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Counselling Services


Counselling Services

Counselling services and supports are inclusive, confidential, and available to all Red Deer Polytechnic students free of charge.

Meet our Team

Administrative Assistant | Nicole Philpot






Intake Coordinator | Joanna Watson

Joanna is passionate about students and their mental health and strives to provide a safe and welcoming space in Counselling Services. She believes that with support, a positive environment, and an eagerness to learn, students can be successful in their individual academic journeys. Joanna has worked at Red Deer Polytechnic in various roles since 2006. 

Spending time at the lake with family and friends provides Joanna with the much needed down time to reset and relax. Joanna's other interests include painting, drawing, and gardening.


Tanis IhmeIntake Coordinator | Tanis Ihme

Heather MacLean Counsellor | Heather MacLean, MEd, CCC
Heather has a Master of Education in Counselling Psychology and is a Canadian Certified Counsellor with the CCPA. Her approach is client-centered, supportive, and strength-based. She works collaboratively with students to help them find skills to overcome challenges at their own pace, using both a Trauma and DBT informed approach. Heather has worked in post-secondary and non-profit organizations for over 10 years.

Heather works with each student in an individualized style that allows them to engage comfortably in the counselling process and to meet their unique needs and goals. Heather has experience working with a diverse range of challenges such as trauma, anxiety, depression, and relationship issues. Originally from the East Coast, Heather loves good food, music, and spending time with friends, family, and nature.

Heather AgnewCounsellor | Heather Agnew, MC, Provisional Psychologist

Heather has a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Psychology from University of the West of Scotland and a Master of Counselling Psychology from Athabasca University. 

Heather cares deeply about understanding her students and views them as valuable people with unique life stories. She provides a non-judgmental, safe, and supportive environment that empowers students to make positive changes needed to live happy and fulfilled lives. She believes the key to successful therapy is developing strong therapeutic relationships rooted in empathy, trust, mutual respect, and understanding.

Heather loves travelling with her husband and kids, camping, discovering new places, and scuba diving.

Counsellor | Brenda Desjarlais, PPsych

Brenda is an Indigenous woman from Treaty 6. She has a Master’s in Counselling Psychology from Yorkville University, and her undergraduate degree is from the University of Alberta in Native studies. She has many years of experience working with Indigenous people in addictions, mental health, and children services, including being the Executive Director for Poundmaker's Lodge for 2 years. Brenda has been practicing for 5 years as a Registered Provisional Psychologist, and previously worked with Alberta Health Services and as a Provisional Psychologist in Edmonton, Grande Prairie, and Wetaskiwin. She loves working in the field of mental health and enjoys watching people make positive changes in their lives.

Brenda is also a Great Grandmother of one, Grandmother of seven, and mother of two children. She loves practicing her culture and has been taught by elders for several years; however, she feels like she has just begun this learning journey. Brenda is excited to be part of the Counselling Services team and hopes she can bring positive change to the people she meets. 

Mental Health Education Coordinator | Sam Cooley-Morrison 

Sam graduated from the University of Lethbridge with a Bachelor of Health Sciences, majoring in Addiction Counselling and Mental Health.  She has experience as a Counsellor doing Animal Assisted Therapy and facilitating psychoeducation groups to a variety of populations from children, youth, parents, first responders & helping professionals, people experiencing mental illness and individuals looking to improve their overall wellness.  Sam has a passion for teaching and supporting people on their unique journey to wellbeing and is excited to use her education and experience to support the students and staff at RDP!

When Sam isn't working, she can be found spending time walking her dogs on a new trail or connecting with friends and family.

Tanya Lyons-BeltManager of Student Supports | Tanya Lyons-Belt, MEd, RPsych

Tanya is a Registered Psychologist in the areas of Education, Counselling, and Developmental Psychology.  Previously working with two school divisions and three post-secondary institutions in Saskatchewan as a Psychologist, Counsellor, and Sessional Lecturer, Tanya is the current Manager, Student Supports at Red Deer Polytechnic.

