Supporting Children, Youth, and Families in Greater Vancouver since 1990

Counsellor Bios

Profiles below, our counselling team includes:

  • Registered Clinical Counsellors (RCC)– These counsellors hold graduate degrees (MA, MC, MSW) and have met professional standards for clinical work. They are registered with and regulated by the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC).
  • Canadian Certified Counsellors (CCC) – These counsellors hold graduate degrees (MA, MC, MSW) and have met professional standards for clinical work. They are registered with and regulated by the Canadian Professional Counsellors Association (CPCA).
  • Registered Social Workers (RSW) – These counsellors hold a graduate degree (MSW) and have met professional standards for clinical work. They are registered with and regulated by the BC College of Social Workers (BCCSW).
  • Registered Professional Counsellors (RPC) – These are counsellors who may or may not hold academic credentials. They have met standards for practice as outlined by the Canadian Professional Counsellors Association (CPCA) and are regulated by this organization. These counsellors have also met a minimum standard of 5 years of supervised practice working directly with families at Hollyburn Family Services.

Our Counsellors

Chris Burt, MA

Chris has worked with children and families for over 25 years.  His training is derived from “best practice” programs in parenting education and family therapy.  Chris has consulted to the Ministry of Children and Family Development creating training programs for Family Support and Family Preservation. 

Chris is passionate about issues for families, and speaks to many community-based and parenting organizations about parenting and family development issues.  His work has extended to include a diverse client population including those who identify as indigenous, Middle-Eastern, Asian and South Asian in North Vancouver and the Lower Mainland area.  He has also worked with clients who identify as LGBT2QIA.

Chris holds a Master of Arts degree in Counselling Psychology.

Contact Chris: email hidden; JavaScript is required for Individuals, Couples and/or Family Counselling.


Patricia Custance, MA, RCC, CCC

Patti works from a trauma informed, feminist, anti-oppression lens. She has worked with the Boys and Girls clubs of Greater Vancouver, the Burnaby School Board, and the Nicklin Adolescent Program as a youth counsellor.  Further, she has worked for  Kinections (Australia) in a Specialized Family Violence Program as a children’s counsellor.  She has spent the last 10 years as a Specialized Victim Support Worker, supporting clients who have experienced abuse.  Patti has worked with individuals and their families with issues that include anxiety, depression, PTSD, panic attacks, and those that have been survivors of intimate partner violence and sexualized violence.  Patti believes that people come to counselling with a great deal of their own resources and expertise and believes in a collaborative approach to counselling.

Patti holds a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology and is a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC). Patti is a C-VAP approved counsellor.

Contact Patti: email hidden; JavaScript is required for Individuals and/or Family Counselling. 


Lena Gilbert, MSW, RSW

Lena is a Registered Social Worker (RSW) with an undergraduate degree in BioPsych and a Masters in Social Work. She has worked with children and families for 20 years. Initially trained in Behaviour Intervention, she has collaborated and consulted with schools, various community organizations and ministry teams. She has fostered a therapeutic alliance with a diverse population utilizing training in a range of therapeutic methods including Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy, Dialectical-Behavioral Therapy, Narrative Therapy and  Expressive Therapies. Her primary focus has been on supporting children with neurodiversities, their siblings and caregivers across their many life transitions. She has worked with children and families in their management of depression, anxiety, trauma, grief and loss, and in adjustment to multiple diagnoses.

She uses an anti-oppressive, strengths-based, trauma-informed and compassion-focused lens in her work. Lena believes in fostering the well being of the whole child and family system by finding creative ways to build therapeutic rapport. She focusses on holding space with her clients to connect to and express their true selves.

Contact Lena: email hidden; JavaScript is required for Individuals, Family and/or Child Counselling.


Tomi Hamner, MA, RCC

Tomi began working with families following her retirement from a 20-year career in policing.  She has worked closely with First Responders and Veterans who struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. More recently she worked for over two years, providing support and counselling directly to families presenting with parenting difficulties, couples conflict, addiction, and impacts of acute mental health conditions. 

She is specialized in approaches to individuals and families coping with the unexpected, and is skilled at facilitating adaptation through crisis, loss and trauma. Tomi has facilitated parent education groups and is trained in attachment and family systems approaches to therapy.

She is trained in Trauma Informed Practice, Emotion Focused Family Therapy (EFFT) and has completed trainings to enhance cultural safety and awareness.  Tomi has worked with a diverse client population, including those who identify as indigenous, Asian, and Middle-Eastern as well as clients who identify as LGBT2QIA.

