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Who We Are

Meet The Team

Our Team
VICCIR Counsellors, Interpreters, & Volunteers

VICCIR has more than 20 counsellors, all of whom are experienced Master's level members of their professional associations. They are from diverse backgrounds, speak several languages, and are specially trained and supervised to meet the specific needs of VICCIR clientele.

 

We also have a team of trained and supervised clinical interpreters, many of whom have lived experience of the issues facing our clients.

 

In addition, we have a growing number of volunteers who assist our clients with a wide range of issues and facilitate the smooth running of the organization.

Gehad Khadr RCC Counsellor

Paola Soto Flores MSW, RCC, Counsellor

Adnan Duale, Somali Interpreter

Rewa Grewal MA, RCC, Counsellor

Vahini Govender MC:AT, DVATI, RCC Counsellor and Art Therapist

Panida Pongpanich RCC, Counsellor

Xi Yao Associate Member STIBC Mandarin interpreter

Michael Isaac Tigrinya interpreter

Yiana Belcher RCC, Counsellor

Ward Murray CCC, Counsellor

Ward Murray MA, CCC, Counsellor

Miriam Beechey, Spanish Interpreter

Christine Alevizakis, MA, RCC, Counsellor

Mikaela Chia, student counsellor

Lee McLeod RCC Counsellor

Jordan Levine PhD, MC Counsellor

Samuel Oweis Arabic interpreter

Manasi Shaha Hindi and Punjabi interpreter

Kaveh Sarmast Persian and Serbo-Croatian interpreter

Nelio Buongermino Portuguese interpreter

Jasmin Gerwien Supervisor and Trainer for Interpreters

Barb Imlach MA, RCC Counsellor

Latifa Elalaoui Arabic interpreter

Jean Ellis BEd, MEd, SEP, CAIET Counsellor

Susanna Ruebsaat PhD, RCC Counsellor, Jungian Art Therapist, Clinical Supervisor

Sonya Boya MSc, RCC Counsellor

Linda Lange BCATR Clinical Supervisor

Deborah Klein Patton BAS, MA, BCATA certified Art Therapist

Kim Chi Nguyen Vietnamese interpreter

Jaswant Guzder MD Consultant Psychiatrist and Trainer

Alannah McPhail DVATI Art Therapist

Alison Miller PhD Clinical Supervisor and originator of Parenting Workshops

Yvonne Haist MEd, RCC Clinical Supervisor

Doina Florina MA, RCC Counsellor

Macayla Yan, Counsellor

Macayla Yan MA, RCC Counsellor

Graham Bleasdale MA, BACP

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Robin Pike

Robin has a 30-year background in child welfare within both government and community agencies, and holds a Master of Arts degree in Human and Social Development from the University of Victoria.

Robin joined British Columbia’s Ministry of Children and Family Development in 1999 to develop services for a large group of migrant youth arriving off BC’s coast from Fujian Province, China.

In July 2007, Robin joined BC’s Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General to open Canada’s first government-based Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons. The Office is jointly funded by the Solicitor General and the province’s Child Protection ministry, and is responsible for the development and coordination of services for trafficked persons across government departments, community agencies, law enforcement, and academia.

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Zainab Ibrahim

Zainab Ibrahim was born in Iraq and has lived on the ancestral, traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples for the past 13 years. She is a graduate student enrolled in the Master of Social Work Program at the University of Victoria. Her passion for supporting racialized migrant communities is grounded in her personal lived experience as a refugee who had to leave her homeland more than a decade ago. Zainab has worked with non-profit organizations supporting abuse & trauma survivors for the past ten years. She has had different roles throughout her career, including counselling children and youth. Zainab has also delivered workshops and training on cultural competency and trauma-informed approaches for service providers working with marginalized women and children. In recent years, Zainab’s work in her community has focused on lowering accessibility barriers for marginalized women and children in need of safe shelters.

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Laylee Rohani

Laylee is a partner at Cook Roberts LLP and practices in the areas of corporate and commercial transactions, commercial lending, real estate and development, estate planning and administration. Her clients include private companies and businesses, financial institutions, developers, government bodies, and individuals requiring general legal advice and representation. Laylee aims to provide practical and goal-oriented advice to her clients and believes strongly in supporting organizations and activities that advance the process of building healthy and vibrant communities.

