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, Ph.D.
Co-Founder and Co-Director
Liliana Cortes is a Registered Clinical Counsellor who holds a PhD degree in Counselling Psychology from 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. She is a proud mother of 3 children, who have been her greatest teachers.
Stephenie Gold, M.A., RCC
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., RCC
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.
Amanda Marques, M.Ed., RCC
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 currently works 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. Understanding and practicing positive psychology is important to Amanda. She relates to concepts such as mindfulness, kindness and self-compassion, gratitude and connection.
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. RCC
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 over 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, EMDR, 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 foundation of being an effective counsellor, coach or educator is allowing people to be heard and to help facilitate the growth of their strengths. In allowing people to feel empowered through their voice they can begin to challenge the problems they are struggling with. Brendan works primarily with teenagers, young adults and parents using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness and Narrative Therapy. He also has training in attachment style parenting from the Neufeld Institute.
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 people with depression, anxiety, family relationships, school stress, and trauma. He also works with athletes of all ages to manage performance-related anxiety and stress and to develop strong growth-oriented thinking skills. Coming from a sports and education background, Brendan utilizes his coaching / teaching skills to help 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.
Nicole Grant, MEd, RCC
Nicole is a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors. She holds a Master of Education in Counselling and brings over 15 years of experience working with children, youth and families both locally and abroad. She has worked as an elementary teacher, special education teacher, and case manager for children who have learning differences, mental health issues, social adjustment difficulties, emotional and self-regulation challenges, and behavioural concerns. Her experience with diverse populations has allowed her to form an affirming, inclusive, culturally safe, and trauma-informed lens in her practice. Nicole is currently a school counsellor and works as a Crime Victims Assistance Program counsellor. She has experience working with children who are struggling with a range of mental health challenges including anxiety, self-harm, grief, gender dysphoria and trauma.
Nicole works from a child-centred, strengths-based perspective to build authentic relationships with each client to support them in moving towards healing and growth. Her practice is rooted in evidence-based treatments and integrates creative expression, movement, mindfulness and play to best suit the needs of her clients. As a parent herself, Nicole’s approach to therapy is warm, non-judgemental and focuses on a collaborative approach that embraces diversity and inclusion.
Laura Botero-Ramirez, M.Ed. RCC
Laura has a master’s degree in Counselling Psychology from Simon Fraser University and is a registered clinical counsellor with the BCACC. Laura has professional counselling experience working with families, children, youth, and adults, using solution-focused therapy, short-term counselling for children and adults, cognitive and behavioral therapy, attachment-based therapy, play therapy, and art therapy. Laura has worked with children experiencing big emotions, parent-child relationship issues, behavioural challenges, bullying, friendships and school adaptation difficulties, and emotional dysregulation. Moreover, Laura has worked with children who are diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety, and mood disorders. Also, she has worked in the school setting, working with children and adolescents, providing individual and group counselling for the students and their families. She has worked as a counsellor in both English and Spanish and uses her knowledge of different cultures to assist clients in multicultural settings.
Laura believes that the therapeutic process should aim to enhance relationships by increasing empathy and connections, encourage self-awareness, and work with the strengths of the client. Being a mother of young children herself, Laura knows that with patience, the right care, and support, children and their families can thrive and experience happiness.
Debbie (Chia Fang) Kuan, MACP, CCC
Debbie received her first Masters in Education (Special Education) and a Postgraduate Certificate in Educational Psychology in New Zealand. She then went on to earn a second graduate degree, this time a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology. Over more than 20 years, Debbie has worked with children diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum and with their families, including work as a Behavioral Consultant on the Registry of Autism Service Providers (RASP) since 2005. Curiosity and interest in providing more specialized counselling and support led Debbie to expand her skill set into Play Therapy (2011) and Sandplay Therapy (2015). Other approaches that inform Debbie’s practice include attachment, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Somatic Experiencing, and Solution Focused Brief Therapy. Debbie is passionate about attachment and relationship-based interventions as she believes that the therapeutic relationship is crucial to inside-out/outside-in healing. She has learned from her clients that each person is unique and she strongly supports and advocates authenticity, tailoring her therapy to the individual. As a counsellor, Debbie is able to offer effective, culturally sensitive, creative and evidence-based support to help children, youth, parents, and families to navigate through challenges. Debbie is also fluent in Mandarin.
Jenna Braich McRae, B.Ed., M.A., RCC
Jenna is a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors. She has over 10 years of experience working with children, youth and their families in various capacities, including education, mental health, and clinical counselling. Jenna was a teacher before completing her Masters in Counselling and then began working as a school counsellor and within private practice. She works with solution-focused brief therapy, humanistic therapy, positive psychology, person-centered therapy, cognitive-behavioural therapy, and narrative therapy. She is open to supporting all needs, however she is most experienced in supporting individuals struggling with anxiety, depression, stress, grief and loss, social skills/relationship challenges, confidence, self-esteem, motivation, eating disorders, and life transitions. Jenna enjoys helping parents better understand, connect with, and support their child(ren) experiencing social-emotional and behavioural challenges. She believes this deeper understanding and support can strengthen and improve relationships and experiences at home, in school and within other social settings and it can boost confidence, resilience and self-esteem. Jenna works with compassion, empathy and acceptance using a positive, strength-based approach. She encourages, supports, and gently challenges her clients to promote deeper awareness, inner strength and self-confidence. She does not believe in a one-size-fits-all approach to therapy and tailors her work to meet the needs and goals of everyone she supports, and she believes this is an integral part of the therapeutic process.
Luciana Daghum MA, RCC
Luciana is a Certified Clinical Counsellor with training both through an M.A. in Counselling Psychology at the University of Victoria (2013) and, prior to a move to Canada, experience as a Registered Psychologist in Brazil (2000-2006). Luciana is passionate about working with children, youth and families to support growth and healing and has specialty in play, expressive arts, and sand-play approaches. Her services incorporate evidence-based research supported practices including teaching cognitive behavioural therapy skills and mindfulness strategies to help children and youth better cope with symptoms of anxiety, depression, and emotion dysregulation. Luciana has extensive professional experience supporting parents and providing family therapy, as well as expertise in working with children and families experiencing grief and loss and undergoing life transitions such as separation and immigration, as well as adjusting to loss of health and medical treatments. With Luciana, clients are immersed in a non-judgmental, creative and inclusive environment, and know that she actively provides a service that is focused on their needs. Her services are offered in English and Brazilian Portuguese, both in person and online.
Veera Grewal, MCP, RCC
Veera is a Registered Clinical Counsellor and completed her Master’s degree from Adler University with a specialization in working with children and youth. She has training and expertise in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Emotion-Focused Family Therapy, and Play Therapy. Veera’s specialties include stress, anxiety and mood related issues, peer and family relationship challenges and trauma. She is particularly passionate about the importance of creating and supporting positive and nurturing environments for children to thrive in. As a parent herself, Veera can identify with many of the challenges that come with parenting and works to connect with parents to better understand the barriers they and their children may be facing. She understands that family dynamics and parenting concerns are multifaceted and complex and she aims to help parents identify and target the root of their concerns. Veera is also an approved provider for the Crime Victim Assistance Program (CVAP) and can provide counselling in English or Punjabi.