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Team

John Vereecke

Co-Founder, Executive Director

John knew that having a successful professional career, a loving wife, healthy children, a nice home and car wasn’t enough to overcome addiction and support his own mental health issues. He personally felt the physical, psychological, social and spiritual affects of his own trauma, and felt that individuals should have an opportunity to seek help that would support their whole beings.

Together, with a team of experienced professionals, the Habitude™ Addiction and Wellness Program was successfully developed. A program that not only addresses the physical addiction but the physical, mental and spiritual maladies. The Habitude Program is Canada’s only authentic Bio-Psycho-Social and Spiritual Program that supports individuals, their families and their employers.

John is a certified chemical addictions Counsellor and continues to educate, innovate, inspire and support clients, families, and health practitioners about using a more common-sense approach to supporting individuals addicted to substances or struggling with mental health issues. He has mentored many others, encouraging them to stop talking the talk. and begin walking the walk. He feels blessed for having had the opportunity to reflect on his past and move forward into a future that is built on healthy habits and a positive attitude…. one step at a time.

Tammy Francoeur

Co-Founder, Director of Peer Support & Programming

Tammy is considered an Expert in Addiction and Family Issues. She has personally helped 1000’s of families, individuals and health professionals since 2005.  As a co-founder of the Habitude Program, Tammy strongly believes in the Bio-Psycho-Social and Spiritual Model of healing. Leaving one component out, leaves people at risk of becoming un-well again.

Tammy delivers outstanding Solution-Based Workshops, Lunch n’ Learns, and Customized Seminars to employers, families, and health practitioners. Tammy is an excellent speaker and has empowered many individuals to not only understand addiction better but to do their jobs better.

Christian

Christian Avila

Program Manager

In 2003, Christian obtained his Medical Doctor Diploma from the National University of Cordoba, Argentina. He then moved to Buenos Aires, where he completed his Psychiatry training in the Rivadavia and Tobar Garcia Hospitals.

Christian gained clinical experience while working in Avril Clinic Detoxification Center (2006-2009), and on the Psychiatric Emergency Team, OSDE (2008-2010). Christian has also gain experience working at the Outpatient Center Repsi S.R.L and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Center (2008-2010) in Argentina.

In 2011, Christian joined the Farncombe Institute in McMaster University as a Post Doctoral Research Fellow where he worked on basic and clinical projects involving the Gut-Brain Axis in Anxiety and Depression Disorders. Christian attended as observer at Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) during this period where he participated the patient’s assessments which include psychopharmacological as well as psychosocial and psychoeducational components. Christian has received awards and published in scientific journals.

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Dr. Rick Csiernik; BSc, BSW, RSW, MSW

PhD- Habitude Program Consultant

Dr Csiernik is a Professor at Kings University and an instructor in the Addiction Studies program at McMaster University. His primary teaching interests are in the areas of social work practice, group work, social work field education, social work field practice, and addiction. His research interests include Employee Assistance Programming and Occupational Social Work, addiction, social work and spirituality, and program evaluation.

Dr Csienik has written and edited 14 books, including Just Say Know: A Counsellor’s Guide to Psychoactive Drugs, Substance Use and Abuse: Everything Matters and Responding to the Oppression of Addiction. He has authored over 200 peer reviewed articles and book chapters and has been an invited presenter to 200 national and international conferences, workshops and seminars.

He has been on the King’s University College Honor Role of teaching 16 consecutive times and is past recipient of the McMaster University Instructor Appreciation and has acted as a consultant for the Habitude Program since 2010.

Biological/Physiological

Dr. Shelly Linehan; HBSc, ND

Naturopathic Doctor

Dr. Linehan is a board certified, licensed Naturopathic Doctor registered with Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and works hand and hand with our Medical Doctors, Therapists, and Clinicians.  Dr Linehan assesses the health of new clients, develops individual orthomolecular protocols, tailored to the specific needs of each client. These protocols are not available in any health food store.

Dr. Linehan fulfills this role with compassion and scientific knowledge. With an integrative bio-psycho-social and spiritual team approach, the clients are physically better, able to think clearer, are calmer, less depressed, sleep better, and attain a sense of well being exponentially faster.  Dr.Linehan’s goal is to empower people with the tools and strategies necessary to manage their health and apply them both at home and the workplace.

Dr Linehan is walking the talk in her own life, she is a wonderful mother, wife and cook and practices Yoga and meditation in her own day to day routine.

