About

Who we are

Senta Counselling Services provides individual psychotherapy and couple counselling in Barrhaven. In addition to a wide-range of counselling services offered, special focuses involve women’s wellness, teen girls mental health, anxiety management, and couple counselling. Counselling services are offered in English and French, in the Barrhaven area of Ottawa.

Cassandra Petrella of Senta Councelling in Ottawa Ontario

Cassandra Petrella , MA, C.C.C
Registered Psychotherapist, Independent Practice

Education &  Certification

Cassandra Petrella is a Registered Psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. She is also registered as Canadian Certified Counsellor with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. She holds a master’s degree in Counselling & Spirituality from a joint program at Saint Paul University & Ottawa University. She completed her degree with a both individual and couples counselling training. Her undergraduate degree was completed at Carleton University in the Bachelor of Arts, Honours Program, in Psychology.

Counselling Experience

Cassandra has developed several years of counselling experience in treatment, research and education. Special focuses of her work include women related issues, anxiety management and counselling for adolescent girls. She also focuses on on helping individuals improve interpersonal relationships through both individual and couple counselling approaches.

Prior to private practice, she had been a counsellor at the Saint Paul University Counselling Centre and Cornerstone Supportive Housing for Women. At the Saint Paul University Counselling centre, she worked with a wide-range of individuals and couples struggling with anxiety, depression, trauma, and relationship difficulties. At Cornerstone Supportive Housing for Women, she was a resident clinician for trauma survivors and women diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, panic disorder and bipolar disorder.

Cassandra is a frequent guest lecturer at Carleton University and Saint Paul University. She is often invited to speak on the topics of women’s mental health, adolescent well-being and the importance of touch in human connection. She also mentors novice therapists in the field as they start their own clinical practices.

She is a published author in both academic scientific journals and clinical book publications. Much of her publications focus on her research related to the role of touch in human connection for couples.

Personal Approach to Counselling

I understand that life can be unpredictable and challenging at times, whether it’s day-to-day frustrations, ongoing issues or overwhelming circumstances. The first step is to understand that you have it within you to change. In therapy together, we will work towards overcoming the difficulties and obstacles you may be facing personally, at home, in the workplace or school, or with your significant other. You will be free to express and consult with me in an open and safe environment.

As a cognitive behavioural and attachment therapist, I take a hands on approach in my counselling to help clients develop coping skills which will allow them to personally reduce the symptoms they are experiencing. These coping skills are often life-long techniques which help reduce anxiety or depression and help improve interpersonal relationships and personal self-esteem. Therapy will be both emotionally explorative and solution focused in each and every session.





Elisa Makadi, MA
Counsellor, under the clinical supervision of Cassandra Petrella (Registered Psychotherapist) and Dr. Brenda Saxe (Psychologist)

Education

Elisa Makadi holds a master’s degree in Counselling Psychology from the University of Ottawa. Her master’s thesis research involved looking at self-compassion and mindfulness for those with social anxiety disorder. Her master’s thesis research was funded through the Government of Canada’s Canadian Institutes of Health Research scholarship, and her completed thesis has been nominated for a University of Ottawa prize. Elisa’s undergraduate degree was completed at Carleton University in the Bachelor of Arts, Honours Program, in Psychology. She is in the process of certification for the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario.

 

Counselling Experience

Elisa offers counselling to teens, adults and families. Elisa has gathered experience in counselling treatment and research, with special interest in young adults experiencing anxiety, self-pressure, and/or perfectionism. Prior to private practice, Elisa had been a counsellor at the University of Ottawa, helping a wide range of individuals struggling with anxiety, depression, trauma, chronic pain, and family-related and interpersonal concerns. She has also spent time with Hospice Care Ottawa working with individuals experiencing grief and loss. 

 

Personal Approach to Counselling

My treatment approach involves fostering growth and understanding through self-compassion, values, and strengths. In session together, we will work toward new coping strategies and new ways of relating to your self. I provide a warm, supportive, light environment for my clients, often using therapeutic strategies while also searching for the humour in our struggles. 


I take a cognitive-behavioural, self-compassionate approach to therapy, while also employing aspects of self-acceptance, mindfulness, and emotion-focused work. I help guide my clients toward understanding unhelpful thought patterns, learning about one’s values and strengths, sitting with difficult feelings, and finding new ways of engaging with your self and everyday life.

Julie Dagenais, MA
Counsellor, under the clinical supervision of Cassandra Petrella (Registered Psychotherapist) and Dr. Brenda Saxe (Psychologist)

Education

Julie Dagenais obtained a Master of Arts in Counselling and Spirituality from Saint Paul University. She completed the program in French. She holds a Bachelor of Arts, Honours program, in Psychology from Carleton University. During her undergraduate degree, she participated in a year abroad at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom.      

Counselling Experience

Julie offers counselling services to teens, adults, couples and families. She provides a service in English and in French. Julie offered counselling services at Saint Paul University’s Counselling and Psychotherapy Centre. She has worked with a variety of clients living with anxiety, depression, and personality disorders. Julie has a wide range of experience working with teens in community health settings. She has assisted clients to explore the topics of self-esteem, perfectionism, interpersonal boundaries and assertiveness. Julie also has offered counselling in a sexology private practice in Gatineau, Quebec. She has provided sex therapy to clients experiencing sexual dysfunction, low sexual desire, and issues related to intimacy.



Personal Approach to Counselling


Life can make it tough to express yourself, by reaching out, you are opening up the possibility of realizing the changes you want to see in your life. I would be privileged to take this journey of change and understanding with you. Collaboratively, in a confidential space, we will talk genuinely about the beliefs you hold about yourself and the world. We will identify the behaviours that foster these perspectives and we will build your existing resources and coping strategies. Counselling is a unique relationship as the client is in the driver’s seat and my role is to assist you in where you want to reach. For couples and families, my role is to assist each person to effectively communicate with each other so that my presence would no longer be needed. In our time together, I will utilize a variety of approaches. I primarily use cognitive-behavioural therapy with individuals, an attachment based approach with couples, and structural family therapy with families.