Board

The VICCIR Board

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Adrienne Carter

Adrienne’s attunement to immigrants and refugees is rooted in personal experience. In 1956, she and her parents escaped from Hungary during the Revolution, first to refugee camps and then to Canada. They had nothing but the clothes they were wearing. Adrienne was a young teen. She acquired a graduate degree in Social Work from McGill, and worked for more than two decades with the Victoria Child and Youth Mental Health team as a senior therapist. Her overseas work began at the University of Nigeria as an instructor in Social Work. Then, beginning in 1999, Adrienne had 15 missions around the word with Doctors Without Borders. In all sites, she established mental health projects to provide help to those traumatized by war and natural disasters. She recruited, trained and supervised local counsellors. In 2011 she began work with the Centre for Victims of Torture as a psychotherapist/trainer, first in Kenya and then in Jordan where she worked for more than two years providing supervision and training to local Jordanian counsellors, who, in turn provided individual and group counselling to traumatized Syrian and Iraqi refugees. Read more about Adrienne's role in the foundation of VICCIR here.

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Gita Badiyan

Gita was born in Iran and came to Canada with her family at the age of 12. She has worked as a consultant for over 25 years helping thousands of professionals make the leap to a more values-driven leadership. Gita also teaches at Royal Roads University and is passionate about helping students and teams design collaborative approaches that cultivate purpose in the workplace. Gita has lived and worked in South America, Europe, Middle East, and the South Pacific and is now living in Victoria BC. International assignments have given her work a distinctive depth and dimension helping her clients successfully capture the needs of a diverse and inclusive workforce. Gita loves yoga along with hiking and is a proud mother of three adult children who help make a positive difference in the world one day at a time.

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John Campos

John’s experience spans 40 years, serving a broad population base, ranging from Pediatrics, Child and Youth Mental Health, Adult & Geriatric Psychiatry, and Forensic Psychiatry. John has worked in a variety of community, public and private institutional settings in both the USA and Canada.  Prior to his work in government, his clinical work was with the Queen Alexandra Centre for Children’s Health and included Child/Youth Mental Health Services, Respite Rehab and the Preschool Program. Prior to his retirement he was Director of Corporate Services and an Operational Review Analyst with the Financial and Decision Support Services Branch, MCFD.

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Ben Ingham

Ben works with non-profit organizations internationally to empower their operations with technology. Born in Victoria, BC, he has lived across Canada. Starting from the age of 7, when he built a series of computer systems to be shipped to a school in Mexico, Ben continued to collaborate with local organizations throughout his youth, including the Cowichan Valley Arts Council and Partners for Prosperity. Between 2013 and 2016, Ben traveled to over 9 countries, working as a photographer and website developer. From 2017 to 2019, he volunteered full-time at the Baha’i World Centre in Haifa, Israel, supporting complex technical systems and producing events for audiences in the thousands. Since 2020, he has been working with the Association for Baha’i Studies which supports the advancement of discourses important to societal progress across a plethora of disciplines.

OUR MISSION

VICCIR's mission is to provide specialized counselling and training services to:

 

Assist refugees and immigrants who suffer from the effects of trauma and torture to the extent that their daily living is compromised.
 

Train professional counsellors in the treatment of trauma and torture and provide ongoing training and support to VICCIR interpreters. 
 

Educate, train and counsel sponsorship groups, teachers, school board personnel, public health workers, first responders, and the general public to address and resolve vicarious trauma they experience and to assist them to better meet the unique needs of migrants to Canada. 

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OUR VALUES

Inclusiveness: we serve immigrants and refugees of all ages from all countries in the world who reside on Vancouver Island. Although clients are encouraged to financially contribute towards their treatment, no client is refused treatment and all clients are provided care regardless of their financial circumstances with the most traumatized clients given priority counselling. 

Confidentiality is essential to building the necessary trusting relationships between the counsellors and the clients, so information can be freely shared knowing that it will be held in the strictest confidence. 

Respect for the personal, religious and cultural diversity of our clients is accomplished by ensuring the appropriate counsellors and interpreters are assigned to meet the ethnic and language needs of our clients. 

Service Quality is of utmost importance to ensure the best possible results for our clients through the use of professional counsellors and trained interpreters who receive ongoing trauma treatment training and guidance provided by the Director of Services and a professional interpreter including regular debriefing with counsellors and interpreters after counselling sessions. 

Welcoming people through our interactions and training of individuals and agencies involved with immigrants and refugees, we help facilitate the positive integration of immigrants and refugees into Canadian society, which is the ultimate outcome of our services.

Our Mission & Values

At VICCIR we value inclusiveness, confidentiality, respect, a high quality of service, and extending a welcome to all.

We Need Your Support Today!

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