About Us

Shalem Mental Health Network

Shalem is a Hebrew word that captures the rich biblical concept of wholeness, peace, and the restoration of hope. Since 1963, we have provided care, counselling and programs through a biblically-informed professional approach to mental health and wellbeing.

Our Vision

We envision people, organizations, and communities flourishing through the restoration of hope.

Our Mission

We restore hope in the lives of people, organizations, and communities through our professional counselling, restorative practices, education, and community programs enabling all to flourish.

Our Values

Motivated by the compassionate love of God we embrace:

    • Hope – Journeying through present challenges to welcome the promise of restoration.
    • Inclusion – Creating communities of acceptance which honours God’s image within every life.
    • Relationships – Nurturing healthy connections is foundational to sustaining mental wellbeing.
    • Partnerships – Building professional and organizational networks so we amplify our collective impact in the world.
    • Professionalism – Committing ourselves to professional ethics, best practices, learning, and creative innovation.
    • Stewardship – Thanking God for the opportunity to serve through our practices of accountability and transparency.

Our Land Acknowledgement

From the Mi’kmaq in the east to the Haida in the west, from the Inuit in the north to the Métis in the central regions, and the many First Nations in between, these lands, now called Canada, have been nurtured, protected, and cared for by Indigenous peoples who have stewarded this territory since time immemorial.

Shalem’s head office in Hamilton, Ontario rests upon traditional territories of the Erie, Neutral, Huron-Wyandot, Haudenosaunee, and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nations. The territory is covered by the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement between the Iroquois Confederacy, the Ojibwe and other allied nations that peaceably share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes. The wampum uses the symbolism of a dish to represent the territory, and one spoon to represent that the people are to share the resources of the land and only take what they need.

We humbly acknowledge the enduring presence, contributions and sovereignty of diverse Indigenous nations across this country.  We deeply value the wisdom and knowledge our indigenous neighbours hold – prioritizing the healthy relationships between people and the land in which they live.

We recognize that members of our faith communities and profession have been complicit in the deep harm committed to the people indigenous to this land, in both child welfare practices and residential schools. We acknowledge the generational harm created by these practices and commit ourselves to reconciliation through learning, seeking justice, and relationship building. This acknowledgement is not complete. We see this as a snapshot of our understanding today and hope to see deepened understanding and deepened relationships as we go forward.

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Why do we practice land acknowledgement?

We do land acknowledgements to show our respect for the land, a tradition that dates back centuries for Indigenous peoples. Land acknowledgements have been adopted as a common practice in civic and community spaces across Canada. This is done as a small but important step towards reconciliation.

For non-Indigenous people, land acknowledgements are an opportunity to reflect on the impacts of colonialism, to be accountable to Indigenous people and to thank those who still live on and care for the land. It is our hope that this practice provokes thought and reflection about colonialism and how to engage in reconciliation more meaningfully. It is our hope to build peace and healthy relationships with our indigenous neighbours and friends.

How can I do more about colonisation, Indigenous history, and the pursuit of truth and reconciliation?

Below are some actions, practices and relationships that we have found helpful toward our goal:

How do we reflect individually on our land acknowledgement?

In our commitment to learn and grow in our understanding of the experience of our indigenous neighbours, one practice we’ve adopted is staff members taking turns in preparing a land acknowledgment for our staff meetings. Our goal is learning leading to action.

Below is one staff member’s reflection from earlier in 2023.

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Every Tuesday and Friday I leave for work at the probation office on foot from my home near Locke Street. I don’t think that’s an Indigenous name.

My feet leave the last wood step of the porch, and they remain on concrete the whole way—except for the grass field at HAAA park. I don’t think the grass grew there naturally.

I notice my feet start to hurt near the end because I don’t wear proper shoes for concrete. My feet protest: “Is this what we’re supposed to be walking on?”

On the mornings I’m paying attention, I look up and notice the cityscape—greys and glass, steel and the stillness of rigidity. Where did the colour go? Where are the birds, the swaying trees, and the deep, cool sounds of the woods and water? I sense no softness.

I get to the probation building, bidding a silent hello to the Indigenous man who is sometimes sleeping, and other times bent double, escaped to his opioid refuge to forget his lonely concrete bed, perhaps to remember the land inside his heart. I hope he remembers to report today so he doesn’t get charged and fined again for surviving.

I step into the elevator and leave the earth for the work day. Even with a window view, I can’t really see the land. When it’s clear I can see the lake—the day’s refreshment. What I can see is the Court House—a place where rules foreign to this land are enforced in the guise of “correction” and “rehabilitation.” I smile wickedly at the irony—”those who need correcting” are living, breathing, heralding, human symptoms—evidence of an incorrect system that creates what it seeks to correct.

“What would you say are the main things keeping you from feeling at your best right now,” I ask a new client, smelling of scrap metal and stale cannabis. “Employment and housing,” they reply. I feel disheartened. Those things come from the land, not from my office in the sky. They add, “Do you have any granola bars?”

I exit the building doors at 4 p.m. as the wind whips up King Street like an unhelpful neuropathway. The man from this morning is street centre, tweaking loudly at what seems to be the entire city. I wish I was brave enough to join him. The concrete has buried his home alive. He can no longer get to it, though it beckons him each night through the sidewalk—the White lie of stability that is now my commute.

No roots to trip on, no mud to dirty my shoes, no accompanying stream; just a giant, unmarked gravestone with lines and curbs to direct me. A bird shits on it right in front of me. I smile, and cry.

It’s a slow, thankful, guilty privilege to walk home.

