Transforming Trauma Conference

Speakers & Presenters

Kaitlyn Axelrod (she/her), MSW, RSW 

Kaitlyn received her MSW at the University of Toronto in 2018, where she specialized in mental health and health. Kaitlyn has been involved in the eating disorders field through research and practice since 2013 and has worked and volunteered at a variety of mental health organizations (including LOFT Community Services, Jewish Family & Child, and Yorktown Family Services). At Sheena’s Place, Kaitlyn facilitates groups and delivers outreach presentations to a variety of audiences. Kaitlyn aims to destigmatize eating disorders and is passionate about providing low-barrier access to mental health care through community-based work.  Visit

Avdeep Bahra

Avdeep is a Somatic Experiencing® (SE) Practitioner in Training, Certified NLP Practitioner and HeartMath Coach. She offers virtual one-on-one sessions to help clients re-negotiate developmental trauma, childhood sexual abuse, and shock trauma(s). She supports clients that have adult-onset chronic health conditions, which are often rooted in early life trauma(s).  She runs SE-based groups including Embodied Healing of Sexual Trauma, a 6-week program for those with a history of sexual abuse and Returning Home to your Body, a free monthly drop-in group. Avdeep believes in the mind-body-spirit connection. She understands that chronic stress and trauma affect our health, and also that our body has an innate capacity to heal when given the right support.  Trauma and spirituality are highly connected and as Peter Levine (creator of SE) says, healing trauma can be a “catalyst for profound awakening – a portal opening to emotional and genuine spiritual transformation”. Website: Instagram: @avdeep.bahra

Maria Barcelos

Maria is The Executive Director of The Gatehouse. She believes wholeheartedly in community engagement and the importance of community-based responses to underlying social issues. She motivates, acknowledges, and empowers students, volunteers, and staff to be part of the change they want to see in the world. An avid believer in the principles of transformative community justice, she values building safer communities through collaborative knowledge sharing, idea and process formulation, and implementation. Maria is an honors graduate of the Yorkville University Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology, a high honors graduate of the University of Guelph-Humber BA Justice Studies, recipient of the Virginia Grey Medal for Academic Achievement, an honors graduate of George Brown College’s HR Management Diploma program. Maria volunteers her time in the community as part of an advisory panel in the Community Development Program at Humber College Lakeshore campus. Maria also volunteers her time as an Advisory member to The Canadian Centre for Men and Families Family Shelter Advisory Board. Maria is also a founding member of the Centre for Transformative Social Change, a collaborative project between The Gatehouse and Humber College Faculty of Community and Social Services Faculty members and students.

Lucie Bruneau

Lucie Bruneau, French, French Canadian, British and Algonkin descent, mother of 3 sons. Lucie was involved with the arts and fashion design from a very young age and trained as a Haute Couturiere, and Pattern Maker. She then transferred all this training and applied it to her leather work company that was operational for 25 years.  It was during those years that Lucie found herself wanting to help/give back to the community, and she founded her little organization of Artisans Christmas Collection for the youths in need in Ottawa which has been ongoing for over 30 years. Six years ago, Lucie found her place/calling as a peer supporter with a non-profit organization; she took many years of experience with one of her son’s journey in addictions, street life, and mental illness and supported parents with similar challenges. Now Lucie has a new calling as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, she has completed her training as a peer supporter with Peer Support Canada and has been given the lead as program manager of the new program Voice Found called ‘Strength Found”. Visit

Paula Cordeiro

Paula coordinates various programs and services at The Gatehouse including Child Abuse Investigation Support, Phase 2 Peer Support,, and the Young Adult Program offered for C.S.A. survivors, ages 18-24 years old. Paula provides individual and group sessions for C.S.A. survivors. She also delivered groups with The Etobicoke Children’s Centre. As a proponent of self-care measures, Paula is a Lead Meditation Training Facilitator at The Gatehouse, where she provides moving meditation, deep breathing, and guided imagery meditation training sessions to participants (e.g., individually and/or within the support group process). In addition to her work at The Gatehouse, Paula is also a Registered Trainer for LivingWorks Education in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST). In addition to her professional work, she often contributes her time on a volunteer basis in the community, including having volunteered at the Etobicoke Children’s Centre Walk-In counseling services, and previously volunteered with the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services Canada (MCSCS) in the Probation and Parole sector, the United Nations – Toronto Branch, and Legal Graffiti Art Mural projects in the community. Paula is often a guest speaker on behalf of The Gatehouse at various post-secondary presentations about our programs and services and the impact of childhood sexual abuse.

