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 | 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 | MA, RCC
Hayden moved to the Sunshine Coast from Nanaimo, where he lived for several years providing counselling services at the Men’s Resource Centre. He also has experience counselling and helping at-risk youth and young adults in Nanaimo and Vancouver. Hayden believes that creating a positive, empathetic, and non-judgmental space, in which individuals can connect with their authentic selves, is essential for effective therapy. He applies a trauma-informed, integrative, and culturally-sensitive approach to counselling, combining aspects of dialectical behaviour, humanistic, and cognitive behavioural therapies.
Hayden is grateful for the opportunity to continue to support men on their healing journeys at SCHC, and he is thankful to the Tla’amin and Shishalh First Nations for allowing him to work and live on their traditional lands.
Psychotherapist | MA, RCC
Jocelyn has been practicing psychotherapy for over 17 years. She has had the opportunity to work with adults, youth and children. She has worked in residential and outpatient treatment as well as schools, private practice and a specialized trauma program.
At this point in her journey, she sees therapy as a unique and special relationship that helps to foster change. She seeks to provide a safe space that fosters change and helps clients explore their experience of the world, to identify what is working, and what is not working; to make new choices with compassion and dignity.
Jocelyn believes her biggest asset is her own lived experience and relates to her clients as fellow human beings with common yet unique challenges. She is grateful to continue her journey of discovery and growth alongside the clients at SCHC.
Psychotherapist | RP, RCC, MFT, CH
Vednidhi Teeruthroy [Ved] is a Registered Psychotherapist (RP, College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario) and Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC, British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors). He is also a Certified Hypnotherapist (CH, National Guild of Hypnotists) and a Clinical Fellow of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT).
In the past 5 years, he has worked extensively in residential addictions treatment centres back in his home country Mauritius before adventuring into wild Yukon as a child, youth, and family clinical counsellor, and eventually joining SCHC to continue his life passion and purpose: Witnessing people being “reborn” after going through the trials of addiction and mental health.
His main approaches to therapy include narrative therapy, hypnotherapy, family systems, and family of origin/intergenerational work. He also enjoys working with couples, and families as a unit.
His second biggest passion outside of work is in learning about ancient civilizations, and eastern and indigenous philosophies and traditions, especially around the topic of mental illness and its treatment.
Psychotherapist | MC, RCC
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.
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.
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 | 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.
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.
Sarah has been working as a nutritionist since 2012. She first earned her certification as a Sports nutrition consultant and later went on to become a registered nutritionist. She has worked in a variety of health care settings, from fitness studios to family health care programs. As a hands-on person, Sarah loves an opportunity to host cooking classes. Sarah is also the author of two health and wellness cookbooks and in the past owned and operated a cafe for two years. Passionate about health and nutrition, Sarah believes good food is one of the very best ways to support our wellbeing, add some fun to our daily routines, and most importantly helps bring people together.
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.”
Administrative 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.
Social Media and Marketing Coordinator
Paige has been an employee at Sunshine Coast Health Centre since 2018. She spends her days engaging with our online community through various social media platforms as well as supporting our communications and marketing department. She enjoys the challenge that comes with the ever-changing digital world, exploring different daily ways to share SCHC and GSWC with the world.
Human Resources Supervisor
Dana has worked at SCHC since December 2019. She quickly developed a love for the work done here, and grew into a role as Human Resources Supervisor. Dana spends her days working alongside the Executive team and supporting our growing staff population in any workplace matters whether small or large.
She enjoys the curiosity and flexibility that comes from working with humans and ensuring their needs are met in a way that benefits both themselves and stays in line with organizational values and client needs. Dana’s passions for community and connection influence her day-to-day tasks and bolster her vision for the HR department.
Client Scheduling Coordinator
As an employee with Sunshine Coast Health Centre since January 2020, Kaila spends her days leading program scheduling. She enjoys working in a team environment. She has a background in Early Childhood Education and Child Development. The skills she gained from ECE transfer over well for her current role, with an emphasis on creativity and patience. Working with the Clinical team to create autonomy in their schedules while ensuring the client’s treatment journeys are fine-tuned and successful.
Kaila is also the Manager for Sunshine Coast Health Centre/Georgia Strait Women’s Clinic’s on-site staff childcare centre.
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.