Glen Watkinson, 2023

Our Board of Directors

Shalem is a registered charitable organization. Shalem’s volunteer Board of Directors is elected by the members and is accountable to them. The Shalem Board is a policy board, guided by a strong Board policy manual and committed to best practices in governance.

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Karen Cornies (Board Chair)

Karen is the Executive Director at Silver Lake Mennonite Camp. Karen brings 30 years experience working with youth and young adults, responding to many mental health concerns over that time. She also brings management, leadership and board experience. When not at work, Karen loves spending time with family, book clubs, nature and boards and has a special place in her heart for The Camino de Santiago. Karen has worked on service agreements with Shalem over the last 10 years, grateful for all the ways that Shalem has provided life-giving support in so many critical situations. She is looking forward to contributing to Shalem on the board.

Matt Steinman (Treasurer)

Matt is fascinated by the idea of using business for  good. During his time studying at the University of Waterloo, he had his first exposure to board leadership as the student board representative at MCCO. After working at various tech companies, a physics lab, and one of Canada’s top corporate law firms, Matt landed on a small family-owned regenerative farm (Heartwood Farm & Cidery) as his preferred place of employment. He is now a partner in the business and is excited about ambitious plans for the future of Heartwood. When not working, Matt can be found biking along the Grand River, scuba diving along the Bruce Peninsula, or on a patio in Kitchener with his partner and friends. He looks forward to learning more about the good work that Shalem does.

Amila Dreise

Amila previously held the position of Interim Ontario Director at A Rocha Canada, a Christian environmental stewardship organization. She brings seven years of experience in non-profit management, communications, and fundraising. She is dedicated to communicating with constituents well, developing meaningful programs, and helping organizations flourish. Amila is inspired by Shalem’s integrated and holistic approach in mental health and sees its work as an integral piece to the well-being of individuals and communities. Currently, Amila is raising her first child alongside her husband in Hamilton, Ontario where they enjoy sailing, canoeing, being in Creation, and sharing a meal with friends and neighbours. 

Louisa Drost

Louisa is the Dean of Students at Mohawk College and is active in the Hamilton community both professionally and personally. Her working career has included various roles in the USA and Canada focused on children, youth and adult mental health and wellbeing. When not working, Louisa enjoys a variety of outdoor activities with her family and friends.

Shane Pennells

Shane is an filmmaker and writer and has worked with at-risk and marginalized populations for more than 20 years, using the arts to bring attention to their voices and stories. He has also done extensive work in the area of media advisory and media theory education, for which he has received both provincial and federal commendations. When not being a media mogul he enjoys baseball, all things computer-related, and figuring out where to put his latest book store finds on increasingly overcrowded shelves. He lives in Hamilton with his wife and their two cats, who love her but merely tolerate him.

Shawn Stovell

Shawn is the Registrar & Director of Enrolment Management at Knox College at the University of Toronto. Shawn has been a frontline student services professional and academic administrator for over thirty years, having served in undergraduate and graduate institutions in Canada and France. In addition to service on the Shalem Board of Directors, Shawn serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Ecumenical Chaplaincy at the University of Toronto. Shawn insists that his students cannot bribe him with coffee and chocolate, but that they are welcome to try.

Chris Wignall

Chris is returning to the Shalem Board after a year’s absence. He works with charity leaders locally, nationally, and internationally through his consulting business Lead With Catalyst. A long time friend of Shalem, Chris brings experience in board governance, strategy, and leadership development, along with a keen interest in how organizations, churches, and families can better support mental health needs. He lives with his family in Greensville, ON and enjoys all kinds of outdoor activities.

Our Staff

Directors

Jennifer Bowen

Jennifer Bowen
Executive Director

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Jennifer Bowen, MDiv, RMFT, RP

Executive Director

At the start of January 2021, Jennifer began serving Shalem in the role of Executive Director. Having led the counselling program since 2009, and has loved her time growing and supporting Shalem’s staff in its mission and values. Before Shalem, she worked for 20 years in the field of marriage and family therapy as a psychotherapist, consultant and trainer, valuing opportunities to work in both Family Service agencies in the GTA and faith-based clinical settings. She brings a passion for team building, visioning and community partnerships, and is keen to support the board in continuing its mission of engaging our community. She completed her undergraduate degree at University of Toronto, studying psychology and religion, was active in leadership in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and completed a Master of Divinity in Marriage and Family Counselling degree at Tyndale Seminary. In recent COVID months, she’s balanced her work with long family walks with her children, a healthy pile of novels, and many pots of tea.

Danielle VandenAkker

Danielle VandenAkker
Managing Director

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Danielle VandenAkker, BA

Managing Director

Danielle has been with Shalem since 2005. She graduated from Redeemer University College with a business major and missions minor. Most of Danielle’s work experience has been with non-profit organizations. Previously she worked at Mission Services of Hamilton, organizing children’s programs, and providing financial management for individuals on the Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program.

Danielle provides administrative support to Shalem, and manages our print and web communications. Danielle manages the intake process for the Congregational Assistance Plan (CAP) and the Hamilton Clinic.

Danielle enjoys camping, biking and hiking with her family.

Jennifer Myrie

Jennifer Myrie
Clinical Director

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Jennifer Myrie, DMin, RP, RMFT

Clinical Director

Jennifer Myrie is a Registered Psychotherapist and Registered Marriage and Family Therapist. She is also a Supervisor with the Canadian Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (CAMFT) and Approved Supervisor with the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). Jennifer’s experience includes over 15 years in a multi-site Family Service Agency, managing clinical services, and providing clinical supervision to clinicians and supervisors from diverse backgrounds and at various stages of professional development. Jennifer has taught in the University of Guelph’s Couple and Family Therapy Program and currently is a sessional instructor with University of Guelph OpenEd Advanced Certificate in Couple and Family Therapy Studies program and Tyndale University Counselling program.

