I would like to introduce you to Luciana Pache de Faria, Registered Psychotherapist. She is originally from Brazil and was trained as a Psychologist. She arrived in Canada in 2016, her dream to move her family to Canada was filled with excitement and challenges, during the BREM (formerly BTMH) program Luciana reflected:
You arrive in Canada, you send out your resume and nobody calls you and you think “what’s wrong?”, you find out there is a workshop at the library that will help you to create your resume and then you realize “Wow! There is a Canadian way to write your resume?!?” Okay, now you have a nice resume (which is a painful process to write). With your new resume, you start to get phone calls! But then you don’t know what an interview will be like and the whole hiring process is stressful, and you learn by failing.
Upon arriving in Canada Luciana began to navigate the job market and understand the landscape here in Toronto, Luciana began volunteering at the Child Development Institute to stay connected in her field and network. She also found a wonderful career counsellor to help her, but the counsellor did not know about BREM (formerly BTMH) program. Luck arrived when she attended a lecture at the Toronto Public Library, a staff member went above and beyond in her research and found the BREM program and sent Luciana the details. There are many losses for an immigrant, too many to discuss in this short article, but the loss of career is all-encompassing and deeply connected to one’s identity. Luciana says:
If I think about all the sectors of my life, or my social life, my family, my routine, what is most challenging is the loss of my career….I can replace material things and I can stay connected to my family via Skype and travel, but when I think about my career, I cannot simply enter a store and buy my right to be a Psychologist. I cannot have the same position. The Bridge Training Program was a matter of survival for me, it made a huge difference for me and my life here as an immigrant. I needed this program. Since the first steps, like writing a proper resume, becoming prepared to an interview until being able to understand the local regulators of each profession, how to apply for the local College, the different names of some professions, what I could call myself or what I couldn’t. BREM allowed me to understand Canada and empowered me to work with clients from all over the world. I made mistakes in the classroom, I had false assumptions, but this was the right place to learn. It was an amazing opportunity that will definitely make me a better mental health professional in Canada. The Bridge program was a special place to develop confidence, practice my English, gain experience doing presentations and an important place to get feedback. I made friends. They also played an important role in my life as an immigrant.
During the BREM program, Luciana demonstrated a willingness to learn and be open. Her resiliency and efforts to engage within a multicultural context were evident in her daily interactions in the classroom. She completed a 6-month internship at Centennial Infant and Child Centre where she was offered part time employment. Luciana volunteers as a Crisis counsellor at Victim Services of Toronto and in the Child Access Program at the Children’s Aid Society. Her journey to a career in mental health grew when she applied to the College of Registered Psychotherapists (CRPO) and was approved in 2017 as a Registered Psychotherapist. She is now employed full time as a Violence against Women Counsellor at the Abrigo Centre in Toronto. She is helping women develop their strengths and well being. We are so proud of you Luciana, your hard work and delightful positive attitude have paid off and you now helping others in your new home. A well earned congratulations to you!
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Sheila Mulhern is a professional Career Counsellor with a strong background working within marginalized communities. She is currently the Educational and Placement Counsellor for Bridge to Registration and Employment in Mental Health (BREM). BREM supports skilled newcomers in: understanding the Canadian job search landscape and workplace culture, secure meaningful internships/mentors which leads to employment in their field.