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At Cowichan Lake Community Services, we believe:
  • Everyone has strengths and resources to make necessary changes in their lives.

  • That sometimes we need a little help to tap into our strengths.

  • The counsellor's job is to help people open up possibilities for positive change.


What is counselling ?

Counsellors help people to:
  • define the problem.

  • think about what’s important.

  • figure out what to do next.

  • express their feelings and needs.

  • tap into their own strengths and resources.

  • examine unhelpful habits, coping methods, self-defeating beliefs, values and attitudes.

  • gather all the relevant facts.

  • consider different points of view.

  • understand how their behaviour and emotional reactions affect those around them and vice-versa.

  • work out what they can do and how others can help.

  • begin to make decisions based on what they've learned.

We provide counselling services for a range of issues, including:
  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Loss and Grief

  • Abuse

  • Trauma

  • Stress and Coping

  • Self Harm

  • Mental Health

  • Relationships

  • Effective Communication

  • Other Social/Emotional/Behavioural Challenges

  • Family Transitions (Separation and Divorce)

Call Office to Book Appointment


Amanda Sawatzky

Family Therapist

Amanda has worked as a counsellor for Cowichan Lake Community Services since 1994. Amanda holds a Masters degree in Counselling from the University of Victoria, a BA in psychology from McMaster University, as well as a certificate in Conflict Resolution from the Justice Institute of British Columbia. She is a certified Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner and also has certification in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in Child and Youth Anxiety through the Anxiety Disorders Association of British Columbia. Amanda is also a Certified Canadian Counsellor with the Canadian Counselling Association, as well as a Registered Clinical Counsellor through BCACC. Amanda was born in England, raised in Oakville, Ontario and is now a true converted west coast island girl who likes to migrate south in the winter. Along with trauma work, Amanda has extensive experience working with adults, children, groups and families using a variety of approaches. Amanda brings enthusiasm and a passion for healing to her work and uses a playful approach to learning.


Desiree Karlsen

Child, Youth & Family Counsellor

Desiree has spent the last several years working with children with physical and developmental delays as an education assistant in the school system. Doing so has given her exposure to children with various traumas and needs, which is where she found her passion for working with children one-on-one. She spends her time counselling both in a school based setting and outside of school for those who prefer. Desiree runs our Lunch Bunch program which gives participants the opportunity to make positive peer connections. She also facilitates the Pre-Teen & Teen Drop-In groups that provide Cowichan Lakes' youth with a safe and welcoming space to hangout and be a part of a community. Desiree is currently attending Vancouver Island University to further her education, and enjoys volunteering in the community in which she was raised.


Terrance Gibson

Child, Youth & Family Counsellor

Terrance takes pride and joy in giving back to the community. He grew up in Lake Cowichan spending his teen years here before moving to Vancouver to complete his schooling. Terrance specializes in child and youth work as well as addictions counselling. Terrance has certificates in Non-violent Crisis Intervention, Suicide prevention, First Aid as well as Narcan training. Terrance is fluent in English and Spanish as he spent 10 years living in Mexico before he moved to Lake Cowichan.


Makala Jamieson

Child, Youth & Family Counsellor

Makala recognized from a young age that her passion has always been working with children and youth. Over the last several years Makala has obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Studies that has led her to many opportunities working with various populations of children, youth and families.

Post-graduation Makala made the move from Ontario to Vancouver Island, where she worked as a Behaviour Interventionist, providing early intervention ABA therapy for children, youth and their families who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental conditions. Makala gained additional experience in the field of Early Childhood Education where she focused on helping children achieve critical developmental milestones, skills, and concepts that children attain during the period of early childhood. With these professional experiences combined, Makala found her passion working with children, youth, and families in providing unconditional acceptance and a safe space for healing and growth. Her goal is to empower clients and help them improve their happiness, health and wellness and plans to continue expanding her knowledge to provide the best support possible!

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