Sabra Desai, MSW, RSW

I am a Kellogg Fellow, registered trauma-informed social worker, psychotherapist, and transformational educator consultant. I specialize in working with individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds using culturally appropriate approaches and understandings of mental health and well-being to personalize therapy. I work with the individual and/ or couples to work through their difficulties by integrating Emotion Focused, Cognitive Behavioural, Dialectical Behaviour and Mindfulness Therapies.  My approach is multidisciplinary and anchored in the values of resilience, and a strength-based client-centered framework.   I strongly believe that every person has the ability and strength to work through difficulties with help. I provide psychotherapy for couples and individuals experiencing anxiety, depression, shame, trauma (intergenerational and vicarious), life transitions, grief, and loss. My international work included providing therapy to couples and individuals living with HIV/AIDS focusing on guilt, shame, and betrayal.  I also provided organizational training and community capacity building on issues related to human rights, newcomer integration, health and mental health.  My approach is one of supporting relationships by fostering change and risk-taking associated with personal, organizational relational transformation. I have had a long academic career which has included teaching social work part-time at both York and Ryerson Universities, and most recently, as a former faculty in the School of Social and Community Services at Humber College.  My publications include writings in the areas of youth issues, violence against women, diversity, and inclusion.  In my community work, I collaborated with a group of women to advocate for a shelter for women and children survivors of family violence which led to the establishment of Interim Place, the first shelter in Peel Region. Most recently, in collaboration with Humber College and community-based partnerships, I  initiated a Mental Health Community of Practice for staff working with youth to enhance support, knowledge, skills and provide networking opportunities. I have received several awards for advocacy, social justice and education including the 2015 YWCA Woman of Distinction Award for Education.

Jessica Field

Jessica Field lives and works in Canada. She is interested in the impact of our environment on mental health, and how our individual histories and temperaments influence the ways that we live out our lives. Jessica works with drawing, installation, video, and performance to create artificial intelligent systems that study the dynamic theory of personality, bringing together both psychology research and computer science. Her work has been exhibited internationally,in institutions such as the Malmo Konsthall Gallery, Malmo Sweden, Museum Tingely, Basel Switzerland, Kunsthaus Graz, Graz Austria, and the Montreal Museum of Fine Art, Montreal, Canada. Field’s work has received two honourable mentions at the Vida Life Art and Artificial Life International Award Competition for her Artificial Life projects SICB 2004 and Maladjusted Ecosystem in 2008. Jessica Field teaches at Ryerson University. She received her AOCAD at the Ontario College of Art and Design, Toronto, Ontario and her MFA at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

Ashtyn Ford, RP, DTATI, HBA

Ashtyn Ford is one of the Co-founders of an Art Therapy Clinic in Toronto called “Full Circle- Art Therapy Centre,” which has been in operation since 2014. Full Circle-Art Therapy Centre’s mission is to provide affordable mental health support to different communities in the GTA through Art Therapy services.  Ashtyn is a certified Art Therapist & Registered Psychotherapist.  Ashtyn specializes in working with people who have experienced abuse and trauma.  Ashtyn believes that everyone is resilient and has the ability to heal and grow. Ashtyn follows a trauma-informed lens; helping individuals develop tools to manage the impacts of trauma, process memories and feelings, and reconnect with the other parts of identity past the trauma.

Carrie George

Carrie George (she/her) is an MFA candidate for poetry at the Northeast Ohio MFA program. She is the graduate fellow at the Wick Poetry Center where she teaches poetry workshops throughout the community. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and her work has appeared on and in journals including Peach Mag, Cosmonauts Avenue, and The Indianapolis Review. 




