Newgate 180 has recruited its staff from across Canada to provide its clients with one of the most experienced and highly effective addiction teams in North America.
Peter Kunst (he/him), CCAC
A co-founder of Newgate 180, Peter’s extensive experience and background in program development has been molded over more than 28 years in residential treatment of addictions. A graduate of Algonquin College’s Substance Abuse Counselling Program, Peter has developed and implemented many successful multi-module programs designed to meet the specific needs of individual clients. Peter played a lead role at the James Street Recovery Program where he developed the Relapse Prevention process with Continuing Care components. He has also worked with the Rideauwood Institute in Ottawa in their Parent and teen program.
Bringing awareness and transparency to addiction in the workplace has been a passionate quest for Peter as he created, delivered, and implemented addiction education and training programs both publicly and corporately.
Peter has demonstrated throughout his long-tenured career an unwavering commitment to finding addiction solutions. His respectful and compassionate approach to treatment, which sits as the foundation for the Newgate 180 mission, is the result of Peter’s highly intuitive and nurturing nature.
Dr. Shawn Yakimovich, ND
Dr. Shawn Yakimovich ND studied human nutrition at McGill University before earning his Naturopathic Doctor designation at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in 2006. He has been in private practice ever since, first in Ottawa and since 2010 in Kemptville Ontario. In his general family practice he confidently blends herbal medicine, hydrotherapy, homeopathic medicine, acupuncture and nutritional counselling to help people feel better as gently and quickly as possible. He has been offering his services at Newgate 180 since September 2018.
“Dr. Shawn”, as he is known to Newgate 180 residents and staff, brings a holistic approach, acknowledging the importance of sleep, stress reduction and nutrition for health and recovery. Every week he presents a discussion on a unique aspect of health, with topics including restorative sleep, aromatherapy, demonstrating how to make a herbal healing salve and teaching general principles of immunity and detoxification. Participants then have the option to experience acupuncture or cupping therapy, which are very effective for pain relief, stress reduction, emotional balancing, and sleep promotion.
During these sessions there is also the opportunity for more individualized one – on – one discussions where residents can receive additional naturopathic treatments and guidance for acute and chronic health issues.It is Dr. Shawn’s goal that Newgate 180 residents return home feeling better, with some practical skills to take charge of their own health and with a greater awareness of healthcare options available to them in the community.
Joy Parsons-Nicota, NP-PHC, BScN, MScN
Newgate 180 is unique in that it embraces a holistic approach to recovery and utilizes my full range of Nurse Practitioner skills including: health assessment, diagnosis, treatment, counselling and health teaching. I enjoy working within an interdisciplinary team where we practice collaboratively by sharing clinical problem solving and working toward common goals.
As a licensed Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner, Joy graduated from The University of Ottawa in 2000. She also holds a Master of Science in Nursing degree and Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Western Ontario. Joy has clinical expertise in Primary Health Care with specialties in Gerontology and Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing. Along with her education, Joy was presented with the Pace Award for Clinical Excellence from NPAO for demonstrating excellence and leadership in Primary Health Care and for her contributions to research and education.
Joy is committed to incorporating the best practices of clinical drug addiction treatment by providing individualized care that focuses on emotional health, physical wellness and spiritual growth. Joy’s professionalism and caring approach to the clients at Newgate 180 facilitates recovery and lifelong sobriety.
“Over the years here at Newgate 180, I have been able to turn the passion developed through a volunteer position into a highly rewarding career. It is both an honour and privilege to be trusted enough by clients to share their stories, fears, pain and hopes, dreams and plans with us. Our work with the family and workplace of a client enable us to really know a person – each of whom is unique and of infinite value. Being able to walk alongside a person as they gradually regain a sense of empowerment, self-worth, self-respect and self-confidence is second to none.”
“Continuing care with Newgate 180 facilitates and nurtures a client’s gradual return to the person they choose to be, and life he or she wants to live – one of health in body, mind and spirit. As this part of the program is my main focus, I am able to develop long lasting relationships with our clients, lasting years. I have many clients that, years later, will contact me for some support if needed, or with the latest news of their lives. This is what drives my dedication to people who need a hand up, an encouraging word and some guidance on the journey of recovery.”