Jennifer is passionate about clinical practice, teaching and clinical supervision, and is committed to practices that embody equity, excellence and collaboration.

She enjoys being engaged at various levels of her church community, relaxing with a good biography, and gardening.

Betty Brouwer

Betty J.B. Brouwer
Attachment Psychotherapist and Artistic Director

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Betty J.B. Brouwer, MSc, RCAT, RP

Attachment Psychotherapist and Artistic Director

Betty is our Director of the Attachment program and the Artistic Director of Shalem’s RE-create Outreach Art Studio. A registered art therapist and a certified play therapist, Betty has worked with adults, children, teens and their parents for over 25 years at Shalem. Betty is a certified supervisor, consultant and trainer of the Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy Institute.

Betty holds a Master’s degree in Child and Adolescent Studies from the University of Guelph. She also completed the Master’s-level program at the Toronto Art Therapy Institute.

Tom Jantzie

Tom Jantzi
Director of CAP

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Tom Jantzi, MA, RP

Director of CAP

Tom is the Director of our Congregational Assistance Plan (CAP) and Clergy Care programs. As a practicing Registered Psychotherapist with previous experience in pastoral ministry and management with a national Employee Assistance Program (EAP) he brings a unique perspective to the direction of these Shalem programs. Through his work experiences, Tom has witnessed the value and impact that accessible, confidential, and professional mental health supports can have on workplaces and communities of all sizes.

Tom holds a Bachelor of Arts in Church Ministries from Pacific Life Bible College and a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology from Yorkville University. When he is not working, Tom loves hiking and tracking wildlife with his wife, and their quirky rescue dog, Zoey. He also enjoys backpacking, playing soccer, and holding out hope for the Maple Leafs!

Anne Martin

Anne Martin
Director of Restorative Practices

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Anne Martin, MA, PhD

Director of Restorative Practices

Anne holds a M.A. in Religion and Culture and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies. She is trained in Restorative Practices and a founding member of the FaithCARE steering team, an ecumenical organization supported by Shalem that offers a restorative response to conflict and a process to become restorative congregations.

Anne’s work experience includes volunteer coordinator with the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture, lecturer in Religious Studies and Women’s Studies, and program coordinator in the areas of small group ministry and spiritual formation for the United Church of Canada. Anne is a skilled small group facilitator and workshop leader. She is the author of Rooted in the Divine: Nurturing Our Faith Through Small Group Ministry, Toronto, United Church, 2004 and Exploring Faith Questions: Journeys of Faith and Spirituality, Toronto, United Church, 2004. Anne has two terrific children. She loves to travel, write, and learn about just about anything.

Felicia Van Dyk

Felicia Van Dyk
Director, Annual Giving & Donor Stewardship

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Felicia Van Dyk

Director, Annual Giving & Donor Stewardship

Felicia is currently away on maternity leave until summer 2024.

Felicia Van Dyk proudly serves as the leader of all fundraising and development activities at the Shalem Mental Health Network. With over 10 years experience working at non profit and social services agencies, her passion for bringing people together and community building has kept her motivated. Felicia appreciates working with donors and supporters to learn the “why” behind their stewardship and to ensure their interests are met while meeting the needs of Shalem. Felicia lives in Hamilton with her husband and young son. She is a dedicated community volunteer and is active with the Locke Street Community Fridge. She is currently workings towards her Community Engagement, Leadership and Development certificate at the Toronto Metropolitan University.

Admin, Program Staff and Advisory Members

Kailin Murfin

Bill Bickle
FaithCare Advisory Member

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Bill Bickle

FaithCare Advisory Member

Bill Bickle operates Fordelm Inc. a small church-health consulting firm, from Port Hope where he and his wife Marnie live. Bill was a banker for 25 years in increasingly senior management roles in international banking, corporate banking, and marketing to small businesses. He has an accounting degree and an M.B.A. in organizational behaviour. Bill is the National Partner for Natural Church Development (NCD) in Canada and the UK and has worked cross-denominationally with hundreds of churches, church leaders and denominational offices.

As a founding member of the FaithCare Steering Group, Bill has contributed significantly to the ongoing development of the RP paradigm. He is a certified facilitator and trainer and brings this focus on the restoration of relationships, and reconciliation, to his work with churches, especially those in conflict or in transition.

For more on Bill’s work with churches and how Fordelm supports the release of all-by-itself growth potential to build up the Body of Christ, please visit fordelm.com.

Elisabeth Di Francesco

Elisabeth Di Francesco
Administrative Support

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Elisabeth Di Francesco, BA

Administrative Support

Elisabeth graduated from York University with a major in Geography and, after a few years of travel and mission work, began administrative employment. At Shalem she provides administrative support to various programs, including the intake process for the Hamilton clinic and Congregational Assistance Program (CAP). Prior to coming to Shalem, Elisabeth was the Assistant to the Vice-President (Academic) at Redeemer University College.

Elisabeth still enjoys international travel and mission work, alongside her husband and children, but more regularly indulges in family games of UNO and Monopoly.

Marie Sinclair

Heidi De Jonge
FaithCare Advisory Member

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Heidi De Jonge, M.Div., D.Min.

