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about us

At Mind 2 Heart Connections, we invite you to embark on a voyage of healing and self-discovery. Together, we will navigate the complexities of your experiences and unlock the power of relationships to foster growth and love.

Welcome to Mind 2 Heart Connections, where compassion and understanding converge to heal the wounds of childhood trauma. My name is Laura Banks, a registered social worker (Registration # 840494), and I am the proud owner of this sanctuary of hope and resilience. With a profound passion for helping children, families, and adults, I have dedicated almost 30 years of my life to the field of childhood trauma.

My journey began as a treatment foster parent, opening my heart and home to countless children in need. This lived experience became the bedrock of my work and fueled my unyielding commitment to unravel the complexities of healing. Mind 2 Heart was born from this very passion – a desire to explore and comprehend the spaces inside children that yearn to love and be loved, yet have been scarred by trauma.

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The pursuit of knowledge and my commitment to making a difference led me to embark on a transformative path – I returned to school to achieve my lifelong goal of graduate studies. However, the most profound education I received came from the children and families I served, who became my young teachers. They taught me invaluable lessons about living, loving, and healing hurt and traumatized souls.

At Mind 2 Heart, we believe that every child, every individual, needs security and commitment to heal. We recognize that healing occurs within the context of relationships – be it therapeutic relationships, familial bonds, or the embrace of a supportive community. Our practice revolves around nurturing these connections to facilitate growth, resilience, and transformation.

As my young teachers, who happen to be my children, have grown, so has my determination to delve deeper into the realm of neurodiversity. Mind 2 Heart is firmly rooted in the belief of embracing neurodiversity and harnessing the wealth of knowledge we have about the human brain.

Through our therapeutic journey, we celebrate the beauty of individuality and neurodiversity. We tailor our approaches to each person’s unique needs, acknowledging that everyone’s healing path is as exceptional as they are.

At Mind 2 Heart Connections, we invite you to embark on a voyage of healing and self-discovery. Together, we will navigate the complexities of your experiences and unlock the power of relationships to foster growth and love.

Join us on this transformative journey. Together, we will heal, grow, and embrace the wonders of neurodiversity and the human spirit.

We believe that every child, every individual, needs security and commitment to heal

Who We Are

Laura Banks

FOUNDER/CLINIC DIRECTOR, REGISTERED SOCIAL WORKER, RSW, MSW

I am a social worker (Registration # 840494) and owner at Mind 2 Heart. I have been working in the field of childhood trauma with children, families and adults for more than 20 years. I was a treatment foster parent for over 20 years and this lived experience has been the foundation for my work. This business was born out of my passion and commitment to understand how to help children heal those spaces in-side of them that have interfered with their ability to love and be loved. 

I bring to my practice what I learned in my journey through returning to school to complete a life long goal of graduate school but more importantly I bring what many children and families have taught me about living and loving hurt and traumatized children. Children need security and commitment to heal. We all heal within relationships, relationships in therapy, in families and in communities. 

As my young teachers (my 7 neurodiverse children) have grown so has my need to seek new information regarding neurodiversity. Mind 2 Heart is born from a place of embracing neurodiversity and all that we are now learning about the brain.  

Client Focus: Child, youth, adults and family

Types of Therapy: Developmental Dyadic Psychotherapy, CBT, exposure therapy, Attachment therapy, trauma therapy, Safe and Sound Protocol, NMT, Brain based approaches to trauma, neuroaffirming 

Specialities: Childhood trauma, trauma, anxiety, depression, pregnancy and infant loss, infertility, adoption, divorce and separation, grief

More than just my work:  When I am not working, or parenting you can find me near the water. I love to spend time in nature and in quiet spaces.

Jade O'Hare

Client Care Coordinator

My name is Jade O’Hare. I am the client care coordinator for Mind 2 Heart. My goal here at M2H is to provide responsive, caring support for families and individuals that come to us for service. As an autistic w/ADHD (auDHD) woman and a mother of 2 neurodivergent children, I am dedicated to learning and supporting my children, as well as others in any way I can. In my spare time, I love to create art in a variety of mediums while also being an avid reader. I have lived in Simcoe County for over 20 years and I would love to see more neurodiverse safe spaces in our local community. I am excited to be a part of a clinic that is creating spaces and services that are autistic affirming.

