Co-Founder, Psychologist, Instructor, and Consultant
I am a Registered Psychologist and Registered Play Therapist. I also have a Bachelors of Education from the University of Alberta and practiced as an elementary teacher in Edmonton before going on to do my Masters degree in Psychology. I am also the founder and Executive Director of Family Counselling Centres.
I have been working in private practice for the past seven years in Alberta, primarily with children and their families. I offer clinical supervision to masters-level counselling students, and provisional psychologists. I also include animals in my therapy and have developed canine assisted and equine assisted therapy programs.
I approach my clinical and consultative work with parents and professionals with an attachment and neurobiological lens: all of my work is based on the neurology of the brain and how attachment is integral to adaptive functioning of both children and adults.
I am a passionate, empathetic, and experienced clinician here for my community to help children, teens, and adults heal and grow. I aim to have warm, respectful, and productive relationships with the clients I collaborate with, and I enjoy being part of the positive change that families experience.
I am a Registered Psychologist and a Registered Play Therapist. I completed my undergraduate studies in South-Africa before engaging in a one year, full time internship in Chicago at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. In 2012, I received my Masters of Counselling from City University of Seattle. During my Master’s degree, I worked both on the front lines and as a counsellor with foster and adoptive families who faced a range of emotional, behavioural and cognitive challenges.
Since completing my degree, I have worked in a private practice setting with children, teens, adults and families. I work primarily from an attachment based perspective. This means that I work with clients to explore how early relationships affect how we come to understand our self, other people and the world.
It is an honour to work with clients and families to create a space for lasting change. I endeavour to always approach my clients with respect, honesty, integrity and warmth.
Co-Founder, Psychologist, Instructor, and Consultant
Guest Speakers 2020
CYA-RYT200, CYA-CYT, Color Me Yoga, Rainbow Kids Yoga,
YogaED Trauma Informed Yoga for Children and Youth
I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of the Fraser Valley, in British Columbia in 2010. During this time, I also worked in residential care settings with children and youth who had experienced significant trauma and presented with complex mental health challenges. Through a process of seeking support and guidance to best support these individuals I began to learn about attachment theory and the impacts of trauma on development. This knowledge now serves as my foundation.
In 2012, I began my Masters in Counselling Psychology at City University of Seattle. While completing this degree, I also worked in a school setting supporting complex mental health in the classroom. Through this work I continued to witness the importance of relationships in the developmental process. In 2015, I completed my graduated degree and began work as a Child and Adolescent therapist at the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton (SACE), and also began a small private practice. I still hold both positions today and value you the rich learning and experience they provide me. I work primarily from an attachment perspective and believe that relationship is an essential component of healing. I help my clients to develop a sense of safety in relationship in order to create an environment in which they can process their experiences. I also support parents in understanding the impacts of trauma and developing strategies in supporting their children at home.
I feel privileged to continually have the opportunity to learn from the children, youth and families that I work with. I strive to work collaboratively with my clients so that I may learn about their unique experiences and support them on their path towards growth and healing.
Author, Speaker, Naturopathic DoctorDr. Christina Bjorndal, ND is an authority in the treatment of mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders and eating disorders. Having overcome many mental health challenges, Dr. Chris is a gifted speaker and writer who loves to share her philosophy of wellness in interviews with icons like Jenny McCarthy and many more. She is recognized as one of the top NDs to follow by two independent organizations. Dr. Chris has helped many patients achieve physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. She has written four books on mental health as well as a created a 10-week course for individuals. Visit drchristinabjorndal.com
Dr. Tina Payne Bryson
Psychotherapist, Author, and Speaker
Dr. Tina Payne Bryson speaks internationally to parents, educators, camps, and clinicians. She is the author of Bottom Line for Baby (Random House 2020) and co-author (with Dan Siegel) of THE POWER OF SHOWING UP (2020) and THE YES BRAIN (2018), as well as two New York Times bestsellers — THE WHOLE-BRAIN CHILD ( 2011), and NO-DRAMA DISCIPLINE (2014) — each of which has been translated into over forty languages.
Tina is a psychotherapist and the Founder/Executive Director of The Center for Connection, a multidisciplinary clinical practice, and of The Play Strong Institute, a center devoted to the study, research, and practice of play therapy through a neurodevelopment lens.