Dale brings to Newgate an extensive background in personal and family-of-origin addiction, together with many years of volunteer work with youth and with formerly incarcerated men in recovery and working to re-enter the general population. Dale is an Honours Graduate from the Addictions and Community Service Worker Program at Everest College, as well as a Certified Canadian Addiction Counsellor. Dale continues to work a few shifts per month at a local distress centre, and plans to pursue a degree in psychology via distance learning.
Danielle Illman, BA, MACP
I believe it is essential to support and develop the strengths, skills, and confidence of vulnerable individuals. I admire and I’m inspired by the level of knowledge and compassion our team shares for fostering the resilience our clients display in overcoming their unique challenges with their addiction. I am honored to have clients place their confidence and trust in us as a team to help them navigate their road to recovery.
Danielle graduated from York University with a major in Psychology and a Masters in Counseling Psychology. Danielle’s educational experience has provided her with extensive knowledge in a variety of approaches including Cognitive Behavior Therapy, attachment theory, narrative therapy, and supportive therapy. Danielle has a strong interest in empowering and caring for individuals with diverse needs and backgrounds. She has experience in the military community counselling adolescents and families while working through their unique needs and challenges associated with being a member of a military community. Danielle also has experience co-facilitating Social Skills groups for children with Autism. While living in Toronto, Danielle also had the privilege of mentoring young adults and families living in poverty.
Jeff Keill, B.A.
“I love working at Newgate because it has given me the opportunity to work with and get to know an otherwise stigmatized group of individuals. People who suffer from addiction are often subjected to negative stereotypes and generally misunderstood. Having been given the opportunity to work with these individuals throughout their recovery I have gotten to learn so much about them that breaks the stigma and reveals who they truly are; human.”
Jeff studied criminology with a concentration in law at Carleton University where he graduated with honors in 2018. During his undergraduate Jeff joined the Carleton University Criminology and Criminal Justice Society where he volunteered for three years; being appointed VP in 2016 and President the following year. It was during his volunteer work with the society that Jeff became familiar with the addiction and its prevalence in the Ottawa area. Jeff has been working in addictions since graduating and hopes to use the experience and knowledge he has gained to make a difference in people’s lives.
Lorna Jackson, B.A.
Addictions Counsellor, Continuing Care
“My professional experience has focused on providing support for vulnerable members of the community facing addiction issues. I strive to provide strong group and individual counselling sessions to meet the needs of the client for long term success. I truly enjoy supporting people who are experiencing a difficult time in their lives. I feel Newgate 180 provides the opportunity to offer compassion and support to clients and their families through these challenging times.”
Lorna has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Carleton University and a Drug and Alcohol Counselling Diploma from Sir Sanford Fleming College. Lorna’s education is coupled with significant experience working with clients from all walks of life including youth and marginalized adults, and has worked in withdrawal management and a variety of other community settings. Lorna understands that the journey to Newgate 180 can take many forms and she is ready to offer support to all clients who walk though these doors. Lorna is an addictions counsellor and relapse prevention worker who works with clients in both individual and group settings. Lorna fosters ongoing client growth through her supportive and compassionate nature, and her focus on ensuring each client’s plan of care optimally meets their needs for a successful recovery.
Brenda Gray, RP, CPGC
“I am grateful to become a part of the Newgate 180 team and to integrate my 30+ years of experience working in social services. My role as an addictions counsellor at Newgate 180 allows me to continue working in an environment that values a holistic, client centred approach. The caring, compassionate staff at Newgate 180 focus on wellness and supporting clients in achieving and maintaining the goals that they have set for themselves.I look forward to consistently honouring the clients strengths while supporting them in their journey of recovery”
Brenda has been in the addictions field for over 15 years. She is a Registered Psychotherapist who has completed the Addiction Prevention and Treatment Worker Certificate and the Canadian Problem Gambling Certification. Along with her passion for helping others, Brenda enjoys exploring the outdoors, practicing yoga, and spending time with family and friends.