Rob Hawkings

Rob Hawkings is a Toronto-based psychotherapist and consultant in private practice.  His specialties are addictions and adult resolution of childhood trauma, with sub-specialties in sexual addiction and treatment of male survivors of childhood sexual abuse.  Rob has designed, led, and supervised many agency-sponsored group treatment programs for adult male sexual abuse survivors; and has been a clinical consultant for many related projects.  One of these (In 2007-2008) was the design of a 13-session group therapy model for use in remote northern Ontario communities (The Fireweed Project) built around the action methods of psychodrama and sociometry.  Rob served on the initial “train-the-trainers” workshops for this project, and during the pandemic, he has been actively involved in training and supervising mental health professionals in using the model on the online Zoom platform.  From 2009 to 2016, Rob was a volunteer member of the Therapist/Facilitator Team for the Weekends of Recovery (residential healing weekends for sexually abused men offered then by and now by; and he has co-presented several international conference workshops based on psychodramatic exercises he helped develop for the Weekends of Recovery.  For over 25 years, Rob has been incorporating the safe and powerful therapeutic modalities of psychodrama and sociometry into his training workshops and his work with groups and individuals.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, Rob and others have adapted these methods for use on Zoom; and Rob has co-facilitated many support, healing, and training groups on Zoom.

Sheri Jackson

Sheri Jackson is a Certified Addiction Counsellor with almost a decade of sobriety and understands firsthand the disease of addiction. Sheri grew up in an alcoholic home and has lived experience with dysfunctional family systems. Sheri is a trauma and childhood sexual abuse survivor. Sheri has almost 10 years of sobriety and has been active within the Alcoholics Anonymous recovery community, attending meetings regularly, and speaking at AA conferences in Canada and the US sharing her personal journey. Sheri’s passion for helping others to overcome addiction led her to become a Certified Life Coach, and later obtain her Addictions Careworker Diploma from McMaster University. Within the addictions field, Sheri has worked directly with clients delivering groups and one on one counseling sessions at some of the top treatment centres in Toronto such as Bellwood Health Services and Renascent. Sheri started up her own business called Healing Moments in 2018. Healing Moments sells all things related to recovery which allows her to offer her counseling skills on a sliding scale to people who may not be able to afford full fees. Sheri has branched out into trauma-informed practice by volunteering as a crisis line counselor with the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre and facilitating a peer support group at The Gatehouse.

Catherine Jun 

Catherine Jun is a trauma-informed therapist in clinical training working with individuals who are stuck – perhaps feeling overwhelmed, unsettled, isolated and alone, maybe even experiencing uncharacteristic anger or rage. She helps clients get unstuck by creating a safe space where we make sense together. Catherine believes good relationships – intimate, familiar, communal, and the one you have with yourself – are essential to feeling good. She believes we are resilient and possess the power to heal from within, and focusing on yourself is one of the most selfless things you can do. It takes courage to start your healing journey. She has a BA (Hons) in History (Non-Western Societies) from McGill University and a Masters in Journalism (MJ) from Ryerson University. She’s a certified peer support group facilitator at The Gatehouse. She’s currently in training at The Toronto Institute of Relational Psychotherapy. Visit

Kelsey Leroux

Program Coordinator, Black Peer Education Network at Black Women in Motion. Kelsey is a Child & Youth Care Practitioner who has been working within different agencies to create strategies for transformative social change and community awareness about childhood sexual abuse. She believes that being an advocate for change means being a support, a guide, taking care of yourself and others. It means making difficult decisions and pushing forward for change in social policy, and legislation. In her role as Program Facilitator for the Black Peer Education Network, she encourages critical, honest and reflective conversations about sexual violence and consent within the black community.

Arthur Lockart. M.Ed

Arthur Lockhart, M.Ed. is a retired professor of Humber College – School of Social and Community Services. Over the past years, Arthur has held the position of Chair of The School of Social and Community Services, as well as Chair of Board of Directors of The Gatehouse. Arthur is Founder Emeritus of the award-winning charitable organization: The Gatehouse, and Co-Founder of The Centre for Transformative Social Change. Arthur founded the Annual International Transforming Trauma Into Triumph Conference. Arthur provides training and organizational transformation consultation on the local, national and internal levels. At the core of his workshops are the human spirit, humour, trauma transformation, and transformative social change. Film Production • 2013 Illuminating Silence: Stories of people Transforming Trauma Into Triumph • 2007 Into The Light: Documentary -Male Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse • 2005 Laser Eagles: Film Celebrating capacities of people labeled disabled Published Works • 2007 Restorative Justice: Provincial School Resource Officer Training Manual. Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services • 2007 The Human Touch: The Heartbeat of Extraordinary Education. Transformative Publishing • 2005 Restorative Justice –Transforming Society. Inclusion Press • 2004 Community Lost and Found: A conversation between two dreamers. Inclusion Press • 2001 Restorative Justice. National Crime Prevention Centre of Canada Arthur is the recipient of a number of awards for his work in the fields of education and community social justices, including Canada’s Top 50 Champions of Change, Order of Canada Nominee, Innovator of the Year Award, Student-Teacher Appreciation Awards, Community Builder Lifetime Achievement Award, City of Toronto Mayor’s Community Safety Award Nominee, Lakeshore Community Building Award of Merit, Youth Impact Award, Inaugural Purple Door Award, Paul Harris Fellow, Inaugural Distinguished Community Service Award, Probation and Parole Association Award.

