Dr. Jacques du Toit
Medical Director | MB, ChB, ISAM
Dr. du Toit has been the Medical Director at Sunshine Coast Health Center since its inception in 2004 and is now responsible for the delivery of medical services at Georgia Strait Women’s Clinic. He is certified with the International Society of Addiction Medicine and has been the personal physician to over 3000 clients in that time.
Dr. du Toit is originally from South Africa where he received his formal education at Stellenbosch University.
Psychiatrist | MD, FRCP(C)
Dr. Howard immigrated to Canada in 1991 where he began his practice at the East Kootenay Regional Hospital in Cranbrook. In 2007, he joined Sunshine Coast Health Centre and has been providing in depth assessment and psychiatric care to all of our clients ever since. Dr. Howard has a background in treating women with mental health and addiction issues as well as a specialty in helping those suffering from trauma and PTSD. Dr. Howard received his formal education at University of Capetown in South Africa
Nursing Director/Medical Services Manager | RPN
Jennifer is responsible for all nursing services at Georgia Strait Women’s Clinic. Previously, Jennifer managed Seaside Wellness Centre, a residential addiction program for women. After working numerous responsibilities at Powell River General Hospital, Jennifer decided to make addictions and mental health her focus.
In 2019, Jennifer received official RPN (Registered Psychiatric Nurse) status. In addition to her daily tasks as Medical Services Manager, Jennifer is a lead team member in the psychiatry department, conducting clients assessments and oversees all medical monitoring.
Program Director | PhD, CCC
Since joining us in 2007, Geoff has demonstrated an exemplary ability to connect with clients. An extensive background in both residential and outpatient addiction treatment has helped Geoff keep things in perspective when clients feel overwhelmed.
Geoff earned his Ph.D. in Psychology from Saybrook University and is a certified member of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. He spent several years as a Clinical Addictions Counsellor at Maple Ridge Treatment Centre in British Columbia and also managed two provincial government treatment programs. Geoff is also the Executive Director for the International Network on Personal Meaning, managing editor of the International Journal of Existential Psychology and Psychotherapy, and Program Director of its biennial Meaning Conference.
Among his publications are:
- A Long Night’s Journey into Day: A Psychobiography of Eugene O’Neill’s Recovery from Alcoholism (2006)
- Thompson, G. R. (2012). A Meaning-centered therapy for addictions. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 10(3), 428-440.
- The Positive Psychology of Meaning and Addiction Recovery (2013).
- Thompson, G. R. (2015). Meaning therapy for addictions: A case study. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 56(5), 457-482.
You can also find Geoff’s articles in the following:
- Treating addiction as a problem of meaning (2018). in D. Grosse (Ed.), About face: Essays on recovery, therapies, and controversies of addiction in Canada (pp. 364-372). St John’s, NL: Breakwater Books.
- Sunshine Coast Health Centre (2018). in D. Grosse (Ed.), About face: Essays on recovery, therapies, and controversies of addiction in Canada (pp. 364-372). St John’s, NL: Breakwater Books.
- Addiction treatment through the lens of meaning: Observations on a program developed in a residential facility (2017). [published online in 2018] International Journal of Existential Positive Psychology [formerly International Journal of Existential Psychology and Psychotherapy], 7(2).
- The Positive Living in Difficult Times Newsletter (INPM Monthly Newsletter)
Clinical Manager | MA, RCC
Sara joined our clinical team in 2016 when she returned to her hometown. She brings a background of working on the downtown eastside in Vancouver for more than 10 years, which has given her much experience working with addiction and mental health issues, particularly trauma issues. Sara has also worked in both residential and outpatient settings as a concurrent disorders counsellor. Her strong belief in the worth of each individual, optimism in the face of adversity, as well as respect for autonomy and dignity, has served her well in this work.
Sara completed her BA in psychology at Simon Fraser University in 2005 and her Masters of Counselling Psychology at Adler University in 2008. In 2009, Sara started a post-graduate program in Existential Analysis and in 2013 became a founding board member of the Existential Analysis Society of Canada.
