George A. Goldberger, B.Sc
Having over 35 years of business experience throughout North America and Overseas as well as being a person in recovery, George has the expertise and understanding to be the perfect fit to lead our organization. With his recovery experience and compassion George is the exact individual you need to talk with to understand our process of recovery. His Motto is “Its not about getting Sober, It’s about staying Sober.” Having a passion for Sobriety and Business has been the perfect combination to allow George to take the organization to the next level of being certified by Veterans Affairs and Department of National Defense. PEOPLE HELPING PEOPLE
Eileen Kempton, Operations Manager, RPR
Eileen has many years of experience working in Business Management, Finance and Human Resource Management. Having owned and operated her own business, she has a very strong background in operations. Along with being a Registered Professional Recruiter, Eileen is also very knowledgeable in areas of Conflict Resolution, Incident Investigation and Occupational Health & Safety and has level 1 MANDT training. Eileen attended Halifax West High School and Mount St Vincent University. Eileen has a passion for continuous learning and enjoys helping people.
Lori Slaunwhite, Director of Client Access & Business Development
Lori Slaunwhite has been working in the fields of substance use, mental health and trauma for almost 25 years and recently left a busy private practice in Toronto to join as Clinical Director at Ledgehill Treatment Centres. She has held diverse positions during her career including clinical case management, consultation and training, as well as teaching. Previously Lori was the Clinical Director of a large integrated addiction and trauma program in Ontario, and was also the Addiction Consultant to William Osler Health Centre’s psychiatry teams. Trained is social work and psychotherapy, Lori completed her graduate studies in Contemplative Psychotherapy through the Nalanda Institute in New York City. She uses a trauma informed, contemplative approach to her work - drawing on CBT, CPT and mindfulness approaches most commonly. She uses ear acupuncture regularly in her work and is a Registered Trainer in an internationally known intervention known as NADA protocol. As Atlantic Canada’s first Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT), she is excited to bring Dr. Patrick Carne’s model of treating sexual compulsive behaviours, particularly as they relate to men and women in substance abuse recovery, to our community. Originally from the Pictou area, Lori is happy to be living once again in Nova Scotia and working in the field she loves.
I am Dr Drysdale, M.D. Medical Director
Dr John Drysdale is a family physician in the Annapolis Valley Nova Scotia. He has a keen interest in addictions and withdrawal management, in addition to a full scope family practice. Practicing near a military base, he also has experience with veterans affairs matters, including PTSD, mental health, and chronic pain.
I am Mark Johnston, MD, FRCP (C), Psychiatrist
Dr. Johnston firmly believes counselling should form the core of most mental health treatment plans. However, as a medical doctor, his role is often confined to diagnosis and medical treatment. For this reason, he works closely with psychologists and refers his patients to them for counselling. In his experience, patients are best served by this collaborative team approach - with psychologists conducting counselling and psychiatrists managing medications, when appropriate.
I am Darlene Gavel RN
Darlene graduated the Registered Nursing Program from the Yarmouth School of Nursing in 1986. She has practiced at her full scope in British Columbia, New Hampshire, Arizona and then home to Nova Scotia. Darlene is also trained to teach CPR and first aid and is a Legal Nurse Consultant. She has experience in critical care, occupational health and safety, long term care and most recently in addictions. She also has experience in infection control, ICU and cardiac care. Darlene conducts the telephone intakes on the clients before they arrive at Ledgehill or Oakhill. She approaches the clients in a kind and understanding way, which puts the clients at ease. Darlene prides herself in her sense of compassion and empathy.
I am Kaiti Stanton LPN
Kaiti graduated from NBCC in 2015 with an award for academic excellence. During college she focused her research efforts on substance use and harm reduction. She has a background working with seniors in long term care, acute care, and most recently at a tertiary psychiatric facility in New Brunswick. She has completed continuing education in addiction medicine and maintained a strong belief in life long learning. She has always had a passion for mental health and addiction, the two are greatly intertwined and help make up the complex world our clients face. She believes in a holistic approach to client care and strives to help improve their well being and experience during treatment and recovery.
