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Our Staff

Executive Director


Jane Donovan MEd., RCT,
Counselling Therapist, Clinical Supervisor

Jane has been working as a therapist in the field of domestic violence since 2006, having worked at Bridges Institute in Truro, Nova Scotia and now as Clinical Supervisor at New Start Counselling in Halifax. Jane has considerable experience and great interest in counselling those affected by trauma, violence and abuse. Her therapeutic approach has been influenced primarily by Narrative Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, Feminist Theory and Art Therapy. With a Narrative lens, Jane focuses on abilities rather than dwelling on problems. She views problems as separate from people and through collaborative conversations of people’s stories she brings forth their skills, values and knowledge that can assist them in moving away from abuse and/or violence in order to build the respectful relationships they prefer.

Jane has attended and presented at numerous national and international conferences and workshops on Domestic Violence and Narrative Therapy. Closer to home, she offers her experience to university graduate students as a counselling supervisor. Her role as Clinical Supervisor at New Start helps to bring about a consistent, comprehensive counselling methodology and collaborative workplace environment for both staff and interns. Jane’s conversations are ever-evolving and her creative approach has recently led her to facilitate group therapy sessions for men who have perpetrated violence, men who are suffering from the effects of sexual abuse, and a women’s art therapy group addressing the effects of domestic abuse and/or violence.

Marcy Garland

Team Support Coordinator

Marcy has been the Team Support Coordinator for New Start Counselling since September 2018. This opportunity was a brand new experience and somewhat of a new and exciting career path. She was able to pull from her transferrable skill from previous work experience to develop the needs of the position from a business, staff and client point of view.  The work being done at New Start sounded innovative and very different from her past positions. She is passionate and grateful for the organizations mission. The counselling therapists provide is helping people address their violence in hopes to end the cycle of abuse.  She believes and has seen that individuals really can change if they truly want to. Marcy enjoys working with the public and considers herself to be people oriented. Her focus is to ensure that community members coming through the door feel welcome, safe and comfortable.

Andrea Cameron MEd, RCT-C, CCC (Counselling Therapist)


Andrea is a Registered Counselling Therapist Candidate (RCT-C) with the Nova Scotia College of Counselling Therapists, and holds an MEd in Counselling from Acadia University. She uses a range of modalities to support clients to identify what is important to them in life and in their relationships, and to take steps toward that valued life. Sessions draw on Narrative Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Solution Focused Brief Therapy and Emotion Focused Therapy. The process typically includes some looking back, looking ahead, and grounding in the present moment through mindfulness. 

The metaphor of an acorn is sometimes used to describe the therapy process, in that an acorn already knows how to grow into an oak tree, what it needs is a nourishing place to grow, and sometimes some help to shift obstacles out of the way. Andrea has worked with a wide range of clients in university health services, employee and family assistance programs, private practice, and at New Start, and has found that when clients are able to check in with themselves, they find direction.

James RH Maynard, MES, MSW, RSW


James holds a Master of Environmental Studies from York University with a focus on male socialization and violence as well as a Master of Social Work from Carleton University with a focus on clinical social work. His primary focus is on therapeutic work with individuals who have used abuse or violence with an intimate partner or their family


James works to integrate a number of therapeutic approaches depending on the individual needs of each client, addressing both early ACEs or trauma and its influence on current behaviors as well as deepening responsibility for harmful behaviors and perspectives. James works primarily from a Narrative Therapy approach while also drawing on elements of mindfulness and grounding practices, somatic experiencing, CBT, DBT and a psychodynamic model of practice wherever relevant and necessary. Each individual represents a collection of stories, both recognized and remembered or subconscious, and therefore an important aspect of the work seeks to understand and address how these stories may influence and define the way in which a client sees themselves, their relationships, a relative sense or lack of safety and their place in the world.


In addition to therapeutic practice, his research interests include the impact of early trauma, abuse, violence or neglect on mental, emotional and neurological development and how the stories we tell concerning ourselves and the world may influence later behaviors, perspectives and responses to stress and conflict.

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Maher Masalmeh

Maher is a Registered Counselling Therapist - Candidate (RCT-C) with the Nova Scotia College of Counselling Therapists and a Canadian Certified Counselor (CCC) with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. He holds a Master’s of Education in Counselling (MEd) from Acadia University. Maher can provide counselling in Arabic.

He believes that the clients are the experts themselves and the solutions are stored within the clients’ inner resources. Counselors only offer the guidance by providing unconditional self acceptance to their clients. People are inherently good and creative, they will flourish and reach their potential if their environment is good enough.


Maher has a diverse background experience, he has been working with individuals and families from different backgrounds. He believes that reality is constructed by social rules and there is no absolute truth, by understanding the bigger system, clients can choose how to live in their environment and how to construct the meaning for their life. He is focused on providing services adapted to the client’s needs. 

As an internationally trained pediatrician, Maher has a lot of experience working with children, adolescents and their families. This includes mental health and counselling. By viewing the client’s challenges beyond the clinical picture, it opens the door to explore other stories that might function better on the long journey for the client’s potential.

In his free time, Maher enjoys hiking, fishing and playing his musical instrument “Oud”. He believes that life is a journey, not a destination and the best way to enjoy it is to be present.

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