When families come to the clinic, they are often in crisis. A child's anxiety, and inflexibility, can be overwhelming, and can change the entire way a family functions.
Frustration often comes from not having the tools to parent a child that is struggling. A crisis is often the catalyst to seeking help. The decision to reach out for help often comes with apprehension, and fear of not knowing how counselling works. You will learn, grow and become stronger as a family through therapy. Your child will develop life long coping skills and your family will thrive and build lasting relationships.
I hold an undergraduate degree in psychology, a Bachelor of Social Work, and a Master of Social Work. I have a strong background in mental health, and speciality training in treating children with anxiety, selective mutism, OCD and behavioural issues. Im also trained and passionate about family therapy and work closely with family lawyers and parenting co-ordinators in the community to strengthen family functioning.
I have worked for the school board as a clinical social worker for many years, developing treatment plans and doing psycho-social assessments. Along side my role as the clinical director at Bright Star I supervise graduate level social workers and clinical counsellors.
The clinic is bright and cheerful and has many toys, books and games to engage children and families. My approach is warm, friendly and non- judgmental. I pride myself in offering families evidenced based therapy, by regularly attending training opportunities, conferences and peer consultations.
Sonja Latifpour, B.A., Psych., B.S.W., M.S.W.,
Registered Social Worker & Child Psychotherapist
Clinical Director at Bright Star Counselling
Danya McCracken, M.A., RCC
Registered Clinical Counsellor & Early Childhood Specialist.
As the saying goes, children don’t come with an instruction manual. It can be devastating as a parent to see your child struggling and not know what to do or how to help them. If you’re struggling with issues related to parenting a child with challenging behaviours including aggression, emotional dysregulation, or anxiety, I am here to help.
I hold a Master’s Degree in Counselling Psychology, and am a Registered Clinical Counsellor. I have extensive professional experience in providing counselling to parents, teens and children.
I’m trained and skilled in utilizing a number of different child-focused therapeutic modalities including Expressive Play Therapy, Filial Therapy, Child-Parent Relationship Therapy, Watch, Wait, Wonder, Attachment Theory, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (TF-CBT), Circle of Security Parenting and Emotion-Focused Family Therapy. I have worked as a child and family therapist in a variety of settings including non-profit agencies and government-funded mental health services and treatment centres.
My approach is free of judgement. I always want my clients to feel safe and comfortable during their counselling experience, and also leave feeling more empowered and confident as a parent. Ultimately, my goal is to help you, your child and your family thrive!
Maria Ogilvie, M.A., RCC
Registered Clinical Counsellor and Child and Family Therapist
Parenting is a journey of ups and downs, skill development and growth for both parent and child. Working from a nonjudgmental, warm, family and client centred approach I provide counselling to support children, youth and families through a variety of challenges. Through the counselling process we can explore strategies to improve communication and cooperation, as well as empower children and youth to develop life long skills that will encourage them to gain a sense of belonging in socially useful ways.
I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors and a Certified Positive Discipline Parenting Educator. I am also a trained Circle of Security parent group facilitator. I hold a BA in Psychology from Simon Fraser University and a Masters Degree in Counselling Psychology from Adler University.
I have over 20 years of experience providing behaviour support, consultation and counselling to children, youth and families addressing challenges related to behaviour, emotion regulation, anxiety, depression, ADHD and attachment.
I began my journey as a Supported Child Development Consultant working collaboratively with child care providers and families to explore strategies that promote inclusion for children with special needs. I have also worked as a School Counsellor and am currently working as a Child and Youth Mental Health Clinician in the Public Health Sector. I offer individual, group and family counselling, using several approaches in my therapeutic work including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Solution Focused Therapy, Adlerian Therapy, child and teen attachment, and family of origin work. I also value the use of expressive tools such as play and art to facilitate the therapeutic relationship, communication and the learning of strategies.
