At The Relationship Centre our team is built around a common desire to help. We provide therapy services to individuals, couples and families because we believe everyone should discover the happiness they deserve.
Mary Joan Brinson MSW, RSW
Founder & Director of The Relationship Centre • Certified EFT Therapist
My love of helping others started with receiving my Masters of Social Work. I quickly found my way to offering individual and couples therapy which provided a powerful way to connect with people wanting to make meaningful changes in their lives. My work has been guided by our need for connection – to know we matter, that our world is a safe and predictable place, and that when we are in need, someone will be there for us. I have felt deeply privileged to share a healing and therapeutic journey with so many women, men and couples.
Motherhood and being married have significantly influenced not only my life but my work. I have pursued advanced clinical training to work with pregnant and postpartum women and with couples – two areas of work that have felt very close to my heart.
I am now focusing my helping efforts on touching even more lives with the creation of The Relationship Centre. By bringing together a team of skilled and compassionate therapists, we are able to help more people than I ever could have helped on my own. I am excited to use the skills that helped me provide quality therapy to building and mentoring a team of therapists who serve our community by providing evidenced based therapy that changes people’s lives.
While I am no longer providing therapy services myself, I am supporting our therapy team in their clinical work while also leading the practice towards future growth and development.
When you reach out to The Relationship Centre you will be greeted kindly by our welcoming receptionist, Deborah.
We know it can be uncomfortable and challenging to contact people you don’t know, especially when you are not feeling your best. Please be assured that it is Deborah’s goal as well as that of our entire team to make you feel as comfortable and relaxed as we can. Whether in our intial phone or email conversations or when you visit our centre in person be assured we want to help you.
Our centre is the place you can come to heal and grow.
Katie Lobe MSW, RSW
Youth, adults, couples and families face life challenges for many different reasons. Relationship struggles, past hurts, managing ongoing stress and feeling disconnected from a partner may be just a few of these. It takes love, commitment and courage to seek therapy. My professional responsibility is to provide a confidential and supportive environment where I will help you talk about your unique situation and how to pursue positive change. When I bring my extensive experience, education and training and you bring the awareness and knowledge of your situation, together we will explore your thoughts and feelings. This new and enhanced understanding will lead us to identifying a map for positive change. I will support you as you make the changes you decide to pursue. As a caring, compassionate and empathetic person, I believe people of all abilities, genders, races, gender identities, religions and ethnicities deserve happiness.
more about Katie...
I bring many different life experiences and a passion for helping people to make positive change in their lives to my work. I have a Master’s degree in Social Work and have worked in community agencies for the past 25 years with people across the lifespan and these experiences have all helped prepare me to listen and to hear your story in a different way than you may have experienced before.
As I am committed to continuously enhancing my skills, I regularly attend evidence based training such as Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy for Addictions, Narrative Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.
Assisting people to experience positive change in their lives is one of the many reasons I continue to enjoy what I do. I look forward to meeting with you and to bringing my sincerity, warmth and even some humour into a helping relationship when you are ready to do so.
Kristen Bird MSW, RSW
I am a proud Mohawk woman who has focused my life on collecting both western and traditional indigenous knowledge to enhance my physical, mental, spiritual and emotional bundles. My goal is to support space for people to explore and become intimate with their sense of identity and purpose in life so they can thrive in life, not just survive.
more about Kristen...
I graduated Wilfred Laurier with a Masters Degree in Social Work. I practice Solution-Focus Brief Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy, Dialectic Based Therapy and Cognitive Based Therapy in sessions for the past 12 years. I have also recently received training in the treatment of pregnancy and postpartum mood disorders. I look forward to working together with clients in a meaningful way to help clients achieve positive change.
Lori Eaton MACP, RP
Navigating through the challenges of life can be difficult; especially when feeling alone in the journey. I believe therapy offers that connection with people to help them work through their struggles in a safe, supported environment. Over the last 20 years of clinical experience working with children, youth, adults and families I have grown to appreciate the power of one’s self discovery through therapy. I believe in connecting with people on an emotional level by hearing their story and make meaning of a life worth living.
more about Lori...
As a registered psychotherapist with a Masters in Counseling Psychology; my experience has been with people in all developmental stages in their lives, dealing with anxiety, depression, life transitions, grief and loss.
Using therapeutic strategies in CBT, DBT, ACT, and EFT. My newest endeavour is in couple & family work using Emotion-Focused therapy. In understanding the power of connection and attachment needs, couples & families can begin to strengthen and repair their relationship bond. This work has been my motivation for completing certification in Emotion-Focused Therapy.
Additionally, I have attended Advanced Clinical Training to support women who are dealing with pregnancy and postpartum mood disorders.
Alyssa Mervin MSW, RSW
My desire to work as a therapist comes from my passion and enthusiasm for connecting with individuals across the lifespan and my core belief that healing happens through our connections and relationship with ourselves and others. Making the decision to let someone in and to open up about the unique challenges you are facing in your life is not always an easy one. It can feel uncomfortable going to a stranger and disclosing your personal information. It is an incredible honor to be able to sit and bear witness to your story which I do not take lightly. I work to make you feel as comfortable as possible and support you through the process of taking care of your mental wellbeing in a safe and supportive environment. We will work together and move at a pace that feels comfortable for you.
