The Complex Trauma Resources Team
Our CTR Clinical Team is dedicated to helping change the lives of children and youth through application of principles arising from an understanding of complex developmental trauma. Our staff comes from the fields of psychology, social work, and counselling. We provide education, training, and clinical services throughout British Columbia.Our CTR team is particularly interested in supporting caregivers, educators, clinicians, and professional agencies in their all-important relationships with troubled children and youth. Our senior staff offer consultation on system-wide assessment and intervention with children and youth in:
- Foster Care
- Staffed Residential Care
- Mental Health Resources
- The Adoptive Community
- Supporting Trauma Sensitive Schools
We also offer training and support to families, extended family, and professional agencies where children have undergone extensive trauma.
Meet the Team
Dr. Chuck Geddes, R. Psych – Clinical Director
Dr. Chuck Geddes has worked extensively in the fields of Child and Youth Mental Health and Child Welfare over the past 15 years, serving in various clinical roles including supervision of staff and interns. He completed his PhD at Colorado State University and MA at California State University, Fullerton. Dr. Geddes became interested in the role of complex trauma in children’s neurological development through the work of The Child Trauma Academy, Dan Siegel, and others. He developed the Complex Care and Intervention (CCI) program as a way to embed a trauma-focused therapeutic perspective into the care of children in the foster system. Dr. Geddes provides education and training to social workers, foster parents, and mental health clinicians across the province of British Columbia. Helping adoptive parents who adopt children from traumatic backgrounds is another area of growing interest. Chuck and his wife have three adult sons and one of whom has special needs. In his spare time Chuck will often be found hiking, biking, or playing old-timer hockey.
Interest in complex trauma:
“I love how the last 10 years of developmental brain science has shed light on what we once saw as absolutely intractable problems in children. I get excited to see a team of caregivers around a child begin to understand trauma principles, apply them in a creative fashion, and rejoice as they see children and youth respond, grow, and heal.”
Dr. Kirk Austin, RCC – Training Director
Dr. Kirk Austin is a Registered Clinical Counsellor and is actively involved in the development of CTR training materials, and trains therapists throughout British Columbia in the effective use of the CCI model. He is a registered member of the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors and The Canadian Center for Applied Research in Cancer Control. Dr. Austin completed his B.A. in Psychology at Trinity Western University prior to completing his M.A at Liberty University. He received his doctoral degree in the field of psychology at the University of South Africa and has taught numerous undergraduate and graduate level psychology courses at Lower Mainland universities in British Columbia as well as providing clinical supervision to MA level counselling students, and publishing several peer-reviewed research articles. In 2012, Dr. Austin served as the Clinical Director of an award-winning human resource management company prior to joining Complex Trauma Resources (CTR).
Interest in complex trauma:
“Neuroplasticity: It’s a funny word with tremendous implications. Knowing that the brain can change energizes my interest in helping children grow and develop in healthy ways despite their trauma-filled beginnings. Seeing adults learn, use, and see the benefits of the CCI model in action energizes my desire to train educators, foster parents, and care teams that support children impacted by trauma.”
Brenda Dragt, M.S.W.
Brenda completed her undergraduate and graduate training at Dordt College and California State University, Fresno. Over the past 20 years, she has worked in various trauma related clinical roles within the B.C. government system, notably developing a suicide prevention program and providing sexual abuse therapy and community education. Brenda joined the CCI team in 2012 providing input on training development. She travels extensively throughout BC providing training, supervision and mentoring on CCI cases. Brenda and her husband have 4 children. She is actively providing training for the leaders of girl’s programs and crisis line programs as well as training educational personnel in the area of communication, self-harm, suicide and grief, and loss.
Interest in complex trauma:
Brenda’s interest in complex trauma began though her experience in working with children and families. Acknowledging that trauma has a unique impact on the development of children, Brenda has become interested in the training of care teams about the nature of trauma and how to intervene in the lives of children toward lasting positive change.
