Dr. Jacques du Toit
Medical Director | MB, ChB, ISAM
Dr. du Toit has been the Medical Director at Sunshine Coast Health Center since its inception in 2004 and is now responsible for the delivery of medical services at Georgia Strait Women’s Clinic. He is certified with the International Society of Addiction Medicine and has been the personal physician to over 3000 clients in that time.
Dr. du Toit is originally from South Africa where he received his formal education at Stellenbosch University.
Psychiatrist | MD, FRCP(C)
Dr. Howard immigrated to Canada in 1991 where he began his practice at the East Kootenay Regional Hospital in Cranbrook. In 2007, he joined Sunshine Coast Health Centre and has been providing in depth assessment and psychiatric care to all of our clients ever since. Dr. Howard has a background in treating women with mental health and addiction issues as well as a specialty in helping those suffering from trauma and PTSD. Dr. Howard received his formal education at University of Capetown in South Africa
Medical Services Manager | RPN
Jennifer is responsible for all nursing services at Georgia Strait Women’s Clinic. Previously, Jennifer managed Seaside Wellness Centre, a residential addiction program for women. After working numerous responsibilities at Powell River General Hospital, Jennifer decided to make addictions and mental health her focus.
In 2019, Jennifer received official RPN (Registered Psychiatric Nurse) status. In addition to her daily tasks as Medical Services Manager, Jennifer is a lead team member in the psychiatry department, conducting clients assessments and oversees all medical monitoring.
Clinical & Wellness Services
Program Director | PhD, CCC
Since joining us in 2007, Geoff has demonstrated an exemplary ability to connect with clients. An extensive background in both residential and outpatient addiction treatment has helped Geoff keep things in perspective when clients feel overwhelmed.
Geoff earned his Ph.D. in Psychology from Saybrook University and is a certified member of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. He spent several years as a Clinical Addictions Counsellor at Maple Ridge Treatment Centre in British Columbia and also managed two provincial government treatment programs. Geoff is also the Executive Director for the International Network on Personal Meaning, managing editor of the International Journal of Existential Psychology and Psychotherapy, and Program Director of its biennial Meaning Conference.
Among his publications are:
- A Long Night’s Journey into Day: A Psychobiography of Eugene O’Neill’s Recovery from Alcoholism (2006)
- Thompson, G. R. (2012). A Meaning-centered therapy for addictions. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 10(3), 428-440.
- The Positive Psychology of Meaning and Addiction Recovery (2013).
- Thompson, G. R. (2015). Meaning therapy for addictions: A case study. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 56(5), 457-482.
You can also find Geoff’s articles in the following:
- Treating addiction as a problem of meaning (2018). in D. Grosse (Ed.), About face: Essays on recovery, therapies, and controversies of addiction in Canada (pp. 364-372). St John’s, NL: Breakwater Books.
- Sunshine Coast Health Centre (2018). in D. Grosse (Ed.), About face: Essays on recovery, therapies, and controversies of addiction in Canada (pp. 364-372). St John’s, NL: Breakwater Books.
- Addiction treatment through the lens of meaning: Observations on a program developed in a residential facility (2017). [published online in 2018] International Journal of Existential Positive Psychology [formerly International Journal of Existential Psychology and Psychotherapy], 7(2).
- The Positive Living in Difficult Times Newsletter (INPM Monthly Newsletter)
Clinical Manager | MA, RCC
Sara joined our clinical team in 2016 when she returned to her hometown. She brings a background of working on the downtown eastside in Vancouver for more than 10 years, which has given her much experience working with addiction and mental health issues, particularly trauma issues. Sara has also worked in both residential and outpatient settings as a concurrent disorders counsellor. Her strong belief in the worth of each individual, optimism in the face of adversity, as well as respect for autonomy and dignity, has served her well in this work.
Sara completed her BA in psychology at Simon Fraser University in 2005 and her Masters of Counselling Psychology at Adler University in 2008. In 2009, Sara started a post-graduate program in Existential Analysis and in 2013 became a founding board member of the Existential Analysis Society of Canada.
Psychotherapist | BA, BSW, MSW, RCC, ACS
Psychotherapist | MACP, RCC
Jennifer’s approach is to help clients understand themselves in a compassionate way, while finding alternatives to unhelpful patterns. She uses a hope-based approach, helping people find their inner strength and resilience because by playing to strengths and inner resources, rather than weaknesses, we are more likely to change.
Jennifer works with her clients to rework the narratives that do not serve them, instead looking at behaviour as a desire to meet inner needs. These hopes and desires can be channelled into behaviours and beliefs that fill our lives with meaning and purpose.
She has been counselling since 2012, working with individuals, couples and families. Much of her work has been with individuals with multiple traumas from early childhood. Jennifer uses EMDR to help clients overcome trauma, and uses narrative and cognitive therapy to help clients struggling with addiction and mental health concerns.
Jennifer believes we all have the ability to heal within us, and that path is unique to the person.
DBT Therapist | MA Student
Jeannette believes in the resilience of the human spirit and the healing power of a holistic approach to treatment. She loves to empower and support others as they set goals and reach for their dreams. Jeannette’s previous careers involved working with “at risk” families and individuals in order to support them in achieving greater health and happiness.
