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owner & trauma specialist
Vanessa Nixon
Registered Psychotherapist, MA

Meet Vanessa

   I grew up in St. Catharines, ON and I was 8 yrs old when I first said I wanted to be a ‘psychologist’.  Even at that age I knew I wanted to help people who were struggling with difficulties in their lives and who wanted to feel better.

   I began volunteering in the psychiatric ward of the Niagara Falls hospital when I was 18 years old.  I then went on to do my B.A. in Psychology followed by an M.A. in Counselling Psychology in Toronto. During my years doing my M.A. I worked at the ADD Centre in Toronto doing neurofeedback on clients with ADD, anxiety and depression.  Shortly after I graduated in 2000 I moved back home to Niagara where I joined the team at the Niagara Region Sexual Assault Centre counselling clients who were dealing with trauma.  This is when I really honed in on my niche to work with people who have lived through traumatic experiences.  My specialty is working with adults who experienced childhood abuse, including physical, verbal, emotional and sexual abuse as well as neglect.


   In 2008 I decided to go into private practice so I could work part time and be with my children as much as possible.  I went into practice with a partner and co-founded Reclaim Counselling and Wellness Centre. After a decade with a partner I decided to open my own practice and delve into the exciting challenge of opening a group practice with Peaceful Minds Psychotherapy.

   In 2005 I became trained in the use of Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR) as a means of helping my clients heal from trauma.  I took the second level of training in 2008 followed by supervision by an EMDR certified trainer. Please see my page on EMDR for more information.

   I am a fully registered psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO)


Angela Arsenio

Meet Angela

Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change

-Brene Brown

​   I have completed a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Windsor and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology with a minor in Women’s Studies from Brock University. I have enjoyed working for over 20 years in the community as a leader in non-profit organizations, such as Victim Services Niagara and Powerhouse Project, serving youth and families across Niagara. These years have provided diverse and rich experiences assisting people find their path to wellness.

   My strengths-based approach to counselling is eclectic and client-centered, and some of the treatment models include DBT, narrative therapy, emotionally focused therapy, and solution focused therapy. My goal is to provide a safe, honest, and non-judgemental environment to work together to assist you in finding peace and managing difficult emotions. Using gratitude and humour in my practice, I believe everyone has the capacity to make the kind of changes they want to live a life of happiness and balance.

   I am a registered social worker with the College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers and the Canadian Association of Social Workers.


Andrea Walker

Meet Andrea


   I hold a master’s degree in Social Work with a Specialization in Clinical Practice from the University of Calgary, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. Helping others navigate through life challenges has always been a passion of mine. I have over twenty years of experience in working with people in a variety of settings, including correctional, educational and community mental health environments, as well as working with out-patient clients struggling with mental health and addictions issues. I feel honored to provide therapeutic services to teens and adults in the Niagara region.


   I enjoy working with diverse populations and believe in providing a safe, non-judgmental healing place where voices are heard and strengthened. My practice is an individualized eclectic approach; some of the modalities I draw principles from include Narrative therapy, Emotion Focused Therapy, Solution Focused therapy, and CBT. I like assisting people to build from existing strengths to live their best possible lives. I also have a passion for running and have completed over 30 marathons/ultra-marathons. 


   I am a registered Social Worker with the College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, and the Ontario Association of Social Workers.


Christy Schaefer

RP (Qualifying)

Meet Christy

   Christy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a Master's degree in Counselling Psychology, and has been trained in EMDR through the Niagara Stress and Trauma Clinic.  Throughout the past ten years, she has had the pleasure of working with people of all ages and diversities, and enjoys spending time and listening to the stories of people who can share their unique experiences and understanding of the world. Most notably, Christy has gained experience working at the Niagara Distress Center and the Attachment and Trauma Center for Healing, both environments where she honed her skills working with individuals who have experienced trauma or crisis.

Christy is here to provide the space and support necessary to help you process your experiences, manage your stress and to help you get to where you want to be. She uses a client-centered, strengths-based, and compassion-focused approach that is specifically I am always working with a trauma-informed lens.


Using a variety of modalities including but not limited to Cognitive-Behavioural therapy, Attachment theory, Narrative therapy, Acceptance and Commitment therapy and mindfulness-based approaches, Christy will work alongside you and empower you to discover what you need to do to reach your goals of healing and wellness.



