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Our Team


Saima Zaheer

Not Accepting New Clients

Clinical Director, M.Ed Psych, RP, CTIC

Experiencing distress in your life, feeling stuck in negative patterns and conflicts can be challenging and hard to cope with. I believe that the first step toward well-being is cultivating the awareness and understanding of one’s patterns. As your therapist, I will support you on your journey to holistic wellness by empowering you to explore your key strengths and wisdom.

I am trained in Emotion-Focussed therapy, Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy, Gottman Method and Dialectical Behaviour therapy all set within a relational, trauma-informed and strengths-based framework. I have extensive experience working with children, adolescents, adults and couples. Together, we will work to develop the necessary skills to face and overcome your challenges and live a more meaningful life.

Languages Spoken:

English, Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi

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Cecy Daniel 

Accepting Clients

Clinical Manager, Social Worker, Senior Psychotherapist, MSW, RSW

Therapy can be daunting but also a sacred, fulfilling journey for it rebuilds relations with others as well as one’s own self. It allows fears, weaknesses and sufferings to exist but more importantly to be transformed into strength, hope, clarity and recovery. I work hard with my clients to strengthen their sense of agency/choices, widen their capacity to self-reflect, evaluate, regulate any difficult thoughts, emotions, actions & psycho-educate on topics relevant to them.

I am trained in Emotion-Focussed therapy, Solutions-Focussed therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and have experience working with adolescents, adults, couples and families. I empower clients to validate their inner strengths, work through their weaknesses, self-advocacy skills to voice their needs.

Languages Spoken:

English, Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Malyalam

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Kersti Abawi

Accepting Clients for late April 2023

Associate Psychotherapist, EMDR, Narrative Therapy, CBT, MSBR

I have been working in the field for over 25 years. I have a degree in Adlerian psychotherapy. Clarity is my hope for each person I meet with. Whether your struggle is with depression, anxiety, disordered eating, a relationship, or past or present trauma – clarity means a better awareness and understanding of yourself.

Knowing yourself allows you to make choices best for you, consciously. It can be challenging to unravel all of the often-conflicting messages we hear and tell ourselves. But it is crucial for living an authentic, whole, and joyful life. I offer a safe, judgment-free space to be listened to and heard. I believe that feeling “seen” unlocks inner wisdom and resilience.

I am trained in EMDR, Narrative Therapy, CBT, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), and attachment-based interventions. Currently, I am also completing my Somatic Experiencing training. SE is a somatic trauma treatment that involves techniques to release trauma from the body, closely partnered with and complementary
to Polyvagal Theory.

Languages Spoken:

English, Estonian

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Ramiro Armas Austria

Accepting Clients

Psychoanalyst, TPS, CPS, IPA

I am a compassionate psychoanalyst with more than ten years of clinical experience supporting patients of diverse gender, age and ethnic backgrounds. I am at present a member of the Toronto Psychoanalytic Society, the Canadian Psychoanalytic Society and the International Psychoanalytic Association. I integrate a myriad of current techniques and approaches with varied technologies that best suit the clients’ needs. My main areas of focus are adult and teenage sexuality, gender, addiction and trauma, particularly parent-child separation trauma. Together with the patient, we build a Time and a Space to RECALL the untold past, to REFLECT in a coherent way on our emotions and bodily experiences, and RECONCILE with our desires and fantasies, no matter how devastating these may appear to be. We then recall, reflect and reconcile in order to attain a more fulfilling and meaningful life.

Languages Spoken:

English, French, Spanish, Portuguese,


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Varsha Ramkumar

Accepting Clients

Associate Psychotherapist, RP(Q), MA.

Truth be told, all of us go through many storylines and create our own unique narratives as we go about our daily lives. We are the authors of our lives. And in therapy, I truly respect that. You will see in our sessions, as you and I work together to build a therapeutic relationship, I will make every effort to help you make sense of your unique experiences and support you on your journey.

I intend to create a safe environment for you, where we would focus solely on your key strengths and apply these to cater to your needs. My practice is guided by a trauma-informed; feminist, relational and strengths-based framework employing techniques from Narrative Therapy, (SFT) Solution-Focused Therapy and (CBT) Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy. I have extensively worked with adolescents, adults, and seniors. I follow a collaborative, compassionate and empathetic approach to therapy. Together, we would explore your strengths and develop strategies that would help achieve therapeutic goals and move us ahead in the healing process.

