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.
Joanne Lefebre is a practicum student who is currently completing her Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology at Yorkville University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology (Mount Saint Vincent University) and a Certificate in Human Resources Management (Saint Mary’s University). A long-time resident of Nova Scotia Joanne has extensive experience counseling individuals who are facing work-life balance and interpersonal challenges at home and in the workplace. She embraces the values of diversity - culture, ethnicity, gender, religion, and sexual orientation - all which contribute to the uniqueness of each person. She has worked in government supporting initiatives aimed at dismantling and eliminating systemic racism and discrimination and facilitating inclusive employment and workplace opportunities. Joanne uses her many specialized counselling skills to help her clients ease their distress and move towards a healthier, happier place in their lives. She offers a warm, empathic listening style, and a non-judgemental, safe space where clients can be assured of confidentiality and compassion.
James Dubé is white, born and raised in Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia. He attended Cole Harbour District High School from 1998 - 2001. He completed Bachelor’s degrees in both Neuroscience (Dalhousie University) and Social Work (University of Victoria). He also completed a health-focused Master’s programme in Social Work (University of Waterloo). He completed his undergraduate social work practicum in the private practice of Robert Wright and has been working with him ever since, helping to found and shape The Peoples’ Counselling Clinic where he currently serves as the Clinic Manager. James’ 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 the IWK Health Centre, Nova Scotia Health Authority, and British Columbia Centre on Substance Use. James provides leadership at The Peoples' Counselling Clinic in the ManTalk work with male identified victims of sexual violence; with our work to serve people of all genders with sexual behaviour problems; and with the counsellor training programme and probono clinical services we offer. 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. James has been the clinic's point person for a partnership with the Halifax Domestic Violence Court Programme. He also provides clinical support to Trafficking and Exploitation Services System, a collaboration of various local agencies. He has provided significant support to the forensic assessment work that is conducted at The Peoples’ Counselling Clinic, including Impact of Race and Culture Assessments, Parental Capacity Assessments, Risk of Violence Assessments and other forensic assessments for Family and Criminal Courts.
Board of Directors
Kim Gowan, Diploma Counselling Skills/ Social-Human Services, BSc. MACP, CCC, 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.
Catherine Phinney received her Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology from Yorkville University. Originally from New Brunswick, she has lived and worked throughout Canada, Europe, and in Afghanistan. Prior to becoming a psychotherapist, Catherine worked in the national defence and security community, having received a Master of Arts in International Conflict Analysis (University of Kent at Canterbury) and completing post-secondary studies in Psychology and Political Science (Carleton University). Catherine welcomes the opportunity to work with a range of clients and believes that developing connection is essential to healing. In addition to the impact of conflict and trauma on individual psychology, she is interested in complex trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, attachment, anxiety, 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 develop insight, strengthen their resilience, and experience post-traumatic growth.
Catherine is a member of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA).
JJ Wilson is completing his Master of Social Work through Dalhousie University. JJ was born and raised in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, graduating from Dartmouth High School in 2012. JJ holds a Bachelor's Degree in sociology and social anthropology as well as a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work from Dalhousie University. JJ has worked closely with youth in a place of safety setting for the past 3 years, which drew him into the field of social work. His research interests have included studying the school-to-prison pipeline phenomenon in African Nova Scotian communities, as well as working with marginalized populations to create more equitable futures. JJ brings a client-centered focus to the clinic and hopes to incorporate a range of techniques into his practice moving forward. JJ is motivated to work with diverse populations and hopes to empower them to see the strength they have when dealing with their trauma.