Lindsay Lobb

Lindsay Lobb started with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P) in 2008 as a caseworker with C3P’s missing children services and three years later became the case, management supervisor. In these roles, she spent years providing support to families of missing and sexually exploited children and working extensively with law enforcement and government officials. In 2016 she became the Policing Relations Liaison, responsible for working with law enforcement agencies to implement agreements, deliver training and information sessions, and promote the use of C3P child safety resources. Before joining the agency, Lindsay worked in child protection in Ontario and Manitoba. She regularly presents across Canada to police, child welfare, and victim services.

Deb Maybury

I graduated with an Hons BA in Psychology from York University. During my final year, I had a placement at what was then called, Queen Street Mental Health Hospital, which caused me to question whether I had the constitution for that type of work. I decided to postpone further education and employment in the field for a year while I considered my options. When an opportunity arose to use my artistic ability without formal training, I was delighted. I accepted a job and was pleasantly surprised to realize I could actually earn a living creating designs. That decision lead me to entrepreneurship and a life path distant, yet entwined with my desire to utilize my listening and creative therapeutic instincts and skills. I spent thirty years as a business owner and serial entrepreneur – a graphic artist, self-defense instructor, real estate investor, coach. speaker, author, referee, etc. (see if you would like to read more about that journey including my compilation book Unlock The Door – Beyond Sexual Abuse (UTD), cycling across Canada in the Nation Kids Cancer Ride, my Vulnerable Places music, etc). I certainly have had a busy-full life with a wide spectrum of experiences. Over the years I pursued many areas of personal growth which led me across Canada, the United States, and Asia. While searching for more meaning in life, I was very fortunate to stumble across many interesting practices and knowledgeable teachers. I was blessed to experience unique ancient healing methods such as sweat lodges, trance dances, rebirthing, and shamanic breathing techniques. All of these weave within my current psychotherapy and coaching business. In 2012 while writing UTD a friend suggested I go to The Gatehouse (where adults go to process their childhood sexual abuse experiences) and interview the founder, Arthur Lockhart. Shortly thereafter, I became a volunteer facilitator. This ultimately leads me back to my original professional aspiration to become a therapist. After three and a half years of facilitating groups at The Gatehouse, I knew I was being called to hold space with people on their healing journeys. I began researching where to go back to school to become a registered therapist and begin my second go-round of formal education. After considering a Masters’s program in counseling, I chose to attend The Transformational Arts College (TAC) for a more experiential in-person education – one representing my fundamental spiritual belief that you cannot separate the mind-thoughts from the body-response, from the person’s soul. In 2015, I enrolled in the Spiritual Psychotherapy program and graduated in 2018 thirty years after graduating from York University! Shortly afterward, I was hired by TAC to join the faculty part-time.

Margaret C. McKinnon, PhD, CPsych 

Homewood Chair in Mental Health and Trauma | Associate Professor and Associate Chair, Research | Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences | McMaster University Research Lead, Mental Health and Addictions | St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton | Senior Scientist | Homewood Research Institute. Homewood Research Chair in Mental Health and Trauma Professor and Associate Chair, Research, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University Research Lead, Mental Health and Addictions, St Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. Dr. McKinnon serves as the Homewood Research Chair in Mental Health and Trauma and Professor and Associate Chair, Research in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University. She is also the Research Lead in Mental Health and Addictions at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and a Senior Scientist at Homewood Research Institute. Dr. McKinnon completed her PhD in Psychology at the University of Toronto, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship at the internationally renowned Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Centre.  She is an elected Fellow of the Canadian Psychological Association and is dually licensed as a clinical psychologist and neuropsychologist.