I am Amanda Carson LPN
Amanda is a native of Yorkshire, England and immigrated to Canada in 1997. She graduated from the LPN program at NSCC in 1999, with an award for excellence in communication. She completed the Mental Health First Aid course in 2016 and has been recertified in Pharmacology in 2014. She is certified in Standard First Aid and in Non-Violent Crisis Intervention. Most recently she has completed the NSHA Palliative Care Course. She has worked in Long Term Care, Dermatology and Research/ Clinical Trials at the Transitional Care Unit of the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax. She uses a positive approach and a sense of humor when dealing with clients.
Agnieszka Gallina MA., Counselling Psychology, RCT-C, CCC-Q
Agnieszka has a BA in Psychology from Dalhousie University where she focused her studies on learning theory and the interplay of environment and behaviour. Following her passion in how unhelpful habits and behaviours lead to dysfunction in interpersonal relationships and connection within, she continued her studies in applied behavioural analysis, completing her advanced diploma in behavioural intervention. She has since worked with young adults with challenging behaviours, and instructed for Dalhousie’s College of Continuing education where she helped students reach academic success through an understanding of how emotional reactions and behavioural patterns can lower one’s ability to succeed in reaching goals in life. With her Masters in Counselling Psychology, Agnieszka works as a counsellor in addiction focusing on compassion-focused therapy that is client directed, utilizing CBT, ACT and DBT. With her experience with treatment for eating disorders, Agnieszka understands the importance of reconnecting clients with their self-identity, self-worth and self-compassion in healing the whole and building emotional and physical health through multidisciplinary approaches.
Johnena (Jo) Kennedy
She comes from Piper’s Glen Inverness Co, Cape Breton . She has a BA in Community Development from Simon Fraser University. She spent the most of her career happily working for Addictions Services in Inverness, Ingonish, Cheticamp and much of the time in Glace Bay. Prior to Addictions she spent some time working for Correctional Services in Port Hawkesbury. She worked with Leeside Society and was instrumental in the building of Leeside Transition House in Port Hawkesbury. She comes to us with almost 30 years of Working with Women in Addictions which is her passion. She was also a member of the Provincial Woman’s Strategy for Women and Addictions in Nova Scotia. She has also worked as an Addictions Counsellor and an Outreach Worker within the field of addictions. She is a recovering person with 39 years of recovery. She has an endless supply of compassion and understanding of the recovering person on both a professional and personal level. She was the recipient of the Dr. Mian Award in 2016. This is an award given for outstanding effort in helping to improve the lives of folks with Addictions and Mental health. She enjoys working with a team of like minded professionals. She is studying Shamanic Healing. She is the Mom of four adult children and is Nana to an adorable little grandson. She loves music, story telling and loves to laugh. She also enjoys spending time with her kitten Luna Blue. You will find her happily doing her job as Addictions Counsellor for Oakhill Women’s Treatment Center.
Dr. Carole MacInnis Program Consultant
Carole has her Masters Degree in Counselling Psychology and is a Registered Psychologist in Nova Scotia. She also holds a Ph.D. in Education. Carole has many years of experience working in the fields of psychology and education. She has been the program director in educational, non-profit and for profit organizations. She has a strong background in assessment in a variety of clinical and educational settings. Besides her work at Ledgehill, she is currently teaching in the in counselling program at Acadia University as a part-time instructor and has a private practice specializing in transitions with adults, youth and families. During transitions, people often experience grief, anxiety and depression. To support her clients she uses evidence-based approaches such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Solution-focused Therapy to support the clients in learning new ways to deal with times of stress. Besides helping her clients to change ineffective patterns to more positive strength-based ways of being, she also works with them to examine the emotional triggers which have resulted in destructive behaviors. Through this exploration people begin to develop a different way of seeing and understanding themselves. Carole enjoys working with individuals, families and groups who are going through periods of change. She feels privileged to be a witness to the courage it takes to break old patterns and embrace the future as it emerges from one day to the next.