I operate from a very transparent, systemic, strengths-based, trauma-informed, anti-oppression, and mindfulness-based framework. Our work will be very collaborative where we build a genuine relationship in which we can work together to achieve your goals and attain a fulfilling and satisfied life lead by your personal values.
more about Alyssa...
I am a Registered Social Worker and have a Master’s Degree in Social Work as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. My practice is informed by various evidence-based modalities including: Emotionally Focused Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Based Therapy, Trauma Informed Therapy, Solution-Focus Brief Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Dialectic Based Therapy and Cognitive Based Therapy. I am actively involved in continuing professional development and have additional training in trauma-informed practice, interpersonal violence, and Acceptance and Commitment Based Therapy for Trauma.
I have experience working with a broad range of issues with individuals and couples across the lifespan including: trauma, depression, anxiety, interpersonal relationship conflicts, stress, grief, self-esteem, communication issues, addictions, and more.
Heather Baker MSW, RSW
The decision to begin therapy takes courage – courage to look at and accept what is not working, courage to explore options and make healthy changes, and courage to trust a therapist to help you grow and heal. I will work with you to create the safe environment necessary for you to explore and resolve core issues, and release the thinking and behaviours that no longer serve you. As your therapist, I will help to empower you to create a more meaningful life by transforming your present concerns into solutions for healing and wholeness.
I have been trained in a number of treatment modalities and am able to work with you in whatever ways are most helpful to you. Neuroscience has recently provided proof of the brain’s ability to heal itself, as well as techniques for making real, permanent changes. Many of these techniques are the basis of my practice. Beginning with the proven understanding that the therapeutic relationship can be a foundation for healing, I am committed to a collaborative journey with you.
more about Heather...
I am passionate about helping people heal and grow. I have a Master’s Degree in Social Work and am a Certified Trauma Clinician, Certified Concurrent Disorders Specialist, and Certified Compassion Fatigue Specialist. I am dedicated to continuing to upgrade my skills and have training in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Somatic Processing, Play and Art therapy, as well as in the Emotional Freedom Technique (tapping). My current endeavours are further training in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples and in Perinatal Mood Disorders. I have spent many years working in mental health and addictions, as well as in Correctional facilities. I therefore have experience working with a variety of complex issues. My areas of specialization are grief and loss, trauma, anxiety and depression.
My love for counselling began early in my career when I was fortunate enough to be employed at Kingston Penitentiary in the Regional Treatment Centre. It became evident to me that a person’s behaviour (no matter how extreme it might seem), always made sense given their early childhood experiences and the way they learn to perceive and move through their world. Over the 30 years since that experience, I have worked with many clients with a myriad of issues and have continued to note that we all have a basic need to belong and to feel that we are important to someone. My own experiences with connection, trauma and loss have also been a factor in my professional development. Neuroscience has now proven that our brains are actually wired for intimate connection. Any disruption to our attachment bonds actually alters the make-up of our brains, which in turn, impacts how we are able to respond to our environment. Clients whom have previously been unsuccessful at making changes in their behaviours can experience success when they learn how to understand and manage their automatic stress response, feel into their emotions, and access their “thinking” brains. Showing clients that they can re-gain control of their lives by changing their neuropathways is exciting for me. I look forward to working with you.
Krista Armstrong MSW
In my work as a therapist I strive to help people understand more about themselves and the way they walk through the world. I see therapy as a journey of self-discovery where clients learn how to use their own strengths and experiences in new ways, in order to live a more fulfilling life and tackle a variety of challenges.
My indigenous learning and culture teach me that a supportive community and thriving relationships are the foundation of a healthy, happy life. Therapy offers a safe, supportive relationship to enhance this foundation while also helping provide the tools and insight into how to extend this positivity into other aspects of life. People come to therapy with their own expertise about their life, and I aim to blend that self-knowledge with my training and education in order to create a therapy plan that works for each individual. Above all else, my priority is to ensure people feel supported in their journey, and know they don’t have to face life’s challenges alone.
more about Krista...
I am a Registered Social Worker (RSW) with a Master’s Degree from the University of Toronto. My training includes work with individuals, couples, and families, surrounding challenges including depression, anxiety, grief, relationship dynamics, chronic illness, caregiving stress, and end of life.
I have worked in healthcare and in the community, which has allowed me to see the value of looking at situations holistically, factoring in all aspects of a client’s life when creating goals and therapeutic plans. I bring a variety of modalities to my work including: Emotionally Focused Therapy, Mindfulness, Narrative, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Solution-Focused and Strengths-based. The diversity of tools allows me to help tailor my therapeutic approach to each individual and their goals in order to serve each client in a way that is most helpful to them.
We know asking for help can be difficult.
But you weren’t meant to solve everything on your own. By reaching out you will be one step closer to feeling better.