About Us


Meet Melissa and Erin

Melissa Johari, Owner and operator of The Couple Wellness Expert, B.A., M.S.W., R.S.W.

Erin Thackray, Associate of The Couple Wellness Expert, R.S.W.

 

Melissa’s Biography

Melissa is a Registered Social Worker based in Toronto who has worked with families of all ages and of various racial, cultural and religious backgrounds since 2004, and has been happily married for 14 years. She founded The Couple Wellness Expert, as a therapist who specializes in couples counselling, in early 2012.  She is Canadian and is of mixed racial background.

 

Melissa has her Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Western Ontario, and a Master of Social Work degree from Wilfrid Laurier University.  In her studies and in further post-graduate training, she has developed skills in and practices PREP-Enrich premarital therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy, Resilience in Marriage therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Brief Solution Focused Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Internal Systems Theory, Strengths Perspective, Mindfulness Theory, Psychodynamic Therapy, Anti-Oppressive Practice, Relational Life Therapy, Hypnotherapy and Fundamentals of Supervision.

 

Melissa believes that each person is unique and does not try to fit the individual or couple to a theory but rather uses an integrative approach in applying her training, based on your own needs.  You are the expert on your own lives, and Melissa helps you to navigate through inevitable challenges along life’s journey.  Melissa takes a holistic (systemic) perspective, taking into account all areas of your lives: financial, spiritual, physical, emotional, social, vocational, sexual, and environmental.  She developed the Relational Wellness Wheel in 2011, to demonstrate how each of these areas of wellness interacts with your relationship.  See Melissa’s “Relational Wellness Wheel” for more information.

 

Melissa’s comfortable and welcoming office is in Bloor West Village, Etobicoke (Toronto), Ontario, Canada.  Melissa often has her small friendly cockapoo therapy dog, Gilli with her.  She also offers secure video counselling.

 

Melissa is blessed to have a wonderful and knowledgeable associate, Erin, who is happy to offer therapy services.  Please see her biography below.

 

Melissa is a Member of the Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW) and is a Registered Social Worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW).  Social Work is covered under many extended health benefit plans.  It is also a tax deduction when claimed as a medical expense.  Melissa is also an Allied Mental Health Professional Member with the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT).

 

Melissa provides supervision services for other practitioners who are further developing their skills and who are continuing to grow along their professional journey.  Whether you are a professional who has just graduated or an experienced therapist, Melissa is happy to offer consulting services to you in your private practice.  Coming from a predominantly Emotionally Focused Therapy and Prep-Enrich background, this is demonstrated in her work with supervisees in terms of helping you to facilitate insight and change in your work with your clients and recognizing your own personal strengths and areas of growth.  In addition, using a Strengths-based, Mindfulness, Holistic (Systemic), Culturally sensitive approach, she likes to work together with her supervisees in a collaborative, sensitive, challenging and supportive manner.

 

As a Registered Social Worker with a Master in Social Work and a Supervisor Candidate with AAMFT, Melissa is qualified to offer Supervision to Social Workers, Registered Psychotherapists and Qualifying Registered Psychotherapists with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario.

 

 

Erin Thackray, Associate of The Couple Wellness Expert

Erin’s Biography

The Couple Wellness Expert is pleased to be working with Erin! She provides counselling services to our clients at the Bloor West Homeopathic and Wellness Clinic on Thursdays.
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Erin comes with a wealth of education and experience.  She has her Bachelor of Arts in French, and her Bachelor of Social Work, from McMaster University.  She also has a Master of International Public Health from The University of Sydney, Australia, and a Master in Education in Counselling and Psychotherapy from the University of Toronto.

Erin is a Registered Social Worker and Member of the Ontario Association of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.  She is also a Registered Psychotherapist.

Erin has worked with individuals, children, youth and families for over 15 years.  She has experience working in a therapeutic setting and international work.  She is fluent in both French and English.

Erin’s therapeutic work is primarily informed by person-centered, strength-based, and attachment theory. She draws on her trainings from various therapeutic frameworks:  Emotion Focused Therapy, Acceptance Commitment Therapy, Couples Therapy, Attachment Therapies, Collaborative Problem Solving, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Mindfulness Theory, Anti-Oppressive Practice, and Trauma-Informed Practice. Erin enjoys working with clients from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds, and it is important to her to tailor her therapeutic approach to your needs and strengths.

Erin can be a source of support and guidance for those who are having difficulty or struggling with issues of self-esteem, confidence, anxiety, depression, emotion regulation, parenting, building healthy relationships and various other issues that one may experience during their lifetime. Erin strives to ensure that all people who decide to speak with her feel like they are being heard, and that they are in a safe and secure environment to voice their thoughts and feelings without fear of judgement. Erin’s practice reflects the foundational value of social justice and the inherent worth and dignity of all persons.

Seeking therapy takes a lot of courage and is a wise choice to care for yourself. Erin will help you feel more hopeful, develop more self-awareness, and increase your sense of well-being so that you can become your best self. For couples, you will learn to reconnect with one another and build a more secure emotional bond. You are the expert on yourself and your experiences.  Erin starts where you are at, and respects the pace you need to make meaningful changes in your life

Mission and Vision

The mission of The Couple Wellness Expert is to improve personal wellness one couple at a time by leading the client on a journey of healing, growth and/or learning.

The vision of The Couple Wellness Expert is to see a greater awareness in the community, the city, and the province of the need to foster healthy relationships from the start.  This means parents modelling positive relational skills at home, children learning these skills in school and premarital couples taking workshops and/or doing premarital counselling.

 

Areas of Specialty

Our main focus is on couples, although our practice also involves work with individuals, families, children and youth. Sometimes there is a combination thereof.  For example, if through the therapeutic process, it is discovered that part of the source of conflict for a couple is the relationship between the wife and her parents, some family work may take place. Likewise, if it comes out in our work that the teen son of the couple is causing distress for the couple, then there may be some individual work with the son and family work with all three family members.

That being said, these are the areas of work that we specialize in:

  •   Premarital counselling
  •   Couple enrichment and couple retreats
  •   Couples facing issues of fertility
  •   Foster parents and adoptive parents
  •   Abuse in childhood
  •   Adult children of divorce
  •   Parenting problems
  •   Issues of intimacy
  •   Lack of self esteem or couple esteem
  •   Stress management
  •   Improving mind-body connection
  •   Emotional abuse
  •   Depression and anxiety
  •   Holistic health and well-being