Meet the Team
Our team at Bright Star Counselling consists of many certified child therapists, family therapists, registered social workers, a registered occupational therapist, a speech pathologist, and a behavioural interventionist. Let us know if any one of our profiles resonate with you and your family. We all look forward to meeting you.
Sonja Braig, B.A., Psych., B.S.W., M.S.W.
Board Certified Social Worker, Registered Social Worker,
& Child Psychotherapist.
Clinical Director at Bright Star Counselling.
When families come to the clinic, they are often in crisis. A child's anxiety and inflexibility can be overwhelming, and even change the entire way a family functions.
Frustration often comes from not having the tools to parent a child who 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 lifelong 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. I'm certified in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy. I'm also trained and passionate about family therapy and work closely with family lawyers and parenting coordinators 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 psychosocial assessments. I have also worked in hospitals as part of a multidisciplinary team and on community teams delivering specialized intervention services to complex children and youth. Alongside 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.
Outside of our clinic and treatment centre, I’m a mom and co-parent to four children, and am part of a family that also includes two dogs.
Ayesha Azfar, M.C., 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 Master's 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 Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT), Adlerian STEP Parenting, and attachment-based approaches.
My goal is to create a safe, supportive, and non-judgmental 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.
Chanel Harrison, M.C., RCC,
Child and Family Therapist.
When seeking support for your child, it can be difficult to know where to start. As caregivers, we may know the stressor our child is facing (school stress, grief, caregiver separation) or it may be more difficult to pinpoint, making it seem as though challenging behaviour is coming out of nowhere.
I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor and have over 10 years of experience providing therapy for young people and their families. I hold an Undergraduate degree in Psychology, a Postgraduate Certificate in Addictions and Mental Health, and a Master’s Degree in Counselling. I am trained in a number of modalities and find that I like to meet a client/family first before determining the most applicable one. Some of these include: play therapy, family therapy, parent education, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), parent psychotherapy, attachment-based therapies, and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). All therapy I conduct is based on attachment principles and are trauma-informed.
I have helped children ages 0-18 and their families navigate anxiety, low mood, frustration and aggression, attention difficulties, opposition and non-compliance, peer conflict, learning challenges, and a number of other issues that can come up for young people. I have worked in a number of youth settings, including outreach, youth custody, residential complex care, and am currently working as a Child and Youth Mental Health Clinician in the Public Health Sector. As a parent of 3 young children, I understand the overwhelm that can come with raising them, which is also how I've come to trust which strategies/concepts are effective in creating positive change in the home.
Donna Dan, MCP-AT, RCC,
Registered Clinical Counsellor.
Nobody is born to be a parent. We learn parenting from our caregivers and keep improving and learning from our children and continuing education. In the journey, we may feel stuck, frustrated, or overwhelmed. Through the therapy sessions, we will find our strengths and modify our parenting styles to fit our children best.
I hold a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Simon Fraser University and a master’s degree in Counselling Psychology-Art Therapy from Adler University. I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors, a certified positive discipline parent educator, a professional art therapist with Canadian Art Therapy Association, and a clinical hypnotherapist. I have worked with special needs and behaviour-challenged children and their families since 2007 in their homes, clinics, and schools. Every child is unique, so I tailor my therapeutic approach to best fit each family and child. I am passionate about working collaboratively with parents and children to meet their goals. I speak fluent Mandarin and can provide service in Mandarin upon request.
Julia McCarron, M.C., RCC,
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 coming to therapy; therefore, my goal is to establish a safe and compassionate relationship in order to engage them in the process while being trauma sensitive. Counselling children and families is not only my career but also my passion, which I feel incredibly humble to call my work.
I have over 20 years of experience working with children and youth; included in that is 17 years working for the New Westminster School Board as a Child Care Worker, assisting children in elementary schools.
I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Care Counselling from Fraser Valley University and a Master's Degree in Counselling from City University. I spend my other days as a School Counsellor at a private school. 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.
My counselling experience includes supporting challenging behaviours and/or mental health conditions such as anxiety, ADHD, depression, CDBC, OCD, aggression, withdrawal, and autism, as well as navigating the challenges of parenthood. 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. I look forward to being a part of your journey towards a more emotion-focused, healthy, and happy life.
Margaret Tarumian, MSW,
Registered Social Worker, Child and Family Therapist.
I believe that life has a way of challenging all of us with difficulty, loss, and change, and that healing is a collaborative journey that needs honest caring without judgment.
I bring an attachment-based, strength-based, and client-centered approach to my counselling practice.
I strive for genuine connection with children and youth and use narrative, cognitive, behavioural, and somatic approaches as the foundation of my work. I have a passion for working with children in a non-judgmental way, while helping them journey on their unique paths. I support my clients to develop a stronger sense of self-worth and communicate effectively about their issues and needs. Through this active, collaborative therapeutic process, children and their families reclaim balance, hope, and mental health.
