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Counselling Centre

Meet our Team

We're a team of professionally trained counsellors with backgrounds in counselling psychology, education, health, and child and youth care.

Liisa

Liisa Robinson Department Chair, Counsellor

M.Ed., RCC, RYT

I have been a visitor on Lkwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ territories since the early 90’s when I moved from Alberta to study near the ocean. I have a Master of Education Degree in Counselling Psychology and a bachelor's degree in Psychology, both from the University of Victoria. I am registered in the province of BC as a Clinical Counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors.

Much of my work has been with adults, both at UVic (for 12 years in Residence Life and Counselling Services) and at the Citizens' Counselling Centre. I have been involved in the Victoria community for many years, working at a variety of community agencies. One of the most meaningful connections was with the BC Eating Disorders association. In 2010, I joined the team of student counsellors Camosun. I’m currently the Chair of our Team. 

I see the relationship between counsellor and client as an important part of the work we do together. I aspire to create a space for our work where honesty, authenticity, and humour are welcome. The approaches that I use recognize that people are highly interconnected beings, both internally (body, mind, emotions and spirit) and externally (to our families, history, culture, and systems). I find I most often employ the work of mindfulness, cognitive behavioural therapy, yoga therapy, and acceptance commitment therapy; however, every client's needs are unique. Particular interests of mine are relationships, diversity, identity, families, eating disorders/body image and substance use/abuse. I work to see the world through a social justice lens and I hope that carries over to my counselling work.

As the Chair of Counselling Services, I can be a resource to you if you have a question or concern about or department or service delivery.

I facilitate a program called "Bounce Back Yoga" which focuses on physical, mental and emotional flexibility. I am a Registered Yoga Teacher. 

My belief that our mental health is deeply connected to our physical, spiritual and relational health carries over into my own life. When I’m not in the office you can find me practicing yoga, running, cycling, and spending time with my friends and family. I love the balance of big energy outputs and sweaty pursuits next to deep quiet times in the woods and at the beach. I love experimenting with how nutrition supports mental health and I believe in good sleep and restoration.
Chris Balmer portrait

Chris Balmer Counsellor

MA, CCC

Please note: Chris is currently working a 50% workload and will unfortunately not be providing counselling services during the 2016–2017 academic year in order to devote energy to Camosun’s Student Mental Health and Well-Being Strategy initiatives.

I have been a visitor on the territories of the Lkwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples since 1987.

I have a Master of Arts degree in Counselling Psychology and Bachelor and Diploma in Child and Youth Care from UVic. My career path has included working with children and youth in community, school and outdoor settings, surveying, a stint as a jackhammer operator, travelling, university teaching and since 1988, working as a student counsellor here at Camosun College.

My interests and activities at the College have included peer counselling, counsellor education, employee wellness, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Gregoric Learning Styles, psycho-educational groups, therapeutic humour, adoptive parenting, student readiness and most recently, mental health education and support.

My counselling philosophy and approach is best described as holistic and client-centred. I respect the uniqueness and integrity of each person, assisting them with insight leading to understanding, making healthy choices and positively developing their lives within their relationships, families, communities and culture. I draw upon many counselling strategies according to the unique needs of the individual and believe that we all have an enormous capacity for discovery and personal development. My role is to help guide and support you on your journey! !

Sylvie Cottell portrait

Sylvie Cottell Métis, Counsellor for Indigenous Students

MA, RCC

Hello, my name is Sylvie Cottell. I am a Métis Registered Clinical Counsellor and I am also St’át’imc through marriage. I have been a visitor on Coast Salish territory for my whole life, first on Musqueam territory and now on Lkwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ territories.

My role at Camosun is to support Indigenous students to be successful in their studies by providing confidential individual and group counselling support. I work with students from a wide diversity of Indigenous backgrounds who are experiencing a variety of personal concerns.

We all have times when depression, stress, loss, questions of identity or some other hurdle is put in our path. My intention is to help people find harmony in their lives. I will meet you from a place of deep compassion that comes from my own experience of being on this human journey. I strive to create a healing space that honours the fullness of who you are and I believe you carry the resources within yourself to create the changes you desire.

In my counselling approach, I take into consideration the importance of balance between all aspects of the self (emotional, mental, physical and spiritual), as well as honouring the significance of family and community. I am also trained in somatic therapy and a variety of brief therapy models.

In addition to my work as a counsellor, I also have an active art practice that integrates photography, painting, drawing and dance. I am always engaged in the art of maintaining balance and harmony within my own life.

Brian-Herron.jpg

Brian Herron International Student Counsellor

M.Ed.

It is an honour to work with international students and everyone within the community of Camosun College! I am extremely grateful to have worked for 20 years as a teacher and counsellor at the secondary public school and College levels in B.C. with students from a wide variety of backgrounds prior to working at Camosun College. Working with adolescent and adult students experiencing cultural transition has been a major emphasis throughout my career.

My training includes a Master's degree in Counselling Psychology from Simon Fraser University and a Bachelor of Education degree (Secondary) from the University of British Columbia. In addition, I completed a certificate in Conflict Resolution, Mediation & Negotiation from the Justice Institute of British Columbia.

My counselling approaches and work as an educator are based on person-centred and holistic models, as well as cognitive-behavioural therapy and attachment theory.

I also highly value and utilize the respectful, active and experiential approaches of current Morita Therapy practice and applications for counselling. Morita Therapy is a trans-cultural approach, which I find invaluable as a counsellor for international students. Furthermore, I believe that sensitivity to an individual's culture, background, experiences, safety, dignity and values are essential for the counselling experience and relationship.  When appropriate I am open to working with post-secondary students that prefer a more practical guidance and leadership approach of meeting their needs as a student.

Working with students to discover more about themselves personally and for career and future education planning are complex areas that I find very exciting and meaningful as a counsellor at the post-secondary level. In addition, I feel privileged to be involved at Camosun College in coordinating and facilitating student-centred group opportunities for peer mentoring, peer helping and leadership in a program that students named Peer Connections.

My personal interests include activities such as cycling, hiking, kayaking and generally being active in the outdoors.

It is pleasure and extremely rewarding to meet and work with students from all over the world!

Scott Kouri

Scott Kouri Counsellor

MA CYC, RCC

My name is Scott Kouri and I am a third generation Lebanese-English Canadian living on the unceded territories of the Lekwungen and SENĆOŦEN speaking peoples. For me, the connection between a person’s inner world, culture, and environment are important. Throughout my life I have found that these connections have helped guide my counselling work and my own personal growth. I have been working as a counsellor for 10 years and am also a PhD student at the University of Victoria. I teach at both UVic and Camosun and am passionate about canoeing and writing.

I believe that every person will have their own path to wellbeing and see my role as working with you on your own goals. Personal growth often times means facing our difficulties and learning from them. Sometimes this means overcoming obstacles through practical and goal oriented work, and sometimes this means sitting with our challenges and making sense of them in the broader unfolding of our lives. In most cases, growth, happiness, and a sense of freedom come with a more full engagement in our own lives and relationships.

First sessions usually focus on getting to know one another and addressing any immediate issues. I recognize that being a student can at times be very challenging and I can help you develop practical options for managing day to day life here at Camosun. We can work on a variety of issues including school success, anxiety and depression, life direction, identity and image, stress management, childhood and negative past experience, anger, substance use, relationships, gender and sexuality, and existential questions. I take a strength-based approach and see you as the person who knows best about your life.

Most of the counselling work I do is through talking about issues and finding ways to live an authentic life. I am open to working with dreams, art, imagination, mindfulness, and experiential activities. While the early stages of counselling generally focus on reducing negative symptoms and taking incremental steps towards your goals, eventually we can learn how our challenges can be turned into unique strengths.

Laura Paetkau portrait

Laura Paetkau Counsellor

M.Ed., RCC

Hello, my name is Laura Paetkau. I have been a grateful visitor on the territories of the Lkwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples since 2007. I have a deep appreciation for the natural beauty of our surroundings and feel lucky to live, work, learn, and play in this amazing place. I have been a counsellor to Camosun students since 2008 and can genuinely say that I love my work and being a part of the Camosun community.

I work with individuals and couples, and I sometimes lead relationship-focused groups for students. I am also the Practicum Coordinator for our department. I have a Master of Education Degree in Counselling Psychology from the University of British Columbia and am a Registered Clinical Counsellor in B.C.

My journey to arrive at counseling was a rich and sometimes meandering one, so I understand the confusion and complexity many students face in making decisions about their educational and career path. A consistent theme in my work history is my love of working with people, particularly young adults, and my passion for creating healthy communities. Prior to moving here in 2007, I worked at the Vancouver Crisis Centre where I helped educate youth and adults about stress management, suicide prevention and effective communication.

I would describe my approach to working with students as relationship-centered, holistic and integrative. What this means is that I recognize the importance of building trust and having a good connection between myself and the students with whom I meet. By holistic I mean that I consider all aspects of the student’s life, including physical health, mental health and emotional well-being. I call my work integrative because I draw from a number of different modalities, including Satir, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), Gestalt, and solution-focused therapy. I am also particularly interested in attachment theory and regularly address the influence of family of origin within my practice. I believe that people are resilient and that the answers lie within, but that sometimes we need another person to walk alongside us when the journey gets tough.

Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to meeting with you.

John Scheunhage

John Scheunhage Counsellor

MA, RCC

I have been a visitor on Coast Salish territory for the majority of my life. The past 6 years on Squamish territory, and now again on Lkwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ territories after a recent move back to Vancouver Island. I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor with experience in post-secondary settings and private practice with a wide range of men, women, couples, parents, and teen clients. My professional training and experience spans the past 10 years and includes a Masters in Counselling Psychology (specializing in Mind-Body Psychology) from School of Holistic Studies at John F. Kennedy University. I also pursued my passion for integrative counselling approaches by completing an additional two year professional training from the Psycho-Physical Therapy Institute, and am currently a trainer in training for the Comprehensive Resource Model (a neuroscience based trauma resolution model). On an ongoing basis I complete further training in a variety of topics to help you benefit from the most recent research in mental health, healing and human change processes.

