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 2019-2020
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. Risë VanFleet is a Co-Founder and Director of the International Institute for Animal Assisted Play Therapy®. She is also the President of the Family Enhancement & Play Therapy Center, Inc., in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania, an organization specializing in the training and supervision of child, family, and play therapy professionals. She also provides therapy to families and runs the Playful Pooch Program. She is a Licensed Psychologist (PA), Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor, and Certified Dog Behavior Consultant with 45 years of clinical, supervisory, administrative, and teaching experience. Her specialties include AAPT, Filial Therapy, chronic medical illness in families, disaster mental health, complex trauma and attachment issues. She has trained and supervised thousands of clinicians internationally. She also provides behavior consultation with family dogs, and a specialty with traumatized, unsocialized dogs.
Risë is the author of a number of ground-breaking and award-winning books, and she has authored dozens of articles, chapters, and manuals. Books include (but not limited to) Animal Assisted Play Therapy, Filial Therapy: Strengthening Parent-Child Relationships Through Play, Child-Centered Play Therapy, The Human Half of Dog Training: Collaborating with Clients to Get Results, and more. Her materials have been translated into several languages. She is also featured in several video-based online courses and the American Psychological Association’s DVD, Filial Play Therapy. She is on the editorial board of two major journals, and is a past president and board chair of the Association for Play Therapy.
Dr. VanFleet has been the recipient of 14 national and international awards, including the PPA’s Distinguished Contributions to the Science and Profession of Psychology Award, several awards for her education and training programs such as APT’s Play Therapy Professional Education and Training Award, four awards (Maxwell Awards and Special Awards from the DWAA) for her writing, and an award for her wildlife photography.
Jessica is a bestselling author, Danish parenting expert, journalist, speaker, and cultural researcher. Her work has been featured in TIM, Salon, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, NY Times, Vanity Fair, NPR, Huffington Post, and many more. She collaborated with BBC World News and acts as a spokesperson for LEGO on the Power of Play. Jessica speaks four languages and lives with her Danish husband and two children in Europe.
Her best-selling book: The Danish Way of Parenting is an A revealing and fresh take on cross-cultural parenting advice, The Danish Way of Parenting will help parents from all walks of life raise the happiest, most well-adjusted kids in the world.
Registered Provisional Psychologist
Cierra is a Provisional Psychologist who practices out of Family Counselling Centres in Leduc. She primarily works with children, teens, and families, specializing in play therapy and equine-assisted counselling. Cierra works from a client-centered approach, and believes a non-judgmental relationship between the client and therapist is crucial for change. She works collaboratively with her clients to help them gain awareness and insight, so they can build and draw upon their own internal resources. To this effect, she uses a wide range of modalities, including person-centered, play therapy, sandtray, trauma therapy (EMDR), equine-assisted therapy, art, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Cierra also has experience working within the school system, working primarily with children with developmental disorders and their families.
Cierra works from a client-centered approach, and believes a non-judgmental relationship between the client and therapist is crucial for change. She works collaboratively with her clients to help them gain awareness and insight, so they can build and draw upon their own internal resources.
To this effect, she uses a wide range of modalities, including person-centered, play therapy, sandtray, trauma therapy (EMDR), equine-assisted therapy, art, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Cierra also has experience working within the school system, working primarily with children with developmental disorders and their families.
Registered Provisional Psychologist
Jocelyn Nand is a Registered Provisional Psychologist in good standing with the College of Alberta Psychologists. She is the director of Family Counselling Centres in Edmonton, Alberta. Jocelyn engages in a counselling relationship with children as well as adults. She has completed her play therapy training through the Canadian Association for Play Therapy (CAPT) and is a director on the board of directors with the CAPT. Jocelyn provides a counselling practice that is informed by trauma, grief and loss and attachment-based models and has taken numerous trainings in these topics. She has also completed training in filial play therapy practices like the Child Parent Relationship Therapy model and the Theraplay model. She is passionate about her work with children and believes in the importance of establishing resiliency and healthy coping skills. She utilizes a strengths-focused approach and explores the individual’s relationship with self and others. She believes that preventive mental health initiatives are vital for all children regardless of their unique experiences, strengths and struggles. She views Play Therapy as an age appropriate and evidence-based practice. She understands that counselling is not a “one size fits all” approach and integrates animal assisted Play Therapy as well as other expressive arts practices.