FaithCare Advisory Member

Heidi De Jonge is a pastor in the reformed tradition. She’s spent 14 years in parish ministry, and is currently a chaplain at Queen’s University and in a long term care home. Heidi is a restorative practitioner and trainer with FaithCARE and also works as a trainer in conflict transformation with the Colossian Forum.

Ruth Jackson

Ruth Jackson
CAP Admin Support & Intake Services

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Ruth Jackson

CAP Admin Support & Intake Services

Ruth provides administrative support for the Congregational Assistance Plan Program (CAP) as well as intake services support for the Hamilton clinic. Ruth graduated from Queen’s University with a major in History and then obtained a Diploma in Office Administration. After working and travelling in Europe for a year, she returned to Toronto and began administrative work in the Human Resources Division at the TD Bank; then owned and operated a catering and retail shop; and latterly worked in the Insurance industry.

Outside of work, Ruth loves travelling and spending time with her family and friends.

Christy Lui

Christy Lui
WrapAround Facilitator

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Christy Lui, BA

WrapAround Facilitator

Christy is a graduate from McMaster University, specializing in Social Psychology with Honours. With experience as a case manager, she has successfully worked with diverse demographics including youth, families, and single woman, which has equipped her with skills applicable to the Wraparound Program.

Known for her calm yet friendly demeanor, Christy focuses on providing a supportive environment and safe environment for families. Driven by her personal and professional values, she firmly believes in delivering client-centered, strength-based, and anti-oppressive care to all families.

Outside of work hours, Christy finds joy in going to the gym, exploring hiking trails, and indulging in a book during her leisure hours.

Megarrah Buxton

Leah Mercer
Intake and Administrative Support

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Leah Mercer

Intake and Administrative Support

Leah joined Shalem in the spring of 2023 as a member of the administrative support and intake team. She came to Shalem after working the past 7 years in Children’s Ministry as the program coordinator at her local church. Leah brings her smile, friendly personality and warmth to all the clients she comes into contact with and considers her role here a great honour and privilege to serve this community.

Leah also enjoys spending time with her family, camping and cooking.

Kailin Murfin

Emma Moeller
Studio Facilitator

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Emma Moeller

Studio Facilitator

Emma is a textile artist and teacher whose passion is the intersection of art and community. She graduated from Sheridan’s Bachelor of Craft and Design program in 2019 at which point she ventured across the ocean to Roskilde, Denmark. While overseas she volunteered with the University of Copenhagen in a program which aimed to help refugees integrate into Danish society through textiles. She also learned the craft of basket making, sold her work at the local market, and attended a Course for textile archeology.

Since returning to Hamilton at the tail end of 2021, Emma has taught sewing and surface design at Needlework on James St N. She also worked at the Eva Rothwell Centre creating deep and lasting connections with the Hamilton community at large, connections she continues to foster through her volunteer work at the centre. Emma loves fashion and spends her free time sewing clothes and thrifting, as well as prioritising connecting with friends, continuous learning, and of course curling up in bed.

Kailin Murfin

Kailin Murfin
WrapAround Facilitator

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Kailin Murfin, BA

WrapAround Facilitator

Kailin is currently on maternity leave.

Kailin has a great mix of professional and personal experiences that inform the work that she does as a WrapAround Facilitator. Kailin received her Bachelor of Arts in Chid and Youth Care from Ryerson University, where she graduated with Honours. Kailin has worked in diverse settings including supporting neurodiverse children and their families as well as in bereavement, education, addiction and mental health agencies.

Kailin has an outgoing, warm and empathetic demeaner. She understands the importance of equitability and works hard to ensure that her work is anti-oppressive, anti-racist and healing centered. By seeking out new learning opportunities and engaging with communities, she is continually learning and growing in order to better serve the families that she works with.

When Kailin is not working, she enjoys taking time to focus on her spiritual growth. She also enjoys spending time with loved ones, hiking, baking and discovering new restaurants and coffee shops.

Megarrah Buxton

Krizzia Ricafort
Intake and Administrative Support

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Krizzia Ricafort

Intake and Administrative Support

Krizzia joined Shalem’s administrative/intake team in the summer of 2022. She graduated from the Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour program at McMaster University (Honours BA), with a minor in Sociology. Following her time at McMaster, she worked in various non-profit organizations around Hamilton and Burlington in the areas of outreach, administration and customer service. At present, she is pursuing her Master of Arts in Clinical Counselling from Tyndale Seminary, and hopes to practice as a psychotherapist in the near future.

Beyond engaging in the balancing act of school and her part-time position at Shalem, Krizzia loves spending time with her family, enjoying a good meal with friends, taking walks through gardens, and exploring places she’s never been.

Marie Sinclair

Marie Sinclair
Studio Facilitator

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Marie Sinclair

Youth Outreach Worker and Community Developer

Marie Sinclair is a Studio Facilitator for RE-create Outreach Art Studio. She is an interdisciplinary artist practicing in several mediums, including: poetry, acrylic paint, polymer clay and jewelry making. Marie first experienced RE-create as a youth, next as an artist-in-residence, and then as a volunteer, before transitioning into her role as Youth Outreach Worker and Community Developer. She first discovered her passion for all things artistic at RE-create and now seeks to nurture creativity and mental well-being in other youth. She is also keen to spread the word about RE-create to other community youth-serving agencies.

Marie is passionate about creative expression, hope, and health and she regularly uses different creative mediums to celebrate her voice, cultivate inner peace, and reconnection. She runs a thriving small artisan jewelry business where she designs jewelry for all occasions, accessed through her website and at pop-up events.

