Who We Are

Ottawa Centre for Attachment & Trauma Therapy exists to offer hope to families by equipping them for healthy and loving relationships.

Michelle Hogeterp

Michelle Hogeterp

RP, RMFT

Registered Psychotherapist
Specializes in: Attachment, Adoption, Children in Care, Emotion Regulation, Trauma and Parent Support

Melissa Thivierge

Melissa Thivierge

RP

Registered Psychotherapist
Specializes in: Attachment Disruptions, Adoption Support and Children in Care, Trauma, ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, Family Support

Allison Grey

Allison Grey

RP

Registered Psychotherapist
Specializes in: Attachment, Family and Parent support, Anxiety, Depression, and Trauma

Mélanie Martel

Mélanie Martel

MSW, RSW

Registered Social Worker, Psychotherapist
Service language: English, Français
Specializes in: Attachment, Trauma, Depression

Kim Cluff

Kim Cluff

M. Ed RP

Registered Psychotherapist
Specializes in: Trauma, Attachment, Emotion Regulation, Anxiety & Depression 

Daniela Mardero

Daniela Mardero

MA, RP

Registered Psychotherapist
Specializes in: Attachment, Trauma, Emotion Regulation and Parent Support

Shelly Desjardins

Shelly Desjardins

RP, RMSW

Registered Psychotherapist, RMSW
Specializes in: Attachment and Developmental Trauma, Children in Care, ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, Individual and Family Therapy

Sara Coyle

Sara Coyle

MSW, RSW

Registered Social Worker
Specializes in: Attachment, Trauma and Developmental Trauma, Adoption, Children in Care, Parent
Support

Mickeelie Farrell

Mickeelie Farrell

RP (Qualifying)

Shawna Button

Shawna Button

RP (Qualifying)

Heather Hodgins-Chan

Heather Hodgins-Chan

OT Reg. (Ont)

Registered Occupational Therapist, Psychotherapist

Sarah Wise

Sarah Wise

OT Reg. (Ont)

Registered Occupational Therapist

Miriam Kidanemariam

Miriam Kidanemariam

OT Reg. (Ont)

Registered Occupational Therapist

OCATT Therapist Biographies

Michelle Hogeterp, RP, RMFT

Hi, I am Michelle.

First here are some of the details you (or your insurance company) might need to know:

  • I am a registered psychotherapist with the College of Registered psychotherapists of Ontario (Registration number: 001761). I have a Master’s degree in psychotherapy and am also a certified Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy Practitioner, Consultant and Trainer.
  • In therapy practice, I work from a trauma informed, attachment-focused perspective, drawing primarily on training in Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy, Brainspotting, EMDR and SMART (Sensory Motor Affect Regulation Training.) My passion is working with families to help create lasting relationships of love, trust and belonging.

Now, with all that serious stuff out of the way, here’s a little bit more about me:. I’ve lived a full life of raising three kids, piecing together a career and investing in the communities we’ve lived in. In the last few years I have learned to adjust to being an empty nester and have been able to provide relief foster parenting to some amazing youth. Life is full of good gifts: I enjoy exploring new places. I love playing the piano and singing – and have played in bands for years with my drummer husband. I enjoy a hearty laugh and times away with close friends. And in the quiet times I love a cuppa tea and a good book. Gratitude for these and other good things are the ground of blessing under my feet in the twists and turns of life.

Melissa Thivierge, RP

I began my journey as a counsellor working as a Child and Youth Counsellor 10 years ago and in doing so, discovered my passion for walking alongside people through their successes and life challenges. This discovery led me to pursue a B.A in psychology from Carleton University and a master’s degree in Counselling Psychology from the University of Ottawa. 

I am an integrative practitioner, rooted in attachment theory. While working from an attachment and holistic lens, I integrate other evidence-based approaches into my work with children, youth, adults, and families depending on the specific needs of each person – these include: Narrative therapy, Art Therapy, Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy, Internal Family Systems, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Brainspotting, Family Systems Trauma Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.  I specialize in attachment disruptions, adoption support and children in care, trauma, ADHD, anxiety, depression, and family support. 