Psychotherapist | MED, CCC
Kate is a psychotherapist who takes an integrative, holistic approach to counselling. Drawing from a range of psychotherapeutic approaches Kate tailors her services to meet the needs of each individual person. Kate takes a holistic approach to therapy because she believes that true healing occurs when we take care of our mind, body, and spirit. Some of the therapeutic modalities Kate often draws from in her work are person-centred, existential, narrative, MCT, Somatic Experiencing and mindfulness.
Kate completed her formal education at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada. Kate has her Master of Education in Counselling Psychology as well as a Bachelor of Health Sciences in Addictions Counselling. She is a Canadian Certified Counsellor.
Kate’s education and work experience have led her to specialize in the areas of mental health and addictions issues. She is well versed in these areas as her work experience over the past 7 years has encompassed supporting individuals from all walks of life, in all areas of recovery. Kate is passionate about the work she does and feels privileged to connect with people while supporting them on their healing journey. Kate is grateful to be a part of a team that offers a comprehensive holistic treatment program.
Psychotherapist | PhD, RCC
Jon’s approach to counselling is holistic, client-centered, and oriented to looking at how the problems that confront us can be used to challenge us to grow and change. Holistic means to take into account the complexity of interactions between body, mind, nature and spirit and the interconnected web of social and cultural influences.
It is Jon’s belief is that the single most important ingredient that leads to good outcomes in counselling and therapy is the therapeutic alliance. This alliance becomes reflected in the connection between us and the sense of trust that we will develop. With this connection, we will be able to use a variety of techniques and tools to help you create the change you are looking for.
Originally from the USA, Jon received his BA from the University of Massachusetts’ School of Education in Counselling and the Application of Human Services. He received his Masters Degree (MS) and Doctoral Degree (Ph.D.) in Counselling Psychology with specialization in Marital and Family Therapy from Iowa State University. He is currently a member in good standing with the British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors.
He has been in the counselling field for over 30 years working in a variety of capacities. He has provided mental health services in a number of psychiatric hospitals and general psych units. He lived and worked as the Clinical Director for Gould Farm, a 650-acre therapeutic farm community in Monterey, Massachusetts. He has worked with injured workers with the Workers Compensation Board of BC as well as with private rehabilitation centres around the Lower Mainland of BC. Most recently he was the Team Lead for Southern Gulf Islands Mental Health and Substance Abuse program on Salt Spring Island. In addition, he has maintained a private practice for over 20 years.
Laura is a psychotherapist with experience in supporting individuals, families, and groups navigate the language of behaviour from developmental disabilities to trauma to daring to do differently. When we can make sense of our responses to our social world we gain an understanding of how we find dignity, meaning and purpose. Our behaviour is understandable when we can put it into a relational, or social, context. Laura will often incorporate approaches such as narrative, existential, response-based, and brief therapies. Essentially, Laura’s is a practice built on feminist ideology that reveals strengths and resilience. Counselling is a personal, individual process, or journey, built on what is important to the client.
Laura holds a Bachelors of Child and Youth Care and a Masters in Counselling. She has experience working with children living with complex developmental disabilities, including teaching in the field of early childhood education, as well as working with marginalized families. Laura’s work experience in Air Traffic Control introduced her to the complex understandings of systems thinking and the inter-connectedness of the human experience.
Quyn Lê Erichsen
Psychotherapist | MEd, RCC
Quyn’s passion and dream is to empower others by helping them live authentically through discovering their inner gifts and core values. With each client she encounters, Quyn strives to regard him or her with deep empathy and acceptance. She has faith in each of her clients, even when addiction has clouded any faith a person has in themselves.
Quyn obtained her Masters degree in Counselling Psychology at Simon Fraser University. She has worked as a psychotherapist in various areas including palliative care, rehabilitation, post-secondary, domestic violence, trauma, and marriage/relationships to name a few. Quyn has also spoken extensively as a keynote speaker and educator. Most notably, she spoke at Tedx Simon Fraser University where she shared her journey as a blind refugee from Vietnam who realized her dream to become a psychotherapist. Quyn is also a radio host for her own radio talk show called Quyn’s Empowerment Hour.