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.
Mental Health Therapist; Grief Recovery Specialist
Samantha is a Mental Health Therapist/ Clinical Intern at both Family Counselling Centres in Leduc and The Grief and Trauma Healing Centre in Edmonton. Although she is currently finishing her Master of Counselling Degree, she brings with her extensive background knowledge regarding grief and trauma in children as the previous Director of Community Education and Engagement for the Zebra Child Protection Centre. 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 is a certified Grief Recovery Specialist® and now focuses much of her clinical practice on helping those who have suffered from loss or trauma.
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.
I have been working with individuals, children and families with a variety of educational and mental health needs for the last 10 years. My work experience has allowed me to have diverse opportunities in supporting people with diverse needs. I am currently a Registered Psychologist in the Province of Alberta. My work experience opportunities have included working in child protection, not for profit agencies, schools, clinics and hospitals.
I obtained my undergraduate degree with a major in Psychology from the University of Alberta in 2008 at which time I added a year of cooperative work experience to my degree so that I could have practical time working with children and families as a Behavior Interventionist. In between my educational endeavors I had the opportunity to volunteer and work with the Zebra Child Protection Centre where I gained a wealth of experience in child advocacy and court preparation and also supported children and families. I went on to complete my Masters of Counselling with City University of Seattle in 2012. For my Master’s level practicum I had the opportunity to work in the Stollery Children’s hospital in Pediatric Oncology providing therapeutic supports and assisting with neuropsychological assessments. Following my graduation and practicum I helped to co-develop a program supported in the Not For Profit Sector assisting children and families with pediatric cancer with reintegrating into the community.
I am passionate about the field of psychology and enjoy supporting clients in many ways. I like to help clients using several modalities including humanistic theoretical foundations, cognitive behavioural strategies, positive psychology influences and mindfulness practices. I am continually interested in learning about new resources and strategies and have completed the Mindfulness Schools Fundamentals Training. Furthermore, I have been trained to use SandPlay Therapy which is based in Jungian psychology and Kalffian theory and has beneficial applications for all ages. In addition to a thirst for learning; I am always adding to my pile of reading materials.
Christine 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.
Teacher, Educator, and Speaker
I am both an educator and a mother of 4. After completing a college diploma in Natural Resources and a Bachelor’s Degree in Sciences, I graduated from the University of Alberta in 2007 with my Bachelor of Education After-Degree. I began teaching in the traditional classroom but shortly after travelled overseas to teach in South Korea. Upon my return, I started a position in a High School Outreach, a more alternative school setting offering courses for students working independently. Over the next 8 years I would continue to teach both in the traditional classroom setting as well as in Distance Education. I also run a small business providing equine instruction and coaching. More recently, I am the founder of the Youth Launch Initiative, a company developed to provide support, resources and education to parents of students and young adults.
Certified Canadian Counsellor; Healing Hooves Founder
Sue McIntosh founded Healing Hooves, an Animal Assisted Therapy program in Alberta, twenty years ago. Sue is a certified Canadian counsellor with an MA in counselling and additional training and certification in attachment, trauma therapy, animal assisted therapy and Emotionally Focused Therapy. She is a certified practitioner and consultant with the Neufeld Institute and a certified equine coach and trainer. Sue specializes in working with families, including adopted and foster children, and with individuals who have experienced trauma. Sue works with clients from an attachment framework and foundation which is grounded in the work of Dr. Gordon Neufeld, a Canadian developmental psychologist, author and educator.
This is an insight-based approach which seeks to understand and address the underlying causes of struggles a client may be experiencing, rather than to simply address presenting problem behaviours and symptoms. Sue has a passion for training and supporting other professionals developing careers and programs in the Animal Assisted and Equine Facilitated Wellness fields and is a certified trainer, mentor and practitioner with EFW Canada – the national certification body for EFW in Canada. Sue has also written and published a series of therapeutic stories for children featuring the animals of Healing Hooves and exploring themes such as grief and loss, relationship conflict, and emotional expression.
Free resources for parents, educators, mental health professionals and anyone interested in the human animal bond, including free downloads of some of Sue’s children’s books, can be found on her website and Facebook page: