Meet the team

Brent Goerz
Owner & Founder, MSW, RSW #05056, Certified Trauma Treatment Specialist (CTTS)

For over 30 years, I have been helping people thrive.

Ever since I landed in New York City to assist with the response following the 9/11 tragedy, I have worked hard to help people dealing with complex trauma and crisis. My work focuses on processing difficult life moments and getting you back on your feet so you can succeed. I know that sometimes life just happens and it can unfold unpredictably. My couples counselling is informed by being trained as a Level 3 Gottman therapist. I have practiced in both public and private sectors, gaining a wealth of knowledge along the way. For many years, I worked in the Emergency department as the Quick Response Social Worker at the University Hospital of Northern BC. In order to maintain my clinical skills I have worked part time as an associate therapist with Walmsley & Associates and now I have my own private practice. In the past, I have also worked as a trauma therapist for assault survivors at SOS. I am currently an independent counsellor providing short term support through the WorkSafe Critical Incident Response Program.

I hold a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Manitoba and Master’s of Social Work from the University of Northern British Columbia. I am also trained as a Level 3 Gottman therapist, which informs my approach to couples counselling. Additionally, I am certified in EMDR. In my spare time, I enjoy woodworking in my backyard and connecting with family and friends.

Aron Reusch
Associate, M. Ed. Counselling, RCC

My path to counselling has been long and rewarding.

I was raised in a small town, became a computer engineer and worked overseas with electronic communications before becoming a school teacher. I spent summers driving dump truck, fighting fires or anything else that paid the way; I even drove taxi and made pizzas. I am geeky, play video games, watch all kinds of movies, enjoy the gym and good food. Between 2005 and 2009 I went to see several counsellors and finally I met the right one! We worked through some things I wanted to change in my life; then I began to thrive. This led me to pursue my own career in counselling.

I often imagine people to be a little like the most complex machines in the universe, so Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is my go-to for initial sessions. CBT is a core that we can build from to explore how to rewrite our stories, make sense of the world, and then become the person we want to be. Since January 2022, I joined Thrive and have been happily helping people since. I hold a Master’s in Education (Counselling) from the University of Northern BC and I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor. Weekends and evenings are my times in the office, maybe that works for you!

Naomi Giede
Associate, M. Ed. Counselling, CCC #04928

Being a witness to my mother's wise, compassionate care of a steady stream of broken people deeply impacted me as a child.

Individuals in the community knew that when they went to see my mother that they would be heard, loved unconditionally, and part with words of encouragement and wisdom. I saw the value of her gifts to better the lived experience of others. My life has taken me in difficult directions but the foundation of a steadfast, open, wise, compassionate beginning has been instrumental in my personal growth.

I hold degrees in dietetics (UBC), psychology, and a Master's in Education (Counselling) from UNBC. My interests have led me to a variety of conferences, courses, workshops and books. I consider myself well-rounded and comfortable working with clients with a myriad of concerns including trauma, relationship conflicts, disordered eating, and most prominently, adult mental health. Over the years, I have worked for several Northern Health mental health teams. My current privilege at Northern Health is intense Dialectical Behavioural Therapy training to become a certified DBT therapist. The therapy resonates with many clients and is applicable for most concerns of function.

What I enjoy to regenerate myself is snowshoeing, kayaking, camping, hiking, spending time with my grandchildren, and fostering friendships. I am blessed to live in a multi-generational home.

I am looking forward to seeing adult clients (21-70 years old) on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Allison McDonnell
Associate, M. Ed. Counselling, RCC #17284

Working with high-risk youth in non-therapeutic settings propelled me towards a career where I could give people hope.

Before I was a counsellor, I worked as a teacher primarily in alternative education. Working with students with special needs, incarcerated youth, and students hospitalized due to psychiatric illness, I was challenged every day beyond the skillset I had developed through my teaching degree. I needed to adapt and be more than solely a teacher. I realized that I wanted to find better ways of communicating and understanding people, from all walks of life, to give them hope in their journey and ultimately help them thrive in life. It was this accumulation of experiences and final epiphany that led me down the path to becoming a counsellor.