Psychotherapist | PhD
Tatiana’s has an impressive list of accomplishments that includes 20 years as a psychiatrist working with addicted and mentally ill individuals in her native Russia and 4 years at the University of Washington on a National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) addiction research grant.
Since immigrating to Canada, Tatiana has been employed as a child and youth counsellor for the Interior Health Authority in 100 Mile House prior to joining our team. Tatiana is a graduate of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences in Moscow.
Psychotherapist | M.A., RCC
Joining the team in 2019, John-Michael brings his experience and training in helping others heal through trauma. He combines body-based therapy with traditional emotion and cognition-focused therapies to support clients as whole people; not just as someone addressing their addiction. John-Michael comes from a background in private practice where he saw clients in both traditional office and outdoor settings. He continues to offer this flexible, open environment at SCHC.
John-Michael has a B.A. in psychology and religious studies from the University of Colorado – Boulder. He earned a Masters of Arts in Counselling from Adler University in Vancouver, BC. John-Michael is currently completing his final requirements towards becoming a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (S.E.P), a body-based therapy created by Dr. Peter Levine.
Somatic Therapist | RTC
Davis has been with SCHC since 2007 working as a massage therapist, Recovery Coach. These days, he is SCHC’s Somatic Counsellor. Davis is passionate about his work and grateful for the opportunity to be able to help support clients in discovering their fullest potential.
Somatic Counselling is a body-based talk therapy that helps transform traumatic memories into strengths and resources for the client. Davis uses Somatic Counselling to help clients work through depression, fear, and anxiety as well as developmental trauma and acute or gross trauma like PTSD, sexual abuse, violence, or verbal abuse.
Case Manager | MA Student
Jeannette believes in the resilience of the human spirit and the healing power of a holistic approach to treatment. She loves to empower and support others as they set goals and reach for their dreams. Jeannette’s previous careers involved working with “at risk” families and individuals in order to support them in achieving greater health and happiness.
Jeannette possesses a BA (psych) and is studying, according to the scientist/practitioner model, to complete a Masters Degree in Counselling Psychology.
She is very happy to find herself at a facility that resonates with her core values of holistic care, empowerment, autonomy, and constant striving to offer the best care possible.
Case Manager | Hakomi
Fernando has been working in different capacities in the field of mental health and substance use disorders for more than 10 years. Fernando is grateful for the opportunity to work at SCHC where the approach is to empower everyone to become the authors of their own life.
Currently he works as a Hakomi Practitioner, with a great passion for this method as it uses Mindfulness and Somatic Therapy to assist clients in a journey of self-discovery, where unconscious core beliefs can be re-assessed and unnecessary suffering can become optional.
DBT Therapist | BA
Monique has a BA from the University of Alberta and trained as an Occupational Therapist at the University of the West of England. In England, she worked in inpatient and community mental health settings, helping people work towards what they value through the use of activity and interaction with others. Monique has worked at the SCHC since March 2017 as a Case Manager. Today, Monique continues to provide case management as well as lead the DBT workshops and coaching sessions.
Family Support Liaison | MA
Carissa approaches clients from a belief that values the inner wisdom and strength of the individual. Borrowing from existential and meaning-based approaches, Carissa believes that when individuals are able to function in a healthy manner in all areas of their life, then they are able to be authentic. Exploring barriers to authenticity guides clients to develop a way to engage with life in a meaningful and rewarding manner. Rather than viewing treatment as changing or repairing an individual, she believes it is the restoration of what is already innate.
Carissa specializes in family dynamics and couples relationships where substance use is present. She is currently completing her doctorate degree in psychology and conducting research exploring family impact on the recovery of substance use disorder.
