Bayridge Counselling Centre- Hamilton

Bayridge Counselling Centre- Hamilton View Specialties

Mark Laing
Registered Psychotherapist
B.A. Honours Psychology, Psychotherapist
Counsellor & Seminar Speaker  
Offices: Burlington and Hamilton

Focus : Individual & Marital Counseling, Affairs, Pornography, Conflict, Communication, Anger, Self-Esteem  

I believe that therapy is not something you do to someone rather something you do with someone. Any one person will encounter times in their life when they feel stuck or trapped. Friends can offer some help but often the friendship itself disallows you from receiving the appropriate help, challenge and insight needed to make the appropriate changes or adjustments.

My work centers on marriages in crisis, the effects of affairs, the damage of pornography addictions, the hopelessness of mood disorders (depression, anxiety etc,), the frustration of inappropriate anger and the paralysis caused by low self-acceptance. Equipped with an honors degree in clinical psychology and certified as a pastoral counselor, I am able to help my clients from not only a clinical perspective but also a spiritual one as well.

Involvement with our Mood Disorder Program, author of a manual on marriage and currently writing a book on marriage are just some of the extracurricular activities I am involved with. Married with five children I also have the experiential understanding that furthers my ability to help you or your marriage get back on track.

Barb Kirkham
Registered Psychotherapist
BA, MA Therapist, Psychotherapist  
Burlington and Hamilton

Focus:  Individual, Couple Counseling, Anxiety/Depression, Anger Management, Pre Marital, Communication, Sexual Issues, Trauma

I am a person that brings to the counseling process years of life experience as well as academic understanding. I am a wife, mother, sister, friend, and professional. It is the interconnection of these many roles that provides the life experience that I feel is necessary to come alongside clients as they navigate the often bumpy road that we call life. 

My goal as counselor is to provide a safe non-judgmental place for clients to be heard and understood. My practice focuses on providing clients with the tools and knowledge to overcome relationship issues in marriage and within families; reclaim their life from anxiety and depression; find their way back from grief and discover the strength within to overcome life’s challenges. 

I have completed my honours undergraduate degree in Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour at McMaster University and my Masters of Education Counseling  Psychology at the University of Toronto.



Elisabeth Buffey-Needham
Offices: Burlington, Hamilton and Kitchener

FocusIndividual and Couple Therapy 

"It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are." This quote by e.e. cummings is the foundation of my practice. I specialize in counselling individuals and couples who are taking a courageous step to regain their lives, to figure out who they really are, as individuals and in relationship with others. 

It is not easy. I see struggle, pain and inner turmoil. Through that turmoil, there is growth, change and hope. I thank my clients and am inspired by them for entrusting me with their stories, their pain and their dreams. 

Elisabeth received her Masters of Theology with a specialization in counseling from the University of Toronto. Further certifications include Interpersonal Psycotherapy for the Treatment of Depression from the University of Michigan and Clinical Pastoral Education/Pastoral Counseling (CAPPE).

Sanjay (Jay) Rao
BSc in Kinesiology & Health Sciences
Masters of Psychology specialization in Counselling Psychology.

Office: Hamilton

Focus: Teens, adults, couples, depression, anxiety, stress, pain, weight management, addictions, life transitions, sport performance, and wellness development

If life can be envisioned as a story, yours most certainly is a precious one. Looking back on each chapter of it, no matter what plot you have been central to, you endured, you accomplished, you overcame.

As a counsellor and healthcare professional driven by compassion and a commitment to others, I believe that humans have the capacity to solve even the most complex of problems through utilizing themselves as their own resource. My education allows me the ability to help guide you through the most challenging issues in your life, but ultimately the greatest joy I receive is witnessing a sense of value, self-identity, and self- worth return as a result of reconnecting with the one person that matters the very most: you.

In treatment I rely on Client-Centered Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Acceptance Commitment Therapy, Solutions-Based Therapy, and Emotionally-Focused Therapy. Additionally, I draw from medical models of health in the facilitation of rehabilitation, dietary, and wellness goals for individuals. I am passionate about educating and motivating others to achieve the quality of life they deserve.

Together we will discover what allowed you to achieve the goals in your life that you found most significant and unlock the strengths and values that temporarily fell below the surface. Because difficult journeys lead to beautiful destinations, it would be my honour to walk alongside you on route to yours.

William Stokeld
Offices: Burlington and Hamilton  
Focus: Addictions, Anxiety, Depression, Self-Esteem, Concurrent Disorders (Addictions with Mental Health issues), Family-of-Origin Issues (Unhelpful beliefs and behaviours developed while growing up), Abuse, Anger/Stress Management.

You can't always get what you want but if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need”  (Jagger/Richards)

It’s the legs which make a chair solid and stable.  When one or more of the legs become loose the chair becomes wobbly.  In much the same way, I believe a person’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness are the “legs” which make up our lives and sense of identity.  When one or more of these “legs” becomes loose or damaged, our lives, like the chair, begin to wobble.