** typically covered under most insurance providers

Dr. Carolyn Rogers

Dr. Carolyn Rogers

Medical Doctor- Addiction Specialist

Dr. Carolyn Rogers believes strongly in the Habitude Program. She has personally supported and witnessed physical and mental health challenges that had remarkably positive outcomes from a bio-psycho-social and spiritual approach. In November 2011, while attending the Canadian Association of Addiction Medicine conference, presenters were just starting to talk about the importance of a bio-psycho-social-spiritual approach to the treatment of addiction. Dr. Rogers says she has never seen these types of outcomes in any other clinic, her own family practice, or any hospital since she graduated from McMaster Medical Program in 1990. She has not seen this in her work as the Federal Institution Physician for the Ministry of Corrections for the past 14 years either.  Dr. Rogers believes that the Habitude Addiction Program addresses each of these facets of recovery in a unique and intensive way and remains the most cutting-edge program in Canada today.

Dr Rogers is a remarkable human being. She is compassionate, smart, and open to looking at things that most people in her position would not. She has experienced many non-medical modalities that she believes have had a positive impact in her own life.

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Tyler Arsenault; Bsc

Nutritionist

Tyler is a natural health expert and has been a leader in the natural health industry since 2005. helping our clients to achieve superior health through the use of diet and supplementation. Tyler offers dietary counseling services and product advice using the latest technological advances in analysis and planning paired the latest scientific research.

Tyler is a wonderful educator and is open to teaching individuals why they need to pay attention to what they put into their bodies, and how diet and nutrition is so important in a wellness plan. Tyler speaks about the co-relationship of diet/nutrition and creates nutrition plans that support physical and mental health. He lives eats and breathes, a bio-psycho-social and spiritual lifestyle.

Tyler teaches a series of Nutritional Groups, and is brilliant at individual dietary planning. Our clients definitely embrace this information, allowing them an opportunity to talk about some of their personal struggles they have had with weight gain/loss, sugar consumption, dairy intake, or even questions relating to how much protein an individual actually needs in their diet to maintain healthy muscle.

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Ernie Schramayr

Medical Exercise Specialist

Since 1993 Ernie Schramayr has been providing quality fitness training for the brain and the body. Ernie is a 20-year fitness veteran with certifications as a Personal Trainer and a Medical Exercise Specialist. He has supervised over 35,000 workouts and has been voted “Best Personal Trainer” 7 times by the readers of the Hamilton Spectator, View Magazine, and the Hamilton Community News. An in-demand media guest, as a fitness expert, Ernie has appeared regularly on CHML-AM 900, CHCH, CITY-TV’s Breakfast Television and Chatelaine Magazine and has been a contributing writer for The Hamilton Spectator.

Ernie has created programs as diverse as “Meeting the Physical Demands of Work” to “30/30- Spinning and Strength Training”. He is well-known for his creativity and boundless energy in helping clients get the results that they are looking for.

His diverse background puts him in a unique position to help people reach their goals. Ernie has also been Certified as a Medical Exercise Specialist and Lifestyle Weight Management Consultant and he has the rare ability to make complex ideas easy to understand and simple to apply. Not only does he talk the talk, but as a mountain bike enthusiast, hockey player and runner, he walks the walk.

Ernie has also been certified as an ACE- Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant as a SCHWINN Certified Spinning Instructor and has completed the Heart Zone Training Certificate.

“I am ultimately successful when you no longer need me!”

Ernie has worked with our Inpatient Habitude Clients since 2005. and is humbled by the determination and positive results he has personally witnessed from individuals who had many challenges pre-treatment.

Ernie offers one on one support, and is an amazing group facilitator. In April 2017, Ernie introduced a new outpatient group called The Habitude 30 Day Energy Make-Over Group which received fantastic feedback from all participants. He will be offering this group throughout the year as he knows that it is extremely good value and a great first step to re-starting a wellness plan.

Psychological

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Carla “Vanina” Noejovich; MA, PhD

Registered Psychotherapist

Vanina Noejovich is a Registered Psychotherapist with more than 20 years of clinical experience in emotional trauma, mood disorders and chronic mental illness. Vanina has her Masters and  a Ph.D. ( Doctorate). in Psychoanalysis, and her approach is oriented to tailor a treatment plan based on each individual case.

As a crisis case manager and supervisor, Vanina understands the need for an authentic integrative team approach, that focuses on the client’s needs in a transparent and timely fashion, eliminating road blocks, and silos, In her experience she has learned and personally seen that one problem is often connected to at least one other problem, when a person is feeling discomfort in their own lives and loves that Habitude offers many other clinical services for their clients.

Vanina is very comfortable working with people from different cultures and backgrounds. Her work in Latin-America, Europe and Canada have built a strong understanding of the emotional impact on immigration and settlement and the need for specialized therapies.