I am a Board Certified Social Worker (RSW) and have a Master of Social Work (MSW) along with additional clinical training with a concentration in mental health. I have also completed numerous postgraduate courses specializing in attachment, parent, teen, and child relationships, anxiety, OCD, and trauma (TF-CBT).
I have been working as a Child and Family Therapist at Child and Youth Mental Health, where I specialized in working with children and teens struggling with anxiety, ADHD, depression, trauma-related symptoms, and OCD.
I have over 10 years of experience providing counselling to children, youth, young adults, and their families. My main areas of practice are in Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Selective Mutism, Depression, Self-Harm, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
I am thrilled to be walking alongside children and youth in their journey to find growth and healing at Bright Star Counselling.
Maria Ogilvie, M.A., RCC,
Child and Family Therapist.
“We cannot protect our children from life. Therefore, it is essential we prepare them for it.” — Rudolf Dreikurs.
Life is a journey of ups and downs, skill development, and growth for both parent and child. Working from a non-judgmental, warm, and client/family-centered approach, I support children, youth, and families experiencing a variety of challenges. Establishing a safe and trusting therapeutic relationship is important in my work so we can explore strategies, as well as empower children and youth to develop lifelong skills that will encourage them to gain a sense of belonging and resilience in socially useful ways.
I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors. I hold an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a Master's Degree in Counselling Psychology from Adler University. I have over 20 years of experience providing parent education, behaviour support, consultation, and counselling to children, youth, and families addressing a variety of challenges related to behaviour, learning, emotion regulation, anxiety, OCD, depression, ADHD, aggression, trauma, 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 extensive experience working as a Child and Youth Mental Health Clinician in the Public Health Sector working with children from 0 to 18, offering individual, group, and family counselling.
I am trained to use several approaches in my therapeutic work tailored to each person’s needs and goals. They include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Exposure Response Prevention (ERP), Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Emotion-Focused Family Therapy (EFFT), Solution Focused Therapy, Adlerian Therapy, attachment based approaches, 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 currently completing my Level 1 training in Synergetic Play Therapy.
I am a Certified Positive Discipline Parenting Educator and a trained Circle of Security parent group facilitator. I am also trained in SPACE (Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions), which is a parent-based treatment program for children and adolescents with anxiety, OCD, and other related challenges.
In addition to my role as a Child and Family Therapist, I am also the Clinical Lead at Bright Star, facilitating supervision meetings and providing guidance and clinical expertise to our team.
Overall, 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 become an agent of change and work through the challenges life can bring.
Megumi Okubo Gill, B.A., M.A., BMT, RCC, MTA, FAMI,
Child and Family Therapist.
I am a registered clinical counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors, and a certified music therapist from the Canadian Association of Music Therapists. I hold a master’s degree in counselling psychology from UBC.
Over the past 25 years, I have worked with diverse populations with different challenges such as cultural backgrounds and neurodiversity, and all ages from prenatal support to end of life care.
I embrace a child centred and holistic approach to support the healing process for children. I create a safe place for children to express freely during the counselling sessions, and develop a trusting relationship with them, so children will be able to communicate and develop self-expression, self-confidence and self-regulation through play, art and music. I believe every child is a special being, and has potential to heal and grow.
Moheb Attaalla, B.S.W., R.S.W., E.A.T., OEATA, E.P.T.,
Registered Social Worker, Certified Expressive Arts Therapist,
Expressive Play Therapist, and Child and Family Therapist.
Our children are the gift of life; they are the flowers of the future. They have the right to live a healthy life and grow up in a haven where they can express their feelings, emotions, and thoughts without judgment, fear, or being shut down.
I am a Certified Expressive Arts Therapist with the Ontario Expressive Arts Therapist Association (OEATA) and an Expressive Play Therapist. I help children express themselves, especially when they struggle to articulate their thoughts and feelings. I use various modalities of therapies such as visual arts, music and voice-based approach, dramatherapy and storytelling, and movement and dance therapy to help individuals, families, and group settings to express themselves. I apply the play therapy approach, which works parallel with Expressive Arts therapy, to help children have fun and receive therapy simultaneously. I alternate between expressive arts and play therapy in the same session with children based on the child's needs and the nature of the issue.
I have been a Registered Social Worker for ten years. I hold a bachelor's degree in Social Work and a Certificate in Community Counselling. I am also trained in both Motivational Interviews (MI) and as a trained FASD Key Worker.
I worked in counselling parenting for 11 years. I support people in coping with mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. I also help people cope with trauma, attachment issues, and relationships. In addition, I am specialized in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and ADHD children. I support parents and caregivers in learning an overview of FASD, the brain functionality, and parenting children with FASD, ADHD, anxiety, and anger issues.
