Finding the right counsellor to support you is incredibly important.
Finding the right counsellor to support you is incredibly important. You want someone who is professionally trained in supporting your specific issue and who feels comfortable for you to talk with. Research has consistently shown that the relationship you have with your counsellor contributes more to you making change than any other factor.1 Relationship is considered the single most curative component in therapy.2 It might surprise you that your relationship with your counsellor has so much influence on you making change. But, take a moment to consider how much you respond to support from someone you don’t genuinely like or respect. Clients attribute their positive therapy outcomes to therapists3 who are “warm, attentive, interested, understanding, and respectful”.4
Our team is made up of highly skilled counsellors who go through rigorous hiring practices to ensure they meet the Lavender Counselling standard for care. As a group, we value the client-counsellor relationship so highly that all of our counsellors offer a complimentary conversation (20 minutes) so you can get a sense of the counsellor and ensure that it is a good fit. If you don’t feel like you connect, we welcome you to do a complimentary conversation with as many of our counsellors as you wish in order to find just the right counsellor for you. If 20 minutes doesn’t feel long enough for you to get a sense of the counsellor, you can book a full 50 minute session and we will pro-rate your fee to half price to ensure you get the benefit of our complimentary conversation.
Take a look at our individual bios and pay attention to which counsellor you seem to be drawn to. We look forward to meeting you.
Registered Clinical Counsellors
Mitra Mirshafie, M.Ed.
Our counselling session will be your space to explore what is important to you in a safe and non-judgmental environment where you can truly feel heard and supported. I believe that the healing power of our work will come from a collaborative and trusting therapeutic bond we form together. I strive to attend to you with warmth, compassion, and empathy as you progress through the discomfort that comes with exploring your life challenges. On this journey together, we discover opportunities to understand and experience your authentic self, uncover your strengths, connect with your values, create resilience, and overcome the barriers that interfere with your true potential to lead a fulfilling life.
In the past six years, I have worked as a BC certified teacher with children and young people of all ages. I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Science degree in 2013, followed by a Bachelor of Education degree in 2014. Since becoming a teacher, I developed a deep passion for helping others improve their lives via mental health support. Shortly after, I returned to UBC to further pursue my passion through a Master of Education degree in Counselling Psychology.
During my postgraduate coursework, clinical practice, and internship experience at Lavender counselling, I connected with a non-directive person-centered counselling approach that is focused on the expression of emotions and the therapeutic relationship. With these foundational experiences, I provide a counselling practice that is guided by a trauma-informed, experiential process-based, focusing-oriented perspective. I am also enthusiastic about and inspired by the evidence-based interactive counselling methods, such as mindfulness-based therapy, play therapy, and expressive arts therapy. My aim is to facilitate your path toward inviting awareness and embracing an inner space. I have completed the Level 1 workshop for Trauma-Informed Practice, and a workshop presented by the BC Play Therapy Association on using the sand tray with children and adults.
I am wholeheartedly committed to working with children, adolescents and adults of all ages, backgrounds, and areas of concern, and I look forward to meeting with you and listening to your story.
Allison Esau, M.Ed., RCC.
When we meet, you will be greeted with a warm and open presence. My hope is to work collaboratively with you to create a space that feels inviting and safe, no matter what has brought you to the place you are now.
Sometimes individuals have a specific concern that brings them to counselling, like anxiety, depression or loss. Other times, it may be a sense that something is stuck, or a hope to deepen a relationship to themselves or others. Whatever it might be, I am here to explore it with you.
Together we can attend to different parts of self that have been wounded or limited, and find ways to know, understand and heal those parts. We can find ways to engage your strengths in a way that feels true to you. I believe in connection - first and foremost to yourself, which will then ultimately strengthen connection with others in your life.
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Lethbridge and a Master’s degree in Counselling Psychology from the University of British Columbia. I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) and am pending Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC) approval. I have completed several training workshops, including one in Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy through the Vancouver Couple & Family Institute as well as Level 1 and 2 workshops for Trauma-Informed Practises.
My approach is relational, experiential, attachment based and trauma informed. I draw mainly from Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP) and Focusing.
I have experience working with a wide range of individuals, and value an inclusive practise that is open and accepting of people from all backgrounds, identities and walks of life.
I look forward to creating an empowering journey with you.
