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Last updated – Friday, April 3 at 4 p.m.

Student Counselling

Our team


Mirjam Knapik

Student Counsellor - Mirjam Knapik

I am a Registered Psychologist and came to Mount Royal in 2009. I have a BA from the University of Victoria and a Ph.D. from the University of Calgary.

Early in life I was struck by family stories that spoke of resiliency, perseverance and healing in the face of painful experiences. I wanted to facilitate this growth and healing with others and initially did so as a youth worker. Then I completed my degrees so that I am now able to do this work intensively as a counsellor.

When I meet with students I am curious about their strengths and what they've done to manage their challenges, as well as explore with them new perspectives and possibilities. For me it's about helping others determine what they want their life to be like, and together figuring out how they'll get there.

In my life I love to make music with others and enjoy being outside to garden and hike.

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Michael Huston (currently on leave)

Student Counsellor - Michael Huston

I am Registered Psychologist, and a counsellor at Mount Royal since 2001. I completed a BSc in psychology at the University of Alberta and a Master's degree in Educational Psychology at the University of Calgary. I have experience working with a broad range of personal, career, and educational concerns.

I tend to think of counselling being about change - that it's a learning environment where we work together to think of goals, changes or outcomes, and to determine what needs to be learned to move in a preferred direction. Most concerns can be approached this way - as a learning opportunity. I tend to think of problems as being part of a normal human experience and that we can all learn how to cope better with the problems life presents.

I very much enjoy my work and appreciate the opportunity to assist students in addressing their concerns and creating desired changes. I like the idea of being tidy and organized.

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Kathy Offet-Gartner

Student Counsellor - Kathy Offet-Gartner

I have a PhD in Counselling Psychology and I am a Registered Psychologist. I have been part of the Mount Royal Student Counselling team for the past ten years now and thoroughly enjoy my work with students and faculty.

I have a number of years of experience and have worked in a variety of different settings and communities. This varied experience creates a rich foundation of expertise and knowledge. Some of my areas of interest and experience include: addressing addictions, anger, all forms of abuse-past and/or present, assisting with conflict resolution, personal growth, positive parenting, and effective communication. I am passionate about working cross-culturally, in particular with Aboriginal people. I believe that individuals are the experts in their own life, that counselling offers the opportunity for individuals to find support to access their own inner wisdom, and act on it in ways that assist them to thrive.

I believe there is rarely a right or wrong in any given situation, that often even a small shift in perspective can assist individuals to see greater possibilities - shades of grey - to assist themselves in resolving their concerns. Further, I see counselling as a partnership, where both parties have gifts to offer, and their combined gifts provide the strength and resources to face any issue in a growth orientated way.

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Caroline Iannone

Student Counsellor - Caroline Iannone

I am a registered Psychologist with a Master of Arts degree in Counselling from Gonzaga University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Victoria. I have over 20 years of counselling experience working with adolescents and adults in a variety of settings. I have experience working with clients struggling with a diverse range of issues including life transitions, stress management, anxiety, depression, relationship challenges, anger, trauma and substance abuse.

I admire the courage it takes to seek counselling to work through life's challenges. I strive to create a safe, non-judgemental, compassionate environment that is built on respect, warmth, openness and honesty. My counselling style is collaborative, and focuses on increasing self-awareness, fostering insights, increasing confidence, taking healthy risks, acceptance of self and managing the obstacles preventing growth, development and change.

Counselling is a process that takes individuals on a journey, helping people to connect with the truth of themselves, which can lead to a life that is more authentic and rewarding.

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Jennifer McCormick

Student Counsellor - Jennifer McCormick

I grew up in Calgary and completed my Bachelor's and Master's of Science in Psychology at the University of Calgary. When I was in university, I came to realize that my education was not limited to textbooks and the classroom. It felt like being in school was challenging me to explore who I thought I was and what I valued.

As a psychologist I have come to appreciate the multitude of experiences that post-secondary brings and really enjoy working with students who are currently on this journey. For me, counselling involves creating opportunities to explore what these experiences mean to you along with finding resources and skills (internal or external) to get the most out of your experiences.

In addition to my work, I also enjoy painting/being creative, listening to audio books set in Victorian England, and spending time with my spouse and children.

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Amy Van Deurzen

Student Counsellor - Amy Van Deurzen

I was born and raised in Lethbridge, and as a teenager I discovered my interest in human behaviour and my passion for helping others. I obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Bachelor of Education, and worked as a high school social studies teacher. Although I found the experience of working with teenagers and young adults in an educational setting to be very rewarding, my role as a teacher was not allowing me to work with people in quite the way I wanted. I discovered my true calling was to work in a more direct, hands-on way to help people further their own personal wellness, development and growth. For this reason, I decided to return to the University of Lethbridge and completed my master's degree in counselling psychology, after which I moved to Calgary. I have worked as a counsellor in schools, non-profit organizations and private practice. I am grateful that as a counsellor I have found my way back to working in an educational setting, as I enjoy the vibrancy of the atmosphere and the students at Mount Royal University.

Travel has been a personal passion of mine throughout my entire life. Some of my favourite cities that I have travelled to include Istanbul, New York City, and Amsterdam. I look forward to venturing into other parts of the world in the future as I always enjoy interacting with new people and cultures.

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Cara Chalmers

Student Counsellor - Cara Chalmers

Although there are not many of us, I am a born and raised Calgarian. I grew up in this city and I have lived most of my adult life here. I'm not sure that I could feel truly like myself if I couldn't look to the western skyline, see our beautiful mountains, and anchor myself in the knowledge that there is so much beauty in the world to explore.

