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Meet the experts

We are fortunate to have skilled, compassionate clinicians and administrative support staff on our team.

Rachel Vargese

RRachel Vargese is originally from Thunder Bay, she has lived in a number of cities in Southern Ontario where she completed her Masters in Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University. Now based out of Calgary, Rachel is passionate about working with people from a strength based approach in helping people develop skills towards reaching their goals. She holds extensive experience working with families in a variety of settings, primarily children with special needs and pediatric medicine. This has given Rachel a unique lens in which to view experiences of grief and loss. I practice using a variety of modalities (CBT, DBT , Motivational Interviewing and Solution Focused), recognizing the most important therapeutic factor is a positive and trusting relationship.

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Dr. Brian M. Ross

Brian Ross is a Professor of Neuropharmacology at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. He is a graduate of the University of Glasgow in the UK where he gained a PhD in Neuroscience and Pharmacology, and later obtained a Master of Education degree from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. He is currently studying to obtain a Master of Divinity degree in Psychotherapy and Counselling from Tyndale University in Toronto. He has worked as a Fellow at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and the Institute of Medical Sciences at the University of Toronto, and as Reader and Research Director at the Highlands Psychiatric Research Foundation, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands, a multi-campus university in rural Scotland. He has also managed a biotechnology company focused on medical diagnostics. He moved to Thunder Bay in 2004 as one of the founding faculty of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (now NOSM U) where he led and taught in the neuroscience and mental health curriculum. He has also held administrative roles including the Dean for the Doctor of Medicine program. He conducts research in a range of topics including nutrition and the brain, neuropharmacology, psychedelics, analytical chemistry, place and medicine, and medical education. He is currently researching psychedelics (entheogens) and their therapeutic use with Louise McKissick, Founder and Lead Clinician, here at Wellspring.

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Louise McKissick

‍I value an eclectic approach with my clients, grounded in psychodynamic, relational theory, adding some DBT, CBT, narrative or art therapies as fitting. I intuitively suss out what is best in for my clients in any given moment. My improv training at Second City Chicago taught me how to pull from a wide-ranging repertoire of professional knowledge and lived experience. I am also an innovator, a traveller and a seeker, and am engaged in research with the Northern Ontario School of Medicine to find new and better ways to help my clients.

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Christine Galati

I am a lifelong resident of Thunder Bay. I have completed my BA and HBSW at Lakehead University and my MSW from Dalhousie University, specializing in Families and Children. For the past 30 years I have had the privilege to provide social work service to adults/children and youth. I previously worked at Catholic Family Development Centre providing supportive counselling services, as well as facilitating groups. I have worked with individuals of all ages whom have been impacted by violence, trauma, grief and loss and other life events that have cause emotional distress. My focus it to provide a safe, supportive and therapeutic service that meets the individual where they are at in their life journey using trauma informed practices. The goal is to empower individuals to identify their goals and to work towards achieving them.

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