Prior to joining the Camosun counselling team, I worked at Quest University Canada as Campus Counsellor supporting post-secondary students across a broad range of life issues. My counselling experience also includes private practice work in Oakland, Squamish and Victoria. Prior to my career change as a counsellor 11 year ago, I spent 8 years working in a variety of roles in the software industry. My personal passions are an interest in functional fitness (Crossfit), meditation and spiritual topics, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying the beautiful land around us.

I focus on offering my clients a combination of traditional approaches to counselling combined with leading edge mind-body research on mindfulness, trauma resolution, attachment psychology, neuroscience and other integrative views on mental health and well-being I have a particular passion and expertise in helping clients resolve and heal trauma through grounded and safe neuroscience based methods (both incident based trauma, and more developmental or relational experiences). In my approach the mind, body, emotions and spirit/existential ideas are all welcome and important topics for counselling. Whatever brings you to the counselling offices, I look forward to supporting you on your journey.

Anna Stein

Anna Stein International Student Counsellor

M.Ed., RCC

I am an International Student Counsellor with Camosun College International. I have been with CCI since 2010 and previously worked at the University of Victoria for 7 years. I hold a Master's degree in Counselling Psychology and previously completed an Education Degree specializing in Drama and French. Since receiving my Masters, I have continued in depth training working with many forms of trauma.

International students face a variety of new responsibilities and challenges. These can include, but are not limited to: stress and anxiety; loneliness, homesickness and culture shock; academic pressures; low confidence and self-esteem; confusion; career exploration; challenges in communication; crisis; and relationship issues.

Counselling can provide support to deal with these challenges and discuss concerns in a friendly and culturally sensitive environment. I believe that effective counselling starts with building a safe and collaborative relationship that is based on respect and compassion. I draw on several approaches to counselling that include supporting clients to build on their resources and strengths, gain practical skills, develop self awareness and practice mindfulness. I believe in using a holistic approach that recognizes the powerful connection between the mind and body. My passion for counselling stems from a deep curiosity and strong respect for diversity and desire to collaborate with others in building health, wellness, and ultimately peace within our communities.

I greatly value the learning I have gained from my time living, studying and working in places as diverse as West Africa, Europe, Central America, and the United States. After experiencing living in several home stay families in other countries, I also have had the privilege of hosting over 25 international students in our home over the past ten years. These experiences help me to understand some of the issues international students face here in Canada.

Nancy

Nancy Willihnganz Counsellor

M.Sc., R.Psych

It has been my honour to work with Camosun students for more than 30 years now. I am a registered psychologist in BC with a M.Sc. in Counselling Psychology from the University of Calgary, and an Ba(Hons) Psychology from Queens University. Most of my work at Camosun has been to provide direct service to students, but I have also held leadership roles in Counselling, Advising, Assessment, Financial Aide, Recreation, Student Employment and Student Development – virtually all of the student services that support students to navigate their educational goals at Camosun.

Student development and the impact of college on student's well being has been a sustaining interest during my career with post secondary students. It is difficult to be a student with the demands and pressures of learning and for some juggling family or employment responsibilities or both while for many living on a limited income. I frequently find myself working with the strong emotions that students experience – depression, anxiety, isolation, relationships as well as making transitions and changes or helping students making career decisions. I like to be involved with creating services or programs that are helpful and useful to students. Most recently I am interested in the impact that sleep and social media has on student's experience.

Although I use other theoretical models, my preferred counselling orientation is cognitive behavioural. I find this useful for students as it is adaptive to issues that students frequently experience, but also because it is collaborative, creative, as well as being learning and evidence based. Most importantly, it provides the opportunity to learn and change the obstacles that are limiting students from achieving their goals.

Practicum counsellors

Marie Abbott

Marie Abbott Practicum Counsellor

Hello! My name is Marie Abbott and I am in my final year of the Masters in Counselling program at the University of Victoria. I completed my undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of Ottawa and also briefly studied art history at UBC. I have been a visitor on Lkwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ territories since the Fall of 2015.

I am grateful to join Camosun College Counselling Services as a practicum student for the 2016-2017 school year. As a student, I understand the experience of balancing multiple responsibilities. I am dedicated to providing support as you navigate the transitions and challenges that life presents.

I believe that the foundation of a meaningful counselling experience is a safe, non-judgmental and supportive relationship where you can share your concerns and explore your hopes for the future. In personal counselling and career counselling sessions, I adopt a person-centred, strength-based, and solution-focused approach. I view change as a process that may occur on mental, emotional, physical and/or spiritual levels. My intention is to meet you where you are and collaborate with you to identify and move towards your personal goals for change.

Support staff

Siobhan Bryce

Counselling Assistant

Laura Anderson

Laura Anderson

Counselling Assistant

Contact Us
Camosun College Lansdowne
3100 Foul Bay Rd
Victoria BC V8P 5J2
Camosun College Interurban
4461 Interurban Rd
Victoria BC V9E 2C1
  • 250–370–3000
  • 1–877–554–7555 (toll-free)

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