Megarrah Buxton

Steve Young
FaithCare Advisory Member

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Steve Young

FaithCare Advisory Member
Retired Principal, York Region District School Board, Ontario, Canada

Steve is a retired Elementary teacher and Principal with 35 years of service and has been involved in the use of Restorative Practices in schools for more than 20 years. He lives in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Steve also worked within the Youth Justice court system and is a member of FaithCare, providing restorative services to faith communities. Steve is a certified trainer with the IIRP in Formal Conferences, Circles, and Restorative Frameworks. In 2015 he earned his Master of Science degree in Restorative Practices from the IIRP Graduate School and presently sits as a Trustee on the IIRP Board of Trustees. Steve is a certified Community Mediator and Restorative Justice trainer with Community Justice Alternatives of Durham Region (CJAD) where he sits as the President of the Board. He presently works for Restorative Resolutions, providing RP training and coaching to schools across Canada, and can be heard in the weekly Podcast Circle Forum discussing aspects of Restorative Justice in schools and broader society. He recently published The Restorative Principal: Leading in Education with Restorative Practices, describing his personal journey in learning about, and implementing, Restorative Practices in schools.

Megarrah Buxton

Mark Vander Vennen
FaithCare and WrapAround Advisory Member

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Mark Vander Vennen

FaithCare Advisory Member

Mark Vander Vennen, M.A., M.Ed, R.S.W., is a marriage and family therapist and registered social worker living in Cobourg, Ontario. He is a founding and current member of Shalem’s FaithCARE Steering Group. Mark has delivered numerous Shalem FaithCARE trainings in Canada, the United States and Haiti, and until recently served as a Canadian representative on the Board of the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP). Mark also serves as the founding and current Board Chair of Wrap Canada, a charitable organization dedicated to supporting WrapAround initiatives across the country. He is Co-Director of its WrapAround Training Institute, has delivered WrapAround trainings across Canada, and currently serves as the Coach for Shalem’s WrapAround program in Hamilton. Mark was a member of the Inter-Ministerial Provincial Advisory Committee (IMPAC) at Queen’s Park and more recently served on the Advisory Committee of the Ontario Ministry of Health’s “Social Prescribing” pilot program for seniors, whose final report has recommended WrapAround for seniors with complex needs.

In 2020 Mark retired as Executive Director of the Shalem Mental Health Network, a position he held since 2004. In that capacity, he co-authored numerous published essays on Shalem’s FaithCARE, Congregational Assistance Plan, and WrapAround programs, including “Towards A Relational Theory of Restorative Justice” in Restorative Theory in Practice (Jessica Kingsley). Prior to coming to Shalem, Mark coordinated services for 14 years with and on behalf of children and youth with complex needs in Northumberland County, Ontario. Mark is passionate about supporting communities to effectively meet the mental health needs of their most vulnerable members.

Therapists

James Apers

James Apers
Social Worker

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James Apers, MSW, RSW

Social Worker

James completed a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts from Trent University and a Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University. James is a registered social worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.

James brings a warm and engaging demeanour to his conversations with clients. A big believer in the power of narrative, he strives to create a safe and welcoming place for the sharing and unpacking of each individual’s story. James strives to pursue collaborative and strengths-based explorations of client concerns.

James has worked with youth, individuals and families in a variety of settings, including mental health clinics, childhood trauma treatment programs, schools, residential treatment facilities and transitional housing centres. James is a generalist who uses integrative approaches rooted in evidence-based, trauma-informed practice.

Away from work, James enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, camping, and experimenting with his backyard smoker barbeque. He is intermittently committed to learning Spanish and has a weakness for truffles, peach pie and British detective dramas… at the same time if possible.

Aimee Berends

Aimee Berends
Psychotherapist (Qualifying)

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Aimee Berends, MACP, MMT, BMus, RP(Q)

Psychotherapist

Aimee is a music psychotherapist who is trained in both music therapy and psychotherapeutic practice. For clients who prefer traditional talk therapy, Aimee works primarily from a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) model, and borrows from Solutions-Focused, Narrative and Systems approaches. For clients who want to engage in the arts to deepen their therapeutic work, Aimee uses musical experiences. This might include singing together, playing instruments, improvising, songwriting, or intentional music listening. No previous musical experience required!

With every person, Aimee works to meet them at their distinct stage of readiness. She considers every encounter a cultural exchange, and seeks to understand each person’s framework of meaning from a biopsychosocial perspective. When not in the therapy room, Aimee is in nature, cooking, playing music or exploring a new place.

Betty Brouwer

Samantha Black
Clinical Counselling Student

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Samantha Black

Clinical Counselling Student

Samantha is a clinical counselling student who understands the importance of meeting people where they are, and walking alongside on their journey. There is no one-size fits all solution, and Samantha likes to work with each client to locate unique strengths, supports, and strategies. You can expect a compassionate and open space to share your stories at your own pace. She uses this space to facilitate healing in various areas related to grief, loss, trauma, depression, anxiety, spirituality, aging, and life transitions. Samantha honours and values each person’s distinctive goals for therapy, and for themselves. 

Samantha has experience in Health Sciences, and a Master’s degree in Theological Studies with a focus on Spiritual Care and Counselling. She is coming to the end of her Master’s degree in Pastoral Studies with a focus on Psychotherapy. Samantha merges these all together into a passion for engaging with the community’s health in a holistic understanding of body, mind, and soul. She is trained and comfortable in various therapeutic models such as Narrative Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and Emotion Focused Therapy. 

In her down time, Samantha enjoys cooking (and never repeating a recipe), playing Animal Crossing, portage trips, and watching the Montreal Canadiens continue to rebuild year after year.