Leading RDP in their alignment with the National Standards and the Student Mental Health Strategy, Tanya works with her team to ensure that space is made and student voices are elevated regarding accessibility, inclusion, equity, and justice, especially for those with diverse needs and barriers in higher education.

Counsellor | Jodi-Lynn Jackson, BA, MA, Provisional Psychologist

Jodi-Lynn has a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology from Yorkville University and is a Registered Provisional Psychologist.

Jodi-Lynn believes that the student is the expert of their own experiences, and that therapy should be a collaborative and empowering process.  She works from a variety of approaches including emotion focused, somatic, and narrative.  Jodi-Lynn offers a relaxed, compassionate, non-judgmental atmosphere with a sprinkle of humor when appropriate.  She has experience working in post-secondary, and with those who have experienced sexual violence.  Jodi-Lynn loves working in post-secondary and supporting students with overcoming barriers and challenges that may be impacting their well-being.  In her free time, she loves cooking, drinking tea, and spending time with friends and family.

Counsellor | Stephen Roberts, MACP, MPCC- S

Stephen has a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology from Yorkville University.  He is a Master Practitioner in Clinical Counselling - Provisional Supervisor with the Canadian Professional Counsellors Association and a member of the Association of Counselling Therapy of Alberta.  He is a Clinical Traumatologist with Traumatology Institute, and a Certified Brainspotting Therapist and Consultant with Brainspotting International.  Stephen has worked in various roles and positions that have given him ample experience with diverse populations including students, vulnerable populations (homeless, addicts, etc.) and athletes.  He was competitive college player and coach and loves working with athletes to become the best they can be in their sport and in life.

Stephen is passionate about the brain and body and their impact on our lives.  His specialties include trauma, depression, anxiety, addictions, and sports performance.  Stephen is an empathetic, non-judgmental counsellor who works collaboratively with students to help them navigate through life.  He believes in self-awareness through attachment, relationships, and the brain/body system.  Stephen strives to develop a mutually respectful relationship with students built on trust, respect, and safety.

When he is not helping people, Stephen enjoys spending time with his three boys participating in healthy activities, talking, parenting, reading (specifically about the brain and body), watching soccer (Manchester United), watching hockey (Toronto Maple Leafs) and being a lifelong learner.

Practicum Student | Braelyn Bajema, BA

Braelyn is an RDP alum and has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Psychology from the University of Calgary.  She is completing her Master of Counselling degree through Athabasca University.  She has worked in the nonprofit sector for several years with people experiencing trauma, homelessness, addiction, and involvement with the justice system.

Being part of your healing journey is an honor for Braelyn.  She believes each person is inherently valuable and deserves support, wherever they are at in life.  Braelyn works from a holistic and trauma-informed perspective to create a safe space in therapy that centers on each students' individual perspectives, needs, and strengths.  She uses primarily solution-focused, narrative, and somatic approaches.

In her personal life, she enjoys playing rec league sports, quiet moments appreciating nature, and adventuring with her kids and puppy on her farm.

Consent Education Coordinator | Katelynn Mills, BSc

Katelynn has recently graduated from Burman University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.  In her years at Burman, Katelynn was given many different opportunities, such as experience in working in sexual and gender-based violence awareness and prevention education, involvement in various research projects and conferences with professors, and more.  She was recently published as an author in one of her research projects titled "Marital Satisfaction: Toward an Integrated Understanding.  Structural Equation Modelling Helps Unravel the Complexity of Factors that Impact Marital Success."  Katelynn hopes to use every ounce of her experience in working with RDP students to help build a culture of consent on campus.

In her spare time, Katelynn finds joy in spending quality time with her husband and other family and friends, as well as playing with her puppy, any sort of Super Mario game, instruments and singing, and listening to podcasts.  She is glad to be part of the Counselling Services team!