Counselling staff biographies
David Ness (he/him/his), Associate Professor
David is the Director of the SCC and has been on staff since 1991. His training background is clinical psychology and in addition to his administrative duties, he provides counselling and therapy to students using an integrative approach that emphasizes cognitive, developmental, client-centered and insight oriented approaches. David uses these approaches to work with students presenting with anxiety, relationship, trauma recovery, family conflict, and career indecision and other difficulties. He also enjoys facilitating groups and workshops and delivering programming across campus at the University of Manitoba.
Danielle Carter (BSW, RSW) (she/her)
Danielle is a Confidential Intake and Triage Specialist. She is a Registered Social Worker with experience working in mental health, addictions, community and post-secondary settings. Danielle works with students using a person-centred approach and also draws on strengths-based practice and crisis intervention. She engages students in assessment, mutual planning and problem solving during intake, with an awareness of the impact of environmental and social factors on students. Danielle recognizes and appreciates the diversity of students and strives to provide support specific to their needs and goals.
Bright Unger (BSW, RSW) (They/them)
Bright is a Confidential Intake and Triage Specialist. They are a registered Social Worker with experience working in areas of gender-based violence with people of varied genders, cultures and experiences. Bright draws on their experience providing trauma informed care and strength based short-term counselling to provide wholistic services, intake and assessments. Bright strives to understand multiple and varied environmental and social factors and believes that the client is the expert in their own life.
Nicolas Brais (M.A.) (he/him), Psychology Resident
Nicolas Brais is a psychology resident at the Student Counselling Centre. He is a Ph.D. doctoral student in clinical psychology at the University of Manitoba. Nicolas takes an integrative and client-centered approach to therapy, with the goal of finding an approach that meets the needs of and is tailored to each individual client. He integrates cognitive behavioural, humanistic, and psychodynamic approaches. Nicolas’ primary areas of interest include working with adults with various psychological concerns such as anxiety, trauma, stress, obsessive compulsions, and depression, as well as interpersonal relationships and relationship concerns.
Linda Churchill (RMFT) (she/her)
Linda is a Marriage and Family Therapist (RMFT) by training, Linda believes in the intrinsic worth of all persons as well as their capacity for learning and growth. Linda views each student as unique and tailors her approach accordingly. She takes into account many dimensions that impact students' lives and explores with them new possibilities, building on their existing strengths and resources. Linda believes in the power of an empathic, compassionate and safe counselling relationship to engage students as they move toward a preferred way of being. Linda enjoys individual and couples work. She also enjoys facilitating small groups dealing with such matters as bereavement support and emotional/relational maturity.
Paul Collins, (B.Sc.) (he/him), Psychology Resident
Paul is a Doctor of Clinical Psychology student at the University of Prince Edward Island completing his pre-doctoral residency training at the SCC. Paul practices using a person-centred approach and believes in tailoring sessions to your specific needs. His goal is to help you identify those needs allowing you to flourish using evidence-based strategies and interventions that best serve you. He practices using cognitive-behavioural therapies including components of dialectical behaviour therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and metacognitive therapy. He also integrates emotion-focused and attachment-based interventions. Paul values the unique personality and life experiences of each person, and he seeks to understand how that affects the way you navigate mental health concerns, relationship difficulties, career choices, or any other issue that brings you to the SCC.
Kimberly Kiley (Ph.D., C. Psych.) (she/her)
Kim has a background in clinical psychology. She believes every person is unique and tailors the counselling process to meet each individual's specific needs. She draws from a variety of therapeutic approaches, including humanistic and cognitive-behavioural. Her interests include anxiety, depression, disordered eating, self-care, and stress management.
Lisa Leong (Counsellor) (She/Her)
Lisa is a trained counsellor who has experience working with a diverse group of people. She respects client-centeredness in therapeutic outcomes, emphasizing on discovering the uniqueness of each person she works with and tailoring counselling approaches that suit their individual uniqueness. Some of her key areas of counselling work include anxiety, demotivation, self-confidence, grief and loss, uncertainty and ambivalence, depression, low self esteem, self defeating behaviors, anger and relationship concerns.
Lori Mac (Ph,D., C. Psych., Counselling Psychologist)
Lori has a background in counselling psychology. She views individuals as the experts of their own experiences, and integrates a variety of counselling approaches from within a humanistic perspective to aid in addressing challenges. In working with individuals, Lori places an emphasis on uniqueness, meaning, personal choice, balance, using strengths as resources, and empowerment. She provides individual, group, couples and career counseling as well as workshops and outreach at the SCC. Her primary interests include interpersonal relationships (building healthy relationships, interpersonal difficulties, break-ups), communication and conflict, self-exploration, trauma (sexual violence, interpersonal violence, abuse, accidents, bullying), and cultural transition (identity development). Lori is the coordinator for the Advanced Practicum in Counselling at the SCC. She is also the Assistant Director of the Pre-doctoral Residency in Professional Psychology and is one of the primary supervisors for the Residency.
