By Deborah Brooks R.P., ICCDP & Samantha Graville B.A.


There are many misconceptions about counselling.  Why on earth would someone willingly go and talk about their feelings?  What good would it do?  Isn’t it just for people who are unhinged?

Articulating your feelings has a substantial therapeutic effect on your brain.  It can be of great assistance in overcoming anxiety, depression and addiction.  Your feelings offer important information about your emotional well-being and whether you need to make changes.  Your body is informing you all the time, and in therapy we learn to listen to these inner clues.  When we don’t listen to these clues and let adverse feelings and thoughts permeate, they define our behaviour and greatly impact our relationships and quality of life.  It takes a healthy person to work on health.

At Serenity Renewal for Families, we assist individuals looking to overcome challenges affecting their quality of life such as adverse childhood experiences, grief, unhealthy relationships, lack of self- esteem, guilt, loneliness, anger and resentment and loss.  We help people examine their lives and the events and factors that have brought them to this moment.  It is a very empowering experience because it provides insight into what is working well and what isn’t and provides us with options to fix what is broken.

So often, the choices we make are a result of what we were taught by those who raised us.  We then carry those traits and tendencies into the families we create, continuing the cycle.  By attending counselling and educational workshops, we are better able to explore what is working and what isn’t and then decide what we would like to do about it.  You can improve the quality of your life and relationships and enhance your coping skills and emotional tool kit which can have a ripple effect on your loved ones and family patterns.

Serenity Renewal for Families also provides vital services to addicted individuals and their families including children, youth, spouses and parents.  Each addicted person impacts the lives of five or more loved ones and the ramifications can be devastating and generational.  It is estimated that over a half a million people in greater Ottawa are affected by addiction, either directly or indirectly.

Overall, we are a continuing care centre for people looking to make positive changes in their lives.  We have served the community for 35 years and turn no one away for financial reasons.  We encourage anyone facing personal challenges to consider professional assistance.

Deborah Brooks is a Psychotherapist and counsellor for Serenity Renewal for Families, an Alta Vista Charity, which provides educational programs and counselling for people struggling with addiction, their children and families. To learn more or to donate to families needing help, call (613) 523-5143 or visit