Betty Brouwer

Betty J.B. Brouwer
Attachment Psychotherapist and Artistic Director

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Betty J.B. Brouwer, MSc, RCAT, RP

Attachment Psychotherapist and Artistic Director

Betty is our Director of the Linking Lives/Building Attachment program and the Artistic Director of Shalem’s RE-create Outreach Art Studio. A registered art therapist and a certified play therapist, Betty has worked with adults, children, teens and their parents for over 15 years at Shalem. Betty is a certified supervisor, consultant and trainer of the Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy Institute.

Betty holds a Master’s degree in Child and Adolescent Studies from the University of Guelph. She also completed the Master’s-level program at the Toronto Art Therapy Institute.

Michelle DeBoer

Michelle DeBoer
Psychotherapist

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Michelle DeBoer, BA, Grad. Dipl., RP

Psychotherapist

Prior to joining Shalem, Michelle worked with children with behavioural difficulties in the school setting, elderly persons in the end stages of dementia, and adults recovering from brain injury and lengthy hospitalization.

At Shalem, Michelle has worked with children and families with issues of addiction, divorce and separation, those experiencing grief, anger issues, and children with behavioural difficulties at home and school. Michelle enjoys working alongside parents and families of these children throughout the therapy process and includes them in the art-making experience.

Michelle completed her undergraduate studies at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI. with a Bachelor of Arts degree with majors in psychology and criminal justice. She completed her graduate studies at the Toronto Art Therapy Institute.

Stephen Doucet Campbell

Stephen Doucet Campbell
Psychotherapist

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Stephen Doucet Campbell, MA, RP

Psychotherapist

Stephen completed his undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of Winnipeg and a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology at Providence Theological Seminary. He is a registered psychotherapist.

He has worked with youth, individuals and families in a wide variety of settings including child welfare, schools, hospitals, community health centres and outpatient treatment programs for addiction and mental health. His areas of practice include anxiety, depression, addiction, anger, grief, emotional dysregulation, mindfulness, couples therapy, and parenting. Stephen works from the philosophy that counselling often results in growth by seeking a fine balance between change and acceptance. Healing and increased awareness can be achieved out of a collaborative relationship of trust between a counsellor and their clients.

Beyond the office, Stephen explores the outdoors with his young family by bicycle, canoe and on foot.

Shawn Groen

Lesley Harris
Psychotherapist (Qualifying)

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Lesley Harris

Psychotherapist (Qualifying)

It is important to Lesley to provide a safe, compassionate and non-judgemental space for her clients as she seeks to honour and value the uniqueness of each individual and their journey. With Lesley’s previous experience in the healthcare field and personal experiences, she is passionate about supporting individual’s strengths by providing clients with effective evidence-based strategies and tools to support their personal growth and well-being.

In addition to studies in conflict management through the University of Waterloo-Conrad Grebel, Lesley has completed a Bachelor of Religious Education at Tyndale and her Masters in Arts in Counselling Psychotherapy from Yorkville University.

Outside of the counselling office Lesley enjoys playing tennis, kayaking, playing the piano, and watching a Blue Jays game.

Tom Jantzie

Tom Jantzi
Psychotherapist

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Lesley Harris

Psychotherapist 

Tom holds a Bachelor of Arts in Church Ministries from Pacific Life Bible College and a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology from Yorkville University. He has experience supporting people as they navigate the impacts of anxiety, depression and grief int their lives by creating safe, non-judgmental space for them to process their thoughts, connect with their emotions and find hope in their story. Using an integration of Solution Focused, Cognitive-Behavioural and Narrative therapies Tom helps people to explore the strength, resilience and courage that they’ve had all along their journey and where it comes from.

When he is not working, Tom loves hiking and tracking wildlife with his wife, and their quirky rescue dog, Zoey. He also enjoys backpacking, playing soccer, and holding out hope for the Maple Leafs!

Shawn Groen

Jennie Koops
Psychotherapist (Qualifying)

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Jennie Koops, MPS, RP(Q)

Psychotherapist

Jennie completed a Bachelor of Arts in Intercultural Studies from Providence College University, and a Master of Pastoral Studies (Spiritual Care and Psychotherapy) from Emmanuel College at the University of Toronto. She completed her practicum year at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health working with clients recovering from addiction, grief and loss, and family dysfunction.  She is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying). 

Using an integration of therapeutic modalities that explore our stories in our lives, our emotions, our spirituality, and our beliefs about ourselves, Jennie takes a culturally aware and trauma sensitive approach to explore a variety of issues in each client’s life. Jennie works out of a community-centered lens, bringing an awareness of diversity, social justice, and affirmative care to her practice. 

When not working, Jennie enjoys spending time with her family, trying new activities, and exploring her thoughts and emotions through artistic endeavors. 

Shawn Groen

Sarah Lim
Clinical Counselling Student

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Sarah Lim

Clinical Counselling Student

Sarah has completed her bachelor of art’s degree at York University majoring in Humanities, and is currently in her final semester of the Masters of Divinity Clinical Counselling program at Tyndale.

Sarah is passionate about people and journeying alongside them towards emotional and mental wellness. Sarah works out of a lens of curiosity, warmth, and encouragement to engage with her clients.

Sarah has experience working with youth, individuals, and families in various countries such as Mongolia, Uganda, Colombia, and Mexico. She has worked with schools, churches, government funded senior homes, orphanages, and women’s shelters.

Away from work, Sarah loves planning fun getaways, dousing hot sauce on everything she eats, and spending time with her young niece and nephews…in moderation!

