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.
Mercy Kasheke is a practicum student who is currently completing her Master of Social Work through Wilfrid Laurier university. Mercy is originally from Halifax Nova Scotia but has spent a significant amount of time living in Iqaluit Nunavut working with Indigenous communities. Mercy holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Social Anthropology as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Dalhousie University. Mercy has been practicing as a social worker for 3 years with Indigenous communities as well as in child welfare. She has experience supporting those living with mental illness, disabilities as well as developmental disorders. Mercy is passionate about working with diverse communities, children, and adults. She feels privileged to walk alongside people through grief, trauma, and life changes. Mercy believes that through supportive counselling, empowerment and client centred approaches her clients will gain a better understanding of their strengths and resiliency leading them to a place of healing and growth.
Catherine Phinney is a practicum student who is currently completing her Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology at Yorkville University. Originally from New Brunswick, she has lived and worked throughout Canada, Europe, and in Afghanistan. Catherine has a Master of Arts in International Conflict Analysis (University of Kent at Canterbury) and completed her post-secondary studies in Psychology and Political Science (Carleton University). In addition to the impact of conflict and trauma on individual psychology, she is interested in healing trauma, mood disorders, and the influence of culture on mental health. She applies a range of techniques in her therapeutic practice, which is based on a supportive, client-centered approach. Catherine is motivated by helping her clients strengthen their resilience and experience post-traumatic growth.
Meghan Scott is a practicum student who is currently completing her Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology with Yorkville University. Meghan is from New Brunswick but moved to Halifax for university in 2014. Meghan graduated from Saint Mary’s University with a Bachelor of Science (Hons Psychology). She has experience supporting individuals experiencing various mental health issues through her community work. Meghan’s interested in working with trauma, mood disorders, and addictions. Meghan is motivated to implement a range of evidence based techniques into her therapeutic practice, specifically deriving from a client-centered, and holistic based approach. Meghan strives to create an environment that promotes client growth and empowerment.
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
Kim Gowan, Diploma Counselling Skills/ Social-Human Services, BSc. MACP, CCC-Q, RCT-C.
Kim Gowan grew up on the West Coast, and earned her BSc in Psychology from the University of Victoria before moving to the East Coast with her family. She was raised by her grandparents; who believed that community service starts at home. It was a military home, and Kim married into the military, and moved from one coast to the other. She then completed a Diploma in Counselling Skills and did a practicum at Family SOS, before starting a Masters of Counselling Psychology program. Kim was a practicum student at the Peoples Counselling Clinic from April until Dec 2019 and graduated 2019 with MACP.
She is a Certified Canadian Counsellor –Qualifying (CCC-Q) with the Canadian Counselling & Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) and Registered Counselling Therapist – Candidate (RCT-C) with the Nova Scotia College of Counselling Therapists (NSCCT). She uses a trauma informed approach that includes psycho-social development theory, attachment theory and several other integrated theories that fit with the individual client and the developing therapeutic plan.
Kim believes that no two clients are alike therefore their needs will not be the same. Our history plays a role in how we live our lives, attach and find our partners. Therapy needs to be approached with empathy, openness and in a safe environment. Kim has worked with forensic populations, including both victims and perpetrators of sexual and intimate partner violence during her practicum and as a private practitioner with the Domestic Violence Court Programme in association with The Peoples’ Counselling Clinic.