Jennifer Morin-Reynolds

REGISTERED PSYCOTHERAPIST (QUALIFYING), BFA, BEd, DTATIc, OCT

There are times in our lives when it is difficult for us to speak about traumas or inner conflict, but artmaking helps us reconcile these feelings out into the world for us to see. I would like to support you in expressing and finding understanding in yourself as I am a qualifying psychotherapist who uses art therapy methods to work with my clients. If you or someone you know is interested in trying a new method of therapy, using approaches such as drawing, painting, sculpture and more, I can assist you with care and compassion. I am also a secondary school art teacher and appreciate the issues that modern youth face. I bring a calming demeanour to my sessions as well as an authentic playfulness and humour that children and youth often enjoy. There is no pressure to create each session, though the invitation is always present. Please reach out to learn more, no artistic skill is necessary.

Jen has an Honours BFA Degree in Visual Art and is a certified (OCT) Ontario Secondary School Teacher. Jen is a graduate student at the Toronto Art Therapy Institute, completing her major thesis project focusing on chronic illness. Jen is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) and is working towards her professional qualification with the Canadian Art Therapy Association. She has been facilitating art-based therapy with children, youth, and adults for the past 2 years and would be happy to share more about herself and her experience.

Client Focus: Children, youth, adults, couples and family

Types of Therapy: Expressive Arts therapy, Psychotherapy

Specialities: Chronic Pain, depression and anxiety, childhood trauma, youth issues, family dynamics

More than just my work: When she is not working as a therapist, she is a secondary
school art teacher, mother, and partner. She has 4 cats, a dog and an aquarium

 

Chloe Hockley

REGISTERED SOCIAL WORKER, RSW, MSW 

Chloe Hockley is a compassionate and dedicated therapist, who uses an empathetic and strength-based approach to create a safe and non-judgemental space for clients to explore their thoughts, feelings and challenges. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Queen’s University and a Master of Social Work Degree from Wilfrid Laurier University. Chloe has supported clients navigating adoption, childhood trauma, anxiety, depression, grief, loss and much more. She has a deep commitment to helping individuals and families navigate the unique journey of adoption; inspired by her own lived experience as an alumnus of foster care and an adult adoptee. Her therapeutic style is collaborative, tailoring to the unique needs of each client and drawing from a range of therapeutic modalities, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy, narrative therapy and attachment-focused techniques. Chloe combines her knowledge, clinical expertise, lived experiences and genuine compassion to empower individuals on their journey toward healing and personal growth.

In addition to being a therapist, Chloe remains an advocate for adoption and permanency specifically for older children and youth and is the co-founder of the organization “Never Too Late” that facilitates permanency for those who have aged out of the child welfare system. Chloe has won several awards for her advocacy work, including the “Transformative Leader Award” from the North American Council on Adoptable Children and the “Amethyst Award” from the Government of Ontario.

Wayne Vassair

REGISTERED SOCIAL WORKER, RSW, MSW

Struggling to express yourself or understand your emotions? Feeling held back by past rules and memories? Taking the step into therapy can be tough. The fear of not being heard or being misunderstood might be holding you back from couples counselling or your individual work. I get it—it’s not easy. But I’m here to offer a personal and unique approach in a safe, judgment-free space so you can reach your goals. Let’s work together to connect and move forward.

I have a background in assisting individuals facing challenges like homelessness, addiction, financial stress, food insecurity, and navigating complex social systems. My work has involved helping youth in detention centers, supporting dually diagnosed adults in day programs, and working with couples dealing with relationship issues. My expertise extends to mental health concerns, including depression, anxiety, trauma, suicidal thoughts, as well as addressing addiction, anger management, and men’s issues.