Dr. Chipo McNichols, RCC
Chipo joined the CTR team recently after many years as an Aboriginal Child and Youth Mental Health clinician. Chipo obtained her PsyD. at Antioch University in Seattle where her focus was on making cultural adaptations to the complex care and intervention program to make it more effective for use within Aboriginal communities. Chipo brings a wealth of experience in Aboriginal communities and a deep respect for the challenges of healing and growth. Chipo serves CTR as a CCI coach and mentor for other coaches. Chipo says that she loves cooking, reading, and boxing! She is originally from Zambia. She and her husband have 3 children.
Interest in complex trauma:
“I’ve been drawn to the growing knowledge around neurodevelopment because of my personal experience of having a family member with compromised brain development and working with populations that have experienced generational traumas. Witnessing the continued transfer of trauma within Aboriginal communities drives my desire to be part of finding ways to create a new experience that is not defined by historical trauma.”
Angela Murphy, School Psychologist
Angela is a new member of the CTR team, with a culturally sensitive and belief of “treating everyone with dignity” approach. She completed an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Dalhousie University, and later completed a Bachelor of Education Degree from the University of Calgary. After 6 years as an elementary school teacher, she completed a Master’s degree in School and Applied Psychology from the University of Calgary and has been working in that field ever since. Angela has a passion for supporting children and families through a collaborative approach. She builds strong rapport and has a knack for making people feel at ease and supported. Angela brings expansive knowledge from her work in Aboriginal communities and has a profound respect for delivering safe and caring practices. She is a life-long learner, is an advocate for mental health awareness, and loves rescuing dogs. Angela and her husband have 2 sons of the four-legged furry kind. She is grateful for the opportunity to work with an incredible team of coaches at CTR.
Interest in Complex Trauma: My interest in complex trauma began with my work as a school psychologist when I noticed that many of the students I was seeing had a list of diagnoses, without taking into consideration the effects of complex and intergenerational trauma. It seemed that the recommended interventions based on the diagnoses didn’t match the child’s complex needs. When I was introduced to CCI, I was excited about the framework and interventions based on the 7 Developmental Domains, with a strong focus on the caregiver role. In the short time that I have worked within the CCI model, I have witnessed positive, life-changing results. These experiences give me a great sense of hope for the future of the children and families who have struggled with complex trauma. I look forward to continuing to “walk alongside” and support families within their healing journey.
Nicole Fakaua, MC., RCC
Nicole has worked extensively with children at risk in SE Asia for over 13 years providing educational and mentoring support, facilitating counseling seminars & training opportunities & engaging in international collaboration for the welfare of disadvantaged youth and children. She directed a cross cultural counseling program in Australia prior to moving to Thailand. She completed her Masters of Counselling at Gonzaga University and has been known to build strong rapport with individuals and children. She often infuses a trauma-informed approach in her practice, while working with individuals (children and adults) that struggle with anxiety, depression, and loss. Nicole and her husband now live in Canada and love the adventures and craziness that having four children bring into their lives.
Interest in Complex Trauma: My interest in trauma began while I was living in Asia and facing difficult situations with at risk children and youth. Since this time, I have been cultivating an understanding of the complexities and associated challenges that trauma brings to an individual: neurologically, emotionally & developmentally which might sound disparaging and it can be. Yet, neuroscience has proven that the plasticity of the brain coupled with effective interventions alongside nurturing caregivers can enhance healing and a changed way of life. I love the holistic approach and a caring team that I am able to work alongside in order to better the lives of children and youth.
Renae Regehr, MA, RCC
Renae is a Registered Clinical Counsellor and holds a Masters of Arts in Counselling Psychology from the University of British Columbia. She has experience working with children, youth, and families who have been impacted by trauma and attachment disruptions.
As a mother to three children of her own, biological and adoptive, Renae is passionate about child development and supporting and parents and caregivers to ensure their children have a bright future. She considers it a great privilege to work collaboratively with the important people in a child’s life to help the child heal, grow, and become more fully themselves.
Renae is also the founder of Free To Be Talks, a non-profit organization that promotes positive body image, and co-founder of Care For Women, a non-profit organization that supports and resources women in the complex and challenging first weeks of motherhood.
While her kids are her young, her other interests have been tailored to playing playdough, building in the sandbox, and running around outside.