Jeannette possesses a BA (psych) and is studying, according to the scientist/practitioner model, to complete a Masters Degree in Counselling Psychology.
She is very happy to find herself at a facility that resonates with her core values of holistic care, empowerment, autonomy, and constant striving to offer the best care possible.
EMDR & Hypnotherapist | PhD
Tatiana’s has an impressive list of accomplishments that includes 20 years as a psychiatrist working with addicted and mentally ill individuals in her native Russia and 4 years at the University of Washington on a National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) addiction research grant.
Since immigrating to Canada, Tatiana has been employed as a child and youth counsellor for the Interior Health Authority in 100 Mile House prior to joining our team. Tatiana is a graduate of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences in Moscow.
Family Support Liaison | Psy. D, CCC, R.Psych (Alberta)
Carissa approaches clients from a belief that values the inner wisdom and strength of the individual. Borrowing from existential and meaning-based approaches, Carissa believes that when individuals are able to function in a healthy manner in all areas of their life, then they are able to be authentic. Exploring barriers to authenticity guides clients to develop a way to engage with life in a meaningful and rewarding manner. Rather than viewing treatment as changing or repairing an individual, she believes it is the restoration of what is already innate.
Carissa specializes in family dynamics and couples relationships where substance use is present. She is currently completing her doctorate degree in psychology and conducting research exploring family impact on the recovery of substance use disorder.
Hakomi Practitioner and Yoga Therapist
Annie is a visual artist and a certified Art Therapist with a post-graduate diploma from Vancouver Art Therapy Institute. She is a member of the Canadian Art Therapy Association. Annie is practicing trauma-informed clinical art therapy with clients both in groups and one on one.
Art therapy is using art-making to take a journey together – the client, the art therapist, and the art. Sessions include drawing, painting, or sculpture depending on the client’s needs and preferences. With fine art materials or materials gathered from nature, clients can experience healing, explore questions they are facing, understand their storylines more deeply, or make new meanings through supported creativity.
Hello, my name is Chad Yurich. I work as a Relational Somatic Therapist where I help clients explore how their bodies are holding their life experiences. From this place of curiosity and kind self-observation, we use breath, meditation, imagination, guided imagery, movement, awareness, ceremony, and others to work towards a healthy place. Working together we can create a healing container where all parts of the client are welcome.
Kinesiologist | BSc(Kin)
Kye has been an employee at Sunshine Coast Health Center since 2008. Kye enjoys the challenge of working with a diverse spectrum of clients and has enjoyed working in a program that values physical fitness as part of an overall focus on wellness. Kye is a graduate of Seattle Pacific University in the field of Exercise Science and has worked in both Washington State and British Columbia in a variety of outpatient clinical settings.
Bianca has a professional background in the medical field and is a certified BCRPA Group Fitness, Aqua, Weight and Personal Trainer. Her focus is to coach and motivate people to achieve their individual fitness goals. Her fitness motto is: “Not the beginning will be rewarded, but the will to follow-through”.
Nutritionist | Client Support
Sarah has been working as a nutritionist since 2012. She first earned her certification as a Sports nutrition consultant and later went on to become a registered nutritionist. She has worked in a variety of health care settings, from fitness studios to family health care programs. As a hands-on person, Sarah loves an opportunity to host cooking classes. Sarah is also the author of two health and wellness cookbooks and in the past owned and operated a cafe for two years. Passionate about health and nutrition, Sarah believes good food is one of the very best ways to support our wellbeing, add some fun to our daily routines, and most importantly helps bring people together.
Melanie Jordan Alsager
CEO | MBA
Melanie has led our efforts to run a one of a kind facility since 2005. She has an extensive history in residential healthcare having worked in multiple positions providing services to clients. Melanie has personally led the development of 5 new residential mental health facilities since 1991 including Georgia Strait Women’s Clinic. She is unique in the addiction treatment field as one of the only facility administrators who has a professional health administration background.
Administrative Director | MA
Casey oversees all marketing and communications at Georgia Strait Women’s Clinic and Sunshine Coast Health Centre. She explores new ways to reach and engage with people online, coordinates content marketing, and develops ways to help SCHC maintain a visible and helpful online presence. Casey completed a Masters’ Degree in Professional Communication in 2015.
Oriana has had experience working as a business communicator in a variety of non-profit organizations before arriving at SCHC. She was happy to discover that the pieces she enjoyed most about her previous roles, like community engagement and advocating for vulnerable groups, translated well to her current position in Admissions at the Centre. As a certified B Corporation, SCHC demonstrates the integrity and ethical standards that she values in a workplace and she is happy to be part of a team of caring professionals. Oriana completed her Bachelor of Communication degree in 2017.
GSWC Alumni Engagement Coordinator
Amanda has been with SCHC/GSWC since January 2021. She started in our Frontline department supporting our clients at GSWC and spent time as an Admissions Coordinator before settling into her current role as Alumni Engagement Coordinator. Amanda is a trained SMART facilitator and recently obtained her Addiction and Community Health Diploma. She has a true passion for helping people develop and grow into the truest version of themselves.