Tomi holds a Masters degree in Counselling Psychology.

Contact Tomi: email hidden; JavaScript is required for Individuals, Couples and/or Family Counselling.


Jana Hruba, MA, RCC

Counselling services offered in Czech and Slovak.

Jana grew up, studied and worked in the Czech Republic. She was a police psychologist for 7 years and worked with First Responders, their families, victims and witnesses of crime. She moved to BC in 2015 and took care of her two children, worked with adults dealing with addiction and with landed immigrants. Jana specializes in issues such as post-traumatic growth, loneliness, anxiety, depression, self-esteem, parenting challenges, attachment issues, career coaching and relationship challenges. Her therapeutic approach combines dynamic and attachment-based theories, with client-centered and strengths-based approach.

Jana is a Registered Clinical Counsellor. She holds a Master of Art degree in Psychology from the Charles University in Prague and a Bachelor Degree in Law and Security studies from Police Academy in Prague. Jana has various training from the Czech Republic, USA and Canada, such as trauma work, occupational stress, group therapy and victim support.

Contact Jana: email hidden; JavaScript is requiredfor Individual Counselling.


Maureen Manning, MA, RCC

Maureen has worked with families for over 15 years.  She has provided therapy for individuals, couples, youth and families in public health clinics, hospice/palliative care, private practice and family service agencies.  She has trained in Family Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Emotion Focused Family Therapy (EFFT).

Maureen helps clients work through major life changes, marital and relationship problems, sudden illness, parenting challenges, addiction, grief and loss, and stress associated with work-life balance.  Maureen has worked with a diverse client population including those who identify as indigenous, Middle-Eastern, Asian and South Asian. She also has experience with clients who identify as LGBT2QIA.

Maureen holds a Master of Arts degree in Counselling Psychology.

Contact Maureen: email hidden; JavaScript is required for Individuals, Couples and/or Family Counselling.


Olivia Ng, MEd, RCC

Counselling services offered in Cantonese and Mandarin.

Olivia has experience counselling individuals who have severe, persistent mental illness including: schizophrenia, other psychotic disorders, mood disorders (e.g. bipolar and major depressive disorders), co-occurring disorders. She has experience counselling groups of individuals who have addictive behaviours. Olivia also has experience counselling groups of family members and caregivers of people with mental and substance use difficulties, to provide information and resources so that they can be as well-supported as possible in caring for themselves and their loved ones. She has experience working with individuals of varying ages with different disabilities, from a diversity of cultures, socio-economic backgrounds and life situations.

Olivia’s approach to counselling is client-centered. She works collaboratively with her clients to determine the approach to therapy that will work best for them. She strives to create a strong and positive working alliance in order to help people make positive changes and resolve their issues. Her practice is influenced by mindfulness practices, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Emotional Focused Therapy (EFT) and Personal-Counselling with an ability to be flexible based on client needs.

Olivia holds a Master of Education in Counselling Psychology from University of British Columbia and is a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC). Olivia is a ICBC approved counsellor.

Contact Olivia: email hidden; JavaScript is required for Individuals, Couples and/or Family Counselling.


Jesse Ross, MEd, RCC

Jesse earned his B.A. in Psychology at University of British Columbia and his Masters in Counselling Psychology from Simon Fraser University. He has over ten years of experience working with children, teens, and adults with agencies in counselling and the social services. Jesse works from a client-centered, trauma-informed perspective with influences from Emotion-Focused Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and Existential Psychology, among others. He specializes in depression and anxiety, interpersonal dynamics, suicidal ideation and hopelessness, recovering from trauma, and assisting individuals in the process of reconnecting with their best selves, their sense of identity, and their ability to find joy in life. 

 Jesse considers it a calling and a privilege to be able to call himself a counsellor. He applauds those who find the courage to seek change and improvement in their lives and feels a deep gratitude that he is able to bear witness to these incredible processes.  He believes that by choosing to explore self-awareness and self-improvement through counselling, the client is breaking a pattern that may go back several generations and taking the pen to write their own story. 

 Jesse has counselled clients of all ages (adolescent to senior), genders, and sexual orientations. He has also worked with clients from various cultures including those of Indigenous, Asian, African, Middle-Eastern, and European descent.Whether you see Jesse as a fit for you or not, he hopes that you will continue to follow the instinct that has you reaching out and exploring ways to enrich your life. You are worth it. 

