Counselling Staff

Bonita Ledua, R.P., M.A. (M.A.F.T.)

Counsellor/Clinical Supervisor

Bonita and her husband, Bera, founded NorthWind Family Ministries. Bonita serves as the Executive Director and is a Registered Psychotherapist.  Bonita received her Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy.  Her graduate studies focused on Narrative Therapy and Family Systems Theory.  She has done additional studies in Attachment and Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy.  Bonita also supports her clients using Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy.

She enjoys working with family members of all ages as they engage in activities and play therapy, working to improve their family dynamics. She helps struggling couples improve their marriages and assists those experiencing psychological distress due to the trauma of childhood abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder. She works with those struggling with personality disorders such as borderline and disassociated identity disorders. She supports those with depression and anxiety and those going through life transitions.

She often expresses amazement at the resilience of humankind and finds inspiration from those that have picked themselves up from the ashes of life. Bonita has a passion to see people embrace all that Creator God has made them to be, to belong, and to find healing and hope.  She considers it a privilege to journey with people.  Bonita reminds herself and others of the importance of “suffering-with” as James Olthuis states:“burdens shared and borne together empower us and enable us to carry our woundedness in a new way.  Suffering-with is an act of empowering that revitalizes a human spirit immobilized by pain, degraded by abuse or debilitated by circumstances.”

Bonita also has a passion to equip people in caring well for others, increasing listening skills and empowering others in supportive roles.  She has been teaching counselling skills to lay-people and church leadership for over ten years.  In her time off, Bonita enjoys hiking, camping, and just hanging out with her husband, four adult children, daughter-in-law, and any number of friends that come along.

Julie McKenna, M.A.

Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying)

Julie works as a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) at Northwind, aiming to provide a culturally safe, strengths-based, trauma informed practice that allows for healing and change within the client’s worldview.

Julie is experienced in a diverse range of mental health areas and works with individuals and groups of all ages and backgrounds. Areas of focus include recovery from symptoms of trauma, abuse and neglect, depression and anxiety, grief and loss, addictions, disordered eating habits, body image issues, and relationship struggles. Her recent training in Expressive Arts Therapies (Level 1 & 2 Certificate) allows her to offer clients space to use a variety of expressive modalities including visual art, mixed media, music, creative writing, play and drama in their healing journey. She is committed to ongoing professional development in the psychotherapy field, with a particular interest how continued discoveries in neuroscience can inform and support her practice.

Julie grew up in Sydney, Australia. She bumped into her future husband Peter (from Thunder Bay), on a hike in the Australian bush. She moved to Thunder Bay in 1989 to marry and work as a high school teacher in Science and Family Studies (primarily Food and Nutrition Sciences) for 25 years, retiring in 2015. In 2017, she was able to fulfil her lifelong dream of becoming a counsellor/ therapist (she completed her M.A. in Counselling from Providence Seminary in 2009), joining first Ishaawin and then transitioning to Northwind Counselling Services as a part-time counsellor.

Julie is passionate about providing a safe place that allows others to grow and heal; to help people move from surviving to thriving. Past experience in the mental health field includes facilitating Celebrate Recovery (a support group) in Thunder Bay, as well as helping establish and facilitate the Natural Helpers peer counselling program in high schools across the city. In addition, Julie was a board member of New Life Ministries Thunder Bay and worked as program staff in the women’s program at Hope House providing emotional, mental, physical and spiritual support for clients.

Julie enjoys art of all kinds, reading, and is actively involved in the pickleball community. She also enjoys spending time with family and friends, both near and far.

Joshua Wong

Registered Psychotherapist

Joshua Wong is a Registered Psychotherapist and Clinical Traumatologist. He is completing his work and studies to becoming an EMDR Clinician and Registered Marriage & Family Therapist. Joshua graduated from Tyndale University College & Seminary where he received his Masters of Divinity in Clinical Counselling

Joshua’s focus and work involves abuse and trauma in all its forms, including primary, vicarious, developmental, generational, PTSD, physical/sexual abuse, anxiety, grief, and compassion fatigue. This includes concurrent disorders and dual diagnosis such as clients on the autism spectrum and with developmental disabilities.

Other than counseling, Joshua’s passions are to build partnerships within the community and organizations, as well as to support staff and students toward integrative health practices while working in a trauma-focused practice. Joshua believes that healing is about learning and growth. A grounding quote that Joshua uses is, “We do the best we can. When we know better, we can do better.” This seeks to give grace in every moment to every person. It honours a story and gives the opportunity to grow.

Joshua is married to Natalie and they have two children, Silas and Olive. The family enjoys being outdoors and travelling. They are interested in trying new foods and experiencing the culture of different countries.

Carolyn Whatley

Counselling Intern

Carolyn has a diverse teaching background, including ESL, home and co-op education, and as an assistant teacher in undergraduate courses. She has facilitated and spoken at a number of retreats and conferences. She is currently a candidate for a Masters of Social Justice at Lakehead University, with a research focus on trauma-informed communities, decolonizing trauma work, and non-indigenous pathways to reconciliation. She and her family have learned a lot as a foster family for the past six years.

These areas of interest inform her involvement with NorthWind Family Ministries. Carolyn first connected with NorthWind through the Competent Caring Course. This led to cooking supper for the Sunday Family Fellowship. She then became a key creator in the development of LifeBuild and became a LifeBuild Coach.

Her favourite quote influences her life: “Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.”- Henri Nouwen

Carolyn enjoys spending time with friends and family and is often found chatting over a cup of tea or enjoying the land around her home on the outskirts of Thunder Bay. Carolyn is currently in positional transition.

SUPPORT STAFF

Alissa Veurink

Administrative Assistant

Alissa was born in Thunder Bay, Ontario; she grew up on a dairy farm in the Slate River Valley where she learned to value family, take responsibility, use a solid work ethic, and have respect and patience for others.

She has three beautiful children, Ethan, Hannah and Andrew. She loves to support them in their sports and school activities. She enjoys soccer, curling, volleyball, gardening, dinner and coffee with friends and family time.

She has a passion to help others and hopes to pursue counselling in the future. Her family and friends describe her as open, thoughtful, generous, relatable, supportive, and an excellent listener. She has a genuine heart and loves to connect with others in meaningful ways.

Alissa testifies to the goodness and faithfulness of God in her life; her favourite Bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11: ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future’.

For an appointment or information:
Tel
(807) 622-5790  |  Fax (807) 285-4261
counselling@northwindfm.org

Office Hours:
Monday to Thursday, 9 am to 4 pm
Evening appointments can be arranged

NorthWind Counselling is associated with
NorthWind Family Ministries

Located at 138 May Street South, Thunder Bay, ON   P7E 1B3