I am honoured to live, work and play in the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples.
Caitlin Zalm, MA, RCC.
When I reached out to a counsellor for the first time, I felt stuck, overwhelmed, disconnected, and utterly exhausted. I was struggling to move forward. It took a couple of tries to find the right fit, but when I did, it was feeling truly seen, understood, and trusted that helped me develop the self-understanding and insight to navigate those next steps.
I believe deeply in each person's resilience and capacity to meet life’s challenges, adversity, pain, and unpredictability. However, we can become blocked when we are disconnected from ourselves and our inner wisdom. My goal is to create a safe space that fosters embodiment and presence, where you feel supported to explore your experience with curiosity and kindness. My work is trauma-informed, grounded in a Person-Centred and strength-based approach, and incorporates an attachment lens, body-orientated work, mindfulness, and self-compassion. My purpose as a counsellor is to support clients as they develop a sense of clarity, authenticity, and ownership on their unique path, whatever that may be, so they can experience a more fulfilling life and come to a place of greater peace within themselves.
Supporting others to develop their potential, self-worth, and sense of empowerment has always been my passion. However, it was my experience working in a group home, family shelter, and residential treatment centre for addictions that inspired and motivated me to pursue counselling. I am privileged to have earned my Master of Counselling Psychology degree from Adler University and become a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC).
I deeply respect and honour my clients’ personal choices and recognize that it takes courage, strength, and self-love to begin your journey to healing. I would welcome the chance to meet you, listen to your story, and see if I am the right fit for you. I currently work with adults who are facing a range of challenges, including:.
* Addictions (loved ones of those experiencing addictions)
* Self-esteem, lack of confidence, or feelings of not good enough
* I do not work with couples
Ali Alexander, MA, RCC, CCC.
At times, life can feel overwhelming and exhausting. Pain and uncertainty are unavoidable parts of life, yet these experiences can leave us feeling stuck and disconnected from ourselves, others, and from our sense of hope in life. My aim is not only for you to find healing and growth, but to experience an increased sense of calmness and joy so that you can engage in life in a more meaningful and fulfilling way. My hope is to provide you with a space of empathy, warmth, and acceptance where you can explore unsafe experiences in a safe place.
I have a deep love of the outdoors, and often find renewal in hiking, biking, and camping in our beautiful part of the world. I have spent many years in high level athletics, navigating both the excitement and demands of that environment. I love to read and am drawn to stories in all forms. I find meaning and beauty in holding the experiences that have brought you to this point in your story.
I operate from an emotion focused, trauma-informed, body centered approach, that encourages a sense of collaboration and curiosity throughout the process. I work with teenagers and adults dealing with a broad range of issues including, depression, anxiety, grief and loss, trauma, life transition, shame, emotional regulation, and sports related stress and anxiety. My education includes a Bachelor in Arts in Psychology (BA) with a Certificate in Human Services, and Masters in Counselling Psychology (MA) from Trinity Western University. I have certifications as a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) and as a Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC).
It takes an incredible amount of courage to enter into the counselling process, and I would be honoured to be a part of this chapter of your story.
Jenn Moudahi, MA, RCC, CCC.
Sometimes in life we experience a loss of connection with ourselves and those around us, leaving us feeling unfulfilled and looking for change. Perhaps you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, numb, disconnected, and/or empty. Maybe you bounce around feeling many of these things, frustrated to be stuck on an emotional rollercoaster that seems out of control. Counselling is a way to begin to navigate and make sense of these emotions, and can help you move towards the life you desire: finding connection, clarity, and purpose.
In our sessions together I commit to creating an environment of warmth, non judgement, acceptance, and empathy. I encourage curiosity and openness as we explore emotions, meanings, and unmet wants/needs. My approach to counselling is relational and experiential; drawing mainly from Emotion-Focused Therapy and Focusing, and is informed by the triphasic model of trauma.
I completed my Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology after feeling like I was missing an important part of the human experience in my work as a Registered Massage Therapist, and now I enjoy engaging in both of these passions. I offer individual counselling to young adults and adults with a range of concerns including: anxiety, depression, stress and life transitions, suicidal ideation, addiction, trauma and PTSD, grief and loss, emotional distress or numbness, and personal development and growth. I look forward to meeting you and walking alongside you on your journey to wellness.