I believe we are all unique, and not one specific skill set or therapy will restore a healthy state of being to everyone.  Therefore, my style and approach to counselling is an eclectic one, taking into consideration, and honouring, the uniqueness and capabilities of each client.  I am now offering individual counselling for adults and adolescents for such issues as addictions, addictions and mental health issues present together (concurrent disorders), anxiety, depression, self-esteem, unhelpful beliefs and behaviours developed while growing up (family-of-origin issues), abuse, and anger/stress management.

I, too, developed a wobbly leg when I was downsized after 25 years in the financial industry.  With time, I saw this as an opportunity to go back to school and start a new career, in mid-life, as a counsellor. I first completed an Addiction Worker program and then went on to achieve a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology.  My background enables me to bring a broad collection of life experiences and “tools” into my work, and demonstrates that change, while not always easy and sometimes even harsh, is possible at any stage in life. 

Male and female adults and adolescents (16 and older).

Brigitte Diggins
Registered Psychotherapist
Hon. B.A. Psych.
Office: Hamilton 
Focus: Individuals and Couples. Self-Esteem, Anxiety, Grief and Loss, Stress Management, Desensitization, Depression, Anger, Chronic Pain, Functional Recovery, Relationship Conflict; Interpersonal Communication, Career/Work Conflict, Psychometrics.

Things for us aren’t always easy. We’ve all been there. As a registered psychotherapist, I specialize in helping adults and couples work through the tough stuff.

For many of us, it takes courage to “go get help.” Often, it isn’t until the burden of pain, sadness, fear and shame becomes debilitating, that we find ourselves taking a cautious step toward change.

As a professional with 18 years’ experience, I never lose sight of how privileged I am to have earned the trust of those who would share with me their intimate and individual perspectives. I can always assure that my clients will be able to tell their story with dignity, in a safe, non-judgmental environment.

Whether the issues are described as anxiety, depression, adjustment, conflict, or fear, my focus is to help individuals and couples find clarity, self-acceptance, and resolution. Through cognitive-behavioural- based therapy, my goal is to ensure that the individual voice is heard and that communication barriers are safely and respectfully redefined. The reward for me is in seeing the smile that comes from people taking back control, and regaining quality of life.

These things are possible.

Education: Brigitte is Registered Psychotherapist with an undergraduate degree in Hon. B.A. Psychology from McMaster University. She has over 18 years’ experience working in an interdisciplinary environment. Her specialty is working with adults in the treatment of complex medical, psychological-psychiatric cases including those surviving serious injury, suffering pain and trauma, and with couples suffering marital and intimacy difficulties.    

Emma Vanderkruk
Clinical Counsellor
Offices: Hamilton and Oakville 

Focus: Child & Adolescent, Individual, Addiction, Depression/Anxiety, Christian Counselling

When I was a little girl, I had a tough day. Then I had another. And another. At first, I thought they were nothing. Then, suddenly, they were everything. It wasn’t until I reached out to my guidance counsellor that I realized how much I wanted, and needed, help. Some time later, when the tough days were becoming increasingly rare, I was able to recognize that the counsellor to whom I had been referred had saved my life. More than that, I knew that if I wanted to feel accomplished in this life, I would use my own experiences with depression and anxiety in order to help those who came after me.

I have spent years studying counselling and working within the mental health and addictions fields and while my experiences have helped teach me and change me, the one thing they have not changed is my desire to work with and support individuals. Working with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Brescia University College and a Masters in Counselling Psychology from Yorkville University, my counselling focus often reflects the beginning of my own journey as I seek to support children and adolescents who may be experiencing their own string of tough days. In this way, I strive to make individuals feel safe as they share their stories, so that we can work together to identify and build on the skills and qualities they already have to overcome their struggles. Though I do most of my work in cognitive behavioural therapy and narrative therapy, I also have experience with and enjoy working with exposure therapy, attachment therapy, family systems therapy and Christian therapy.

If you are experiencing your own struggles, I would love to meet you and work with you so that you can overcome the struggles that are so uniquely yours. Hope to hear from you soon!

Nicole Callandar
Office: Hamilton
Focus: Adolescents, Adults, Youth Issues, Self-esteem, Teen-Parent Relationships, Mental Health Issues, Problematic Behaviour, Anger Management

I am registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Services Workers. I have specialized training in Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Anger Management, Individuals with Special Needs and Adolescents.

My biggest passion is empowering teenagers to find the resources needed to get through an age of puberty changes, peer pressure, changing schools and making new friends as well as going from the childhood stage, where children are constantly directed to emerging adulthood, where they are required to make decisions on their own. I am also experienced in helping individuals overcome issues such as Anxiety, Depression, Anger and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It’s a rewarding and privileged experience to walk along the path of self-empowerment with my clients and I would be honoured to take the journey with you.

