Dawn Whalls, MSW, RSW

Dawn Whalls obtained her Bachelor of Social Work Degree in 1991 and her Master of Social Work Degree in 2013 from King’s University College at Western in London, Ontario. Dawn has been a member in good standing with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers since 2005 and is a member of Ontario Association of Social Workers and EMDR Canada.

As a practicing social worker for over twenty years, Dawn has experience working with individuals and families who have encountered mental health challenges, addiction issues, intimate partner violence, physical/sexual abuse and neglect, as well as cognitive and developmental disorders.

Throughout her career, she has utilized strengths based, solution focused approaches to address the needs of those she is servicing. Her therapeutic modalities include; Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Family Systems Theory, Motivational Interviewing, Brief-Solution Focused Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Relational-Cultural Therapy and Attachment Based Theories. Dawn is also an EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) therapist who is currently pursuing certification. Dawn has advanced level crisis intervention skills and acquired certification in both Individual and Group Critical Incident Debriefing.

In addition, she is familiar with various safety and risk assessment tools including Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST). Dawn completed the Advanced Facilitation Skills course with the Ontario Association of Children’s’ Aid Societies and has experience supervising and training other employees in her previous positions. Dawn has had the privilege of acting as a Field Placement Advisor for King’s University College at Western Ontario mentoring and evaluating BSW and MSW interns.

Dawn has a particular interest in servicing children, youth, individuals and families who have complex needs and trauma related symptoms.

Matt Barnes, MSW, RSW

Matt Barnes obtained his Bachelor of Honors Psychology degree (2008) from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Masters of Social Work degree (2011) from the University of Windsor. He is a registered member of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers as well as the Ontario Association of Social Workers. Additionally Matt is pursuing a certification in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy which is a psychotherapeutic approach to working with individuals who have suffered trauma and for those with PTSD and a variety of other mental health issues.

Matt provides individual, couples and family counselling to those located in Sarnia-Lambton and he also provides outreach counselling services to the Middlesex Community. He provides counselling to youth and adults affected by grief and loss, domestic violence, substance abuse, divorce, depression, anxiety, stress, neglect, physical/sexual/emotional abuse, trauma and a variety of cognitive, behavioral and social issues.

Throughout Matt's career he has worked with a wide variety of clients including those with developmental and cognitive delays/disabilities, clients suffering from mental illness and mental health issues as well as individuals affected by abuse, trauma and addictions. Matt has worked with high-risk children and youth living in foster care and residential treatment and with youth who are involved in the criminal justice system in both Ontario and the Yukon Territory. Matt has most recently worked in the child welfare system and continues to do so on a part time basis.

His experiences working at the Windsor/Essex Hospice and Yukon Hospice led to a passion for working with individuals at end of life and bereaved individuals who have experienced the loss of a loved one. Matt has completed a Certification in Bereavement, Grief and Loss with Children through the CACPT (Canadian Association for Child Play Therapy) and currently facilitates a weekly walking group for individuals experiencing symptoms of grief.

Matt is passionate about alternative and complementary forms of therapy including exercise, outdoor recreation, art/music therapy, meditation, legacy work, play therapy and sensory-based activities. He is an advocate for ending violence against women and children and is involved in the Middlesex Rural Alliance to End Violence Against Women and Children in the Strathroy area. Through these experiences Matt has developed a keen interest in working with males and finding ways to engage men in making positive changes in their lives.

Outside of work Matt enjoys fishing, hunting, travel, sports, scuba, outdoor recreation and spending time with friends, family and his dog.

Taryn Barnes, MSW, RSW

Taryn Barnes obtained her Bachelor of Honors Psychology (2009) and Masters of Social Work (2011) degrees from the University of Windsor. Additionally, she is a registered member of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, as well as the Ontario Association of Social Workers. Taryn is currently pursuing a certification in Eye-Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy.

Taryn has several years of experience working with individuals and families within a variety of settings, with particular interest children, youth, and their families. Taryn has field experience in child welfare, addictions, mental health, and domestic violence. Taryn lived in the Yukon Territory for a number of years and provided therapeutic services to individuals living in remote First Nations communities. She is extremely passionate about child and adolescent mental health, and is dedicated to providing professional clinical services to this population.

Taryn uses a variety of different tools in working with her clients such as play therapy, exercise, outdoor recreation, meditation, art/music therapy, and sensory-based activities. These approaches, combined with a strong foundation in Cognitive-Behavioural, Solution- Focused, and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy allow Taryn’s clients to gain a full range of tools and skills that they can use outside of the therapeutic sessions. It is Taryn’s goal to build a meaningful relationship with each client that she works with, and to discover a unique and creative way to connect on a therapeutic level.

Her particular areas of interest include: neurodevelopmental trauma, body-based psychotherapy, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and self-harming/suicidal behaviours. She has been certified in the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics taught through Dr. Bruce Perry at the Child Trauma Academy and plans to begin her Play Therapy certification in July 2016.