Robert Seymour Wright is a Social Worker and Sociologist whose 28-year career has spanned the fields of education, child welfare, forensic mental health, trauma, sexual violence, and cultural competence. A “clinician/academic/administrator,” he has always integrated his work delivering direct practice clinical service to clients with teaching and supervising interns and promoting lasting systemic change through social policy advocacy. He also consults, trains, speaks and comments on a wide range of issues. His pioneering work with colleagues in cultural competence and conducting cultural assessments has received national attention.
Robert holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in social work and has post-graduate training in social work and sociology. He has served in notable roles as the Race Relations Coordinator of the former Dartmouth District School Board, Executive Director of Family & Children’s Services of Cumberland County, and the Executive Director of Nova Scotia’s Child and Youth Strategy.
Robert also serves as the Executive Director of The Peoples' Counselling Clinic which provides no and low-cost counselling and case management services to low income individuals and special populations. A "Teaching Clinic” it is staffed by a clinic manager and counselling interns supervised by Robert. Through the Peoples' Clinic, Robert conducts ManTalk - a treatment/support group for male victims of sexual violence, provides services to the Domestic Violence Court Programme in Halifax, and delivers other programmes for special populations.
Jessica Gingras is a practicum student who is currently completing her Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology with Yorkville University. She originates from Ontario but presently resides in Shearwater, Nova Scotia. She has a B.A.(Hons) with a double major in Psychology and East Asian studies from York University. Jessica previously worked for the Canadian Forces as a clerk and found herself drawn once more to the psychology field during her time in the army, however, she still maintains ties to the military community.
Jessica has an interest in working with trauma, attachment-styles, and family systems. She aims to create a client-centred therapeutic environment through a holistic and compassion-based approach. Jessica is interested in working with a variety of client mental health and interpersonal concerns and emphasizes the use of evidence-based interventions in her work. She is an advocate for social inclusivity and empowerment and applies this to her counselling. She will be joining us shortly.
Crystal John BSW, RSW, is currently completing her MSW. Crystal is a Social Worker with a passion for community development, especially in Halifax’ North End. Crystal currently works as Executive Director of the Mulgrave Park Caring and Learning Centre where she highlights and advocates for equitable access to resources and programs, provides short term counseling for families in crisis, and facilitates programs. Crystal is
a Doula who supports families and advocates for their choices during childbirth. Crystal is President of the ABSW (Association of Black Social Workers) which helps to support, educate, and inspire members and community about the importance of Afrocentricity as a fabric of our social dialogue and inclusion in social spaces. Crystal is a Co-chair of the Planning and Action Committee for Family Lead Decision Making trailblaze, Crystal sits on Domestic Violence Court Program as part of the VEST team member, as a Master Trainer for Nurturing Strong African Nova Scotian Families parenting program, Crystal has been instrumental in developing programming for parents and caregivers. Crystal will be providing counseling during her practicum her at the People’s Clinic for the next 6 months.
Zarrin Ghaferi is a practicum student who is currently completing her Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology at Yorkville University. She received her Bachelor of Science degree (Hons) in Psychology from Dalhousie University. Zarrin has experience delivering mental health support to clients via distance and in-person, and is aware of the challenges that individuals living with mental health issues and their families may experience throughout the lifespan. Zarrin has worked with culturally diverse populations and has experience providing mental health support to children, youth, and adults. Using a client-centred approach, Zarrin aims to use evidence-based interventions within her counselling sessions to support, empower, and assist her clients in achieving their goals.
James Owen Dubé, BSc, BSW, MSW, RSW helped form The Peoples’ Counselling Clinic in 2017. He completed Bachelor’s degrees in both Neuroscience (Dalhousie University) and Social Work (University of Victoria). He also recently completed a health-focused Master’s programme in Social Work (University of Waterloo).
During his BSW in 2015-2016, James completed a practicum at what is now The Peoples' Counselling Clinic. His MSW practicum work was completed at Nova Scotia Health Authority in the Intensive Care Unit and Emergency Department at Dartmouth General Hospital. James has previous front-line experience in addictions and with children and youth in care. He has participated in Mental Health and Addictions policy development as a member of working groups at both the IWK Health Centre and Nova Scotia Health Authority.
James was employed as case manager for ManTalk beginning in early 2016 and became an employee of The Peoples’ Counselling Clinic in the Fall of 2017. In 2019, as his role expanded, he became the Clinic Manager. His work at the clinic has focused on counselling for perpetrators and victims of sexual and intimate partner violence. He has also provided case management for multi-problemed, street affected individuals. Case management involves both therapeutic counselling and advocacy.
James' undergraduate training was focused on Anti-Oppressive Practice and his graduate training provided a greater emphasis on clinical and health practices. His clinical framework emphasizes the Social Determinants of Health and Psychodynamics.
James' time at The Peoples' Counselling Clinic has allowed for the expansion of the ManTalk work to include individual counselling with people who do not fit the group`s mandate, including those with sexual behaviour problems. He helped develop and implement the Hey Men and Male Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence projects. James has also worked closely with the youth and staff at Leave Out Violence Nova Scotia. Most recently, James has been the clinic's point person for a partnership with the Halifax Domestic Violence Court Programme.
Board of Directors