I love this city and I love what I do. My background is in Social Work, having pursued both my Bachelors and Maters degrees in Social Work at the University of Calgary. My profession has allowed me the opportunity to work in various fields of work and with diverse populations over the years. I believe that everyone wants to live a life that is full and to have the kind of relationships that bring about the best in who we are and what we can be. Through the use of Postmodern modalities such as Narrative Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy and Response-Based Techniques I offer the individuals with whom I work my presence and collaboration to focus on deconstructing common and often troublesome beliefs so that we can examine their value in someone's life and work to create a preferred way of knowing who we are and engaging with the world around us.

As a Counsellor at Mount Royal University, I am passionate about working with the optimistic and enthusiastic students on campus to support them in finding healing and meaning in their lives.

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Sonya Flessati

Student Counsellor - Sonya Flessati

I was born and raised in Calgary, and I am a Psychologist and Associate Professor working at MRU since 2002. I have a Master's Degree (Clinical Psychology) from Lakehead University and a Ph.D. (Counselling Psychology) from the University of Alberta.

I love my work with students - the diversity of their issues, their uniqueness, and the resilience that they bring to counselling, during a time of life transition and movement towards establishing one's identity, values, and a sense of meaning and purpose. It is fulfilling to be able to help students identify their best strengths and how they can be used to work with life's challenges.

When I am not at work, spending time with loved ones, walking my dog Casey, and being out in nature and in my garden provide me with a sense of contentment and wellness. When I am doing these things, I know that I am living well.

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Jack Dobbs (currently on leave)

Student Counsellor - Jack Dobbs

I am a registered psychologist. My areas of expertise are:

  • Mature adults returning to post-secondary
  • Mid-career, part-time learners
  • Career development - psychological approach to finding essence
  • Existential issues
  • Bright, gifted and AH/HD
  • Group process - inner-journey spiritual (non-religious) approach
  • Goal setting and achievement
  • Relationships

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Janet Miller

Student Counsellor - Janet Miller

I'm a psychologist at Mount Royal who provides counselling support to students on a variety of topics including career uncertainty, self-discovery, growth, relationships, trauma, crisis, depression, resiliency, anxiety and grief. I also absolutely love working with student leaders and volunteers. My approach to counselling has been influenced by existential psychology, positive psychology and client-centered therapy. I like conversations about meaning and purpose, and I love talking about the "big stuff" in life.

Outside of my office you'll find me on campus welcoming students into Residence, coordinating the Student Leadership Conference, or doing research about student success. In addition to my Mount Royal identity, I'm a mom, an amateur potter, and a coffee enthusiast. I love learning new things and appreciate the opportunity to be of support to our campus community.

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Danni Lei

Student Counsellor - Jack Dobbs

I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Ottawa and a Master's of Science degree in Counselling Psychology at the University of Calgary. I am a registered Psychologist and excitedly joined the Mount Royal team in February of 2019. I have previously worked in addictions, child and family counselling, and at the University of Calgary Wellness Centre. I am currently also with the Cumming School of Medicine, working with medical residents.

I am passionate about working with and supporting people reach their goals, whichever they may be. Working from a client-centered and strength-based perspective, I hope to help students navigate and balance the complexities of life. Outside of the counselling room I can often be found traversing the many mountains and trails of Alberta, visiting the lakes of my hometown in Ontario, exploring the many sights of Calgary (including delicious restaurants) and just spending time outdoors with my partner and dog.

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Kelly Waters-Radcliffe

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Here’s who I am:  A middle-aged man, husband and father of two. I’ve travelled a bit. I love art and sometimes paint. I love music but know only three chords. I should probably go to the gym.  And I’ve been a practicing therapist for about 18 years. (It takes practice!) The more people I meet, though, the more fully I’ve come to understand one basic thing: problems are problems because they interfere with what’s meaningful.  When our needs aren’t met, when we fall out of line with our values, when our strengths go unused, and when we’re trapped in routines that don’t match our hopes, then life is drained of meaning. We disconnect. Disconnection can be felt in many ways, including confusion, helplessness, anxiety, depression, and anger.  Disconnected people are in pain, and people in pain respond in many ways,  including but not limited to: withdrawing, avoiding, risk-taking, engaging in addiction, locking into conflict, acting violently, self-harming, and attempting suicide.

My practice is to help people find words for what's meaningful to them. When we find words our troubles become more understandable and 'visible'. And when things are understandable, new options emerge where once there seemed few - or none. It becomes possible to reconnect with life in meaningful ways. This, I believe, is therapy.

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Mariberth Blanco

Admin Assistant - Mariberth Blanco

When you come to Student Counselling Services you may see my head close to the desk, but don't worry - I will always be there for you. I love to help people, and service is my preferred work. As an administrative assistant with Student Counselling Services, I have many tasks that help provide excellent services for our clients. I manage the day-to-day operations, and directly handle all financial matters, counsellor schedules and evaluations.

Before working at MRU, I was an administrative assistant and librarian with the Calgary Catholic School District, and an account manager for a publishing company. I am originally from Venezuela, so if you want to learn Spanish, I am here to help you with that as well!

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Barbara Russo

Admin Assistant - Barbara Russo

When people get a warm welcome in a new situation, the stage is set for a positive experience. That's been a strong belief throughout my working life, and especially in my administrative assistant role at the front desk of Student Counselling Services. The best part of my job here is definitely interacting with MRU students.

My previous positions include communications specialist for a tourism marketing organization, editor at MRU, and various medical office roles in Calgary and BC. Some of my most recent education achievements include a Technical Writing Certificate from MRU and a Provincial Instructor Diploma from Vancouver Community College.

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