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Amanda Anastacio
MA, RP (Qualifying)

Meet Amanda

   Sometimes the mind knows the answer but the body has trouble following. With effort, the body can catch up, we just need to be patient.


   Amanda has a Bachelor of Arts graduate from Brock University (Honors with First Class Standing) in Psychology and holds a Masters of Psychotherapy and Counselling program at Yorkville University.  Amanda is trained in EMDR and Emotionally Focussed Therapy for couples.


   Since childhood, Amanda has been dedicated to the mental health field, always being interested in working with individuals from a variety of backgrounds. Amanda has experience working with individuals in crisis at the Distress Center of Niagara, has been a program coordinator for Project REWIND at John Howard Society of Niagara for conflict resolution and has experience as a Child and Youth Caseworker.


   Amanda’s therapeutic practice is informed by training in ATTCH’s Integrative and Attachment Treatment Model (ITATM)® and is certified in delivering this unique approach to target trauma from an attachment and developmental neuroscience background. Amanda is committed to creating a safe space for clients of different gender identities, sexual orientations, romantic/sexual partnerships, communities, and cultures. Trauma/grief is Amanda's area of experience, working with many complex clients to address issues with compassion and empathy to heal the parts of the self that have been hurt. The foundation for this work is a strong therapeutic relationship, which fosters an environment to help clients feel understood, accepted, supported, and empowered.


   "No one else can heal or do your inner work for you, but that doesn't mean you can, should or need to do it alone." - Lisa Olivera


Sara Haines
MA, RP (Qualifying)


Meet Sara

   Sara earned her Master’s in Counselling Psychology from Yorkville University and is working towards full certification as a Registered Psychotherapist. Over the years, Sara has provided mental health supports to individuals in crisis through her work at the Certified Listener’s Society, as well as those with more complex or specialized issues during her time at the Homewood Health Centre. Most recently, Sara has been supporting differentially abled adults in the developmental sector. Sara’s passion is working with persons living with an eating disorder as well as helping those with other common mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, stress and trauma.


   Sara’s approach to counselling is unique to each client, often following a strengths-based and trauma-informed approach. Sara draws from a number of counselling modalities including parts of Narrative therapy, CBT and Mindfulness. Sara is also trained in EMDR. By creating a safe, non-judgmental and supportive healing environment, Sara strives to work alongside her clients as they develop a sense of safety and comfort within themselves, while establishing meaningful goals for clients to achieve at an individual pace.


Trish Ellerson

RP (Qualifying)

Meet Trish


   Trish earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Guelph and a Master’s of Counselling and Psychology (MACP) at Yorkville University and is working toward gaining her full certification as a Registered Psychotherapist.

Trish's goal with every client is to provide a safe non-judgemental space for them to feel comfortable to express themselves authentically about any issues they may be experiencing and leave feeling heard. She aims to build a meaningful therapeutic relationship by utilizing a client-centered strengths-based approach. Trish has always been passionate about empowering others and working with individuals to help them recognize strengths within themselves and build upon these strengths to help them navigate through life’s challenges.


   Some treatment principles she draws from include Solution-focused therapy, Cognitive Behavioural therapy, and Mindfulness exercises. 

Together we can work towards achieving meaningful mutually agreed upon goals and increase resilience in times of struggle in a safe healing environment.


Megan Strachan  
Graduate Intern

RP (Qualifying) 

Meet Megan 

    Megan is currently completing her Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology and is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. Megan was inspired to pursue a career as a therapist after spending eight years as a lawyer, including several years practicing in family law.

Megan’s clients are those who are looking to enhance their insight, resilience, and self-compassion. She works with clients struggling with anxiety, stress, imposter syndrome, perfectionism, life transitions, self-esteem/self-doubt, and burnout. Megan understands how difficult it can be to reach out for help, especially when you feel like you should be able to handle everything on your own. Megan’s approach prioritizes her client’s autonomy and innate capacity for change, growth, and adaptation, within an affirming and supportive therapeutic relationship. 

   Megan offers individualized therapy that draws from many modalities including mindfulness research and somatic (body and nervous system) based approaches for stress and anxiety. Megan has completed additional training in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy as well as Level 2 Trauma Informed Practice from the Trauma Informed Practice Institute, and is continually working to develop her own mindfulness practice. Megan’s practice is primarily virtual.

   If you are interested in exploring therapy with Megan, get in touch for a free 15-minute exploration call.

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