Lisa Martens (MMFT) (she/they)
Lisa (she/they) understands each person and relationship to be unique, and to have depth and strength! Lisa’s degree is in Marriage and Family Therapy, and through therapy and community work, has experience connecting with many individuals, relationships, and groups, including people who identify themselves within 2SLGBTTQ* communities. Lisa uses Narrative ways of working to support the co-creation of people’s life stories, as well as elements of Solution Focused Therapy and EFT, among other therapy techniques and models. She has experience working with people who are dealing with depression or anxiety, or just feel lonely, stressed or overwhelmed at times, and with people who experience conflict in their relationships, or who have experienced trauma. Lisa also enjoys working with people who care deeply about the world, social justice, and the effects of climate change.
Danna McDonald (RMFT RSW) (she/her)
With a background in Marriage and Family Therapy, Danna (she/her) is a creative, compassionate therapist that values the relationship with each client she meets. Danna’s orientation to counselling work is through a Feminist, trauma informed lens, and she values the connections between our emotions, our thoughts and our bodies. Her areas of interest and expertise include eating disorders and body image, family relationships, anxiety, mindfulness, getting to know difficult emotions, grief, LGBTTQ* and gender journeys, and she is trained in EMDR and EFFT.
Timothy A.G. Osachuk (Ph.D., C.Psych. Clinical Psychologist) (he/him/his)
Tim is the director of the department's Pre-Doctoral Residency in Professional Psychology and a clinical psychologist. In addition to supervising residents, his interests include individual and group psychotherapy, career counseling, assessment and consultation. From Ericksonian, client-centred and developmental philosophies, he works alongside students from a strength-based approach to tailor and integrate a variety of approaches to be of assistance in overcoming their difficulties and living their lives more fully. Therapy approaches utilized include Behavioural, Cognitive-Behavioural, Client-Centred, Ericksonian / Hypnotherapeutic, EMDR, Mindfulness, Motivational Interviewing, Narrative, Solution-Focussed and Systemic. He has special interests in men's issues and utilizing clinical hypnosis from the philosophy of Milton Erickson.
Michelle Pearson (M.Sc. in Community Clinical Psychology)
Michelle has a background in clinical psychology with over 20 years of counselling experience. She approaches her work from a collaborative and client centred approach. Michelle draws from a variety of therapeutic approaches including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Short Term Solution Focused Therapy, and Narrative Therapy. Her interests include trauma, change, transition and loss, self care, empowerment, conflict resolution and the development of healthy coping skills and strategies. She also enjoys providing workshops and groups to help facilitate personal growth and support amongst university students.
Anissa Penner (MMFT) (she/her)
Anissa has a background in Marriage and Family Therapy and has worked with children, adults, couples, and families. Anissa has a non-pathologizing approach and values clients’ own experiences and perspectives and uses a trauma informed, and attachment lens. Anissa follows the approach that we are wired for connection and that healing and growth expands when we can connect with ourselves and with the world around us. She has experience working with people who are dealing with anxiety, depression, trauma, conflict in family relationships (partner, parents, siblings) parenting issues, and addictions. Anissa is completing additional training in EMDR.
Karla Penner (MMFT) (she/her)
Karla comes from a Marriage and Family Therapy training and background. She loves stories; witnessing them, reading them, telling them, and most of all, listening to clients share their own stories and then finding meaning in them together. Karla meets her clients with an anti-oppressive, feminist, trauma-informed approach that values diversity and social justice. She sees each client as part of the multiple systems they belong to, looking for patterns and connections that make up their story, and is drawn to Attachment Theory and Narrative Therapy. Karla believes that the relationship between the client and therapist is what anchors the work and breeds hope and healing. She has spent the last many years working with individuals, couples, families and groups of all different ages, orientations, and configurations. Her work has centred on helping clients deal with loss and grief, navigating inter-personal relationships, providing support and tools for living with anxiety and depression, and working through challenges connected to life decisions and identity formation.
Marlene Pomrenke:, (M.S.W.,Ph.D.)
Marlene uses a strength-based, resilience framework in her work with students. She has extensive experience in the area of separation and divorce, communication and conflict resolution. She uses a narrative approach to collaborate with students, empowering them in their counselling process.
Donald Stewart (Ph.D., C. Psych.) (he/him/his)
Don is currently the Executive Director, Student Support. He also serves as Psychology Professional Practice Leader for the SCC, where he is involved in supervision and training of psychology residents.