Health & Wellness
Kinesiologist | BSc(Kin)
Kye has been an employee at Sunshine Coast Health Center since 2008. Kye enjoys the challenge of working with a diverse spectrum of clients and has enjoyed working in a program that values physical fitness as part of an overall focus on wellness. Kye is a graduate of Seattle Pacific University in the field of Exercise Science and has worked in both Washington State and British Columbia in a variety of outpatient clinical settings.
Bianca has a professional background in the medical field and is a certified BCRPA Group Fitness, Aqua, Weight and Personal Trainer. Her focus is to coach and motivate people to achieve their individual fitness goals. Her fitness motto is: “Not the beginning will be rewarded, but the will to follow-through”.
Michael has been happily working with SCHC since November 2019. He offers his clients 17 years of experience practicing deep tissue massage and joint release techniques to mitigate the effects of injury, stress, and imbalance. Michael takes a compassionate approach to each individual, acknowledging the mental and emotional factors that often play a large role in one’s physical structure. He carefully tailors treatments to meet the unique needs of each client.
Melanie Jordan Alsager
CEO | MBA
Melanie has led our efforts to run a one of a kind facility since 2005. She has an extensive history in residential healthcare having worked in multiple positions providing services to clients. Melanie has personally led the development of 5 new residential mental health facilities since 1991 including Georgia Strait Women’s Clinic. She is unique in the addiction treatment field as one of the only facility administrators who has a professional health administration background.
Director of Strategic Development | MA
Daniel comes from a marketing and information technology background and is primarily responsible for spearheading and finding new opportunities for business development.
“Our approach is to identify areas where we can improve and then find a way to make it happen.”
Marketing & Communications Director | MA
Casey oversees all marketing and communications at Georgia Strait Women’s Clinic and Sunshine Coast Health Centre. She explores new ways to reach and engage with people online, coordinates content marketing, and develops ways to help SCHC maintain a visible and helpful online presence. Casey completed a Masters’ Degree in Professional Communication in 2015.
Admissions Manager | BA
Naomi completed a bachelor’s degree (psychology major) from Simon Fraser University. She developed her administrative skills while working in marketing and publishing. Naomi also brings her experience working with adolescents and adults in a variety of settings, including volunteer work within the Youth Justice System and an assisted living facility.
Oriana has had experience working as a business communicator in a variety of non-profit organizations before arriving at SCHC. She was happy to discover that the pieces she enjoyed most about her previous roles, like community engagement and advocating for vulnerable groups, translated well to her current position in Admissions at the Centre. As a certified B Corporation, SCHC demonstrates the integrity and ethical standards that she values in a workplace and she is happy to be part of a team of caring professionals. Oriana completed her Bachelor of Communication degree in 2017.
Human Resources Supervisor
Monique joined SCHC in October of 2019. She brings 30+ years of administrative and management experience to our facility.
Monique completed the Business and Leadership Certificate program at Vancouver Community College and currently works as the Executive Assistant for the Nursing Director/Medical Services Manager.
As an employee with Sunshine Coast Health Centre since December 2019, Dana spends her days working in the communications and marketing department at SCHC. She enjoys the challenge that comes with the ever-changing digital world, exploring different daily ways to share SCHC with the world.
Client Services & Alumni Manager
Jaymie has worked with clients at SCHC since 2011. Over the years, she has enjoyed creating an environment for clients that supports their needs. One of her biggest contributions and accomplishments for our clients is the creation of our alumni program – which continues to evolve and grow with the times.
Jaymie has also battled and conquered substance use issues of her own and understands the dynamics of what it takes to be successful, healthy, and happy. She knows the importance behind every recovery journey and that every person with a substance use disorder deserves the chance to live.
Client Services Supervisor
Gord joined the SCHC team in August 2019 while in the midst of transitioning out of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). In February 2020, Gord fully retired from the CAF and accepted an offer of the Client Services Supervisor position, where he and the CS team have provided day-to-day support to our clients ever since. Although his primary role is within the CS department, Gord is well-versed in the Alumni Program and provides ongoing support to clients long after they have left the facility. Gord was a local of Powell River prior to his military service, and greatly enjoys sharing the “must-visit” locations from his up-bringing with the clients.