Ajay Erasmus, MA, RCC, CCC.
Life is full of many demands and stressors making it easy to feel lost, stuck, overwhelmed, and exhausted. Sometimes we feel like we are drowning in our feelings and can’t deal with life. Or we feel like we can deal with problems but really struggle to feel life. Usually we want to be able to do both: feel AND deal with life, but feel ashamed when we are not able to do this. I view counselling as not only helping with processing what is hard and helping feel unstuck, but to help people thrive in their life and feel empowered and free. In the journey of being a person it can often feel dark, lonely, and confusing. I consider it my deepest privilege to help another bear in the darkness, with safety, warmth, and compassion, to help them see light and work towards healing. My approach to counselling is personalized, collaborative, and accepting because I believe every person is unique and brings their own set of thoughts, feelings, and perspective to their experience of life. Through empathy and meeting people where they are at, I work to come alongside people and support them in their journey of connecting to themselves and their unique position towards their experience of life, to help them not only heal, but to live a life they want to. My passion is to see people thriving in life by being able to fully engage with themselves, others, and the world, in a manner that is authentic and fulfilling to them.
I have completed my Bachelor in Arts in Psychology and Communication (B.A) and Masters in Counselling Psychology (M.A) from Trinity Western University and am registered as both a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) and Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC).
My therapy style is influenced by the certification and training I have in existential, experiential, and trauma-informed therapies such as Existential Analysis, Emotion-Focused Therapy with couples, Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy and Observed-Experiential Integration. I have experience working with young adults, adults, and couples with various concerns including: depression, anxiety, self-growth/personal development, emotion regulation, shame, embodiment, relationship difficulties, shame, identity & existential issues (meaning, purpose, fulfillment, etc.), spiritual and cultural crisis, trauma and life transitions.
David Nisbet, MA, RCC, CCC.
We come to counselling for a variety of reasons. We may be feeling stuck, overwhelmed, exhausted, lost, anxious, longing for something more, experiencing difficulty and pain in relationships, or repetitive self-sabotaging patterns or addictions. We may be depressed, anxious, or struggling with existential angst. We might feel numb and flat emotionally, maybe questioning if life even feels worth living. There may be recent events that keep piling on bringing us to a breaking point in our ability to cope. Maybe we’re recognizing that it’s time to process the present or the past and desire to chart a new way forward. Or maybe you’re just feeling the desire to talk to someone who is able to listen and care.
Through connection and expression in a non-judgmental space accompanied by someone outside the situation like a counsellor, we can cast light on your life experiences and look and find together the truth of your authentic self that longs for freedom and growth. Whatever your goals for therapy, I aim to really see you, know and appreciate you, and accompany you on your path to a more fulfilled life where you feel at home in yourself no matter the external circumstances that you need to navigate. When the mind, body, and spirit are in harmony there is a sense of inner spaciousness that allows movement through life with a greater sense of ease and trust.
My path to becoming a counsellor started with the experience of growing up in a family that lived at a summer camp and retreat centre. Early formative experiences of real connection to community, creativity, mutual caring, nature and inclusion shaped who I am today and what I most deeply care about. After completing a B.Ed. I moved into a career in education, working overseas as well as tutoring neuro-diverse students with a variety of diagnoses here in BC. At some point along the way life fell apart, and I began to see a counsellor for the first time. This valuable experience helped me personally and sparked an interest in pursuing counselling as a vocation, leading me to complete a Masters degree in Spiritual Care & Psychotherapy at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo Ontario.
I’ve always been comfortable with the darker emotional spaces that many of us—and the culture at large—tend to avoid. I appreciate and love exploring the deeper inner landscapes of people’s lives; each is a universe unto itself. And I love learning and am fascinated by why we are the way we are.
I work with teens, adults, and couples on a range of issues including; anxiety, depression, loss, life transitions, relationship difficulties, self-expression, LGBTQ issues, codependency, bullying, addiction, and spirituality. My approach is informed by mindfulness, Buddhist psychology, and body-centred and emotionally-focused therapies.
My hope is that we can meet together in an unpretentious, warm, compassionate, authentic, respectful, and down-to-earth space so that transformation can occur.
John Murray, MA, RCC, CCC, CT.