Vanina loves supporting Habitude client’s and witnessing the bio-psycho-social and spiritual transformation. She is also currently working as a researcher in the Department of Medicine at McMaster University looking for more evidence to connect the body and mind!

**Languages spoken are English and Spanish

** typically covered under most insurance providers

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Kelly-Lee Mansi

Registered Psychotherapist

Kelly-Lee joined the Habitude multidisciplinary team in 2015, because she loved the holistic program offered to our clients and her fellow colleagues.  Kelly-Lee continues to work with individuals, couples, families and groups for more than 20 years helping them to achieve well-being.

Kelly-Lee is a graduate of the prestigious Holistic Psychotherapy program from Transformational Arts College. She also trained in several psycho-spiritually based therapies focusing on Stress, Depression, Addiction, Grief, Loss, and Trauma. Kelly-Lee is a registered member of the College of Psychotherapists, International Coach Federation (PCC), Guild of Hypnotists (CH) and the Human Resources Association (CHRP), she graduated from McMaster University with a Combined Honours Degree in Sociology and Labour Studies (Hons. BA).

Kelly-Lee is passionate about her life, her clients and her community. Within her community, Kelly-Lee now serves on the Board of Directors with the Brain Injury Association of Durham Region and Frontenac Youth Services

** typically covered under most insurance providers

Emoke-Emi

Emoke Tifan Torma

Addiction Counsellor, and Certified Grief Therapist

“Emi” has been with Habitude since 2008, and is a valued member of our Team. You only have to meet Emi once to know why.  Emi is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counsellor, and a member in good standings of CACCF, OACCPP, GRI. Emi is a trained Cognitive Behavioural Therapist (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapist (DBT), Grief and Loss Therapist, and Grief Coaching. At Habitude Wellness Emi utilizes these therapies and lends support to clients on a daily basis.

Emi leads holistic, therapeutic and educational groups that help our clients on their road to recovery. Over the years Emi has explored many spiritual, psychological and self-help practices which she has used to transform her life and attain spiritual awakening.

Emi’s spiritual path has included many cycles of healing and releasing, which was necessary after her own difficult journey which included many losses in a short period. She is a true fighter and did not allow these losses to damage her future. Emi is loved by everyone who has the pleasure of meeting her. She radiates love and compassion.

** Languages spoken are English and Hungarian

**typically covered under most insurance providers

Jayne

Jayne Ferreira

Family Addiction/Counsellor/Educator

Jayne is true believer in the  bio-psycho social and spiritual approach. In her opinion, Self Care is a key component and believes we are all spiritual beings living a human experience and need to ensure that we stay well throughout that experience, physically, mentally and spiritually by learning how to take care of ourselves and protect ourselves with healthy boundaries.

Jayne offers psycho-educational classes/groups, empowerment workshops and individual/family addictions counseling. Jayne’s professional experience goes back to 2003, but her own journey of addiction and recovery began 40 years ago. Her personal experience provides invaluable firsthand knowledge, and her formal education in Addiction Studies at McMaster University laid the foundation to a professional career helping others to be well.

Jayne’s client-centered / solution focused approach helps families move toward change and beginning their own journey of recovery. She has extensive experience working at an accredited children’s mental health agency, youth agencies, women’s drug and alcohol treatment centers’, and emergency shelters for women /children. She has implemented and taught violence and drug prevention to grades 5 through 12.

Jayne is an advanced level 3 EFT (energy tapping) practitioner, a published author of the children’s self-help book “Tapping Away the Blues.” and currently in the midst of supporting her young adult children, beloved husband while writing another book.

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Angus Coll-Smith; BA, BSW, RSW

Registered Social Worker

Angus understands the affects of addiction and the importance of incorporating a bio-psycho-social and spiritual recovery plan.  Since 2001, Angus has honored his body, mind and soul, knowing that it is necessary for the family to heal as well. He implemented a healthy work environment into his life, now as a Registered Social Worker with both the Ontario College of Social Workers and the Association of Social Workers. He completed the Addictions Care Worker Program and still actively volunteers in his community with empathy and compassion.

Angus is a valuable member of Habitude’s Integrative Team Approach as he can responsibly formulate a strategic plan with a goal of recovery. As a Relapse Prevention Strategist, he is able to help an individual implement a strategic plan for wellness. Being realistic in his approach, he is able to confidently work with each client and help them to understand that this strategy collaborative goal setting, determining actions to achieve the goals, and mobilizing resources to execute the actions. Generally, a strategy describes how the ends (goals) will be achieved by the means (resources), which in mental health and addiction is a critical first step. You must define the problem, to create a solution.