Dr. McKinnon is known for her work characterizing trauma-related illness and PTSD among military members, Veterans, first responders, and survivors of childhood abuse and trauma. She is also involved in the development and testing of novel treatment interventions aimed at often unexplored aspects of PTSD and trauma, including guilt and shame, moral injury, dissociation, and cognitive dysfunction.

Dr. McKinnon serves as the Chair of the federally funded PTSD Centre of Excellence’s Research Reference group and works closely with government sectors including Veterans Affairs Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces. She has published more than 120 peer-reviewed papers and chapters, and currently holds funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research, Defence Canada, the PTSD Centre of Excellence, and the Workers Safety Insurance Board of Ontario. She also holds funding from numerous private foundations, including True Patriot Love, the Cowan Foundation, the Military Casualty Support Foundation and the FDC Foundation. 

Andrea Robin Skinner

Andrea Robin Skinner is an artist in Port Hope, Ontario, and a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. She teaches yoga, meditation and self-love through horse love at Horse Discovery Farm; She co-facilitates self-care groups at The Gatehouse.



Carol Smith

Carol Smith is a Financial Advisor in partnership with Desjardins Financial Security Independent Network. She has been providing financial services to her clients who are individuals or business owners since 2004. Carol’s expertise is in socially responsible investments and she is certified through the RIA (Responsible Investment Association).   She is also the host of Green Drinks Mississauga, an environmentally focused monthly networking event for people who are passionate about sustainability.  In her spare time, Carol enjoys music and plays several instruments.  She is excited to be on the Board of the Gatehouse as she believes the work being done is important and looks forward to learning and contributing to this role.


Stewart Thompson – Personal Transformation Web Radio Show Host, Public Speaker, Survivor. Peer Facilitator and Advocate.

Much gratitude to The Gatehouse and staff for giving me the space, as this will be my 10th year attending the Transforming Trauma conference. My journey started in 2011 at the gatehouse as I was a broken man with what seemed to be a hopeless future not even understanding the why’s or the what’s. After attending and completing programs being offered, I was given a chance to give back the same care and love that was given to me becoming a facilitator. Worth mentioning as this is important 1st thing learned that I was not alone and 2nd I had to help myself (do the work) and 3rd if did not do the work I would stay stuck in my past never giving me a future. By doing so has given me a new outlook for my future moving forward. Finding my Voice has been a really big part of my journey such as my story in Deb Maybury’s book Unlock lock The Door Beyond Sexual Abuse, Deb will be presenting conference as well. Speaking about voice; I never saw this coming” I started a podcast called Personal Transformation, in 2014, as I wanted to share my story and healing journey also giving others the same platform to do so, including healing practitioners was important nothing wrong with a little help when we could use some extra help in the process of moving forward. I have also shared my story with the World Health Organization “Survivors of child violence tell their stories” Just a short time ago taking my voice and others in this educational documentary around the world. I have had the honor to speak in colleges and universities over the years talking about my healing journey and will continue to do so given the opportunity in the future. Today I continue to support others hoping they can find value in them self’s as I have done, peer support has been part of my story, and believe in the process, and watching it help many others, I carry no Fancy titles in my bio just lived experience. Thank you for being part of my journey! Stewart is active on Twitter as @gottogetoutof

Nicola Yoga

Nicola is a Peer Support Group Facilitator at The Gatehouse in the Ph 1/Ph2 Partners Program & Writing Workshops. Nicola is a Trauma-Informed Yoga Practitioner, Yogi, Ghost/Soul/Memoir Writer, Social Media Twitter @livingwithabuse The light shines, I am living proof you can thrive, on the journey to victory after over 45 years of abuse, DV, CSA, Narcissist Abuse.

Thank you to our Event Sponsor

This event was funded by the Victims Fund, a grants and contributions program administered by the Department of Justice Canada. Funds are available to provinces, territories and non-governmental organizations for programs and services that give victims and survivors of crime a more effective voice in the criminal justice system. For more information about the Victims Fund, please visit:

For more information on Victims and Survivors of Crime Week, visit:

Thank you to event supporters