Everyone comes to counselling with a variety of lived experiences that I treat with compassion and curiosity. I work with each person to create an environment that is safe for them to explore their lives, difficulties, and strengths. Together we create goals that guide a journey toward wellness. I always feel honoured when clients choose to see me.
I work with adult clients desiring personal growth, experiencing interpersonal difficulties, or more specifically struggling with trauma, PTSD, chronic pain, depression, suicidal thinking, anxiety, grief and loss, and more. I work with couples and those in diverse relationship structures who are struggling to determine their right way forward, looking for deeper connection, better communication, or even trying to determine whether they want to remain together. I welcome individuals and couples from all walks of life and backgrounds, including members of the LGBTQ+ community and non-traditional relationships. I work from an attachment-based, emotionally-focused, and person-centered perspective.
I have my Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology from the University of British Columbia. I have certifications as a Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC #13099) with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association, as a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC #15459) with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors, and as a Counselling Therapist (CT #1797) with The Association of Counselling Therapy of Alberta. I am also part of the clinical team with Wounded Warriors Canada, where I help deliver group programs to members of the Canadian military and first responders in the following programs: COPE (Couples Overcoming PTSD Everyday), TRP 1 & 2 (Trauma Resiliency Program), and SSP.
I have completed an externship in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples and introductory training in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Individuals. I have also completed basic training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy with the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD).
Each new individual client and couple comes with a story that is unique to them. This story includes elements of culture, family background, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious background, experiences with social norms, and so much more. It is always my honour to get to know these stories and learn what life is like for my clients, and then become a part of how they write their story moving forward. I would be privileged to be a part of helping you create your story of wellness..
Carolynn Turner, MA, RCC, CCC, CT.
Life is a complicated series of twists and turns. At some points along this road we can struggle and at other points it can feel as though life couldn’t get any better. Maybe still, we are waiting for the other shoe to drop. We can find ourselves feeling numb and flat, out of control, anxious, or overwhelmed. These experiences can lead to anxiety, depression, and a loss of connection with ourselves and others. Working with a counsellor can help you to re-connect with yourself and improve relationships in your life. It can allow you to embrace your life, uncover your dreams and feel more energized so you can engage more effectively with others (partners, children, family, colleagues). Counselling is not limited to times of struggle. It can be incredibly useful to have a neutral third party to walk alongside us as we navigate the twists and turns of our lives. Having someone to cheer with us can be equally as important as having someone beside us when life feels out of control.
I began my career in business and spent 9 years working for a local grocery chain. I started off bagging groceries and eventually resigned from my Head Office position when I realized it was not fulfilling my heart. I resigned and moved on to complete my B.Ed. at UBC and spent the next 11 years teaching high school English. I quickly realized that I spent more time at the counsellor’s office trying to figure out how to support kids than I cared to spend on ensuring their grammar was up to par. So, back to school I went. I graduated with an MA in Counselling Psychology from UBC in 2013. During my graduate degree I worked for the former President of Anxiety Canada in her personal research lab and conducted my own novel research in the field on social anxiety in adolescents. I spent time counselling in schools for those struggling with intensive behavior, or severe mental health (Category H in the school system). I have served as a member of the Board for the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC), and subsequently as the VP and Chair for Region 5. I am proud to be the Founder and Director of Lavender Counselling. I am also part of the Program Development & Clinical Teams for Wounded Warriors Canada where I have had the privilege to co-develop both the SRP (Spouses’ Resiliency Program for those Living alongside veterans and first responders with PTSD) and the SSP (Surviving Spouse’s Program for those whose partners were killed in action or who died by suicide). As part of the clinical team I deliver the following group therapy programs: COPE (Couples Overcoming PTSD Everyday), TRP 1 & 2 (Trauma Resiliency Program), SRP and SSP.
I work with a broad range of client issues including: PTSD, trauma, anxiety, depression, traumatic grief, postpartum transition, self harm, suicidal ideation, self esteem, emotion regulation, life transitions, and the effects of childhood emotional neglect in adults.
I have trained with Dr. Les Greenberg, the primary developer of Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) and an originator for EFT couple's therapy; I have trained extensively in counsellor ethics and have completed EMDR Basic Certification. I look forward to hearing from you and helping you to embrace your life more fully.
Lara Rabb B. Ed.