Angus is also a Harm Reduction Strategist, and has been able to case manage both youth and adults for over a decade, using solution focused strength based approached to therapy, moving pre-contemplative clients, to a place of healthy recovery.

Angus has a passion for social justice and equity issues and is a 2014 recipient of The Women’s Centre’s Men Who Make a Difference Award.

** typically covered under most insurance providers

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Jorel Revaly

Withdrawal Specialist and Certified Addiction Counsellor

Jorel is originally from Haiti, where he went to school and worked as a Social Worker in the field of Mental Health and Addictions since 1995.  He then completed the Addiction and Mental Health 3 year Program at McMaster University.

Jorel is gentle by nature and very spiritual,  but firm in his beliefs that a healthy life does not include drugs. Jorel is withdrawal specialist, and is wonderful at support for individuals facing the challenge of acute and post acute withdrawal symptoms. He is certified through St John’s First Aid, CPR and (AED) automatic defibrillation. He compassionately provides solution focused counselling to individuals struggling with mental health and addiction issues and still actively involved in mission services. Jorel loves being a part of an amazing team that share his compassion for mankind.

**Languages spoken are English, French and Spanish

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Yvonne Onyango

Certified Addiction Counsellor

Yvonne is a graduate in Addiction and Community Services, the Social Service Worker Program at Mohawk College, and is registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service workers. She has been a member of the Habitude multidisciplinary team since 2010

Yvonne is a dedicated, motivated holistic team player and naturally taps into her optimism, and empathy for different individuals. Yvonne has demonstrated the ability to work effectively with individuals of different ages and ethnicity. Yvonne is passionate in working with individuals facing the stigma of addiction, and mental health; and uses her skills to guide and help individuals going through the process of recovery and sobriety and living with a mental illness.

Yvonne is trained and experienced in facilitating the Assessment Tools of Addiction, Group Therapy, concurrent disorders, substance use disorders, client-centered approach, solution focused approach, case management, withdrawal management, family education and Social Services.

Originally from Kenya, Yvonne is open to learning more about different cultures to better herself and better assist individuals and be the best of who she can be.  Her mantra is “Every Individual has inherent worth and deserves dignity”

** Languages spoken are English, Swahili and semi- fluent French

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Heather Simai

Certified Addiction & Mental Health Counsellor, SSW

Heather is a Withdrawal Management and Addiction Specialist as well as a Mental Health worker. Heather comes to the Habitude Program with 7 years front line training and employment with Hamilton Health Sciences. Heather was drawn to the Habitude Program as it emulated her own belief in wellness. She strongly believes in the bio-psycho-social and spiritual approach to recovery and overall wellness. She sees stress and trauma as being underlying issues to many physiological/biological, and psychological conditions.

Heather specializes in individual and group counselling; psycho- educational and psycho-therapeutic groups; cognitive behaviour therapy; person centered therapy. She is skilled and has helped many individuals identify triggers, and learn to deal with cravings by improving, coping and problem-solving skills.  She will help you investigate the relationship between emotional stress and addiction – including early adversity, family systems, neglect and abuse. This includes identifying, challenging and repairing distorted beliefs and negative thinking patterns that may be blocking your progress.

She is dedicated and passionate in her commitment to helping individuals living a life free from addictions and realizing their true potential for happiness.  She loves her work and her clients love her!

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Howard Cohen; B.A. L.L.B

Gambling Addiction Specialist

For three decades, Howard has worked with individual recovering from a gambling addiction and is actively involved today with helping compulsive gamblers lead productive lives. Howard has lectured on the compulsive gambling epidemic to many professional organizations, including The Banking Association of Canada, The Civil Servants of Ontario Credit Union, and the Doctoral Candidates at the University of Toronto, to name a few. He was one of the founders of the Canadian Foundation of Compulsive Gambling, in 1984.

As an experienced interventionist, Howard brings a wealth of expertise to the Habitude multidisciplinary team and our clients. Howard believes that any person who is addicted to gambling, if treated in a loving and caring way, through proper intervention, rehabilitation, and closely monitored follow-up, can return to a normal way of thinking and living.

He strongly believes in the Habitude Program and said he has been offered many opportunities in his life time to join many programs, but feels the Habitude Program is the program of the 21st Century and the one he has been waiting to be affiliated with.

Connie Mclaughlin

Connie McLaughlin

Therapeutic Arts

Connie McLaughlin has been teaching therapeutic art for over 10 years. Her diverse skill set allows Connie to work in schools, community groups, at private functions, corporate events, and in the services sector. All of her participants have little to no experience with art. Connie leads by example with step-by-step instruction where a positive result is achieved by all. Therapeutic art is a means for awakening and relaxation of the brain that is often untouched.