Languages Spoken:

English, Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam

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Anum Waqas

Accepting Clients

Associate Psychotherapist, RP(Q)

My purpose as a counsellor is to assist in fostering the strengths that the client already possesses. I strive to work on building a client’s self-esteem and confidence. I believe that everyone is their own expert and I strive to work with the client and assist them in developing coping skills.

I work to provide strategies for them to understand and process their emotions more effectively. I aim to create a therapeutic space in which clients feel safe, respected, and supported. I practice psychological treatments that are evidence-based. My approach integrates Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Solution-focused, client-centred and Mindfulness.

Languages Spoken:

English, Hindi, Urdu

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Saad Khan

Accepting Clients

Associate Psychotherapist, (Q)

Hi, My name is Saad Khan. I have a BSc Honours in Kinesiology and Health Sciences, with a minor in Psychology, from York University. Following that, I completed my Masters in Counselling Psychology from Yorkville University. I am an active member of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) and the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA).

The field of mental health has been a passion of mine since high school. I have spent a decade working and volunteering in various mental health facilities, including hospitals and clinics. Having served with the Canadian Armed Forces - Reserves, as a Medic, I have been able to see the various effects of trauma, burnout, inter/intra-personal conflicts, and more, amongst individuals. I have had the opportunity to serve a wide demographic including veterans, law enforcement personnel, first responders, healthcare workers, amputees, and many more.

I have extensive experience in addressing trauma, depression, and anxiety-related issues. I utilize a variety of evidence-based modalities including Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness, Solution-Focused Therapy (SFT), and Narrative Therapy.

I look forward to supporting your growth and journey to resilience, through meaningful dialogue and self-exploration.

Languages Spoken:

English, Urdu, Hindi

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Shabnam Chahal 

Accepting Clients

Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying), MACP, BA

Choosing to start therapy can feel overwhelming and intimidating at times, however, my goal is to make this experience as comfortable as possible for you. Through my work I strive to build a strong collaborative relationship with my clients, providing them with a safe non-judgmental environment where they are receiving an ample amount of support and empathy. 


I highly value a client-centred approach therefore I am dedicated to constructing a treatment plan that is unique to every individual’s needs, goals, and strengths. As I have lived experience surrounding some of the challenges that first-generation, Punjabi-Canadian individuals may undergo, I hope to use that experience to relate to and connect with clients who come from a diverse range of backgrounds.


I am interested in supporting individuals who are experiencing challenges with stress, anxiety, depression, concerns around self-esteem/self-confidence/self-acceptance, and/or improving one’s overall well-being, through building adaptive coping mechanisms and implementing positive life transitions. I am trained in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Solution Focused Therapy, Strength Based Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Culturally Sensitive Therapy, and Emotion Focused Therapy

Languages Spoken:


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Harveen Dhatt

Accepting Clients

Associate Psychotherapist, RP(Q)

Hello, my name is Harveen Dhatt (She/Her) and I recently graduated from the master of the  counselling psychology program at Yorkville University after completing my practicum at Serene Heart Counselling. 

I have successfully completed my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with Honours at York University. I have experience working with a diverse population of children, youth, and adults. I am also certified in suicide prevention. I am under the supervision of Saima Zaheer M.Ed psych, RP, CTIC, and Clinical Director of Serene Heart Counselling & Psychotherapy Services, whom I receive supervision on a weekly basis.
I have experience working with a variety of clients including those who are dealing with stress, depression, anxiety, trauma, and relationship issues. I am trained in a variety of approaches including trauma-informed, mindfulness-based, solution-focused, cognitive-behavioural, and person-centred.

Languages Spoken:

English, Hindi, Punjabi

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Rida Fatima

Not Accepting Clients

Psychotherapy Intern

Hello, my name is Rida Fatima and I am currently completing my master’s degree in Counselling Psychology from Yorkville University. I have completed my course work and now looking forward to applying my knowledge as I become a part of Serene Heart Counselling as an intern student. 


