Merissa Jennings-Turner

I am a Registered Therapeutic Counsellor with the ACCT (Association of Cooperative Counselling Therapists of Canada). I am the director of the trauma and stress programs and services at Empower Health, an Integrative clinic.

I am a mother of a little boy and a teenage daughter. I have been married for 20 years. It was through my own controlling inherited parenting style that I soon realized the cost it was having on my relationships with my children.

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It didn’t take me long to realize that my love for my family was not “unconditional.” It was conditional and I soon felt my daughter start emotionally separating from me, I felt lost, with no map of how to do things differently.  I realized I needed help and guidance and was fortunate to have found it through the work of Dr. Gordon Neufeld’s developmental model of understanding children from the inside out.

Through my own journey, I have learnt that children can only reach their true potential if they are well supported by emotionally responsive parents that can hold their children’s hearts as they find their way in the world. My passion has become helping parents to create a generation of children who experience peace and compassion, and who show up in the world expressing their true potential.

I bring my heart and my own experience when helping the parents I work with. I also utilize therapeutic modalities, which are informed by Dr. Gordon Neufeld’s developmental attachment model, Clearminds in-depth psychology frameworks, and family systems theory, Mark Wolynn’s Inherited Generational Family Trauma, and finally, Dr. Peter Levine’s Somatic model of understanding the nervous system, bringing a holistic approach to creating Thriving families.

 

For the last 10 years, we have seen many counsellors that have helped us dealing with very our challenging son. When I came to see Merissa it was to find ways to separate myself from my son in order to preserve myself,  to my surprise I found myself with very concise tools that not only allowed me to keep my connection with my son but they also gave me new emotional strength that I thought I had completely lost. Merissa has a tremendous capability to truly connect at a very deep level and to give us incredible tools and insights that have drastically changed for good the way we interact with our son. If a father or a mother cannot connect with their son’s special needs or challenges who would ? It is not easy but Merissa has been an incredible blessing for me, my wife and indirectly, to our beloved son.

– Current Client in North Vancouver

Sean Hannon

I am Registered Therapeutic Counsellor with the ACCT (Association of Cooperative Counselling Therapists of Canada). I currently work for Hollyburn Family Services as a family support worker, where I specialize with families with children between the ages of 9-18 years old.

I lead a parenting teen workshop series called “A Parent Influence” at Hollyburn for parents of this age group. The group focuses on creating an environment conducive to great relationships in the home, building children’s self-esteem, and teaching skills and strategies that assist parents wanting a change in their children’s behaviour.

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I am parent of four teenage and adult children with my wife of 20 years. I bring a wealth of experience into my work as a parental coach, counsellor, mediator, mentor and advisor. My life experience is my true gift into this line of work. I believe that creating respectful, loving and nurturing relationships with our partners, children, family and friends, is the key living a healthy life.

I understand how I was recreating the same controlling and demanding family dynamic of parenting as the one that existed in my family of origin. I was using the same parenting strategies that my parents modelled to me and I wanted something better for my family. One that was love- based as opposed to fear-based.

I wanted to focus on creating healthy, respectful and trusting relationships within my family; I did this by being respectful, being more conscious and responsible of my own emotions and owning my part in the relationship, allowed me to create the family I wanted.

I strive to support my clients to uncover their innate ability to create the family they want. As a counsellor, it is my goal and responsibility to provide a safe and supportive environment where parents and caregivers feel that they can express their concerns in order to create the family they deserve. I see my role as a counsellor and collaborator to support change and growth, and will draw upon various counselling techniques to make that happen.

 

Sean is extremely patient and helps you work through your personal issues with gentle guidance and ongoing positive encouragement. He came into my life at a pretty low point as I was going through a terrible divorce and he provided me with a much better perspective, so I no longer felt like a victim but rather empowered.

After he did an initial assessment, he then provided me with areas where I needed to further develop in a detailed report (which I still refer to). He taught me to ensure I have at least 10 minutes of ‘time in’ per day with self directed play, and I’ve noticed my children really enjoy the focused time and as a result have overall improved behaviour.

Another key technique I’ve learned from Sean was to recognize and praise your child’s positive behaviours such as “I really like the way you picked up your toys tonight” and as a result my children have become more compliant in general. I am very thankful for all the help Sean has given to both my children and myself including enrolling me in the “Incredible Years” program which helped change my parenting skills immensely.

– Current Client in Vancouver

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