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving to achieve their goals. Being a mother herself, she understands the challenges faced by parents and works to support them to make connections and change that are meaningful and extend outside of therapy.
Krista Blatchford, M.A. R.C.C.
Krista has been working with children, teens and their families in a therapeutic capacity for almost 20 years. She graduated from Simon Fraser University with a BA and completed her Masters in Counselling Psychology with honours at Yorkville University. She is also registered with BC Association of Clinical Counsellors. (RCC). Before working in her current capacity as an Eating Disorder therapist, Krista worked in general mental health specializing in depression, anxiety disorders, emotional dysregulation issues, and gender identify concerns. She is formally trained In CBT, DBT, RO-DBT, EFFT, Motivational Interviewing, as well as others. As a mother of two, she knows the challenges of parenting, and comes from an empathic, non-judgmental and supportive stance when working with families. She has a passion for working with children and teens and takes pride in providing solid assessments and efficient, relationship-based treatment.
Amanda Marques, M.Ed., R.C.C.
Amanda Marques is a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors. She completed her Master of Education degree in Counselling Psychology from the University of British Columbia in 2007. She has worked as a therapist for Child & Youth Mental Health both at the Ministry of Children and Families and Vancouver Coastal Health. Amanda has also worked in the school system and in private practice. Amanda has extensive experience in providing evidence-based treatments for anxiety and depression in children & adolescents, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Interpersonal Therapy for Depressed Adolescents (IPT-A). She was also an IPT-A trainer and consultant for the Child & Youth Mental Health teams in the province. Amanda is passionate when it comes to working with children, youth and their families. She believes that people are extremely resilient and with the proper support they are able to overcome obstacles and find healing, personal growth and lasting change.
Vanessa Keipert, M.A. R.C.C.
Vanessa Keipert M.A. is a Registered Clinical Counsellor and Canadian Certified Counsellor. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from McGill University and M.A. in Mental Health Counselling from The City University of New York. She has been providing successful therapeutic intervention for nearly a decade. Vanessa has a deep understanding and appreciation for the unique obstacles youth face today. She provides a safe, trusting and non-judgmental space to work through challenges and achieve therapeutic goals. Through her dynamic approach to therapy, Vanessa helps strengthen healthy communication, security, emotional regulation and coping skills necessary to navigate modern psychosocial stressors.
Vanessa has treated clients with trauma, depression, anxiety, disordered eating, loneliness, attachment issues, identity matters (LGBTQ2+) and substance use. Therapeutic modalities include psychodynamic, CBT, REBT, Mindfulness, DBT skills, Interpersonal Therapy and specialization in HEARTS (Healing Emotions and Achieving Resilience to Traumatic Stress) for children.
Brendan Starling, RCC, M.C.Psyc., B.Ed., B.H.Kin.
Brendan is a counsellor, teacher, sports coach and fitness trainer with over 20 years of experience working with young people. He believes that the first step in being an effective counsellor, coach or educator is allowing young people to feel heard and to teach you about who they are. In allowing young people to feel empowered through their voice they can begin to challenge the problems they are struggling with. Brendan believes in personalizing the counselling approach to each client and is informed by Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness, Narrative Therapy and Solution Focused Therapy.
Brendan has been the youth counsellor at the Broadway Youth Centre, and worked as a high school teacher in Vancouver for many years. Brendan is compassionate, supportive and collaborative. He primarily helps young people with depression, anxiety, school stress, self-esteem issues, family relationships and trauma. He also works with young athletes to manage performance-related anxiety and stress and develop strong growth-oriented thinking skills. Coming from a sports and education background, Brendan utilizes his coaching / teaching skills to help young people set and achieve their goals. He is also an advocate of holistic, mind and body health and believes that everyone is much more than any failure, phobia or struggle they are facing.
Lauren Thackeray, PhD, RCC
Lauren completed her PhD in Educational and Child Psychology at the University of East London. Following several years of working within school settings in London completing psychological assessment and intervention, Lauren went on to specialise in the mental health and emotional well-being of children and teens. Training at the Kings College London in the treatment of anxiety and depression led to a specialism in working with children and teens experiencing anxiety disorders (e.g.,separation anxiety, social anxiety, generalised anxiety, phobias), OCD, school refusal, depression and other related problems. Lauren uses Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to work with children and their families in a collaborative manner. This involves developing a shared understanding of the current situation and supporting the child and family to set goals for the therapeutic work. Once a clear goal is established, Lauren works with her clients to move forward, supporting them to learn new strategies and explore new possibilities to overcome the challenges they face. Of central importance is that the client feels listened to, valued and safe within the therapeutic relationship.
Lauren’s knowledge and experience of mindfulness, narrative therapy and solution focused approaches means that she is able to tailor her support to best meet the needs of individual children, teens and families. Working from an attachment perspective, Lauren offers parent consultation and support. Lauren also has experience of delivering parent workshops, school-based training and therapeutic group interventions.
Karlie LeClaire, MC, RCC, CCC
Karlie LeClaire received her Undergraduate Degree in Psychology from the University of Victoria and her Masters in Counselling from City University of Seattle. She is a Registered Clinical Counsellor, Certified Canadian Counsellor, and is trained in EMDR Therapy, and Non-Violent-Crisis Intervention.
Karlie currently works as a School Counsellor with students Grades 1-12. She has also worked as a Family and Youth Counsellor, Private Clinical Counsellor, Behavioral Interventionist, and Educational Assistant where she supported children/youth ages 5-18. Karlie specializes in supporting youth who struggle with anxiety, depression, trauma, behavioral regulation, and sexual/gender-identity expression. She is also experienced in working with children/youth who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sensory-Processing Difficulties, and Selective Mutism.
Karlie operates from the philosophy that our feelings, thoughts, and behaviours are a response to one’s environment. As such, there is no universal approach or strategy we can apply to each person’s unique needs. This perspective is what inspires Karlie to work with and develop individualized approaches to each child’s socio-emotional needs, abilities, and circumstances.