It’s common for folks to hold back from therapy out of the fear of not being heard or facing judgment. This is especially true for men, who often encounter societal pressures urging them to tough it out rather than seek help. Having gone through my own therapy journey, I deeply understand these challenges. I’m here to provide a supportive environment where you can feel acknowledged and accepted. Let’s embark on this journey together, working towards your well-being and personal growth.

I am a Registered Social Worker, graduating from Lakehead University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. I am currently completing the Masters of Social Work

Client Focus: Couples, Families, Individuals, ages 16+, Neurodiversity, Intellectual disabilities

Types of Therapy: CBT, Strengths-based, Couples Counselling Gottman (Level 2), ADHD certification, currently completing EFT training,

Issues: Anxiety, depression, trauma, stress, infidelity, anger management, relationship issues, men’s issues, intellectual disabilities, mental health issues, addiction

More than just my work:
I’m married and a proud father to a brilliant 4 year old boy and 3 pets who interrupt my sleep regularly. The majority of my free time is now happily spent playing monster trucks, watching Paw Patrol, or acting out scenes from Star Wars. I have discovered that I love to write and really enjoy making song playlists. I’m passionate about music, – I would guess that I’ve been to approximately 500 concerts thus far.

Tracy Shulman

REGISTERED SOCIAL WORKER, RSW, MSW

Whether you’re grappling with the aftermath of a single impactful event or navigating through a series of distressing experiences, I’m here to guide you on a journey towards relief and healing with cutting-edge EMDR therapy. Together, we can address the weight of the past, gently untangling the knots of memories and images that may have lingered. If you’ve ever yearned for a release from the grip of these moments, my approach aims at providing that much-needed relief.

I also provide family therapy and incorporate practical Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques into our sessions. My commitment is to customize your therapy experience, assisting you in finding comfort and guiding you toward a brighter and clearer path forward.

Tracy is a registered social worker with a Master’s degree in social work and she is an EMDR trained therapist. Over the past twenty-three years, Tracy has practiced social work in the public sector, working with vulnerable children and adults who have experienced trauma and are living with secondary post traumatic stress symptoms or disorders.

Tracy’s Mind 2 Heart work is with children and adults who are navigating complex family dynamics. This deep connection and sense of purpose for Tracy, comes from her own childhood experience, having been separated from her family while growing up in the child welfare system. Tracy’s experience enables her to connect quickly; together, you and Tracy can develop a treatment plan, so you can feel hopeful knowing that you are on the best path to move forward.

Client Focus: Families, individuals, and children (starting 5+)

Types of Therapy: CBT, EMDR, and Family Therapy

Issues: Trauma, anxiety, depression, stress, grief and addiction, complex family problems, adoption, kinship care, youth issues, Neurodiversity, PTSD

More than just my work: Tracy recognizes that her work brings you together at a time in your life when you are vulnerable and facing challenges. She is strongly committed to providing you with services that are thoughtful and respectful.

Outside of her work, Tracy’s best days are ones filled with time outside in nature, practicing yoga or downhill skiing with her family.

Favourite quote: “The mind replays what the heart can’t delete.” – Unknown

Meghan Bradley

Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying), MACP (candidate)

Is your child finding it tough to manage their emotions and regulate themselves? Are you feeling a bit lost, unsure how best to support them? Not sure how to navigate their feelings of being bullied, conflicts with peers or loneliness? Perhaps you’ve recently gone through a separation, family losses and other life changes and you’re worried about how your child is coping with it all?

 

It’s tough when they’re feeling sad, frustrated and anxious. Understanding and managing emotions can be really tricky for kids, and it can leave them feeling frustrated, overwhelmed and alone.

I’m here with genuine care and understanding, ready to offer a safe and non-judgmental space for children, teens, adults, and families to navigate and explore these challenges. Together, we can work on building resilience and finding effective ways to cope.

My journey began with my own lived experiences in a family affected by divorce sparking a passion for helping others understand and navigate the challenges life throws at us. Through years of volunteering and professional work in crisis intervention, child welfare, applied behavioural analysis, social skills development, and peer mentorship, I’ve gained a deep understanding into the struggles children, adults and families may face. My approach to therapy is eclectic and collaborative, tailoring to the unique needs of each client.