Jesse is a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the B.C. Association of Clinical Counsellors. 

Contact Jesse: email hidden; JavaScript is requiredfor Individual Counselling.


Akbar Safari, MA, RCC

Counselling services offered in Farsi and Turkish.

Akbar has over 17 years of experience working with youth and families in Psychiatric and Counselling settings.  He has worked with individuals, families, and youth both in private practice and family service agencies. He holds a Specialized Business License with Psychology and Counseling Organizations in Iran. 

Akbar holds a Certificate in Clinical Hypnosis from ISSCH and has trained in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy for 1 year at the Tehran Psychoanalytic Institute (TPI). He is also trained in adolescent substance abuse interventions (Matrix Model) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Akbar is a client-centered therapist who takes an integrative approach to address issues such as personality disorders, addiction, stress, anxiety, trauma and parenting issues.

Akbar is tri-lingual and can accommodate first-language services in Farsi and Turkish for clients requesting this accommodation.  He holds a Master of Personality Psychology.

Contact Akbar: email hidden; JavaScript is required for Individuals, and/or Family Counselling.


Amanda Sullivan, MA, RCC

Amanda has her Masters degree in Counselling Psychology, and has been working as a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) in good standing with BCACC since 2018. She comes with a unique set of skills having worked within the criminal justice and mental health system for over 6 years. Amanda has experience treating a range of difficulties related to depression, anxiety, substance use, trauma, violence, emotional regulation, relationship difficulties as well as more severe mental health issues. Amanda uses a trauma-informed approach and has an extensive background in working with people who have experienced severe trauma, abuse and violence.

Amanda is familiar with the DSM-5 classification and diagnostic criteria and is trained to deliver both individual and group therapy in evidence-based modalities such as CBT, DBT, and Motivational Interviewing. Amanda is committed to keeping up to date with the latest therapeutic skills and techniques to serve her clients as effectively as possible and is continually updating her skills through training workshops and continuing education.

Amanda is a CVAP approved counsellor. 

Contact Amanda: email hidden; JavaScript is required for Individuals, Couples and/or Family Counselling.


Shalene Takara, MA, RCC

Counselling services offered French.

Shalene Takara has been providing counselling to couples and families for over 10 years. She specializes in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) and works with parent couples facing issues such as communication, conflict, anger, mental health issues (e.g. depression, anxiety, trauma), parenting issues, addiction, separation/divorce, co-parenting, and major life transitions. She also has specialized training in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy for Trauma, Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT), Emotion-Focused Family Therapy (EFFT), and attachment-based parenting. She has worked with diverse populations including immigrant and refugee families, same-sex parent couples, and families from the indigenous community.

Shalene holds a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology. She is bilingual and can provide counselling services in English or French

Contact Shalene: email hidden; JavaScript is required for Individual, Couples and/or Family Counselling.


Poupak Toufanian, MA, RCC

Counselling services offered in Farsi.

Poupak has worked with the North Vancouver School District for over 14 years. She has also worked with the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) and various non-profit organizations in providing therapy to children, youth, individuals and their families with issues that include depression, anxiety, panic attacks, PTSD, suicidal ideation, relationship difficulties, parenting challenges, and other issues. She uses a bio-psycho-social approach in conceptualizing client issues and in developing treatment plans to assist them to reach their goals in therapy and their fullest potentials. Poupak uses Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy, Dialectical-Behavioral Therapy, Solution-Focused Brief Therapy and Emotion-Focused Family Therapy (EFFT) to assist her clients with their progress.

Poupak holds a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology and is a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC).

Contact Poupak: email hidden; JavaScript is required for Individuals and/or Family Counselling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Linda Wolfenden, RPC, MPCC

Linda has worked with families for over 30 years.  She has supported clients through a variety of life issues including family/couple conflict, addiction and recovery, pregnancy and parenting-related challenges, as well as grief and loss. 

Linda also has extensive training and experience working with individuals and families impacted by drug and alcohol dependency. She has worked with a diverse client population including indigenous clients, new immigrant families, Asian, South Asian and Middle-Eastern families as well as those who identify as LGBT2QIA.

She is a Registered Professional Counsellor (RPC) with the Canadian Professional Counsellors Association (CPCA) and holds the designation of Master Practitioner in Clinical Counselling (MPCC).

Contact Linda: email hidden; JavaScript is required for Individuals and/or Family Counselling.

Please email email hidden; JavaScript is required or call the intake line at 604-968-8211 for more information on our counselling services in North Vancouver.