Chad Tomlinson
Therapist / Counsellor
Offices: Hamilton and St. Catharines 
Focus: (for couples, individuals, teens) self-esteem, forgiveness & letting go, anger, anxiety, depression, dating, marriage, pornography, communication, teen-parent relationships 

With over 11 years experience, 3 awards for his work as a therapist, 3
Masters Degrees, and a published book on relationships, Chad has a
history of success.  

Are you nervous about seeing a therapist? Have you been to one before, but it wasn't the right fit? Do you have a partner or teenager who needs a therapist, but they're scared or not wanting to go? I can help. I believe we can change and that the process of growing as a person, although challenging, can be made simple and even fun. When you come into my office you'll be greeted with a warm smile, a caring heart and a spirit that helps people like you feel cared about and safe enough to share their lives.

I have heard many people say that seeing a therapist means you're weak, but it is actually a sign of wisdom and great strength. Only those who are wise enough can recognize they need help, and only those strong enough will be able to pursue that help.

I once believed that life was meant to be stressful and not enjoyed; it was meant to be feared and not a source of joy. I have since learned this is a lie. I now want to help others find this truth and inspire positivity. My passion is to help people find happiness as I have, and now that I have 3 masters degrees and over 14 years of experience working with teens and young adults and helping people of all ages have better relationships, I have the means to better achieve this. One of my greatest strengths is taking complicated issues and making them more understandable and sharing tools to better deal with them with an interesting approach (working with young people has helped with this). This ability is demonstrated by my book, Emotional Sex: Making Good Relationships Great and in my mission:

To help others discover the happiness life has to offer. No matter how difficult a life someone or a couple has been dealt, it is my desire to help them see their lives in a new way; a way that is fulfilling and ripe with hope, peace and love.

So please come in and see me: we'll chat, we'll laugh, and we'll have some fun while helping you find the answers you want to discover.

Dan Watterworth
Registered Psychotherapist 
BTh., MDiv.
Office: Hamilton

Focus: Couple, Family and Individual Therapy; Conflict Resolution; Communication, Parenting, Family Dysfunction, Intimacy/Closeness, Self-Esteem, Grief, Anger Management, Forgiveness, Trauma from Abuse and spiritual issues.

I counsel because I have experienced the joy and freedom of life-changing healing myself, and I love the opportunity to walk with other people down their own path of healing. Life throws us many twists and turns that are unpredictable so it helps to have someone to help guide us through these times. I enjoy listening to people share their stories and being invited to take part in the story. I love to work with couples, families and individuals to help them achieve their goals.

I value the courage that it takes to reach out for help in difficult times. I value the process of emotional, mental and spiritual growth that is involved in bringing about life change. I value the tenacity it takes on the part of a client to commit to the journey of seeking wholeness in themselves and their relationships.

Michelle Pennells
Art Therapist/ Counsellor/ Psychotherapist
HBA, DTATI (Thesis Pending)
Office: Hamilton

Focus: Individuals, Adolescents, Children, Families, Foster Families/Children, Group Counselling, Trauma, Grief, Victims of Abuse, Self-esteem, Identity, Parenting, Life Transitions, Suicide Ideation, Self-Harm, ADHD, ODD, FAS, Feeling/Emotion Recognition & Management, Bullying, Spiritual Counselling.

I believe that everyone has a story to tell. Everyone has a special set of circumstances, or an ordeal that they either have or are trying to live through. These can take the form of one big barrier or event in our life that changes everything; or they can be small day to day things that just wear you down. I am someone willing to listen to your story. I can come alongside you to help you as you find your voice, face these challenges in your life, and grow in your confidence to overcome them.

As an Art Therapist, I understand that sometimes words are not enough to express exactly what you are going through. I will guide you through therapeutic art making to help you find those words, find your voice, and build a stronger sense of self in the process. Don’t worry if you are not artistic, Art Therapy is for anyone from all walks of life. It is the process of self-discovery that is important, not technical skill. Art Therapy can provide a playful, non-threatening way to tackle tough problems and discover hidden strengths you may never have known you had.

My motto in life is, “You can’t be strong for another person until you learn to be strong for yourself.” I understand too well, the need to “do it all”. The first step to finding inner strength is asking for help. This is a courageous act that does not indicate weakness, but rather an understanding that you need someone to help shoulder the burden so that you can heal and regain that strength you have always possessed.

My training has its foundation in psychoanalysis, but utilizes a multi-faceted approach that can be adapted to your needs and preferences. Some of the approaches that can be used are Narrative Therapy, Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy, Person-Centered Therapy, Strength-Based Therapy, Family Systems Therapy, Jungian Analysis, Didactic Therapy, Dream Analysis, and Play Therapy. If you are not comfortable with Art Therapy, I offer regular Talking Therapy as well.