My interest in psychology was sparked when I did my field placement during high school where I worked with individuals with disabilities and intellectually challenged young adults. I learned during my placement that my passion lies in psychotherapy.  Therefore, I chose the path which focused on mental health and community services. I graduated from University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Science degree, with a double major in Psychology and Health Studies. Throughout my pursuit in the field of psychology, I worked/volunteered in different organizations, with various groups, including children at Holland Kids Rehabilitation Center, and adults at Scarborough General Hospital.  In addition, I also worked as a community mental health counsellor and am currently volunteering with two helplines, Distress Centre of Greater Toronto and Naseeha. I am also certified in suicide prevention. I have experience working with clients who are struggling with depression, relationship problems, anxiety, and stress. Finally, I am trained in various theoretical approaches such as, cognitive behavioural therapy, solution-focused, person-centred, trauma-focused therapy. 


As an intern, I am currently under the supervision of Saima Zaheer M.Ed psych, RP, CTIC and Clinical Director of Serene Heart Counselling. I will be receiving supervision every week from her and will be benefiting from her knowledge and experience. 

Languages Spoken:

English, Urdu

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Daphne Siddique

Accepting Clients for Waitlist

Psychotherapy Intern

My name is Daphne Siddique and I have been an advocate for women who have dealt with mental, physical, emotional and sexual abuse from a very young age. I have volunteered with many different shelters and realized that I could only offer limited support.  This inspired me to complete my Masters in clinical counselling which I am currently enrolled in at Tyndale University and am completing my internship here at Serene Heart Counselling, under the supervision of Saima Zaheer M.Ed psych, RP, CTIC.  


I believe that being seen, heard and understood are vital in all relationships, however, this is first crucial in creating awareness within ourselves.  I assist my clients to delve deeper into creating a space for regulating their own feelings and nervous systems first and to provide simple techniques to effectively identify personal emotions authentically.  


Currently, my experience and training include a plethora of different modalities such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Emotional Focused, the Bowlby Method, Solution-Focused, Client-Centered, Narrative, Psychoanalytic Therapy and Mindfulness Techniques. These strategies assist in effectively nurturing clients dealing with relationship trauma, PTSD, depression, anxiety, and family conflicts and encourage new awareness to create positive change in a safe non-judgemental environment.

Languages Spoken:

English,  Hindi,  Urdu


Hanaa Rashid

Accepting Virtual Clients

Associate Psychotherapist, MEd, MSW, RSW, CMCB

Navigating today’s world can be challenging especially for children and their families. I believe that building trust and providing children with a safe space to express themselves is the first step toward initiating change. I am passionate about working with children, parents and families who are experiencing stress, anxiety, conflicts and everyday challenges.

In my work, I try to empower and build resilience through attachment-based and strengths framework employing techniques from Narrative Therapy, Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy, Collaborative Problem Solving and Neuro-Linguistic Programming. I am also trained in family-centred interventions, play therapy and providing parenting support. Together, we will create a safe, non-judgemental space where you will feel heard and supported in your healing process

Languages Spoken:

English, Hindi, Urdu

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Emily Arthur

Administrative/Intake Worker

Emily is a recent psychology graduate from the University of Guelph and is currently working towards her Masters of Counselling at Yorkville University. Her passion and commitment to mental health, mindfulness and mental well-being drew her to Serene Heart Counselling. Emily believes in varying approaches to mental health, including holistic approaches and talk therapy. Emily is excited to be a part of the Serene Heart Counselling team to support individuals in accessing their desired services that will support their personal growth.  Emily is happy to answer any questions or provide guidance as needed. You can reach Emily at:

Languages Spoken:


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Fatima Vayani

Student Intern Administrative/Intake Volunteer

Fatima is a 3rd year psychology and business student at the University of Waterloo and plans on completing her master’s at the University of Waterloo with a concentration in Clinical Psychology. Fatima has been passionate about mental health from a young age and felt drawn to joining Serene Heart Counselling due to the diversity in the team and welcoming environment they have fostered. Fatima is very excited to be a part of the team and hopes to support you with all your requests! You can reach Fatima at:


Languages Spoken:

English, Urdu, Hindi

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