“There are clients I have worked with who suffered very traumatic childhood events and abusive situations. One client in particular was determined to turn his life around and stop the cycle of abuse that happened in his family. His addiction to alcohol greatly affected his life and led to his decision to come to Newgate 180 for treatment. He has a wife and children whom he did not want to lose and he worked very hard while at Newgate to do the work he needed to maintain recovery.”
According to Pryor, the client stayed true to his values as a devoted father and husband and didn’t let his alcoholism escalate to the point of any physical or verbal abuse in his home. This meant he was able to get control of his addiction and the accompanying anger and frustration.
“This client had the courage to follow through with his goals in recovery and be honest when facing the demons from his past. This allowed him to get to the root of his problems and rediscover his values.”
Pryor says she likes the Newgate 180 approach because it’s very well structured and holistic, while considering each client’s individual circumstances and adjusting their program as needed, to meet their specific needs.
“It’s also a very comfortable and homey environment, without an institutional feel to it.”
“I think yoga is an important part of Newgate’s multi faceted approach to addiction recovery, and its commitment to supporting clients as they return home. Much more than physical exercise, yoga can provide valuable guidelines and strategies for relaxation, stress relief and self-care.
I feel privileged to work with Newgate clients. Each yoga class is a new and different experience. Clients exhibit courage, determination and humour. Yoga embraces each unique experience as clients learn to be accepting of the new sensations and emotions. This can lead to an expanding sense of self awareness, and self-acceptance.
The challenges and rewards of teaching yoga to such a population inspires me to continue developing my skills, and exploring the connections between stress, trauma and addiction. Recent workshops I have attended include Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma with Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk, and The Neuroscience of Buddhism and Yoga with Dr. Jim Hopper. I am currently completing a 10 month course in Positive Psychology. Each class I teach renews my own conviction that yoga can provide tools to support clients’ sobriety and reaffirms my dedication to yoga.”
Jeff Gulick, B.A., CCADC
Jeff is a Canadian Certified Addictions Counsellor and a member of the Canadian Addiction Counsellor Federation. He has Honours B.A. in Psychology from Carleton University, a B.A. in Sociology, and a Trauma and Addiction Certificate from Algonquin College. Jeff had the opportunity to work at Newgate 180 before opening his private practice and is familiar with the treatment program offered at Newgate 180. Jeff also has 10 years of counselling experience in the addiction field. He has worked with individuals who have been exposed to trauma and violence, and his past experience enables him to understand the specific challenges encountered by first responders.
Jeff adopts the belief that addiction does not exist in isolation, and that effective therapy should reflect individual needs. Exploring the principal causes of addiction and developing positive behavioural change is essential in recovery. Following residential treatment, a smooth transition into a comprehensive, balanced, and meaningful recovery plan, is important to help ensure success during the ongoing recovery process.
As a Registered Psychotherapist with a background in addictions and mental health, Jen offers compassionate and supportive counselling services to individuals, couples, and families. She graduated with a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology and completed her practicum in a multidisciplinary environment where she helped clients to address mental health conditions, trauma, addictions, and physical health challenges. Before embarking into private practice, she worked in the Lanark County Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Program, as well as both public and private substance use treatment centres, helping clients, spouses, and families through the process of recovery. In addition to addictions, she specializes in mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and borderline personality disorder, as well as trauma, chronic pain, stress management, and relationship/family issues. Jen has private practice locations in Carleton Place and Perth. She works with clients of all ages and has additional training in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples.
Addiction can have a devastating effect on individuals and their loved ones. With a focus on strengths, goal setting, and psychoeducation, Jen aims to empower her clients to use their past experiences to harness positive change, overcome their challenges, repair their relationships, and move forward toward their goals to achieve their full potential
“I really believe the reason why Newgate 180 works first and foremost is the respect all our staff give the clients from the first phone call. Our ability to move fast when people need help, even if it does not result in the clients coming to Newgate, is a major plus for someone reaching out because they think they may have an addiction issue. Even if a person contacting us does not come to Newgate 180, they will still receive the time and guidance of one of our professional staff…this is something very special and I believe unique to Newgate.