Allison Grey, RP

I began my journey working with children and youth over 20 years ago in the field of Child and Youth work.  My passion for working with children and youth led me to further my education and pursue a Bachelor of Arts with a Specialization in Psychology. This has allowed me to expand my work with children, youth and families as a Registered Psychotherapist.  My experience and passion are in helping people build and strengthen healthy attachments and connections not only with others, but with themselves. 

I have an extensive history of working with children, youth, parents, and families using an attachment-based framework.  I was trained in Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP), an attachment-based therapy. It is truly an honour to bear witness to the changes that occur when focused on relationship and connection. 

I use approaches including: Internal Family Systems (IFS Informed), Somatic Experiencing (Beginner Level II), Brainspotting (Phase 1), Emotion-Focused Family Therapy and Mindfulness. I specialize in ADHD, adoption, anxiety, attachment, depression, emotional regulation, parenting and trauma with children, youth and families.

I believe that connection within the therapeutic relationship is so important and I will work with you in order to create safety as you trust me to walk alongside you for a part of your journey. I will focus on your story in a respectful and non-judgmental way so that together we can create the foundation for what you need in order to grow and change in the ways you want.

During difficult or challenging times, there is an opportunity for deeper learning, awareness and capacity to connect in more meaningful ways. We all have within us the capability to heal, to grow, and find true connection with ourselves and with others.      

Mélanie Martel, MSW, RSW

My name is Mélanie Martel. To most, I’m Mel. I have been offering bilingual (English, français) psychotherapy and counselling services since 2011. I hold a Masters degree in Social Work as well as an honours degree in Psychology from the University of Ottawa. I am a member, in good standing, of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW, #819592) since 2010. I work from an attachment-centered, trauma-informed lens. I use an integrative approach, drawing on dyadic developmental psychotherapy (DDP; levels I and II), dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) narrative therapy, brainspotting and safe and sound protocol. I receive clinical supervision from Psychologist Dr. Queenie Lo.

As a therapist, my style is relaxed, fluid and intuitive. I have the privilege of walking alongside children, youth and adults individually and I also work with parents and families. I genuinely and whole-heartedly believe in taking a collaborative approach to therapy and strive to establish a compassionate, non-judgemental, and person-centered environment. A little humour and playfulness also helps to bring a human touch!

I sincerely believe that everyone is doing the best that they can with what they know. Behind every problematic behaviour, recurring relational cycle or pattern, there’s a story. These are often stories of pain, resilience and adaptation. Left unchecked, they shape and influence our behaviour in the now, and within our relationships. In my experience, having our stories witnessed is a powerful way to disempower their hold on us.  Some of people’s deepest wounds have come at the hands of painful relationships. Conversely, relationships also hold the power of our most profound healing. We are wired to seek belonging. Learning to foster safe, authentic and attuned connections with those around us brings so much depth and richness to our lived experience.

Another guiding philosophy to my work is that when we know more about the inner workings of our bodies and minds, we experience much less of the crippling shame which keeps us feeling stuck, in pain, and alone. It is very important to include the body in the therapeutic experience.

On the personal side of things, I wear many hats. I am daughter to beautifully imperfect and loving parents. I am a sister to many, biologically and of my choosing. I am a partner to one very patient and compassionate human! I am also a mother to two affectionate, intuitive and perfectly imperfect children that can have me both crying and laughing mere minutes apart! I am both confident and proud of the woman I am today, while also being grateful to always be learning, shifting, evolving and deepening. I am at my most regulated when I am with my people, playing, creating, cuddling, and laughing. On my own, my most peaceful and refueling moments tend to happen on nature walks, while swimming or biking, and holding a paintbrush.

“The truest, most beautiful life never promises to be an easy one. We need to let go of the lie that it’s supposed to be.” – Glennon Doyle

Kim Cluff, M. Ed RP

Hi, I’m Kim. I am a registered psychotherapist who has worked in the field of mental health for the past 25 years.  I am currently working with people who want to find ways to better cope with strong emotions, complex trauma, mood disorders and build stronger connections in their relationships. 

I have a long history of working with children, teenagers and young adults.  I am often described as conversational, humorous and creative in my approach. I believe in being transparent, flexible, nonjudgmental and creating safe spaces where people feel heard and connected. 