Amanda has been with SCHC/GSWC since January of 2021. She started in our Frontline department supporting our clients at GSWC and has since transitioned into the role of Admissions Coordinator. Amanda is a trained SMART facilitator and is continuing her education by obtaining her Addiction and Community Health Diploma. She has a true passion for helping people develop and grow into the truest version of themselves.
Client & Alumni Services
Client Services Manager | MBA
Alix joined our team in 2018 after returning to her hometown. With a background in business administration, she worked as an administrator for several years prior to transitioning to post-treatment planning and client services. Alix is passionate about helping individuals reach their potential and believes in creating a positive, inspiring space for individuals to experience growth, explore their passions, plan and take steps towards the life they want to live. Alix completed her BA majoring in Linguistics and French at the University of Victoria in 2009 and her Masters in Business Administration at the University of Alberta in 2014. She shares a love for learning and is passionate about her studies in Compassion Fatigue, Motivational Interviewing, Leadership, and Coaching.
CLIENT SERVICES SUPERVISOR | LPN
Megan has lived in Powell River most of her life and has always had a passion for helping individuals. She’s been an active volunteer with the Air Cadet progam since 2004, prior to which she was a cadet herself. Megan obtained her LPN license in 2010 and joined our team in 2014 as part of the nursing department. In 2021, she transitioned into the role of Client Services Supervisor. Watching clients transform from the first day they arrive to when they’re getting ready to leave fuels her drive and passion for her work.
Alumni Engagement 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.
Craig has been with Sunshine Coast Health Centre for over 15 years. He has taken on a variety of different roles around SCHC, including working in the kitchen, frontline, and now as a client services team member. Craig has a love for plants and animals, having graduated as a Veterinary Assistant from Sheridan college. As a trained SMART facilitator, he has a passion for helping people through their recovery journey and is committed to helping people find their true selves.
Rheane was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba and just recently moved to the Sunshine Coast in 2020. She enjoys exploring Powell River and trying new things not available in the prairies. Having worked as a Care Aide for adults with mental and physical disabilities, Rheane was drawn to a career at SCHC. Rheane started working at SCHC in December 2020 in the Client Services Department and is very passionate about creating a supportive environment for clients and helping people become their best selves.
New to SCHC, Amy recently joined the Client Services team in December 2021.
Amy strives to meet clients where they are with kindness and authenticity on their journey at the centre. She values the experience of assisting clients in our Art Expressions and Recovery Dharma programs and with Post Treatment Planning.
She has worked as a Children’s Program Facilitator, a Make-up and Costume Artist for Film and for herself as a Local Artisan. She greatly enjoys creating original works through mediums like painting, sewing, felting, sculpture and floral design. Rich in colour, texture and energetic movement, her work is inspired by her connection to nature and both the emotional and spiritual exploration of art.
Amy is currently studying trauma and how it impacts the body. She hopes to further pursue art as a therapeutic process and demonstrate compassionate facilitating through these uniquely combined lenses in the future. Her deepest connections come from honouring the creative within us all and the wisdom our bodies have to offer. Amy was raised locally and returned to this area to raise her two daughters. She enjoys the company of her partner, family and friends in their garden and loves to hit the forest trails with her dog.
Mandy moved to the beautiful Sunshine Coast in the summer of 2016 seeking the slower pace of life that Powell River offers with spectacular precision. This idyllic setting is home to the healing of countless individuals at Sunshine Coast health centre and she is proud to be part of that.
Since starting her journey in the fall of 2020, Mandy has been integrating into the team of incredible professionals, who have cemented her passion for helping others and connecting with people from all walks of life. The personal rewards from this meaningful endeavour are priceless and something she will always be bound to.
It’s a constant learning experience spiritually, emotionally, and physically. It has contributed to her growth and continues to provide invaluable lessons. She is grateful to work with a team full of compassionate and loving people.
Fiona returned to her hometown in 2021 to enjoy life at a slower pace after spending years living in Seoul, Bangkok, and Osaka. She enjoys the excitement that comes with living in a city, but she likes the nature, sense of community, and genuine kindness that’s found in the qathet region even more. Before joining SCHC, Fiona worked as a teacher for nine years. During her time teaching, she worked with neurodivergent children and adults with a focus on adult education and literacy. She’s always found happiness in helping uplift those around her.