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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

Joanna Watson

Administrative Assistant | Joanna Watson

Joanna is passionate about students and strives to provide a welcoming environment when they walk into Counselling Services. She has worked at Red Deer Polytechnic in various roles since 2006. Prior to post-secondary, Joanna worked in the telecommunications industry as both an Executive Assistant and a Project Data Manager.  

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.

Shannaya SwagarIntake Coordinator | Shannaya Swagar, BA

Shannaya graduated from University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Arts degree, and is continuing her education in the Master of Counselling Psychology program at Yorkville University. She has over 5 years experience working with diverse populations, such as those experiencing problems with addictions, mental illness, thoughts of suicide, domestic and family violence, and homelessness. She has previously worked in frontline positions, as a Life Skills Coach for people with disabilities, and as a Family Development Worker.

Shannaya is passionate about her work, and strives to meet people where they're at. She believes that, with support, a positive environment, and eagerness to learn, individuals are capable of achieving anything.

In her down time, Shannaya enjoys spending time with her daughter, going camping, reading, spending time with friends and family, and exploring nature. 

Tanis Ihme

Intake 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 a variety of approaches including Trauma Informed, Narrative, and DBT. 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 overall well-being. 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.

Brenda DesjarlaisCounsellor | 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. 

Linda CaponponPracticum Counsellor | Linda Caponpon, BCR

Linda has a degree in Community Rehabilitation from the University of Calgary and is currently completing a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology at Yorkville University.  She has a broad range of experience supporting individuals and families in crisis. Linda connects with her clients by meeting them where they're at. She is committed to creating a safe and collaborative space where every student can feel welcome, supported, and comfortable sharing their story.  Linda's approach to therapy is strength-based and relational in nature; she believes that a strong therapeutic relationship is central to creating a meaningful and collaborative therapy experience that meets the unique needs of each student.

Linda enjoys travelling, cycling, and spending time in nature with her family and friends.

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

Tanya has a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Psychology with a minor in Women's Studies, and a Masters of Education in Educational Psychology from the University of Regina. She is a Registered Psychologist from Saskatchewan.

Tanya has previously worked with 2 school divisions and 3 other post-secondary institutions as a Psychologist, Counsellor, and Sessional Lecturer within Inclusive Education and SUNTEP. She has spoken at national conventions regarding the inclusion of students with diverse needs and decolonizing the assessment process in higher education. She has also completed over 700 psycho-educational assessment reports over the past 12 years for students of all ages and backgrounds.

Tanya enjoys working with students and their chosen support team as collaborative partners in their success. 

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

Jodi-Lynn has a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology from Yorkville University and is a Canadian Certified Counsellor with the CCCPA.

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, 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 Assocation 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.