Dr. Bryson keynotes conferences and conducts workshops for kids, parents, educators, clinicians, and industry leaders all over the world, and she’ makes frequent media appearances for venues like TIME, “Good Morning America,” Huffington Post, Redbook, The New York Times, and Real Simple. She is the Child Development Specialist at Saint Mark’s School in Altadena, the Director of Parenting Education at the Mindsight Institute, the Director for Child Development for Camp Chippewa in Cass Lake, Minnesota, and the Child Development Director for Lantern Camps. Tina is a graduate of Baylor University and earned her LCSW and Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, where her research explored attachment science, childrearing theory, and the emerging field of interpersonal neurobiology.
Registered PsychologistChristine Crocker is a Registered Psychologist who has been providing services to families, couples and individuals since 2007, both in private practice and for agencies. Christine has a Masters in Science in Marital and Family Therapy through Loma Linda University and a Bachelor of Science Specialization awarded from the University of Alberta. She has walked the journey with children, youth and families through the process of divorce, to help navigate the many life changes this transition brings. She has supported families with blended family obstacles and also understands these transitions personally as a step-parent in a blended family.
Registered Psychologist and Registered Play Therapist
Cierra Chmiliar is a Registered Psychologist and Registered Play Therapist in Alberta, Canada. She gained her undergraduate degree from the University of Alberta, and her Masters of Counselling degree from City University of Seattle. She currently works in a private practice specializing in working with children, teens, and families using a variety of types of therapy. Her background includes both personal and professional experience working with children with developmental disorders (including Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD). She has also been a passionate horse person throughout her life, leading to a specializing in canine- and equine-assisted therapy.
Cierra approaches her clinical and consultative work with parents and professionals with an attachment, developmental, and neurobiological lens. Her aim is to work together to best serve the unique and individual needs of every child.
Jan-Marie is a Registered Psychologist in private practice in Edmonton. She holds a Master of Counselling degree from City University of Seattle and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Alberta.
Her special interests include gender identity, autism and attachment trauma. With a particular passion for working with gender diverse children, youth and adults, she trained with and is a member of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). She takes a primarily feminist approach to this work.
Jan-Marie has also trained in various types of play therapy including Theraplay, sand play and nondirective play therapy. Her approach to working with children and youth in general is influenced by attachment theory and the work of Daniel Siegel and Gordon Neufeld, amongst others. She also draws on narrative, cognitive-behavioural, mindfulness and expressive arts techniques.
Registered Provisional Psychologist and Certified Grief Recovery Specialist
Samantha is a Registered Provisional Psychologist and a certified Grief Recovery Specialist® at The Grief and Trauma Healing Centre in Edmonton, Alberta. She focuses much of her clinical practice on helping those who have suffered from loss and traumatic situations.
Following her undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences, Sam spent five years working in a child advocacy centre where she was exposed to disclosures of grief and trauma on a daily basis. In this role, Sam worked one on one supporting children and their family members who were facing the effects of abuse. In addition, she developed new means of teaching others about the effects of grief and loss and how best to support children and youth. Sam went on to complete her Master of Counselling Degree through City University of Seattle and then looked for opportunities to support those who have experienced loss and traumatic events. Now she works to assist people of all ages and has a particular interest in working with those who are dealing with some of life’s big questions such as, “How do I find purpose after this loss?”
Sam has also worked as an Educator for Alberta Health Services and has developed and taught numerous workshops pertaining to children’s mental health. She believes that the use of research and best practices to empower caregivers and educators allows for healthier outcomes in our children and in our community as a whole.
Sam has presented in multiple international conferences and has been interviewed for numerous media outlets. She continues to be inspired by the brave individuals she works with and looks forward to sharing her stories and insights with you.
Educator and School CounsellorSheldon Franken, B.Ed., M.A, (Counselling Psychology), is the founder of Inquiry Adventures, and is a school counsellor and former classroom teacher, physical educator, and outdoor education specialist for youth-at-risk, and community engagement. More about Sheldon here-> https://
B.Kin, B.Ed; National Coaching Certification Program Learning Facilitator
Jen Goeres has graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Kinesiology (Adapted and Therapeutic Physical Activity) and a Bachelor of Education (Secondary Physical Education). Her love of teaching has led her to a decade-long teaching career with the Calgary Catholic School Board as well as teaching at Christchurch Girls School (Christchurch, New Zealand). She has been involved in sport and recreation for over 20 years, working and volunteering for not-for-profit, community, and municipal organizations and has experience as a front-line leader, coach, counselor, programmer, program specialist, and supervisor.
