Debra has been a Pediatric Health Care Professional for over 30 years. She began her career as a Child Life Specialist working at McMaster Children’s Hospital in the late 1980s. Debra has been a teacher, tutor, and clinical supervisor for the Child Life Program, now called the Masters in Child Life and Pediatric Psychosocial Care. She has been working with children, youth and parents of the most vulnerable and complex families with the greatest needs. 

During her career, she has developed an expertise in interviewing and talking with children about difficult and challenging topics. She has coached parents, foster parents, emergency responders and medical students to learn the gift of listening, talking, and understanding a child and parents perspective. 

While working in inpatient and outpatient services, she has learned the importance of family-centred care and a trauma-informed approach. Debra has worked with children and families involved with the intensive care unit, neonatal, the emergency department, child and adult oncology and hematology, child and youth mental health services, including separation and divorce, grief loss, and bereavement. She has experience with the child welfare system and child maltreatment. Debra has helped some of the most vulnerable through the hardest transitions and life experiences. 

Debra’s degree from Brock University in Child and Youth Studies was the beginning of her career as a lifelong learner. Debra continues to attend conferences, workshops, and courses to diversify her skills. Some personal areas of interest and certification are Mindfulness, Emotional Freedom Techniques (tapping), Hypnotherapy and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT).

Debra has a relaxed approach and a natural ability to accept and connect with people on a genuine and down-to-earth level. She feels everyone has a story and no one is perfect. Debra has always had a passion for advocating for children, youth and families. She believes all children have strengths and should be provided with an opportunity to be understood and heard from their perspective. Parents want the best for their children and always try to do the best they can. Children learn from what they experience, and it would be unusual if any adverse conditions of everyday life did not impact them in some areas of their development.

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Janine has been practicing as a therapist working with children, youth, parents and families for over twenty years. She has worked as a Child and Family Therapist in outpatient children’s mental health for many years focusing on parent-infant and parent-child relationships. Janine has facilitated numerous therapeutic groups, workshops for children and caregivers and has provided consultation for community initiatives focused on children’s well-being.  

For the past number of years, Janine has been working at McMaster Children’s Hospital with children, youth and families with complex needs and experiences. She has been involved in assessments, treatment and advocacy for children and families who have experienced mental health crises and trauma. 

Janine’s clinical practice is rooted in relationships and attachment. She relies on her training, knowledge and experience in various theoretical and clinical frameworks, including trauma, attachment, child development and family systems. However, her goal in working with children, parents and families is to take this knowledge and experience to provide practical, hands-on, and effective strategies and support. 

It is important for her to work collaboratively with you to better understand how her services can be helpful. Some parents, children and families may need very brief service, sometimes just a few sessions. Others may benefit from more ongoing support for a period of time, and some may choose to contact me as needed.

Janine has a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Toronto. She is a registered social worker in Ontario with good standing with the College of Social Workers and Social Services Workers.

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