Bernadine Togeretz

Bernadine Togeretz
Social Worker

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Bernadine Togeretz, MSW, RSW

Social Worker

As a counsellor and registered social worker, Bernadine has enjoyed working with individuals, couples and families in a variety of settings. She provides a supportive and safe space for people to work through the hurts and difficulties they are experiencing and move towards healing.

Bernadine has completed her undergraduate degrees in Social Development Studies and Social Work through the University of Waterloo and has completed her Masters in Social Work. Bernadine is a Family Group Decision Making Coordinator and is registered with the George Hull Centre for Families in Toronto. Bernadine is registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW). Bernadine has recently completed an externship in EFT (Emotion Focused Therapy) and has joined the ICEEFT (International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy) network. She is continually engaging in opportunities for growth.

Bernadine enjoys spending time with her family, disappearing into a great book or walking a golf course with a good friend. Bernadine is also an active member of her church community.

Susan Winter Fledderus

Susan Winter Fledderus
Psychotherapist

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Susan Winter Fledderus, M.Ed, RP, RSW, RMFT-SM

Psychotherapist

Susan seeks to create a warm, accepting and safe environment for each person she sees in therapy. She approaches whatever topics or situations people raise with curiosity, compassion and a desire to explore them together in ways that open up space to move forward.

She works with people to develop a personalized plan to meet their needs, which often looks like collaboratively developing strategies and solutions to make changes. It might also include making space to process past experiences, including traumas and relationships, in ways that helps make sense of them, reduces their negative impact and promotes resilience, growth and healing. She seeks to integrate events and change on various levels, including the emotional, cognitive, behavioural, spiritual and relational aspects of people’s experiences.

In individual, couple or family sessions, Susan helps people envision and develop the futures and the relationships they are longing for. She collaborates with couples and families to identify interaction patterns that are causing problems and replace them with patterns of healthy interactions that address the longings, fears and needs of each person.

Susan brings a lens of sociocultural awareness, attending to diversity and social justice issues and to the complexity of our identities and intersections in our lived experiences. She works from an affirming, anti-oppressive and trauma-informed lens to address experiences of marginalization and imbalances of power and to advocate for change. Susan works with folks from a variety of backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, and sexual and gender identities. In her own personal work, she seeks to expand her awareness of her own social locations, blind spots and internalized biases.

Susan works with and learns from clients bringing a wide range of topics, including abuse, anger, anxiety, conflict, depression, identity issues, living well with a mental health diagnosis, relationship issues, stress and trauma. Her work draws from several models of therapy, and she tailors her approach to build on the strengths and resources of each client. Her favourite models include Narrative Therapy, Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, and Attachment Therapies such as Emotionally Focused Therapy.

Susan completed her undergraduate degree at Redeemer University and a Master’s Degree in counselling psychology at McGill University. She is a registered marriage and family therapist and approved supervisor with the Canadian Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (CAMFT). Susan is also a Registered Psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) and a Registered Social Worker with the Ontario College of Social Worker and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW). She is a certified Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) couple therapist.

Susan offers clinical supervision for therapists working toward their CRPO or CAMFT certifications or other professional designations, as well as supervision mentoring for new supervisors.

When not working, Susan loves reading, photography, and playing games with her family.

Our Membership

Shalem is a membership organization, and membership is precious to us. Shalem is a registered charitable organization (RN 13056 6011 RR00011), governed by a volunteer Board of Directors that the membership elects. The Board is accountable to the members.

We invite you to apply for membership (at $5 per year, so that cost does not interfere with the desire to become a member). We covet your ongoing input, support and prayers.

Membership Form

5 + 3 =

Our Impact

Our Impact Report highlights our work with individuals, organizations, and communities. Click the image below to download and read our 2023 Impact Report. If you prefer to have a copy mailed to you, please contact us.

2022 Annual Report

Our Funding

Over our 60 years of service, we have created a sustainable funding model that weaves together several important strands of financial resources:

 

          • Committed Donors
          • Funding from Grants and Foundations
          • Client and Organizational Fees

Our Finances

In a spirit of gratitude for the resources generously given to us, we annually provide professionally audited financial statements:

Careers, Providers, Volunteers & Placements

The Benefits of Working at Shalem

Culture

We have a restorative and relational culture, balancing professionalism, learning, connection and work/life balance.  

Extra Paid Holidays

We close for a week every year in December and all employees have extra paid time off to rejuvenate.

Personal Days

We know employees get sick, elderly parents may need help, offspring may get sick. We want you to take care of yourself and those you love with paid Personal Days.

Generous Vacation

We all need to rest and take time away. All staff start with a minimum of 3-weeks vacation (prorated based on weekly hours) so everyone can recharge and bring their best selves to work.

Group Extended Health Benefits

All employees working a certain number of hours or more have access to our Group Extended Health Benefits Plan to support selfcare and family care.

Professional Development Support

Understanding how vital career growth is and valuing the expertise of our team members, all staff have access to paid Supervisory Hours!

Employment Opportunities at Shalem

There are no employment opportunities at Shalem at this time, check back here again!

 

CAP Service Provider Opportunities with Shalem

We are grateful for professional counsellors who work with us in the CAP program. We are often looking for new CAP Service Providers in a specific geographic region or with clinical specialties. We’d love to hear from you if you’d be interested in joining our team of CAP Service Providers.

Shalem’s CAP Counsellors must have a recognized university degree (generally Master’s level) in a counselling related field, membership with a professional regulatory body approved by the Province of Ontario, and a Christian faith that is integrated into their clinical practice.

Please complete the form below, and send a copy of your CV to Tom Jantzi.

