Our Clinical Team
DR. WANDA POLZIN, MA, RSW, EdD
CLINICAL DIRECTOR, Be Brave Ranch
Dr. Wanda Polzin has over 25 years of counselling and clinical experience working with children, youth and families across various domains including Health/Mental Health and Addictions, Children and Family Services, as well as Education.
Dr. Polzin has a Doctorate of Education (Ed. D) in Counselling Psychology, a Masters Degree (MA) in Counselling Psychology and is a Registered Social Worker. Dr. Polzin’s clinical training is multi-faceted, with specialization in Attachment, Trauma, EMDR, AAT, Neurobiofeedback, Family Therapy, Clinical Hypnotherapy, and Concurrent Addiction and Mental Health interventions. She has a deep passion and energy for working with children and caregivers, particularly in the area of attachment-based caregiving, trauma and trauma-informed care, family systems, complex case needs (dual diagnosis), evidence-based practices, supporting resiliency, and promoting wellness.
MELANIE JONKMAN, M. Ed
TRAUMA THERAPIST – Registered Psychologist
Melanie is a Registered Psychologist specializing in Child Trauma and Attachment. She is a certified Hakomi Therapist and TCI (Therapeutic Crisis Intervention) trainer. She has previously worked in children’s mental health at CASA Child, Adolescent and Family Mental Health as the Clinical Lead for the Trauma Program and Trauma and Attachment Group Program.
ALLISON BOUDREAU, M. Ed
TRAUMA THERAPIST – Registered Psychologist
Allison has a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Alberta and is a Registered Psychologist with the College of Alberta Psychologists. She has received extensive training in Self Regulation Therapy (SRT) which is a psychophysiological approach aimed at diminishing dysregulation in the nervous system resulting from traumatic events.
Allison has previously worked at the Edmonton Young Offender Centre, AHS Child and Adolescent Community Mental Health, and CASA Child, Adolescent and Family Mental Health. Allison has a special interest in working with children and adolescents with concerns related to abuse and other traumas. She employs principles and techniques of SRT in working with issues of stress, depression, anxiety, anger, and parenting and relationship issues.
ART THERAPIST – MA Psychotherapy and Spirituality (Specialization in Art Therapy)
Yona is a professional art therapist who focuses on using creative exploration and expression techniques to help people heal from a wide range of traumas, including child sexual abuse. As a professional art therapist accredited by the Canadian Art Therapy Association, Yona contributes 8 years of valuable counselling experience to the Be Brave Ranch clinical team.
Yona’s passion for strengthening individuals’ resilience in the face of trauma extends beyond her role as art therapist at the Be Brave Ranch to her work as a yoga teacher. In this capacity, Yona blends the teachings of yoga with fluid exploration of the arts to help students overcome emotional challenges.
Yona has joined the Spiral Phoenix Trauma Centre as an Art Therapist and currently provides phone counselling for the Chrysalis distress line for individuals who are victims of human trafficking. Yona is also a member of the Yoga Association of Alberta.
EQUINE THERAPIST – M.Ed. Registered Psychologist – Owner and Founder of Dreamcatcher Association
Eileen is a registered psychologist and the owner/founder of Dreamcatcher Association, who provides equine therapy to children attending the Be Brave Ranch. Her goal is to provide a fun, therapeutic setting in which people are supported to heal through the unconditional love of animals.
Eileen has been formally working with people with disabilities, behavioral concerns and mental health issues since 1988 but, having grown up with a brain-injured brother, she is able to draw on a lifetime of personal experience and valuable learning to support individuals in need and their families.
Prior to founding Dreamcatcher in 2003, Eileen spent many years studying horses and training with equine facilitated counselling professionals to eventually become an internationally recognized expert in Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT).
Over the years, Eileen has been instrumental in the design of Western Canada’s first college-accredited course in AAT, while also having contributed to the development of the first-ever master’s level certificate in AAT. She currently chairs the national task force for developing standards and certification for AAT in Canada, and regularly teaches the concepts and techniques of AAT to organizations worldwide.
DR. GARY HNATKO
Rugby joins our Clinical team as our facility trauma dog at the Be Brave Ranch. As co-therapist, Rugby will support individual therapy, group therapy, as well as family sessions. He will enhance our Trauma-Informed healing environment through providing relational supports, sensing and supporting positive emotional regulation, providing healthy touch and therapeutic play opportunities.
The clinical team is comprised of staff with various diverse backgrounds: psychology, social work, early childhood development, expressive art therapy, and recreation therapy.