Over the years I have been trained in many approaches. I have special interests in Attachment based work, Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Trauma Focused CBT, Applied Polyvagal Theory and Narrative and Collaborative approaches. I am also building skills in Somatic and Psychosensory work which in part, comes from my own experience of the impact of trauma and stress on the body. 

On the personal side, I am a single mom of two sensitive, spirited and hilarious  humans.  We share our home with 3 cats and a dog which makes life very interesting on a daily basis. You will often find me reading, making art or enjoying a cup of coffee on my dock.

Daniela Mardero, MA, RP

Hi, I’m Daniela. I am a Registered Psychotherapist with several years’ experience working with young people and their families in both community health and school settings. My approach to psychotherapy is humanistic, attachment focused, and trauma-informed. I am especially interested in working with children and teens in managing big emotions and difficult life experiences. I also enjoy working with parents and caregivers to help them better understand and connect with their children.

My clients describe me as being fun, easy-going, intuitive, and non-judgemental. I am very genuine and honest in my approach, and believe that the authentic relationships I build with my clients are of central importance to this work. I feel so lucky to get to know and work with people in this way.

I have training and experience with multiple modalities including Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), psychosensory and applied polyvagal theory, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT), working with intergenerational trauma, and trauma-informed care in addictions.

Outside of being a therapist, I am a mom to one super awesome kiddo and two (also very awesome) rescue dogs. I love cooking, reading, puzzles, and spending quality time with my husband and our little family.

Shelly Desjardins, RP, RMSW

Hi, my name is Michelle Desjardins, but I prefer to be called by my nickname, Shelly.

I have been working with children, youth, and families for over 30 years.

I am passionate about my work and root it in a Person-centred philosophy. I believe that everyone can be well, and succeed, when they are cared for and have the tools they need. Carl Rogers puts it well by saying, “It is that the individual has within himself or herself vast resources for self-understanding, for altering his or her self-concept, attitudes and self-directed behavior – and that these resources can be tapped if only a definable climate of facilitative psychological attitudes can be provided” (1980, p.115-117).

A Person-centred approach aligns well with attachment and trauma realities. When we understand how attachment impacts us, and those we care for, we can succeed in developing healthy relationships. Uncovering trauma, in a supportive and non-judgemental manner is also key to moving forward.

In my therapy practice I use an integrated approach that includes the following tools: Narrative therapy, Cognitive and Dialectical Behaviour therapy, Attachment and Developmental Trauma interventions. I have completed Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) levels 1 and 2 and chair a bi-monthly DDP Community of Practice Group. I am also a facilitator for Circle of Security Parenting (COSP).

My academic background includes a master’s degree in social work from Wilfrid Laurier University, a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Ottawa and a Childcare Worker (Child and Youth Counsellor) diploma from Algonquin College.

I began my career as a Child and Youth counsellor working on multi-disciplinary team for adolescent mental health at the Royal Ottawa Hospital. I appreciated the holistic approach of meeting the families needs.

Following this I joined the OCDSB’s specialized behaviour support worker with the Safe Schools program. This role included analysis, liaison with teachers and creating behavioural intervention plans.

I have now been with the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa for over 15 years. At CAS I’ve had a wide range of experience, including: Adoption worker, Outside Paid Resource (OPR) Liaison and Placement worker and as a Child Protection worker with the Violence Against Women, Adolescent, and Indigenous Teams.

On a personal note, I love the outdoors including swimming, camping and skiing. In fact, I love skiing so much I was an instructor too! I have also raised two amazing, intelligent, kind, beautiful daughters – I feel blessed to be their mother!

Sara Coyle, MSW, RSW

My name is Sara Coyle, and I am a registered Social Worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW). I hold a Bachelor of Arts with Specialization in Psychology from the University of Ottawa and a Masters of Social Work from the University of Windsor.

When I meet with folks for the first time, I feel empathy and care for them. I recognize how hard it is to reach out for support and that entering my office is a huge step. This alone takes so much courage. In our sessions together, I strongly believe in the power of relationship in healing and strive to create a space where folks feel connected and accepted.

I am a certified Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapist and a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner and I utilize these two approaches in my practice. I also integrate the use of art, play, sand tray and narrative therapy approaches. I work from a trauma-informed and attachment lens supporting children, youth and adults with healing symptoms of stress and trauma and regulating their nervous systems to increase capacity to enjoy their everyday lives.

