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Our Staff

     Wendy Keen, MSW RSW, Executive Director 

Wendy is a registered Social Worker who has practiced social work in both Alberta and Nova Scotia. She has been the Executive Director of a women’s shelter and in 2009 retired from the Department of Community Services as a District Manager. Wendy served as Executive Director of Family and Children Services for several years, where she demonstrated leadership in the support to families in the community. Her field of practice is social work administration. Wendy’s focus at New Start is to develop and encourage collaborative relationships with similar community agencies to address the program, policy and resource issues that will lead to peaceful families and communities. 


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

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.


     Eric L. Ross, M.Ed., RCT-C, MTA
     Registered Counselling Therapist - Candidate
     Accredited Music Therapist

Eric’s therapeutic approach is rooted in narrative therapy and music therapy—incorporating cognitive-behavioural therapy, solution-focused brief therapy, and mindfulness methods. He works collaboratively with people to set therapeutic goals—helping people to create meaningful and lasting change in their lives. He is committed to helping people explore possibilities of moving away from abuse and violence towards respectful and safe relationships.
Eric holds a Master of Education (Counselling) degree from Acadia University (Wolfville, NS). He attended Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH) where he received his Bachelor of Science in Music Education and Music Therapy. He is a Registered Counselling Therapist - Candidate (RCT-C) with the Nova Scotia College of Counselling Therapists and a Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC) with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. Eric is an Accredited Music Therapist (MTA) with the Canadian Association for Music Therapy and a Board Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC) with the Certification Board for Music Therapists. He is committed to regular professional development to ensure that he offers people current information and an integrative approach to therapy. He is currently pursuing  advanced training in music psychotherapy using the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music at the Therapeutic Arts Institute (Indianapolis, IN).
Eric’s research interests include the use of music in psychotherapy and the use of music as self-care practice. He has presented his research findings on music as a supportive and insight-oriented method at national and provincial conferences.

Stephanie Wells, M.Ed, RCT-C, DVATI

Stephanie comes to New Start after more than 11 years of practicing in British Columbia as a child and family therapist where the majourity of her work was focused on supporting families impacted by violence, abuse and addiction. A true Nova Scotian at heart, she returned ‘home’ in 2012 with her partner and two young children after 16 years on the West Coast.  In addition to her Master’s in Education (Counselling), Stephanie has a Graduate Diploma in Art Therapy.  Her thesis included work and research in the areas of abuse and the role of creativity in healing historical trauma.  

Stephanie has had the privilege of working in clinical settings with mental health teams and in non-profit community agencies, as well as maintaining a small private practice. In addition to individual therapy, she has experience running therapeutic and psycho-education groups for children, youth and adults.  She has also obtained clinical certifications and professional development specific to trauma, attachment, and relationships. 

Building respectful relationship with others in the foundation of how Stephanie navigates herself in session.  She understands people as coming from complex systems, often impacted by experiences of trauma and thus her way of working with clients is informed by their stories; honouring their experiences and supporting them to draw from their natural strengths and resources. Stephanie considers this work to be among the most profound and humbling experiences of her life and credits the courage of clients as some of her greatest teachers.