Hi, I'm Jacqueline and I'm here to help!

If I were in your shoes looking for a counsellor, I’d want to get to know a bit about what they are like as a person and how they interpret the way the world works. Let me help you fill in the blanks to see if we're a fit.  

Growing up on the east coast surrounded by the roar of the ocean lit a fire in me from a young age.  I’ve always been a no nonsense person with a take no prisoners attitude. When it comes to counselling, that translates to me being the therapist who is here to work diligently alongside you in your journey, and I expect you to work just as hard.

Accountability is very important to me. My clients not only accept accountability but also look for where they can take responsibility. This is a key component to the success of our work together.  Some may call me tough, yet in the same breath I’ve been told they’d also call me fair, loyal, dependable, and fiercely committed to helping you achieve whatever you set out to in your life.

Justine Strong | www.strongcounselling.com | Counselling

Justine Russo

Justine is no longer accepting clients at this time

I believe that life is beautifully messy. Everyone’s story is unique and is filled with changes and obstacles that are often overwhelming. I first experienced the magic of therapy 10 years ago and it strengthened my relationship with myself, my family, and my friends. It helped me set healthy boundaries and have more compassion towards myself and others.

I passionately believe that everyone deserves to feel that they are validated and supported. I strive to work with you towards feeling empowered to create change in your own life. I am an empathetic and active listener, and I am often described as someone people feel like they have known for years.
As every client is unique, we’ll build a way of working together that is centered on your approach to how you experience the world.

Whether you’re bringing concerns related to maternal health, anxiety, or the relationship you have with yourself or others, I hope to create a space for you that becomes a part of your healing journey.

The client concerns I’m most passionate about helping with include: perinatal and postpartum periods, pregnancy loss, fertility challenges, self-worth, body image, disordered eating, sexual/sexuality challenges.

*Justine will be Available for virtual sessions Monday from 9:00am-8:00pm and Wednesday from 9:00am-1:00pm & 5:00pm-8:00pm. Justine is in fellowship at Strong Counselling, please reach her through the form below if you'd like to book a consult.

I work primarily under the specialty umbrella of life transitions, not only because I have extensive training in ways to help those going through transitions but also because I have gone through many myself.

I have moved to live in many cities, gone to multiple universities, opened and closed the book on a few friendships and intimate partnerships, worked in countless different jobs, lost many loved ones and pets to death, grieved friends I’ve had to leave or who have moved away from me, gone through medical and physical conditions that have changed my identity as well as the potential future I could have, dealt with suicide attempts of family members, loss of income and housing security… and so with all of these transitions as well as my education I believe I’m well suited for helping others who are going through any type of transition.  

I do believe it is important to know that although we may not have gone through the same thing, it is my belief that the underlying ways in which anyone can learn to cope successfully with transitions share some commonalities. In the 5,000+ hours I’ve spent counselling people, many similarities have popped up. Connection brings about commonalities and although we aren’t the same, I can most likely relate to a lot you are experiencing. I won't fill your shoes the exact same way you do, but I will certainly step into them, work hard to understand your experience, and help you figure out the best way to deal with whatever you are going through.  

My ultimate goal as your counsellor is to make you feel comfortable, to connect and empathize with you. I want you to feel as if you have someone to support you and fight for you.  I want you to feel validated and heard. I want you to grow strong through our work together and to feel as if you can accomplish whatever you set out to.  I like to view myself as a bit of a safety net: if you can envision yourself taking a leap of faith and trusting that I have your best interest at heart, I will commit to be here for you if you should need help through the process.  In learning new skills and trying new ways of overcoming problems we all stumble. It is my belief that how we look at that stumble really matters. I’m a fan of the idea that we take two steps forward and then take one step sideways, never losing our progress just getting off-track occasionally.

Together we can get you back on track and taking fewer side steps.  

My approach to counselling is very constructivist. What that means is that I custom build the way we will work together based on how you view and operate within the world. There isn’t one mold that fits all people and so we will work together to find what works best for you. I pull from a bunch of different therapeutic models to help create our custom plan.