I am a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) and currently working towards completing the clinical hours of my Master’s of Counselling Psychology. Having an educational background in Criminal Justice and Public Policy I bring a unique perspective to my therapeutic practice. I would be honoured to walk alongside you or your child on a therapeutic journey offering support, guidance and empowerment every step of the way.

Client Focus: Children, Youth, Adults, Family

Types of Therapy: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Solution Focused Brief Therapy and Narrative Therapy, Neuro-affirming

Issues: Anxiety, Depression, Autism, ADHD, Social Skills, Emotional Regulation, Self-confidence, Life-transition challenges, and Family issues including separation/divorce, loss and grief

More than just my work: When I am not working, I prioritize my well-being through various self-care practices including mindfulness, culinary creativity and spending time with family and friends. I particularly enjoy spending time outdoors including camping in the summer months.

Valerie McShane

registered social worker rsw, msw

People are often hesitant in seeking counseling because they feel something may be wrong with them, not being fully happy, and that things will not be able to get any better. In times of struggle we can become so disconnected, even from ourselves and with the ones we love.

All of us suffer from mental health issues or other difficulties at one time or another. I have had my own. I have experienced great sadness from the death of my father, my children never knowing their grandpa in person, miscarriage, and countless other issues that kicked me in the gut when I thought life was going smoothly. Speaking about life’s difficulties can help to normalize some of our feelings and make us feel less alone in our struggles. I will “walk and talk” along with you at the pace you set and is most comfortable for you. Whatever it is you are seeking, I will be here to help you reach the goals you have set for yourself. My goal is to see you living the kind of life YOU are wanting to live.

I use a strengths-based, client-centred, neuro-affirming, trauma-informed approach so that the clients I serve feel both valued and validated. My compassionate and non-judgemental nature will help make you feel comfortable in being your full authentic self so that your healing journey can begin.

Experience: I am a Registered Social Worker with over 11 years’ experience. I have worked within long-term care assisting individuals and family members around issues of adjustment, grief, loss/bereavement, as well as has worked with individuals experiencing mental health issues.

Client Focus: Individuals aged 12+

Types of Therapy: I have training in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), as well as developmental trauma and attachment in children

Issues: anxiety, depression, trauma, specializing in attachment issues, parent stress/support, dealing with grief/loss and bereavement

More than just my work: When you do not see me virtually or at the office you may see me on a trail with my family in the great big outdoors.

Favourite Quote: “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

Stefani Kazakov

registered psychotherapist (qualifying), macp (candidate), Intern, supervised by laura banks RSW, MSW (License #840494)

Do you worry about your child’s abilities to make friends? Or do you feel consumed by loneliness? Do you feel defeated by your attempts to fit in or connect with others?

It can be incredibly difficult to navigate the social world we live in, bombarded by unspoken rules and expectations. Despite our best efforts to get by, we can become consumed by sadness and shame from the mistakes we make or from being rejected by others. But I’m here to offer a non-judgmental listening ear in a safe, brave space where being your authentic self will always be welcomed. Together, we can process past and present emotional experiences, how we think and act, and harness pre-existing and newly discovered strengths so you can get closer to your ideal future.

In addition to working with neurodivergent youth in a therapeutic setting for over three years, my lived experiences being Autistic and growing up in an immigrant household help me approach therapy with empathy, compassion, an openness to learn, and a unique lens.

I am a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying), working under the supervision of Laura Banks (RSW, MSW). Along with having my Bachelor of Arts in psychology, I am in the process of completing my Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology. It would be my pleasure to collaborate with you to construct a tailored wellness plan, drawing from your strengths, goals, and evidence-based approaches.

Client Focus: Children (7+), Adolescents, Adults

Types of Therapy: CBT; ACT; solution-focused therapy; neuro affirming, strength-based, and client-centered approaches

Issues: Anxiety, depression, Autism, ADHD, social skills, coping strategies, self-esteem, perfectionism, and life stressors including but not limited to work, family, social relationships, and life transitions.

More than just my work: I love to spend my time outside with my dog, playing video games, and crocheting amigurumi animals.