In addition, Jen is a twelve-year member of the Alberta Parks and Recreation Association (ARPA) Recreation Connection and Collaboration Network (RCCN), past Chair of the ARPA HIGH FIVE Task Force and HIGH FIVE Trainer Exchange, past Chair of the Youth Development through Recreation Symposium as well as part of the Calgary After-School and Youth Leadership (LEAD) Steering Committee and a certified National Coaching Certification Program Learning Facilitator. She has also been a Healthy Play Trainer for the last ten years and is excited to now be one of the only Canadian Healthy Play Facilitators and Classroom/Play Consultants providing training and classroom/play consultations to recreation, sport, and education groups across Canada.
Presenter, Author, Originator of Multiple Programs (The Buzz, GLUE)
Spencer Gorin is an internationally known presenter, author and originator of multiple programs that increase empathy, self-regulation and discovery. Spencer co-created the anti-bullying, character education program, Healthy Play IS a Solution and co-authored the book, Learning to Play, Playing to Learn, Curriculum and Activities for Classroom and Playground Management.
At the University of Arizona, he is the Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) & Harm Reduction Program Specialist and creator of, The Buzz, a fun, game-oriented and engaging alcohol education program nationally recognized for its originality, effectiveness and joyousness. Other programs Spencer has created or co-created for high-school and college age youth are the anti-hazing program GLUE (Guiding Leaders through Unified Experiences), Conversations About Masculinity, and Navigating Relationship, facilitating self-love, empathy and self-regulation relationship skills through engagement and courageous conversations.
Throughout my academic career, I have focused on determining what drives people and motivates human behaviour. I completed a Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 2006 and a Bachelor of Social Work in 2010. Both led me to travel the world and work on the front lines with children and families surviving through difficult times. I then attended City University of Seattle, completing a Masters of Counselling degree in 2016. This allowed me to fulfill my goal of becoming a Registered Psychologist.
In my work with children, families, and adults, I have been able to support my clients through depression, anxiety, emotional struggles, and post traumatic stress. I thoroughly enjoy working with people through all life stages and situations. I work primarily from a client centered perspective, meaning I believe that all people, regardless of their circumstances, have the ability within themselves to heal if given the proper tools and guidance. Attachment drives my clinical work, and I believe that healing happens in relationship both internally and within external relationships. I am also trained in the EMDR modality.
I have counselled people through a variety of life circumstances, including adult and childhood traumas. I strongly believe in the integrity of healing and am passionate about supporting my clients in getting their voices heard. I believe that people have a right to love, belonging, and meaningful connection with others.
I am also able to complete psycho-educational assessments, including intelligence and achievement testing, and behavioural assessments. I believe assessments are able to provide a window to a person’s inner landscape and helps drive therapeutic interventions to best support a person’s individual needs.
M.S.W., R.S.W. Child and Family Therapist and Founder of Connected Parenting
Jennifer Kolari (M.S.W., R.S.W.) is one of the nation’s leading parenting experts, Jennifer Kolari is a highly sought-after international speaker and the founder of Connected Parenting. A child and family therapist with a busy practice based in Toronto and San Diego, Kolari is also the author of Connected Parenting: How To Raise A Great Kid (Penguin Group USA and Penguin Canada, 2009) and You’re Ruining My Life! (But Not Really) Surviving the Teenage Years with Connected Parenting (Penguin Canada, 2011). Kolari is a frequent guest on many national morning shows and her advice can be found in many Canadian and U.S. magazines.
Jennifer entertains and educates audiences with her powerful parenting model based on the neurobiology of love. Kolari’s wisdom, quick wit and down-to-earth style helps parents navigate modern-day parenting problems, offering real-life examples, as well as practical and effective tools and strategies. Her highly entertaining, inspiring workshops are shared with warmth and humour, making her a crowd-pleasing speaker with schools, medical professionals, corporations, and agencies throughout North America, Europe and Asia.
Kim John Payne. M.Ed
Clinical Counselor, Author, and International Speaker
Kim John Payne has been quietly and passionately working to help tens of thousands of people give voice to the feeling that something is not okay about the new normal of overwhelm that so many people are now experiencing. He offers do-able ways to realize the hopes and values we all have for ourselves, and build deep connections with our children that gives families resiliency and simple joy.