MA (in progress)
Life is an interesting journey. We go through many different stages, meet many different people, and find ourselves sometimes enduring complicated transitions. Perhaps you are considering if counselling would be a supportive choice for you at this stage in your life.
Perhaps you are feeling alone, wondering where meaningful connections have gone? Perhaps you feel misunderstood, does anyone truly see you for who you are? You may wish to better understand how you relate to yourself and how you show up in relationships with others. At times in our lives emotions feel unpredictable and there is a longing to feel grounded and centered. At other times it's as if our emotions have disappeared, and in their place is a numb, dull, or painful grey.
My role is to hold space for you just as you are. I will invite you to counselling with warmth, compassion, and empathy. My intention is to provide comfort, support and acceptance as we work collaboratively at a pace that feels right for you. Fundamentally, I believe all humans are worthy of supportive relationships, healing, and growth. My hope is that we will undo aloneness together, as we explore a deeper understanding of the things that make you human; the nervous system, your emotions, thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.
My journey to counselling began in my work as a teacher. During my time teaching high school it was not uncommon to find a line-up of students outside my door waiting to discuss their challenges. This journey continued through the birth of my own two children and the business I created to support new parents and infants postpartum. In this work I saw a huge need for parents to find safe spaces to create meaningful connections as life shifted in sometimes unpredictable and scary ways. The Masters in Counselling Psychology program felt like the right fit for me, and at this time I am near completion of my internship at Lavender Counselling to finish my degree.
My approach to counselling is integrative. I primarily practice through a person-centered and attachment-informed lens. I will utilize skills and interventions from within EFT (Emotion-Focused Therapy), and AEDP (Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy) including experiential processing, and mindfulness meditation. I believe that you are the most authentic source of knowledge we have to work with in the counselling space, and it is my hope that we can work together with this knowledge to make meaning, accomplish goals, and find healing. In our work together you can expect to explore what is going on for you presently, as well as what has happened in the past that may be contributing to today’s challenges.
It is important to me that I share a brief overview of a few of the intersectional identities I hold in hopes of helping you find a counsellor who is the right fit for you. I identify as a person of mixed-race. I am cisgender, and hold a special place in my heart for members of the Queer community. I welcome trans identifying folks and their families. I see beauty in the diverse people I work with and would love to learn more about your identities and the communities you are a part of. In my spare time I enjoy cycling, crafting with my hands, spending time in nature, and spending time with my family.
Life can present us with a journey of ups and downs, and I am honored to witness and to journey alongside with each client that I meet. As a counsellor fellow at Lavender Counselling, I am humbled by the strength and resiliency that each individual possesses. I value the collaborative and relational nature of counselling, and will work with you from a place of warmth and acceptance. I look forward to engaging with you in this work, and in walking alongside you in this journey.
I received my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Victoria, and before pursuing my Masters, completed my Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Counselling and Human Development from Simon Fraser University. I am currently working on completing my Master of Arts degree in Counselling Psychology from the University of British Columbia. In my work as a counsellor, I have worked with clients primarily through a relational, humanistic, and person-centered lens. I have been working on expanding my competency in trauma work to be more trauma-informed. I have completed workshops in Level 1 & 2 of Trauma-Informed Practice, and have also completed a workshop presented by the Children’s Foundation on Helping Children Heal from Complex Trauma.No matter your background, issue, or age, I look forward to being able to meet and work with you.
Student Intern Counsellors
Brittany Lasanen, BA
MA (in progress)
I believe that a safe and supportive relationship is essential for change. Therefore, as your counsellor, I will meet you where you are, and we will work at your pace. In our sessions, I will enter into your world and greet you with empathy, compassion, and acceptance. Together, we can explore your concerns and hopes for change and growth. I welcome all of your thoughts and emotions and will sit alongside you through darker moments and share in your delight when we celebrate your highs.
I received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Simon Fraser University and am completing my Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology at the University of British Columbia. My work with clients is person-centered and I often incorporate emotion focused, mindfulness, attachment-based, and body-oriented approaches. I have completed workshops in Emotionally Focused Individual Therapy Levels 1 and 2, an Externship in Emotionally Focused Therapy, and Trauma-Informed Practice Levels 1 and 2.
I welcome you as you are and look forward to connecting with you.