CAP Service Provider Form

Are you a member of a Professional Practice College?

If no, have you applied to the CRPO?

Do you have Professional Liability Insurance?

Do you have a confidential voicemail box?

8 + 11 =

For more information about our CAP Service Provider Opportunities, please contact Tom Jantzi at [email protected]

Volunteer Opportunities at Shalem

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RE-create Studio Volunteer

We’re currently looking for volunteers to help out during studio time at RE-create Outreach Art Studio. Studio times happen 3 times a week and are times when at-risk, street-involved and homeless youth can come to the studio and make art. As a studio volunteer, you’d be responsible for assisting the studio coordinator to make sure all the youth have the supplies that they need, giving youth positive feedback on their work, encouraging youth and spending time, listening to them and being someone who cares about them and their lives.
A criminal reference check (vulnerable persons), through your local police station, will be required to volunteer in the studio.

Currently open studio is offered on:


Monday from 12:30-3:00pm

Tuesday from 7:00-9:00pm

Thursday from 4:00-6:00pm

You would not need to be available for all those times in order to be a volunteer, but we’d like to have you there at least once a week. We find that it takes the youth a long time to build rapport with volunteers who are present less than once a week.

To apply, please contact Megarrah Buxton, Studio Coordinator at RE-create.

Clinical Student Placements at Shalem

Shalem is pleased to offer student placement opportunities to students seeking placement during their training in Master’s Level programs related to psychotherapy or social work.

Placement dates
Shalem offers placements spanning September to April or January to August. Please follow the instructions below if you are interested in a placement at Shalem.

Process
If you are interested in joining us for your placement, please complete the form below and submit your CV to our Student Placement Coordinator, Susan Winter Fledderus, indicating your interest in this program, and highlighting your program needs. We will contact you if we are able to offer you an interview for the role.

In order to manage dual relationships, we would require a minimum of 5 years after accessing our services before we can consider them for employment or placement.

Hours
Shalem is generally able to offer 4-10 hours/week of direct client contact. All hours are negotiated during the interview process.

Supervision
Interns are matched with a supervisor, who will offer weekly individual supervision. Other details of the supervision relationship will be negotiated during the interview and first meetings. Your supervisor will also work with you to meet your program’s evaluation requirements. Please plan to bring all of your school’s placement material with you to your first supervision meeting.

In addition to individual supervision, Shalem offers monthly group supervision with the wider team of therapists.

Setting
Shalem offers psychotherapy to the community both onsite at its head office in Hamilton, as well as at some offsite offices at nearby schools. It is possible that internship client contact includes a variety of settings.

If the above details and dates meet your program needs and requirements, please complete the form below:

Clinical Student Placement Form

2 + 6 =

Professional Development at Shalem

In our pursuit of offering great care to our clients, Shalem Mental Health Network places a high value on professional learning. We regularly offer training opportunities for professionals in the mental health field on a wide range of topics, including the fundamentals of Supervision, Dyadic Development Psychotherapy.

You can discover more about these events on our Learning & Resources page under Professional Development.

Centre of Excellence & Learning

What makes Shalem unique in the mental health world is our intentional desire and faith-based approach to develop new relationships between communities and mental health providers. Neither communities nor professionals on their own can meet the significant mental health needs they encounter. Each area of our work can be described as a demonstration project in a different relationship between these two sectors. Understanding this unique situation, the Board of Directors established the Centre of Excellence and Learning.

Shalem’s Centre of Excellence and Learning generates research and publications to capture lessons learned and best practices toward personal, community and organizational wellbeing. The Centre serves as a platform for workshops and training, communication, learning and dialogue and suggesting new opportunities to serve.

For more information contact the Jennifer Bowen at [email protected].

Search for articles published by Shalem’s Centre of Excellence and Learning on our Events & Resources page.

Shalem FAQs

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How does our Christian foundation inform Shalem’s work?

As a Christian organization. we are committed to serving God through a faith-informing professional practice. Our values are rooted in Jesus’ inspirational message of love and hope for all people. We compassionately journey with people of all faiths. We ensure a safe space for everyone to engage questions of mental health and wellbeing.  When a client identifies as a person of faith, we acknowledge the significant role spirituality can provide them and seek to incorporate their faith into a sound therapeutic framework. Together we develop individualize approaches as they seek the restoration of hope in their lives.

Our Faith-Informing Practice in Action:

  • We offer radical hospitality
  • We ensure a place of safety
  • We co-create individualized plans
  • We strive to deliver best practices
How do we affirm our commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion?

Shalem Mental Health affirms its commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. This means that in all aspects of its operations and at all levels of the organization, Shalem works to ensure that there is no discrimination on the basis of, but not limited to, ethnicity, race, age, ability, sex, sexual or gender identity, sexual orientation, family status, nationality, place of birth, or marital status.

As a Christian agency, Shalem adopts the principle that all persons are created by God in God’s image, and as such, worthy of respect, compassion and belonging. Shalem’s commitment to inclusion extends to Board members, staff, students, volunteers, partners, and those Shalem serves.

Shalem values acceptance and diversity. Diversity means variety and difference, which means Shalem practices the inclusion of people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders and sexual orientations. Shalem accepts individuals for who they are. As an agency seeking to support healthy communities, Shalem sees diversity as a necessary component of healthy communities.

Shalem recognizes that oppressed groups experience marginalization and encounter barriers to full access and participation in the community. Shalem seeks to increase access and participation, especially for those who are marginalized, disadvantaged, or oppressed. Shalem recognizes that increasing diversity within our communities adds cultural and social value.