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. Dawn is certified in EMDR Integrative Attachment Trauma Protocol for Children as well Recent Traumatic Events Protocol (RTEP).
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. Matt's training and education also includes training in various crisis intervention models, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) Managing Aggressive Behaviours (UMAB, PMAB), Critical Incident Group Debriefing (CIGD), Gottman's Method, Emotion Focused Therapy Level 1 & 2, Emotion Focused Therapy for Couples and EMDR Level 1 & 2.
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 trauma, physical, sexual, emotional abuse, neglect, grief and loss, domestic violence, depression, anxiety, stress 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 trauma, abuse and neglect. Matt has worked in child welfare and with high-risk children and youth living in foster care and residential treatment as well as with youth who are involved in the criminal justice system in both Ontario and the Yukon Territory.
His experiences working at the Windsor/Essex Hospice, Yukon Hospice and St. Joseph's Hospice in Sarnia have 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 training in the Utilization of EMDR with Traumatic Bereavement as well as a Certification in Bereavement, Grief and Loss with Children through the Canadian Association for Child Play Therapy. Matt currently facilitates a weekly grief walking group for individuals experiencing a loss.
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.
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 has completed Play Therapy training through the Canadian Association for Child Play Therapy (CACPT) and is currently working towards certification.
Michele McPherson B.A.SC, MSW (cand.)
Michele McPherson obtained her Honours Bachelor of Applied Science from the University of Guelph (2011) and concurrently a Social Service Worker Diploma from Humber College (2011). Michele is currently completing her Master’s of Social Work from the University of Windsor. She is a registered member of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, as well as the Ontario Association of Social Service Workers.
Michele has several years of experience in mental health settings within the Greater Toronto Area as well as in the developmental services and child welfare sectors.
Michele offers services to individuals (children, adolescents, and adults) as well as couples and families. She employs her passion for health and wellness in the therapeutic realm by using several components of the mind-body connection within her practice, including exercise, meditation, yoga and mindful movement. The use of the physical dynamic in combination with other modalities; Cognitive-Behavioural, Solution-Focused, and Narrative Therapy, as well as Mindfulness strategies, provides a flexible and unique framework for client-centered support. For couples therapy, Michele utilizes techniques from the Gottman method.
Some areas of interest include: stress management, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self-harm or self-injurious behaviours, parent-teen conflict, and attachment-focused support. Michele
works from a strengths-based foundation in which assists individuals and couples to enhance their existing capacities as well as provide new resources.
Michele is a YogaFit Level 1 Instructor and will be pursuing certification in Eye-Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy in 2019.
In her spare time Michele enjoys reading, running, yoga, and CrossFit.
Cara McCormack graduated with her Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Windsor in 1999 and with her Masters of Social Work, also from the University of Windsor, in 2018. She is registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers and also belongs to the Canadian Association of Play Therapy as well as the Ontario Association of Social Workers.
Cara has extensive experience in the fields of child welfare and intimate partner violence as well as familiarity with family court processes. Professional areas of practice and research include the interaction of those impacted by intimate partner violence with either the family court and/or child welfare realm. Extensive research has led to best practice suggestions when engaging with this population.
Her practice is strengths based, solution focussed and trauma informed. Well established connections across the social service and justice sectors contribute to her success as a practitioner. She is a strong advocate for those with whom she works and has conducted extensive community outreach. Additional training has occurred around domestic violence focussed safety planning, risk assessment and risk management (2017/2018). She has also completed the Play Therapy Certificate Program (2012) through the Canadian Association of Play Therapy and recently earned a certificate in Responding to Trauma Using Play Therapy (May 2018).
Her work with survivors of intimate partner violence and with families and children have led to a passionate commitment to working with these populations. A warm, authentic and engaging approach contribute to effectively engaging with the people and children she works with. Her passion and positive energy influences her daily practice and she recognizes it is a privilege to work with those who are facing traumatic or challenging life circumstances.
Cara has a particular interest in working with children and youth, as well as with adults and those impacted by intimate partner violence.