Many of the folks I work with have experienced lack of trust and safety in relationships, whether that is with family, friends, or in the community. They have learned adaptive ways to respond to their environments to keep them safe. And sometimes these adaptive ways of
responding may no longer be helpful, and may be getting in the way of living life the way they want or hope to. Together in sessions, we will learn about the ways you or your child/youth have adaptively protected yourself and how we can help your nervous system find a place of
safety, connection, and regulation through this healing process. It is my hope that through this process you will find increased safety, trust and connection in your nervous system and in your relationships with others.

In my own learning and growing, I have benefitted from connecting with nature and others to help regulate my own nervous system and find places of calm. I enjoy spending time with friends and family, walking/hiking and being outside, and practicing yoga.

Mickeelie Farrell, RP (Qualifying), MACP

Hi, I’m Mickeelie! I am a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) and I completed my Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology at Yorkville University. I am passionate about helping clients develop positive strategies for navigating challenges and find healing through exploring and understanding their experiences and emotions. I work with children (age 10+), teens, and adults. I have a history of working with teens and young adults as they navigate the transition into adulthood.

My personal therapeutic style is warm, empathetic, hospitable, and non-judgmental. I use an integrative, trauma-informed approach that draws from aspects of attachment theory, Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP, Levels 1 and 2), Internal Family Systems (IFS informed), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Narrative Therapy, mindfulness, polyvagal theory, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

I hold a holistic view of the self which includes paying attention to the emotional, physical, social, and spiritual aspects of selfhood, and I tailor therapy according to your unique needs, values, and therapeutic goals. I believe that everyone inherently possesses the skills and gifts that enable healing and connection, and I will journey with you to discover and engage these internal gifts. I also believe that healing and growth takes place in the context of relationship and community, so I will strive to offer a supportive relationship in our work together.

Shawna Button, RP (Qualifying)

Hi, I’m Shawna. I am a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Psychology from Queen’s University and I am currently completing my thesis for my Master of Arts (Education) in Counselling Psychology at the University of Ottawa.

My approach to therapy is trauma-informed and rooted in attachment theory. I believe that relationships are foundational in our lives and emphasize connection, safety, and trust within the therapeutic relationship. My therapeutic style is genuine, warm, and strengths-based. I strive to create a non-judgmental, accepting environment for you to work through your emotional pain and increase positive coping. I draw from emotion-focused, cognitive behavioural, and dyadic developmental therapeutic approaches, and my approach is tailored to the needs of each client. I strongly believe in the importance of a felt sense of safety in the body and see nervous system regulation as an important factor in our work together. As such, I am influenced by somatic and polyvagal principles when working with my clients. I can work with children, youth, adults, and families.

The research laboratory I’m currently working in focuses on child and youth mental health, and my Master’s research specifically focuses on the impact of personality features on relationships in youth and young adults. All that to say, I am passionate about learning how to best support children, youth, and their families, and hope to bring this learning into my therapeutic work.

Outside of work and study, I am mom to a sweet and fun little boy and enjoy getting out for a nice hike, curling up with a good book, or trying a new recipe.

Heather Hodgins-Chan, OT Reg. (Ont)

Working with children has been a passion of mine for so many years. I am a registered occupational therapist in the province of Ontario and graduated from McGill University in 1999. Learning about the brain and body connection has always been fascinating to me; I also completed a degree in Anatomy and Cell Biology prior to studying Occupational Therapy. After many years of working in hospitals, a rehabilitation center and various schools, I co-founded On the Ball Pediatric Physio and Occupational Therapy in Kanata with my physiotherapy colleague. It has been my honor to work with so many wonderful children, families, caregivers, and professionals. Since that time, I have enjoyed educating the public at various online and in-person conferences and workshops about the role that OT can play in helping children learn and grow. My work with traumatized children has led to a passion for integrating psychotherapy into my clinical practice. I’ve worked with children of all abilities in the past, including those with Anxiety, ADHD, Autism, Developmental Disabilities, and various other neurological and psychiatric diagnoses.