A consultant and trainer to over 230 U.S. independent and public schools, Kim John Payne, M.ED, has been a school counselor, adult educator, consultant, researcher, educator and a private family counselor for twenty seven years. He regularly gives key-note addresses at international conferences for educators, parents, and therapists and runs workshops and trainings around the world. In each role, he has been helping children, adolescents and families explore issues such as social difficulties with siblings and classmates, attention and behavioral issues at home and school, emotional issues such as defiance, aggression, addiction and self-esteem and the vital role living a balanced simple life brings.
He has also consulted for educational associations in South Africa, Hungary, Israel, Russia, Switzerland, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom, Thailand and China. Kim has worked extensively with the North American and UK Waldorf educational movements. He has served as Director of the Collaborative Counseling program at Antioch University New England. He is the Director of the Simplicity Project a multi media social network that explores what really connects and disconnects us to ourselves and to the world. Together with his team they have trained around 1000 Simplicity Parenting Coaches around the world. Kim is the Founding Director of The Center for Social Sustainability, an organization that has trained thousands of teachers, parents and students in the Three Stream Process that gives social, emotional and behavioral support to children who struggle in the school environment.
In addition to authoring the #1 Best Seller Simplicity Parenting© . Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier and More Secure Kid, published by Random House Penguin in 2009, he also authored The Games Children Play©, (1996) published by Hawthorn Press ,The Soul of Discipline (2015 Random House/Penguin), co-authored Whole Child Sport™ How to Navigate Child & Youth Sports™. and Being At Your best When Your Kids Are At Their Worst (Shambhala Press 2017). His books have been translated into 27 languages.
He has appeared frequently on television including ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox; on radio with the BBC, Sirius/XM, CBC & NPR and in print including being featured in Time Magazine, Chicago Tribune, Parenting, Mothering, Times Union and the LA Times.
Kim strives to deepen understanding and give practical tools for life that arise out of the burning social issues of our time. He lives on a farm in Ashfield, Massachusetts with his wife and two children.
Dr. Daniel J. Siegel
New York Times Best-Selling Author and Clinician
Dr. Daniel J. Siegel received his medical degree from Harvard University and completed his postgraduate medical education at UCLA with training in pediatrics and child, adolescent and adult psychiatry. He served as a National Institute of Mental Health Research Fellow at UCLA, studying family interactions with an emphasis on how attachment experiences influence emotions, behavior, autobiographical memory and narrative.
Dr. Siegel is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and the founding co-director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA. An award-winning educator, he is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and recipient of several honorary fellowships. Dr. Siegel is also the Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute, an educational organization, which offers online learning and in-person seminars that focus on how the development of mindsight in individuals, families, and communities can be enhanced by examining the interface of human relationships and basic biological processes. His psychotherapy practice includes children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families. He serves as the Medical Director of the LifeSpan Learning Institute and on the Advisory Board of the Blue School in New York City, which has built its curriculum around Dr. Siegel’s Mindsight approach.
Dr. Siegel’s unique ability to make complicated scientific concepts exciting and accessible has led him to be invited to address diverse local, national and international groups including mental health professionals, neuroscientists, corporate leaders, educators, parents, public administrators, healthcare providers, policy-makers, mediators, judges, and clergy. He has lectured for the King of Thailand, Pope John Paul II, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Google University, and London’s Royal Society of Arts (RSA). He lives in Southern California with his family.
B.A; HIGH FIVE Trainer, NCCP Facilitator, Healthy Play Trainer
Jen Smith graduated from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree. Jen’s career in recreation began 19 years ago when she became a support worker for adults with disabilities which quickly established a passion for working within the disability community. In 2010, Jen was hired as a Recreation Program Specialist at the City of Calgary, and from there, took on a variety of roles within municipal recreation, including Sport Coordinator, Learning and Development Coordinator, and Recreation Coordinator.
These opportunities gave her valuable experience in program development, supervision and leadership, customer service, learning and development, and recreation management. In addition to being a HIGH FIVE Trainer and NCCP Facilitator, Jen has also been a Healthy Play Trainer for the last ten years and is excited to now be one of the only Canadian Healthy Play Facilitators and Classroom/Play Consultants providing training and classroom/play consultations to recreation, sport and education groups across Canada – she is excited to continue to advocate for play and healthy child development!