Interest in complex trauma:
“My interest in complex trauma stems from my personal life and helping my own child who had experienced complex trauma. I experienced profound positive changes in my own family after I began parenting from a trauma-informed perspective. Everything that I had been reading and studying for the last number of years came together in a comprehensive, accessible model when I was introduced to framework of the CCI. As every parent says, “I wish I knew the information I know now, back then” – I believe the CCI provides education and a framework in a very helpful way to support not just the child, but everyone involved, to become the family that they want to be.”
Joanna Nicholson, MA, RCC
Joanna is a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors and holds a Master of Arts Degree in Counselling Psychology. In addition to working with the Complex Trauma Resources (CTR) team, Joanna provides clinical counselling within an interdisciplinary health care setting. This position involves providing emotional and practical support to patients and their family members in the midst of significant illness. Joanna co-facilitates a children’s group which focuses on psychosocial support for children with cancer in their family. Previously, Joanna was in private practice and has experience working as a Career Development Practitioner in employment services with those experiencing multiple barriers to employment. Joanna has also volunteered with police-based victim services to provide emotional support to victims of crime and tragedy.
Joanna and her husband have three children. As a mother, Joanna is familiar with the challenges and joys of raising children. Joanna understands that each child is unique with their own strengths and areas in their lives that are still developing.
Interest in Complex Trauma: Throughout my career, I have seen the effects that adverse early childhood experiences have on people’s mental well-being and physical health. Because early childhood trauma changes the developmental trajectory of those who have experienced trauma, it is exciting to be a part of a team that provides early intervention to children.
As both a counsellor and mother, I love helping others develop a growth mindset. It is exciting that as human beings we are not ‘fixed’ but have the ability to change our brains by the way we think and how we behave. It is a privilege to walk alongside children and caregivers as they experience growth and development as a result of the Complex Care and Intervention (CCI) program.
David W. Brown MSW RCSW
David has experience teaching at the School of Social Work UBCO and has been providing clinical supervision at the inter-disciplinary clinic for 3.5 years. He received his BSW in 1978 and his MSW in 1984. He holds the credential of Registered Clinical Social Worker with the Provincial College of Social Work. He has 40 years’ experience as a therapist working in a variety of settings including mental health, social services, corrections and non-profit societies. His areas of clinical specialty include the treatment of depression and anxiety as well as family and marital therapy. A growing aspect of his current private practice is treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Substance Use disorders.He has taught family therapy at the University level and has held positions within the provincial government as Team Leader/Clinic Director for a number of Child and Youth Mental Health Offices as well as Regional Program Consultant and Regional Manager for Child and Youth Mental Health Services. He has served as Policy Analyst for the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles, Ombuds Officer for the Office of the Provincial Ombudsman and Executive Director of the Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Society of Victoria. David Brown is married to Betty for 29 years and has two adult children.
So much of the social service system has struggled for decades to adequately comprehend what the factors are that either contribute to a continuation of behavioural, psychological, and social symptoms or provide relief from the effects of complex trauma. I have witnessed so many colleagues become discouraged as a result of this knowledge deficit and move on to more satisfying work. I have seen many child and adolescent clients lose hope that they could rely on caregivers to enable them to overcome their childhood experiences and progress into more socially fulfilling lives. I believe the advances in the understanding and treatment of complex trauma have the potential to revolutionize both treatment outcomes and the level of satisfaction that clinicians and other social service providers can experience within their roles and relationships with this challenging area of practise.
Elina Falck, MC, RCC
Elina Falck, MC, RCC, CTS is a registered clinical counselor and a Certified Trauma Specialist (a rigorous international certification) with extensive training in effective therapies to resolve trauma. During her career, she has worked as an out-patient therapist in non-profit agencies, supervised a trauma treatment team in an Aboriginal organization, and worked for the provincial government in front line clinical and supervisory positions. Receiving rave reviews, she has given numerous presentations and talks across British Columbia on the topics of complex trauma, attachment injuries, and shame based identity. She is now in private practice.
Interest in complex trauma:
Interest in Complex Trauma: Childhood should be a time of delight, discovery and belonging. It deeply saddens me that so many children have such adverse childhood experiences that affect every part of their being, including how their brain develops. If we don’t know how to intervene well, their trauma experiences get passed from one generation to the next, in an unbroken chain of suffering. I am committed to learning as much as I can to help break that chain, and reverse the negative effects of childhood maltreatment.
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