If you are wondering about my educational and experiential background, here is a little information for you. I hold a Masters of Counselling degree and am also a Canadian Certified Counsellor through the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. Prior to achieving my Masters and certification, I completed two undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Criminology.

I have also volunteered at many amazing places including The Vancouver Crisis centre, 1-800-suicide, various soup kitchens, cancer fundraising events, rehabilitative horse encounters including Rainbow Riders and Shamrock Equine Counselling Centre, as well as Habitat for Humanity Women Build days.

Through all of my education and volunteer work my primary goal was to learn more about people, get connected with them, help out wherever I could, and solve any problems I am capable of solving.

Low-Cost Counselling

Intern Counsellor
Intern Counsellor


Intern Counsellor

Life is a journey, filled with challenges and opportunities for growth. As an intern therapist, I understand that the journey towards healing can be both daunting and rewarding. During sessions, I like to encourage self-reflection which can allow clients to gain a deeper understanding of themselves. After moving from Ireland in 2011, I found that talking to a qualified professional helped me feel validated and supported while settling into a new country, building new relationships and navigating cultural differences.

I am open to any topics you want to talk about including anxiety, depression, self-esteem issues, relationship challenges, life transitions, and stress management. I look forward to working with people from diverse backgrounds and supporting clients to be the best version of themselves.

My aim is to meet each client where they are and tailor sessions to their unique needs, fostering a collaborative and empowering experience. I believe it is key that the client feels like they are in control of their therapy journey. I am committed to creating a safe and non-judgmental space where clients can explore their emotions, overcome challenges, and embrace positive change.

Click here to inquire


Intern Counsellor

Olena is no longer accepting internship clients. However, she will begin accepting new clients as an Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) starting January 2024

  • With over 15 years of experience in vocational rehabilitation counselling and case management, I have worked with individuals from diverse backgrounds. I have helped clients address mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, trauma, caregiver fatigue, and work-related stress, as well as, navigate life transitions such as career changes, parenting, and retirement. In my counselling internship practice, I also have experience working with individuals with neurodivergence including ADD, ADHD, and ASD.

  • My approach to counselling is centered around providing confidential, non-judgmental services that foster self-growth, reflection, and acceptance. I believe in client-directed therapy, which encourages accountability, and strengthens the client-counsellor relationship. My ultimate goal is to create a safe and supportive space where clients can explore their inner selves, gain new insights, and develop effective strategies to improve their overall well-being.

  • The clients I’m most passionate about working with are those in the LGBTQIA2S+ community, parents, caregivers, individuals experiencing work-related stress, and those going through life transitions.”


Intern Counsellor

I think Leonard Cohen said it best, “There’s a crack, a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets it”. But often when you’re in the middle of a crisis, transition, generally just feeling stuck…it’s hard to see that. It’s hard to imagine that things will get better…that light might make its way in.. and it’s even harder to imagine how that might happen. But it can. With the right support, a space where you can truly be yourself, and a little work, you can start to see the light again and even find your way to a more peaceful, joyful life.

Brilliant 1990s song lyrics aside, I believe that showing up to our time together as my authentic self – sarcasm, laughter, (and even a little swearing) – is the only way to create a real connection with my clients, and that it’s only through a real connection that any progress can happen. I also believe that helping you tap into your authentic self – and then love the heck out of that person – is the most important part of my job.

Mostly because of my own experiences in life, I am passionate about helping people challenged by major transitions, especially at midlife. As the single mother to two (now grown) boys and someone who is risking some later-in-life changes, I honestly believe that it is never too late to figure out who you are meant to be, and I’d be honoured to help. I am also experienced in working with neurodiverse people – specifically ADHD – and people challenged by anxiety and depression.

Click here to inquire

A little about Strong Counselling

I started this private practice over 7 years ago and have loved every minute of it.

Some clients I only see for a couple sessions whereas other I've been with for the duration of my practice. This year Strong Counselling was fortunate enough to have been selected for the Consumers Choice award for counselling services in Vancouver, BC.

I was very shocked and humbled to have been chosen to receive this award and greatly appreciate anyone who voted for Strong Counselling to be chosen as the winner. If you’d like to learn a little more about the award please feel free to visit the CCA website.

Building strength together