I am passionate about working collaboratively with parents, children and youth to help them discover their strengths, the courage to be imperfect and the importance of repair. I believe with support and encouragement clients can feel safe to explore tools/solutions that will help them work through challenges life may bring.
Julia McCarron, M.A., RCC
Registered Clinical Counsellor and Child and Family Therapist
My therapeutic approach is very much guided by my clients and their needs, as I view our process together as needing to be collaborative, comfortable and client-centered. Children and youth can be apprehensive of therapy; therefore, my goal is to establish a safe and compassionate relationship in order to engage them in the process.
I have 18 years of experience working with children and youth; included in that is 15 years working for the New Westminster School Board as a Child Care Worker assisting children in elementary schools. As a Child Care Worker, I support children in areas of crisis intervention, conflict resolution, outreach, individual, group and parenting/family support with the overall goal of creating a positive social climate at school. Additionally, my family counselling experience includes supporting challenging behaviours and/or mental health conditions such as conduct disorders, ADHD, depression, FASD, CDBC, OCD, autism, aggression, trauma, violence, withdrawal, and anxiety.
I completed my final year of clinical training at Bright Star, and currently accepting new children and families at the clinic. I’m a mother of two daughters. I am passionate in supporting children and youth to be the best that they can be, and offer a safe, non-judgmental, and down to earth approach.
Robyn Miles, MscOT, Registered Occupational Therapist
I have been working as an Occupational Therapist for four years, three of those have been with emotional and behavioural struggles related to various diagnosis or life situations such as Anxiety, PTSD, ODD, ADHD, Sensory Processing difficulties, ASD, or developmental trauma.
I also have experience working with children with FASD as a respite worker, with special needs as a support worker, as a tutor for refugee children, and as a teacher overseas. I have my masters in Occupational Therapy, as well as additional professional development training related to sensory processing, trauma, and attachment.
I love working with kids, getting right at their level, and through play and non-confrontational conversation, learning to see the world through their eyes. Every child is unique and feels and responds to the world so differently. It is always fun building a relationship with a new child and family.
I’m passionate about helping kids understand themselves and their reactions more and helping their parents to build a toolkit of strategies to improve day to day life and to help with difficult situations. My sessions are fun, casual, and comfortable for children with various needs.
Ayesha Azfar, MC, RCC, Child and Family Psychotherapist
Childhood is considered to be the best and most carefree time of our life. When stressors occur, however, it can impact not just the child but also their family and loved ones. I believe that each child and family unit hold within themselves the key to unlocking the tools to help overcome their challenges. I can help in their journey as a guide to access and build their toolkit to ensure empowerment and resilience.
I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors. I hold an undergraduate degree in Child and Youth Counselling and a Masters Degree in Counselling Psychology from Adler University. I have been working with children, youth and families for the past 10 years and provide counselling based on their individual and specific needs from a trauma-informed lens.
I take an integrative, holistic, and collaborative approach towards counselling. I believe that everyone has the inherent power within themselves to bring about change. My task is to guide and facilitate them towards reaching their goals and achieve personal growth. At the same time, I recognize that each client is unique and individual, and therefore I draw from a wide range of counselling modalities depending on the needs and requirements of my clients. These include Play Therapy, Expressive Arts, Emotion-Focused Family Therapy (EFFT), Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (TF-CBT), Adlerian STEP Parenting and Attachment-Based approaches.
My goal is to create a safe, supportive and non-judgemental environment while providing clients with the tools they need to develop solutions to the challenges they face. I believe in providing emotional support and practical tools to process experiences and strengthen and deepen bonds.
Taylor Willis, MSc, Registered Clinical Counsellor
While childhood is a time filled with new experiences, wonder, and development, it also comes with many challenges and a variety of emotions which can sometimes be difficult to manage. Through providing a safe, friendly environment for your child to process experiences and grow, I use empirically supported models of therapy to assist in their journey. I use a trauma-informed lens to provide support involving empowerment and choice for children, youth and families.