I have over 15 years of experience in social work and counselling. I worked in different countries, which gave me an understanding of the eastern and western cultures, customs, and religious beliefs. I was a social worker in the school system, the social services, settlement work, marriage and family therapy, family development, FASD Key work, family support, and Expressive Arts and Play therapy.
I believe counselling is a great mission through which I listen to my clients' needs and challenges with genuine empathy and deep curiosity to learn about them and support them without judgment. I explore with my clients the different options and the best solution they choose. My passion for counselling is when my clients smile after the session and believe there is still hope for the future.
In my practice, I utilize the social work approaches with counselling skills and the expressive arts and play therapies to help the clients reach their potential.
I speak fluent Italian and Arabic.
Rebecca Orman, O.T., Reg.,
Registered Occupational Therapist
A paediatric Occupational Therapist works with children to improve their participation and independence in childhood occupations. These occupations are the day to day skills such as getting dressed, playing, holding a pencil, or emotional regulation skills that children require to participate at home, school, and in the community.
As a Registered Occupational Therapist, my job is to help develop solutions to support a child and their family to achieve their unique goals. I have over 15 years of experience working with children aged 2.5 years to 18 years old with varying diagnoses in both the school and home settings. I have vast experience with the preschool and kindergarten aged population along with medically complex children with augmentative communication and assistive technology needs.
I am passionate about supporting children to reach their full potential and collaborating with the adults that support them. I take a strengths based and holistic approach to children and their families.
Outside of the clinic, I am a mom to 2 small children and love exploring the outdoors.
Prab Samra, B.A., M.A., RCC,
Child and Family Therapist.
The therapeutic relationship is one of the most important aspects of therapy. Through compassion, my goal is to create an authentic relationship with youth to help them through their experiences. I have always been passionate about helping others and feel grateful to do this as a career.
I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors. I have an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a master's degree in Counselling Psychology.
We all process our thoughts and emotions in our own unique way and I strive to create a safe and non-judgmental environment for clients to do so. Doing our best looks different for each individual and I am here to support you through this journey. Although I use a person-centered approach, I find myself pulling from other counselling theories that will help support the needs of my client. Counselling is a personal journey for both the client and the therapist and I look forward to being a part of yours.
Sabine Sasakura, B.A. Hons., M.Ed., RCC,
Youth and Family Therapist.
Everyone has a story. How you tell your story to yourself and others, matters. How your story interacts with the stories of others, matters. Sometimes it can all become overwhelming and confusing, and we need help to pick through the storylines to figure out how we feel about it all, and how we want our story to continue. That is where I hope to help.
I began my journey in my 20s as a trained actor, having graduated from UBC with an B.A. (Hons) in Theatre. I loved entering the world of the people whose lives I was entrusted to portray on stage. I loved seeing and understanding the world from their unique viewpoint.
My curiosity about people led me to explore many places in the world; ultimately, I ended up teaching in Japan for four years. I went on to complete my Master’s of Education in Counselling Psychology at UBC shortly after I returned to Canada, and have been working as a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors since 2007. My professional journey has seen me working with youth, families, and adults whose lives have been impacted by either their own, or others’ use of substances. I have spent the past three years working with youth as a counsellor in the school system.
Being a naturally curious person, I have also taken many trainings and certificate courses. Some of the theories that impact my work the most are CBT, Narrative Therapy, DBT/mindfulness, Attachment theory, and solution-focused therapy, among others. Ultimately, the story that you tell and where you want to go with it will guide our work together.
When not working, I can usually be found outside with my family, either hiking, playing soccer, paddling on some body of water, or with my horse.
I look forward to listening to your story, and to walking alongside you as you live your next chapter of it.
Tara Worth, M.C., RCC,
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 also 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 have a layered background of working with youth for the past 20 years in schools as a Youth Worker, as a Street Youth Worker in the DTES, and as a community Substance Use Counsellor. I have supported teens from many different backgrounds struggling with anxiety, self-harm, suicidality, depression, grief, substance use, gender identity/LGBTQ+2S, as well as youth and families who have experienced intergenerational/systemic trauma. I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the BCACC and hold an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a master's degree in Clinical Counselling. I have also taken additional training in self-harm, gender/LGBTQ2+, and suicidality. On a personal note, I am the parent of a teen and have been in an intercultural relationship with my partner for the past 12 years. I love cooking, sketching, silversmith/jewelry-making, walking in the forest, and spending time with our dog Bailey (who may be in sessions with us sometimes).
I work from a healing-centered and strengths-based approach, believing that those who have experienced trauma can be 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-centered therapist, counselling sessions can include DBT, CBT, ACT, and solution-focused approaches.