Once a client is in Newgate’s program it is the whole package: very in-depth and empowering treatment in a peaceful, serene environment with caring staff at all levels.”
Holly is the person who makes the Newgate 180 administration system work. And while she doesn’t often deal directly with clients through their journey to recovery, she definitely has seen incredible success in the lives of clients over the years.
“I have seen clients come in so beaten down they will hardly look you in the eye. By the time they leave, they will smile and interact with you…it is definitely a rewarding and sometimes very challenging environment, but we know we’re helping change lives and that is something very special indeed.”
And why did Holly choose Newgate 180 as a place to work?
“I like the positivity that fills the building. Our staff members are certainly caring to the clients, but in general are very supportive to each other. I see this in every position from our managers to the counsellors and through to the support staff.”
Executive Director Assistant
“After facing addiction in my personal life for many years, I decided to go to school to become an Addictions and Community Service Worker. Soon after graduating, I began working at Newgate 180 as an Addictions Counsellor and continued in that role for 5 years. Just over a year ago, I transitioned from a Counsellor to Executive Director Assistant. Although I decided to take a break from counselling, I continue to work at Newgate because I love the atmosphere, the staff, and the amazing clients I get to interact with every single day. I truly couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.
When clients make that first call to reach out for help we believe that it should be a personal experience – not just a call with an automated system. They will speak directly with a staff member, which is often myself.”
Melissa is often the first point of contact when you first call Newgate 180, and with her background in counselling and current position in admin, she is able to help potential clients or their loved ones understand more about what we do here at Newgate 180, by answering any questions they may have and helping them move to the next step of seeking treatment if they decide to do so.
“Newgate 180’s approach doesn’t just look at the addiction; it looks at every aspect of the person’s life. It truly is a holistic approach and all you need is to spend a little time with the staff to realize how deeply they care for their clients. To us, clients are people and not just a number.
Newgate 180 helped me to rediscover what I truly love about this field and helping others find their way to a sober lifestyle”
Leanne is a graduate with honours of the Social Service Worker program at Algonquin College. She has many years of experience working with youth who struggle with addictions and mental health and has been working with Newgate 180 for the past several years. In her spare time Leanne is currently completing a degree in psychology with Carleton University.
Paul has an Addictions and Community Services Worker Diploma from Willis College of Business, Technology, Healthcare. He also has certifications in Non-Violent Crisis Intervention and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST). Paul is also a certified Canadian Fitness Professional.
Paul has extensive experience in fitness, health, and addictions. So far here at Newgate 180 Paul has taken on many roles throughout his time at Newgate including being an addictions counselor, relapse prevention worker, and fitness consultant/trainer. Paul has grown into a monumental member of the Newgate 180 team and continues to go above and beyond.
Case Manager, Addictions Counsellor
I have spent 19 years working along side many talented individuals in the addiction and mental health discipline. Over the years, I have been blessed with opportunities to expand my knowledge and gain invaluable experience. I’ve been afforded the pleasure of working with adult, youth and correctional populations at different levels and responsibilities. Each experience and treatment centre has allowed me to build a solid and lasting foundation.
Working at NewGate 180 has provided me an opportunity to apply my knowledge and skill set in a family like setting. My colleagues have a wealth of knowledge and experience that makes the NewGate team strong, supportive and empowering. The holistic approach and non-judgemental atmosphere, are the premises we build from. I am grateful to be a member of a long standing and proven community like NewGate 180.
Shannon Woolner, MEd
Case Manager – Casual Relief
“I am a Case Manager and I feel very fortunate to be a part of the Newgate team. The team is made up of knowledgeable, competent and caring professionals who do their utmost to meet the needs of each and every client. I appreciate the fact that the program at Newgate considers clients from a holistic perspective and addresses the multi-faceted nature of addiction – the biological, psychological, emotional, social and cultural factors that come into play. I have a Master of Education (Counselling Program) from the University of Calgary and have worked for many years in the field of addiction. I find it to be very rewarding work, as I am continually amazed and inspired by the resilience and courage the clients demonstrate day after day.”