My education is an Honours Bachelor of Arts Degree with a double major in Art and Psychology, and a minor in Social Work from Redeemer University College, as well as a Master’s Equivalency degree (DTATI) specializing in Art Therapy from the Toronto Art Therapy Institute. I am also a standing member of OACCPP, and CATA.

“In the midst of difficulty lies opportunity” ~ Albert Einstein.


Lisa Bynoe-Stevens

BASc (Family and Social Relations)

MDiv (Counselling)


Therapist and Seminar Facilitator

Offices: Hamilton/St. Catharines

Focus: Children who have been bullied, Youth and Young Adults who Feel Anxious, Couples with Poor Communication, Blended Families, and Professional Women managing stress

From the time I was a teenager, I loved to help people.   It is my second wind.

People have described me as genuine, a natural coach and supportive.

Almost 30 years ago when I was working on my undergraduate degree in Family and Social Relations at the University of Guelph, a teaching assistant and classmates in one of my counselling courses tapped me on the shoulder, telling me that I had a natural ability in counselling. They all encouraged me to pursue this field. Shortly after this, I made the decision to become a therapist, focusing on helping children, adolescents and their families.  To this day, this decision has been supported by every supervisor I have ever had.

As I worked in the social work field starting in the early ‘90s, I began focusing my counselling training in Play Therapy. I attended training courses in both the USA and Canada, learning from prominent leaders in the field.  I loved every minute of it! So, if you come into my office, please forgive me, but you will see games, kids’ books, puppets, sand tray, art supplies, and playdough. Of course, you are always welcome to play with any of the above!

In 2005, I successfully completed a Master’s in Divinity in Counselling at Tyndale University College and Seminary, where I expanded my counselling training to include working with adults, couples and families. Eventually, I augmented this learning with additional couple and family therapy courses at the University of Guelph’s continuing education department.

As time continued, I had to respect the fact that I also was developing a specific interest in working with couples. As I was completing a Solution-Focused Training certificate over 10 years ago, a mentor of mine encouraged me to pursue my second love of working with couples. Shortly after receiving this support, I immersed myself in related specific training and working with couples. 

At this point in my career, I have worked with many different presenting issues. Even though my first loves are issues with the younger generations and couples, I have grown to be well-versed in working with those struggling with issues surrounding young adulthood, workplace, addictions, depression and anxiety.   In other words, if you need a listening ear for whatever you are trying to sort out, whoever you are, no matter your age and how many people are with you, I will try my best to be present and walk with you as you, hopefully, gain clarity and a sense of you again.   


Patricia “Zafire” Hernandez-Fierro

Offices: Burlington, Hamilton and St. Catharines

 Langue: English, Spanish

Focus: Couples, Adults, High Risk Youth, Trauma, Life Transitions.

I am the bridge between you and your ideal life, the one you can’t find the way to reach. Are you feeling tired or frustrated or that you have lost the passion for your dreams and that ideal life? Is there a trauma holding back your power and happiness? How can you step out of old patterns and create new, empowering habits?

Think of having a life legacy architect with the most up-dated tools and innate skills to co-create beside you. Whether your story comes from trauma or discontent; today is the day to start understanding why you are where you are and how to build the bridge between today and a life of passion, joy, inner peace and freedom, which you so much desire and deserve. Together we will rise above your story, so you may stand upon it to be empowered, rather than crushed by it. 

My approach is eclectic and tangible. I have been where you are today throughout my life and have come from victim to warrior myself. I have the tools, knowledge and skills to help you attain that ideal life. My life’s purpose to be that aiding bridge between your past and your amazing, joyful and radiant future. Reach out and take back your power today! Our co-creation will be profound and worth it.

With a PhD in Clinical Psychology and more than 15 years of experience, I have been humbled to have helped thousands of people both young and old, couples and teens. I have had the pleasure of helping others find inner peace and empowerment by their own stories. I have worked in the private sector, government sector and educational setting. It is my belief that everyone can use a little push now and again. I also believe that absolutely no one need suffer in pain alone.

The power behind the domino effect is tremendous, when you choose to heal. It starts with you and escalades into all of those that surround you; your family, loved ones, friends, co-workers and even people you had no idea where watching can and will be beautifully moved by your choice to heal. When you heal, those around you heal.

Although trauma, high-risk youth and couples are my primary focus, my 15+ years of experience has allowed me to delve into many areas, with my sole purpose to help others co-create a life of expansion, inner peace and abundant joy from a manageable and easily accessible state of beauty of contentment.

When you heal the child inside, the empowered/healthy/strong/victorious adult emerges.


Bayridge Counselling Centre- Hamilton Reaches

Hamilton ON