I hold a Masters degree in Counselling Psychology and I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counselling. I have spent the past decade working with children and youth, as well as their caregivers in a variety of settings, including residential programs, caregiver support, crisis intervention, play therapy with children, and therapy with youth.
I have training in Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), Emotion-Focused Family Therapy (EFFT), Applied Behaviour Analysis, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Trauma Informed Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT). I believe learning is an ongoing process and am committed to continuous learning and training to enable me to provide the best service for my clients.
I believe in using a client-centered approach, meaning I will use a collaborative approach to support you and your child to help guide you. My goal is to provide a safe and nonjudgmental space to help you, your child, and your family process experiences, identify and build upon your strengths, learn to regulate emotions, and develop strategies to help improve your lives.
Tara Worth, M.C., Registered Clinical Counsellor. Youth and Family Therapist
Youth face a lot of challenges in our world today. Not only are they struggling with who they are and how they fit into the world, but the pressures of being a teen with homework, social influences, expectations from family, sports, school, and what the future holds can lead to added stress and unhealthy coping tools.
I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors. I hold an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a Masters degree in Clinical Counselling.
I have a rich background of working with youth for the past 20 years in the school system as a Child and Youth Worker, as a Street Youth Worker in the DTES, and as a Substance Use Counsellor. I have supported teens struggling with anxiety, OCD, self-harm, depression, grief, substance use, gender identity and LGBTQ+2S, and children and families who have experienced intergenerational/systemic trauma.
I work from a healing-centred approach, with the belief that those who have experienced trauma are agents in the creation of their own well-being. My therapeutic approach is grounded in developing a warm and safe relationship with youth clients to create opportunities for connection and validation.
I have experience with a range of counselling modalities and follow the lead of clients to determine what works best for them. As a client-centred therapist, counselling sessions can include DBT, Narrative, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), and Solution-Focused approaches.
By creating a safe and non-judgmental space where teens can talk, my hope is for them to have dedicated time to share and work through the “hard stuff” together. Collaboratively, we can explore solutions and tools so ultimately, they don’t feel alone and overwhelmed.
Gurpreet Jhaj, RCC, M.A., Counselling Psychology
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom”- Viktor Frankl
Emotions, relationships and behaviours are complex. Many factors, such as high stress or feeling misunderstood can create strain within relationships. I believe in staying the course with individuals and family systems in order to promote change and wellness for all. By approaching situations from a process-oriented lens, clients receive a safe space to pause, reflect and challenge some of the automaticity that leads to unrest. It is in this opportunity for self-reflection where the facets of change occur.
As a parent, counsellor and educator, I understand the challenges in balancing ones own needs alongside those of others. Oftentimes, families engage in counselling during moments of vulnerability. I recognize the great courage and motivation that brings families to Bright Star Counselling. By permitting a judgement free space that allows for a therapeutic relationship, clients are able to gain a better understanding of what drives emotions and behaviour. I bring over 15 years experience working with children and families in residential, outreach, educational and community programs.
Through my experience, I have developed key skills in attunement and being present to the emotions in the room. I hold a Bachelors of Arts from SFU, a Bachelor of Education from UBC and Masters of Arts in Counselling Psychology from UVIC. Various workshops, conferences and professional development have provided me with rich tapestry of approaches that are as unique as the individuals I see.
My background includes extensive work with intergenerational trauma, mental health, individual education plans in all categories (internalizing and externalizing behaviour, ODD, anxiety, ASD), separation and divorce and family systems work. My hope is to give every person who walks through the door permission to feel and express his or her emotions, while making way for change.
Jazaiah Light , Client Services Coordinator
I am currently enrolled at the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) in the Law Enforcement Studies Diploma Program. Through my studies here, I’ve gained a passion for learning about different cultures and how to interact with different types of people. The focus of my essays is on the mental health aspects of policing.
My goal for the future is to earn a Master’s Degree in social work. I hope to be able to work with youth in a setting like Bright Star Counselling to be able to change people’s lives for the better and help them to keep a positive mind-set.