I hold a Master's degree in Counselling from UNBC, in addition to other degrees in education, leadership, history, and liberal arts. I have additional training in Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), and Emotion-Focused Family Therapy (EFFT). As such, I take a holistic approach and do consider the variables of life when meeting with clients. I understand that life is never linear, and it is never what we plan for ourselves. With my clients, I strive to create a warm, safe environment that is compassionate and caring. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with family, reading historical fiction, and travelling.

I look forward to meeting with adult clients (age 21-70). 

Erika Cooper
Associate, M. A. Counselling Psychology

I have always been inspired by the stories of resiliency by people around the world. 

Community and human connection has always been important to me. At the age of 17, I had the immense privilege of attending a unique international school in the magical forest of Vancouver Island where I encountered people from different countries, cultures, stories, and beliefs. I learned that everyone has a valuable story worth hearing. 

I have a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology from the University of Ottawa, and currently in the process of obtaining CCC deisgnation. I am trained as a bilingual therapist and can provide counselling in both French and English. My therapy integrates narrative, humanist, feminist, and psychosomatic approaches to help clients thrive in the story of their life. My therapeutic approach is deeply influenced by two books, Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl and Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Estés. I also draw from Dialectial Behavioural Therapy (DBT), Complicated Grief Therapy (CGT), and Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT). I have experience working in addictions at a men's homeless shelter, harm-reduction initiatives, and most recently as a Child & Youth Mental Health Clinician with the Government of BC.  I am particularly passionate about helping young people (age 13+) and women through a variety of issues, including depression, anxiety, ADHD, complex trauma, grief, identity issues, and the self (esteem, image, empowerment). 

In my spare time, you can find me reading, travelling abroad, keeping in touch with friends, and teaching scuba diving. My availability is afternoons and evenings, and sessions with me are exclusively virtual via secure Zoom.

Mary MacDonald
Associate, MSW, RSW, LL.B

Every person holds wisdom about life that we can all learn from.

I grew up in a small town in the Northern interior of BC and have spent my life living in the traditional territories of the Saik’uz, Nadleh Whut’en, Nak’azdli and Lheidli T’enneh people. My cultural ancestry is Celtic, with Irish and Scottish Highlands roots.    My first career was as lawyer (family, human rights and personal injury) before I moved into the field of social work and mental health support.  For over fifteen years I worked at the health authority as an outreach healthcare social worker in mental health, home and community care, and primary care.  I currently also work in the field of Indigenous community wellness, advocacy, mental health, and addictions support. I am an approved First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) mental health service provider. 

I use a number of therapeutic modalities including narrative therapy, EMDR, Wellbriety, and nature-based healing.  I believe very much in the power of the natural world to heal physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. My personal life and professional practice centres on this approach.  I can also support a collaborative conflict resolution approach with relationship challenges.  On a personal level, I enjoy spending a great deal of time in the outdoors: kayaking, walking, cycling, camping, fishing, drumming, meditating, and learning as much as I can about the local plants and wildlife. 

I really love to chat with people about their lived experiences and strongly believe that every person has an incredibly deep inherent wisdom about life which I always very much work to support as best I can.

Chief Cuddle Officer (CCO)

If you come for your first visit you might find this cute little black fur ball sitting on a dog bed across from you. If you feel comfortable, please offer up a hand for a sniff. She has just turned one so she is not old enough to be formally trained as an emotional support dog or therapy dog but Brent is working at letting her experience a variety of different people and their energy. In her spare time, Pumpkin loves long walks/runs at the dog park, meeting new people, and hoarding miscellaneous items under the couch at home.

Please note that Pumpkin accompanies only Brent in sessions. If you have dog allergies or any other concerns please contact Brent prior to your first visit and arrangements can be made.