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The Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) deeply appreciates the Indigenous leaders who share their wisdom, time, and energy to enhance the practice and understanding of Indigenous counselling and psychotherapy. Their dedication is crucial in promoting mental wellness within Indigenous communities, ensuring culturally safe mental health practices and meaningful support. We acknowledge and celebrate their contributions, which significantly enrich our collective work and align with our mission to raise awareness about the urgent need to increase and improve mental health services for Indigenous peoples in Canada. 

For more information about the remarkable individuals within the CCPA Indigenous community, please see below. 

CCPA’s Indigenous Director, Angela Grier

The Indigenous Director on the CCPA’s national Board of Directors plays a crucial role in ensuring Indigenous perspectives and issues are integral to the Association’s policy and program decisions. This position is key to advocating for the inclusion and prioritization of Indigenous mental health and wellness within the national agenda. Through their involvement, the Indigenous Director actively contributes to shaping strategies and initiatives that are culturally relevant and supportive of Indigenous communities, reinforcing CCPA’s commitment to addressing the unique needs of Indigenous peoples in Canada. 

Indigenous Advocacy Lead, Danika Charlebois

The Indigenous Advocacy Lead at the CCPA, is dedicated to amplifying and addressing the unique challenges faced by Indigenous counsellors, therapists, and the communities they serve. The Indigenous Advocacy Lead spearheads initiatives in advocacy, policy, and research, striving to enhance access to culturally informed counselling and psychotherapy services. Through building strong relationships with both internal and external stakeholders, they further the CCPA’s commitment to supporting the mental health needs of Indigenous peoples. 

Our Indigenous Advocacy Lead is Danika Charlebois. Get to know her by reading through the following letter.

Aanii, Boozhoo, Bonjour, Hello! 

I am pleased to join the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association as the Indigenous Advocacy Lead. I use the pronouns she/they and am of mixed Algonquin and settler ancestry, born, raised, and currently living in Northeastern Ontario, in Robinson Huron Treaty Territory. Holding an undergraduate degree in psychology with a minor in Indigenous studies, and an MA in counselling psychology, I am a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying). My career over the past four years has centered around advocacy, particularly focusing on enhancing mental wellness among Indigenous youth. 

My passion extends to ensuring that mental health services are equitable, accessible, and culturally safe for all Indigenous peoples. I am committed to the decolonization of our mental health care systems and addressing the systemic racism embedded within them. I recognize that traditional psychotherapy and counselling practices are often rooted in colonial perspectives, which can overlook the diverse needs and historical contexts of the communities we serve. 

I look forward to doing this very important work, honouring the work of those before me and building upon their efforts. Through my role, I aim to uplift initiatives that honour and integrate Indigenous perspectives and healing practices into our frameworks, promoting a more inclusive and understanding approach to mental health and well-being.

Indigenous Relations Lead, Charity Fleming

The CCPA Indigenous Relations Lead is focused on Indigenous relations and reconciliation. They advise on issues that impact Indigenous peoples, families, and communities in relation to mental health and the practice of counselling, counselling-therapy and psychotherapy and on how they interplay with organizational structure, culture, and institutional processes, as well as relationships with stakeholders. This role is focused on moving the interests of indigenous peoples and community forward.

Our Indigenous Relations Lead is Charity Fleming. Get to know her by reading through the following letter.

Aanii boozhoo indinawe maaganidog [hello to all my relations]. 

Anishinaabe kwe indow [I am a life carrier, a woman, of the original peoples – Anishinaabe / Ojibwe]. 

Anangkwe or Charity ndizhinikaaz [my indigenous spirit name is Anangkwe / Star Woman, my English name is Charity Fleming]. 

Name ndoodem [my clan is Sturgeon Clan]. 

Wabauskang First Nation / Sault Ste Marie Ontario / the three great lakes ndoonjibaa besho [I come from around]. 

Guelph / Belwood Lake ndaa besho [I now live by]. 

I also identify as having Scottish and Romanian settler origins and following Christian as well as Anishinaabe spiritual practices. 

My teachers have included elders, knowledge keepers, professors, family members, and lesson gifters from all of creation. I have a Master of Social work degree and am a Registered Social Worker in Ontario, as well as the 2023 recipient of the Ontario Association of Social Workers Inspirational Leader award. 

I have specialized my career within three focus areas: indigenous adapted mental health approaches, treating PTSD, and treating child and adolescent mental health. For my entire career I have prided myself in always working directly within First Nations communities – including 25 different First Nations across Ontario. 

I am the CEO and President of a group of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy clinics across Southern Ontario called Qualia Counselling Services. I have been gifted with a wonderful co-owner and non-indigenous ally named Thomas Brown. Together we have built a series of eight clinics that serve indigenous and non-indigenous peoples and has about 100 staff members. We have won awards for our individual, couples and family counselling and teaching and training. 

I am also the teaching director of our CBT program offered through Wilfrid Laurier University, Faculty of Social Work. We offer a variety of CBT courses including advanced CBT for Trauma, CBT for Women’s Reproductive Mental Health, and Mikwendaagwad “It is Remembered” Sacred Circle CBT. I am also faculty with Ontario Association of Social Workers and McMaster Michael De Groote School of Medicine. 

I look forward to connecting with, hearing, and responding to the needs of our indigenous CCPA members as well as non-indigenous allies. I am honoured to be the Lead of Indigenous Relations and hope to honour the work done before me while building upon it to move forward the interests of indigenous peoples and community in this role. 

CCPA’s Indigenous Circle Chapter (ICC)

CCPA’s Indigenous Circle Chapter (ICC) provides an Indigenous voice in the Association—raising awareness and creating a network for Indigenous and non-Indigenous counsellors to work together on issues that affect Indigenous clients, families, and communities. The ICC provides opportunities for members to share effective practices and resources so that networks can build and expand upon collective knowledge in an Indigenous context and contribute to the evolution of this field within mental health. The ICC hosts complimentary webinars and professional development activities on the distinct field of Indigenous mental health—combining Indigenous healing approaches with Western-based therapeutic approaches Learn more about the Indigenous Circle Chapter here.