About the Counselling Centre

The Counselling Centre offers free, confidential services to students at Saint Mary’s University, including individual counselling, psychoeducational group counselling, sleep consultations, events, and programming.

Contact the Counselling Centre

Email: counselling@smu.ca 
Phone: 902-420-5615  Fax: 902-491-6248 Location: Fourth Floor, O'Donnell Hennessy Student Centre
Hours (Monday to Friday):
September to May: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
June to August: 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Evening appointments are offered for clients who are unable to attend during set business hours.

The Counselling Centre is not an air conditioned space so it can get very warm during the summer months. Come dressed accordingly. If you have concerns about attending in person due to the heat, you can always switch to a virtual (phone or video) delivery. Please let us know if you wish to do so.

We offer counselling sessions in person and virtual (telephone or video). If you would like to change your appointment to virtual due to weather, sickness, etc. please contact counselling@smu.ca and we would be happy to do so. It's possible that we may request to change your appointment to virtual for similar reasons but you would be given notice in those instances. For clients that have not used the video counselling platform before there is account set up required. Please provide as much notice as possible, as we will if necessary. Thank you.  

Meet the Team


Cindy completed her Masters of Education in Counselling Psychology at the University of Western Ontario and her Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Psychology at the Grenfell Campus of Memorial University. She has worked in universities, addiction treatment settings, community practices and most recently at the Avalon Sexual Assault Centre supporting survivors of sexual violence. Areas of particular interest include trauma, shame/self-worthangerrelationship struggles and boundaries. Cindy’s approach to therapy is highly collaborative, as she believes empowering clients is key to growth. Her orientation is informed by Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Emotion Focused Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.


Lorianne completed a Bachelor of Science in Psychology at Dalhousie as well as a Masters of Education (Counselling) from Acadia University. She has a background as a teacher, coach, tutor, and counsellor, working with people of all ages and backgrounds. Her approach to counselling is largely collaborative, working alongside clients to encourage autonomy and positive self-growth. Her main areas of interest include, but are not limited to, anxietymindfulnessself-esteem, interpersonal relationships, and substance use.


May immigrated to Halifax from China in 2006, completing her Master of Arts in Family Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University and her Master of Education in Counselling at Acadia University.

May has worked at universities, community practices and, most recently, at the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) to support refugee clients and newcomers through trauma informed approach therapy. May integrates evidence-based therapy methods in her approach (Internal Family System, Mindfulness, Person-Centred Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and others) to address not only presented but also hidden issues from a comprehensive and compassionate perspective. Her focus includes trauma, attachment related issues, stress, anxiety, self-esteem and relationships. May can offer counselling services in both English and Mandarin.


Agnieszka received her Bachelor of Arts 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 relationships and connection within, she continued her studies in applied behavioural analysis, completing her advanced diploma in behavioural intervention and went on to complete her Masters in Counselling Psychology. She has 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. Agnieszka has spent the last 5 years working with men and women with addiction and substance abuse disorders with co-occurring mental health issues. Her work in this field has led her to develop a strong person-centred approach when working with clients with an emphasizes on the importance of strengthening one’s self-identity, self-worth and self-compassion.

Mental Health Educator

Emma completed a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Mount Allison University in 2015. She has seven years of experience working in university residences coordinating wellness and community-building programs. You can find her designing and facilitating mental health literacy programs through forums such as peer-based education, workshops for students, presentations for staff and faculty, and social media.
Ashleigh Dempsey


Ashleigh has a Paralegal Diploma from Maritime Business College. Ashleigh can be found booking personal counselling appointments for current students at Saint Mary's. She can answer any questions students may have about The Counselling Centre.

Alys joins the SMU Counselling Centre as a practicum student. She is currently in the Masters of Education Counselling program at Acadia University, and also has a Wellness Diploma and BFA and MA degrees. Alys uses the pronouns she/her, and identifies as a queer, come-from-away, white settler in Mi’kma’ki. Alys views counselling as a tool for developing self-awareness and working with difficult experiences or emotions that may lead us to feel blocked, stuck, or unfulfilled in life. When we grieve and accept what we can’t change, build and strengthen relationships, nurture healthy coping strategies, understand our “personal narrative” and develop new beliefs, we can create meaning and growth from adverse experiences. Alys’s work is grounded in principles of genuineness, congruency, and unconditional positive regard for every living being. Alys's email address is practicum.student@smu.ca


Julia is a Master’s level Registered Social Worker who has been providing direct social work practice since 2014. She received her social work training from St. Thomas University and the University of Toronto. She specializes in working with people who are experiencing a range of mental health issues and life challenges including anxiety, depression, addictions, brain injuries, self-confidence struggles and life adjustment issues.

Julia values lifelong learning and has worked in government settings, non-profits and private practice. Julia has training in Addiction Counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Processing Therapy, and Gender/Identity Training. She believes that having been trained in various modalities helps her tailor her counselling approach to each client’s needs.

She is passionate about counselling and truly believes it is an honour to engage with people throughout difficult times. As a natural optimist, her hope is to genuinely connect with each client and help bring out their natural strengths and confidence. She aims to empower clients by using a strengths-based and solution-focused approach in counselling sessions. She is supportive, non-judgemental and encouraging.

Julia aims to partner with you, work with you where you are at, highlight your improvements and work towards positive change.

Applications and Information for Practicum Students

The Counselling Centre is not currently accepting applications for practicum students.

Practicum Program for Professional Counsellors/Psychologists

The Counselling Centre at Saint Mary’s University provides a comprehensive practicum training experience for Masters and PhD level graduate students in Clinical Psychology, Counselling Psychology, and Educational Psychology programs.

The program recognizes that prospective students bring with them a wide variety of educational and counselling experiences and is committed to providing placements that not only meet the needs of our clients (students at Saint Mary’s University), but also the training needs of practicum students.

To promote the development of professional counsellors and psychologists, students are offered opportunities to provide a wide range of services in a professional and supportive environment that values the unique skills and experiences of the counsellor-in-training.

While the primary focus is on providing one-to-one counselling for personal issues, students may have opportunities to pursue other counselling-related interests that could benefit our clients (for example, by offering a psychoeducational workshop on an issue relevant to the university population). Students seeking specific training and learning experiences will be accommodated when possible.

Practicum students will become part of the counselling team at Saint Mary’s University and will be able to contribute to numerous activities offered throughout the academic year (for example, on-campus training for Residence Assistants, professional development workshops, case consultation and promotional activities, etc.).

Theoretical Orientation

Our service offers short-term counselling (approximately 8 sessions) for a wide variety of issues and as such, generally adopts a cognitive-behavioral or solution-focused approach emphasizing action, change, client independence, initiative, and responsibility. However, our staff members are experienced with a variety of additional models (e.g., person-centered, psychodynamic, motivational interviewing) and often provide service and supervision using an integrated theoretical approach.

How to Apply

Your application package should include:

  1. Letter of interest in the practicum placement at The Counselling Centre
  2. Curriculum Vitae or Resume
  3. One letter of reference – ideally from individuals who can comment on your counselling skills, professionalism, ability to work as part of a team, and potential as a therapist
  4. Undergraduate and graduate transcripts

Your application package should be submitted to:

  • Manager, The Counselling Centre
    Student Affairs & Services, Saint Mary’s University
    923 Robie Street
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    B3H 3C3


The Counselling Centre at Saint Mary's University
4th Floor Student Centre, SC406
923 Robie Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia
B3H 3C3

Phone: 902-420-5615

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