“I always felt drawn to help those who face adversity and possess vulnerabilities. This I call my ‘Wounded Bird Complex’. Because of this, I chose to take this inherent need and nurture it through ongoing schooling and ultimately my career.
Initially I studied Community Justice Service Work at Loyalist College in Belleville where I later pursued a career in youth treatment centres within the realm of child welfare. I worked with vulnerable populations who struggled with behaviour management, mental illness, and addictions. During this time, I made a connection between victimization and subsequent drastic lifestyle changes (addiction, homelessness, criminal involvement, secondary victimization, and mental illness). To further pursue my knowledge in regards to working with vulnerable sectors, I enrolled in the Victimology Graduate Program at Algonquin College. As a victimologist, I am able to analyze trends of victimization and the implications that occur in the victim’s life and better assist in meeting their treatment needs to restore healthy functioning – both physically and mentally.
Since beginning at Newgate only recently, I have come to admire the integrity and respect between clients and staff. There is a high level of mutual understanding and respect, despite the difficulties that these clients face daily. What really inspired me within minutes of my arrival was that the atmosphere created was one of dignity and trust. In the short time I have been here, I have been blown away by the progress the clients make in a very short period of time with regards to challenging their previous behaviours and creating realistic goals for their future. I can see the difference in clients when they are working on this mind, body, and spirit. This is so amazing to see. In the future, I hope to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, as well as upgrading my education to include an addictions-specific counselling certification.”
Matt Wilson, B.A.
“As part of the Newgate 180 team, I am surrounded by professionals with a multitude of different skills and backgrounds. I am fortunate to work in an environment where every team member genuinely cares about each client’s individual recovery process. Working alongside such a passionate and dedicated team has given me a deep understanding and appreciation for holistic, client centered care. Thus far my time at Newgate 180 has been a wonderfully rewarding experience and I feel extremely grateful to be a part of such life changing recovery processes.”
Matt graduated from Carleton University, with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. He continued his education at Canadore College, graduating with honours from the Mental Health and Addiction Worker program. He has a background working in residential treatment, most recently working in a long term care home for those with dual diagnoses. He believes in a holistic approach to client care and strives to help improve the client’s well-being and experience during treatment and recovery. Matt maintains a strong belief in lifelong learning and is currently working towards an Accredited Addictions Certification.
Alana Brankin, B.A.
“I have always had a passion for helping people in any way that I can. That is what attracted me to working at Newgate 180. The staff help people not only with their addiction recovery but in every aspect of their life; relationships, family, fitness, nutrition, emotions etc. I believe the holistic approach at Newgate 180 is crucial in recovery and in life. Having experienced addictions through family members it gives me a different perspective than having dealt with addiction myself however, my understanding and compassion is the same no matter who you are or your story. I am an open, kind, honest person who is just trying to help people feel a little bit better about themselves and live a more productive life.”
Alana graduated from St. Lawrence College with an Honours Bachelor degree in Behavioural Psychology. Throughout her studies she has trained in developmental psychology, applied behavioural analysis, cognitive behaviour therapy, mental health and addictions. She had opportunities to complete three placements in the human services field where she designed programs for maladaptive behaviours.
“I am a dedicated, focused and empathic person. I am always learning and growing from the staff and individuals that walk through the doors at Newgate 180 and for that I am thankful.”
Sandra has been training and inspiring clients for over 20 years. Besides being a Personal trainer she is a certified Pilates instructor, Spinning coach and teaches boot camp, Powerflow, Step and Kickboxing.
Sandra has a studio at her home where she teaches and trains as well as contracts throughout the Ottawa area. She especially enjoys training the clients at Newgate 180, helping them through recovery with fitness goals.
Based on each Newgate 180 client’s fitness level and needs, Sandra encourages safe strengthening exercises, weekly programs and comraderie between clients.
Sandra’s main objective is to help create a healthy lifestyle to lower stress and increase self esteem.