I’ve travelled extensively in the United States to further my training in Sensory Integration, Trauma-informed care, and use hands-on techniques, activities, and games that are fun and rewarding for children to develop and strengthen the nervous system. I’ve become a “behavioral detective” and address the underlying reasons for difficulties with self-regulation. Occupational Therapists help people to become independent in their daily activities or “occupations”. Sometimes this may mean that an overactive nervous system can affect learning, interacting with others, or being able to focus on self-care activities. Children need to feel safe and connected to be able to self-regulate. I’ve enjoyed participating in joint sessions with the psychotherapists at OCATT. I help to organize the nervous system by working on the body and to provide sensory-motor interventions; this allows the child to express themselves more openly. It has brought therapy to the next level!

Post-professional training has included:

  • Sensory Integration
  • Psychosensory Interventions
  • Trauma-Informed Occupational Therapy
  • Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy, Levels 1 and 2
  • Safe and Sound Protocol from Integrated Listening Systems
  • Auditory Focus Program from Integrated Listening Systems
  • Rhythmic Movement Levels 1 and 2 and Face the Fear Reflex Integration Courses
  • Greenspan Floortime Approach
  • Praxis : Sensory-Motor Learning / Coordination Challenges
  • SOS (Sequential Oral-Sensory Approach to Feeding)
  • Misophonia
  • Attachment and Trauma / Polyvagal Theory
  • Design of at-home / school sensory spaces

When I am not working, I can be found outside tending to my flower garden, swimming, travelling with my family, doing Pilates or driving my teenagers to soccer games.

Sarah Wise, OT Reg (Ont)

I am a registered occupational therapist in the province of Ontario and graduated from Queen’s University with a Masters in Science in Occupational Therapy. I feel children are so incredible in the way that they bring play, learning about the world and each other into our lives with their enthusiasm, creativity and curious minds. I feel incredibly privileged to be able to work with children and their families as their occupational therapist.

Occupational Therapists (OTs) utilize a whole-systems, practical and person-centred approach to help clients and their families in strategies, advocacy, and treatment to help clients meet their goals. We look through a lens which captures the social, political, cultural, and physical environments. OTs are trained to not only take into account nervous system development, but tailor clients preferences, personal goals and family needs when collaborating with those involved in care to assess, create a care plan and follow through with treatment.

I currently work as an occupational therapist at On the Ball Pediatric Physio and Occupational Therapy, and I am so excited to have the opportunity to work and learn here at OCATT. I feel Occupational Therapy (OT) services are a key resource to add to a child’s support team – by helping children to learn more about themselves, build skills and strategies through a developmentally appropriate and meaningful approach, and work as a family unit to grow and learn! OT are often referred to as those who aid in ‘doing, being, becoming and belonging’ while complimenting additional professions such as the psychotherapists at OCATT.

My training has included:

  • Bachelor of Physical Education in Health Promotion with Honours, Laurentian University
  • Master of Science in Occupational Therapy, Queen’s University
  • Safe and Sound Protocol from Integrated Listening Systems
  • Sensory Processing and Integration Approaches
  • Currently Enrolled in: Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy Course

When I am not working, I can be found hiking, camping or paddling in the outdoors! When not outdoors, I can be found dancing, doing some DYI projects, and sharing quality time with loved ones!

Miriam Kidanemariam, OT Reg (Ont)

I grew a passion for the mental health field while pursuing my undergraduate degree, which led me to complete my Master’s in Occupational Therapy at Queen’s University. After completing my degree, I knew I wanted to work in a pediatric setting. I have loved working with children and continue to be inspired by their resiliency, playfulness, and ability to find joy in the simple things.

I currently work at On the Ball Pediatric Physio and Occupational Therapy where we focus on the brain and body connection by helping children to regulate their nervous systems, to feel safe and connected, and supporting their physical, psychological, emotional and social development. As OTs, we work on achieving individualized goals that are meaningful to children and their families and ensuring their environment supports their engagement in activities at school, home, and in the community.

I am excited to be working alongside the amazing OTs and psychotherapists at OCATT!

Training has included:

  • Honours Bachelor’s in Health Sciences, University of Ottawa
  • Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MScOT), Queen’s University
  • Neurological Approaches for Self-Regulation: for kids with Autism, ADHD and Sensory Disorders
  • Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (Level 1) Course
  • Currently enrolled in: Safe and Sound Protocol from Integrated Listening Systems

Contact one of our therapists to learn more