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Blanket

Therapy Dog

In 2016 Blanket joined our team as a Therapy Dog. She is a retired breeding dog from Halton Hills Labradoodle. Blanket has had three litters of puppies and is now in her forever home here at Habitude. Blanket is a friendly dog who loves attention. She welcomes all our clients, and guests with a gentle hug and provides love and support to all that welcome her into their lives.

Socialogical

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Liam Carey

Addiction and Employment Specialist

Liam understands the challenges of addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling being in recovery, attending his own treatment in 1980. He celebrates over 30 years of recovery and found his calling working in the addictions field.  He brings humour, creativity, dedication and a huge heart to the Habitude Program, when he helps people believe they are not too young, old, or too messed up to set and achieve new goals in their lives

Liam has helped many families help themselves and bring wellness into their own lives. Liam teaches individuals about the negative impact of co-dependency and help them create healthy boundaries, enabling them an opportunity to experience long term health and wellness in their day to day lives, without the fear of guilt or shame.

Liam Carey is an Alcohol and Drug Addiction Counsellor, Pre Employment Facilitator and Life Skills Coach, and facilitates groups, individual and family counselling.  He has helped many individuals create employment opportunities that support healthy recovery. Training can many times be offered at no charge or for a minimal payment. The benefits of this type of support is priceless.

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Frank Kempf

Community Peer Support Coach

Frank has seen a lot of trauma in his role as a law enforcement officer since 1994 and has personally witnessed, bad things happen to good people.

He has learned that bad choices only make things worse. Frank has received training in addiction and the use of illicit drugs and current drug subculture. He is familiar with the Law. He is also familiar with the importance of having a healthy foundation and strong family dynamics and has extensive training and understand the underlying issues contributing to domestic violence.

Frank personally knows that addictions has no boundaries. Education, Title, Affiliations and Organizations are all affected by the realms of addiction. He has been working with The Habitude™ Program since 2005, as he strongly believes in the BIO-PSYCHO-SOCIAL AND SPIRITUAL approach. He has witnessed good people physically sick in the early stages of withdrawal and recovery, continuously relapse only to start the cycle all over again.  Some end up in Jail and some end up dead. The lucky ones get help.

Front line workers are victims to addiction as well. It can affect them personally or someone they love. Frank is an excellent liaison for families, probation officers, Employee Assistance Programs and workers who need guidance on how to get someone help for their addiction. His honest and caring approach allows individuals to talk openly about their struggles with an addiction and create an action plan to start creating healthy habits and a positive attitude in their own lives, free of substances.

Frank is authentic in his belief that it takes a village to raise a child and is continuously paying it forward. In his own community, he is an active Member of the Kinsmen Club and Chair of the Lake Lisgar Revitalization Project and has helped many good people find their way back to creating their own legacies; one’s they can be proud of. Frank is a loving father and husband, and an avid musician. He loves the outdoors, and practices healthy habits and has a positive attitude in his day to day life.

 

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Guy Colasanzio; better known as “Butch”

Recovery Coach/Mentor/Tai Chi

Butch was personally addicted to substances for 28 years. In 2000, something happened that caused him to change his path in life, bringing him out of the hell that he had created and into a wonderful life of creating good.

Being associated with the Habitude Program has given Butch the opportunity to share what he has learned about leading a successful, spirit-filled life with other individuals who are on the path he once traveled. For Butch, to realize that he is part of the empowering, dynamic team of Habitude is a very humbling experience.

Butch provides Life Coaching services, Auricular Acupuncture, Mentoring, Master Thai Chai Instructor, and Spiritual Guidance.

Clinical Support

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Kelly Porter

Operations Manager

Kelly is a graduate of the Mohawk College Business Administration Program, and brings more than 20 years of administrative expertise to her role here at Habitude.  Kelly is personally responsible for implementing and creating a strong foundation that ensures seamless transitions to sustain operational excellence.

Kelly has an infectious personality and her enthusiasm for life is truly contagious. She loves her career, and says “she enjoys working in a positive environment where the clinicians love what they do, and the clients are getting healthy”.

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Liz Cabral

Wellness Co-ordinator

Liz attended Conestoga College taking Business Administration. Prior to joining the Habitude Team she worked as a medical secretary where she worked directly with patients needing support. Liz  strives to obtain the best possible resolutions for our outpatient clients while maintaining strong, working relationships with all of our referring parties.