Victoria (Tori) Hessian M.Ed., Counselling, RCT-C
Tori has a Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition from St. Francis Xavier University and a Masters in Applied Human Nutrition from Mount Saint Vincent University. Tori focused her studies on poverty, gender-specific messaging and the psychology of food. After volunteering at an eating disorders support group at Dalhousie and becoming a peer mentor with Eating Disorders Nova Scotia, Tori became passionate about helping people through their recovery process. Tori continued her education at Acadia University, achieving a Masters of Education in Counselling. During her studies, she focused on addictions, eating disorders and gender identity. In her work as a counsellor, Tori concentrates CBT, Narrative Therapy and DBT and understands the importance of self-identity in helping all individuals through the recovery process.
Maeghan Hill ,M.Ed., Counselling, RCT-C, CCC-Q
Maeghan completed her Bachelor degree in Kinesiology, and has her M.Ed. in Counselling from Acadia University. She is registered with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association as well as the Nova Scotia College of Counselling Therapists. Maeghan practises from a trauma-informed, person-centered approach, while also focuses on solutions and strengths that she feels her clients naturally bring with them. She incorporates her knowledge and education in kinesiology to educate clients on a holistic approach to recovery. She has previously worked in counselling young adults in a post secondary environment, and most recently at Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia with injured workers. Maeghan is currently training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).
D. Jennifer Smith, MA., Counselling Psychology , RCT-C, CCC-Q
Jenn’s work as a pastoral care teacher while living in England ignited her interest in counselling. Obtaining her Master of Arts, Counselling Psychology degree has led to the development of a client-based philosophy that acknowledges the importance of a biopsychosocial approach, while addressing addiction and mental health issues. Narrative, cognitive behavioural, cognitive processing, and emotionally focused are among the therapies she draws on, as well as using creative modalities with clients. A life-long learner, Jenn has degrees in business, fine arts and education. Jenn enjoys visiting her grown daughters and also loves spending time with her husband cruising the English canal system on their narrow boat.
Elena Basevich, BA Psy., Recreation and Healthy Living Coordinator
I have been teaching yoga for nine years and have been practicing for over sixteen. During these nine years I have taught yoga in the Annapolis Valley, leading public classes, specialty groups and meditation workshops. I love my work! I have also set up yoga classes in many of the public schools in this area, making yoga part of the gym curriculum and facilitating after school programs for staff and students alike. I enjoy cycling, skating, hiking in the woods with my dog and practice yoga every day. I feel that my calling is bringing health and fitness into people’s lives, becoming aware of their body and moving it as much and as often as possible is the path of happiness and health. Rural Annapolis valley is an amazing place to enjoy nature, the forest, the stars, and the stillness associated with country living. Being close to nature brings us back to ourselves.
Susan MacDonald, Program Assistant
Susan grew up, lived and worked most of her life in Nova Scotia. In the year 2010, after a career in private business and public service she relocated to the Annapolis Valley to begin her journey in recovery. Rather than return to the business world Susan chose to become part of our team as she truly believes part of her recovery is to “pay it forward” by sharing her personal “Experience, Strength and Hope” with others beginning their journeys in recovery. Susan’s passion for life and recovery is reflected in the growth she inspires with each client with whom she shares.
Wally and Olivia, Our therapy dogs
Olivia has just recently joined the team all the way from Texas, with her southern drawl and her the most beautiful brown eyes. We are lucky to have Olivia running around and interacting with our clients, and they are lucky to have her. What a great addition to our family. Wally joined our team all the way from Florida. Wally is a pure breed Standard Poodle. Still a pup he comes from a long line of therapy dogs. The clients love him as much as he loves them. Take Wally snowshoeing on our beautiful trails brings total serenity and is therapy in itself. What a great addition to our team. We all luv you Wally & Olivia