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LHA Intern & Student Bios

About Jessica Ali

I am a Registered Social Worker completing an internship in providing couples with Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). I have completed the EFT Externship, am currently enrolled in EFT Core Skills Training, and am working towards EFT Therapist Certification. I was born and raised in Nova Scotia and have completed a Bachelor of Arts (Sociology), a Bachelor of Social Work, and a Master of Social Work at Dalhousie University.

Feeling disconnected from our partners is a difficult and, at times, distressing experience. You may find yourselves stuck in a cycle of conflict that feels impossible to change. The good news is you and your partner are not alone, this happens to many couples and EFT is an effective tool to (re)establishing a secure emotional connection and deeper intimacy with your partner. Through EFT we will first identify the current conflict cycle you are experiencing, and then, we will create new patterns of interaction that will bring you emotionally closer as a couple and strengthen your connection to one another. 

I truly look forward to walking beside couples as they find their path during their therapeutic journeys.

About Katelyn Rowe

I am excited and honoured to join the team at Lesley Hartman & Associates as a Master of Arts Counselling Psychology student. I believe difficult family moments can provide the opportunity for families to come together, and with support, create a deeper connection to facilitate meaningful change. As a new mom to a spirited little boy, attachment and responsive parenting philosophies inform my work with caregivers and their children.

I feel privileged to have worked closely with many families during challenging times to help promote overall well-being, and focus on themes such as emotion regulation, co-regulation, mindfulness, caregiver affect management, distress tolerance, attachment, attunement, routines and rituals, and improving communication. A comfortable and safe therapeutic relationship is the foundation for my work with people of all ages, and I will do my best to help you all feel heard and meet your family's needs.

I began my journey as a helping professional over ten years ago and have gained significant experience working with diverse populations of children, youth, and their families in a multitude of environments (crisis-stabilization, secure treatment facilities, small options home, group homes, community/in-home and school facility). Working with some of our province's most vulnerable and complex families has instilled deep empathy and appreciation for the resiliency and capability of individuals struggling personally, in family dynamics, and within our social systems. I will continue to work with the IWK Children's Intensive service throughout my counselling student placement and believe this role will enhance my practice. I have also worked as a DBT Skills Parent Educator/Coach on the trial of Dalhousie's Dept. of Psychiatry REACH (Regulating Emotion and Attachment for Community Health) project. I have education and certification in therapeutic approaches including Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Attachment Regulation Competency, Collaborative Problem-Solving Tier 2, and trauma Informed Care. My integrative approach to working with children and families is informed by therapeutic modalities such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), IFS (Internal Family Systems), Narrative therapy, Play Therapy, Mindfulness, Somatic Therapy, and Attachment Theory.

My aim as a counselling therapist is to empower individuals and families to recognize their own capacity to heal, grow, and contribute to the wellness of their families and communities. I am confident in providing family intervention with caregivers and complex children who struggle with behavioural/emotional challenges. My goal is to help caregivers better understand their children's challenging behaviour and learn strategies to respond in a way that builds connections and improves family functioning.

About Toni Spinella

I am a clinical psychology Ph.D. candidate at Dalhousie University and am very excited to be part of the LHA team! Currently, I am involved with the Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) team, co-facilitating DBT skills groups with folks who experience difficulties regulating intense emotions. Additionally, I conduct mental health, learning, and ADHD assessments with youth (16+) and adults looking to better understand their difficulties.

In addition to previous assessment experience, I have experience working with youth and adults who struggle with symptoms of anxiety, depression/low mood, substance use difficulties, chronic illness, and trauma, using various treatment approaches including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Motivational Interviewing (MI).

Growing up in Ottawa, I completed an Honour's degree (B.A.) in Psychology at Carleton University. I then received a Master of Science (M.Sc.) degree in Psychology and Neuroscience at Dalhousie University before starting my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. As part of my graduate training, I have been involved in research related to substance use, substance use disorders, and cannabis, including potential harms and medicinal effects associated with cannabis.

Overall, I strive to develop a strong working relationship with my clients and am committed to providing a safe space for individuals from diverse backgrounds and life experiences. I look forward to working collaboratively with each individual to help them understand their difficulties via assessment and teach them new skills via DBT group, to help them move towards their goals.

Jessica Ali
Ton Spinell
Katelyn Rowe
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