By creating a safe, confidential, 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.
Taylor Willis, MA., RCC,
Child and Family Therapist.
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 master's 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 non-judgmental 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.
Amy Thorne Broderick,
Intern Child Therapist.
As a teacher, a parent, and a counselling student, I have experienced and supported parents and children through various life changes and challenges. I am honored to be mentored at Bright Star while working with families and children. I believe that through gentle discussion, play, and teaching, family units will strengthen and strategies for the future will form.
For over 15 years, I have been working with students with ASD, have ADHD, anxiety, learning disabilities, ODD, and other communication issues. I have worked as an ABA therapist, a learning support teacher in both public and private schools, and I am currently a learning consultant. I have always been passionate about supporting families both at home and in a school environment in a strength-based, non-judgmental, friendly, and warm approach.
I hold a BA from Memorial University of Newfoundland where I explored my love of all things literature, history, and psychology. From there, I trained as a teacher at the University of British Columbia where I learned not only how to support children academically, but also how to build strong relationships with them. In 2006, I moved to Houston, Texas, where I trained more in the area of Learning Support. I worked with students who needed a great deal of care in the areas of emotional and behavioural support.
Most recently, I have completed the first year of my master's degree in School Counselling at the University of Seattle/City University Campus here in Vancouver. I have been thrilled to further my understanding of individual and group counselling. I am currently employing strategies that fall under Attachment Theory, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), and Adlerian Theory (specifically play therapy). I look forward to working collaboratively with the Clinical Leaders here at Bright Star to access further education, specially in the areas of play and family therapy.
As I continue my studies at City University, I am proud to work closely with Bright Star and will take advantage of learning and peer consultations. Together, we can come up with strategies that build confidence, self-advocacy, and some of the lightness we are all seeking.
Client Services Manager.
I am currently a social work student at Douglas College, working towards a degree in Social Work. Through my studies, I’ve gained a passion for learning about how to best support children and their families.
I have been fortunate enough to work in an amazing place like Bright Star Counselling. Bright Star has taught me so much and continues to teach me new methods, resources, and approaches to help me with my future. I am excited to continue working here while I go to school and become an amazing therapist like the therapists who work here.
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 to help them keep a positive mindset.
Cami De Giuli,
Client Services Coordinator.
I am currently a student attending Heritage Woods Secondary School. I love talking to different people and seeing new faces every day, a couple of the many reasons why I really enjoy working as a receptionist here at Bright Star Counselling.
The friendly and inclusive environment created here is one I love to be in, and I hope to be able to continue to work in a place like this in the future.
Client Services Coordinator.
Children are such wonderful & magical little human beings, and I believe all children are genuine & pure. Children are some of my favourite people! Working at Bright Star is a perfect blend of wellness, being around children, and working in an office environment.
A little about me—I am a local mum to a vibrant & funny 12-year-old boy. We love to go on adventures, garden, dance, read stories, and travel the world.
I sure feel blessed to be working in such a warm and inclusive environment here at Bright Star Counselling. Every day I look forward to coming to the clinic, working with a super team, and meeting all the people who walk in.
Client Services Coordinator.
I am currently in grade 12 attending Heritage Woods Secondary School. After high school I hope to study kinesiology, and then go into physiotherapy. A goal of mine is to one day open up my own clinic, so being able to work in a similar environment is so helpful. Working at Bright Star has taught me so much about teamwork and good management, and I hope to bring the same skills to my own clinic one day. Even though I love the reception part of my job, my favourite part of working at the clinic is meeting new people. I love seeing all of the energetic children come through the clinic door, and getting to talk to all of them.
Client Services Coordinator.
I am currently a student at Douglas College working towards a degree in Social Work. I love meeting new people and enjoy helping and connecting with kids. Working at Bright Star has given me the opportunity to learn new things everyday. I have a black belt in Taekwondo, and used to teach kids Taekwondo as well.
In the future, I hope to earn a master's degree in Social Work and to be able to work in an environment that is as friendly and lovely as Bright Star.
I am currently finishing my degree at Simon Fraser University in Criminology, with a focus on legal studies as well as a minor in applied mathematics. Through experiences in and out of the classroom, I have learned to appreciate both the importance of mental health and the importance of creating this conversation from childhood.
Bright Star is a place filled with smiles, and everyone I meet at Bright Star, whether it be a therapist or a child, parent, or front desk staff, have been some of the friendliest I have ever met. Working here allows me to work in a setting I love, while doing what I can to help every child access different types of counselling services.
In the near future, I hope to attend law school and work towards my JD. With my degree, I plan on focusing on rehabilitation through mental health advocacy, and am glad I get to work at a place that allows me to strive towards that! When I'm not at work, you can find me on the beach or out exploring what BC's backyard has to offer!