“My true calling is to change people’s lives for the better”: Tanya’s Story

By Vlad Umnov

“The life loves me”, says Tanya, a Ukrainian psychotherapist from Dnipro – a city 500 km from the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

In 2022, when the Russian invasion began, she and her husband got into the car and drove to Poland. In July 2022, they flew to Canada by CUAET visa (Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel) and started a new life in a new country.


“I dreamed many years to move through the ocean – and now I am here. The life loves me enough. It’s going the way I want”.

Tanya is a fantastically optimistic person.

The love of my life is my psychotherapy practice.

My childhood dreams underwent a transformation as I grew older. Initially, I had a strong desire to become a famous fashion designer. The idea of creating beauty for people was fascinating. In my fantasy world, I imagined myself weaving charm into every creation.”

Tanya’s teenage years were influenced by the famous fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes. His keen intelligence and tireless tenacity left a lasting impression on her. Inspired by the deductive method of Sherlock Holmes, Tanya dreamed of becoming a famous detective too, capable of solving the most sophisticated crimes.

“While pursuing my university education, I worked as a tutor for schoolchildren and students,” explains Tanya. “This role was gratifying, as I relished the opportunity to engage in meaningful communication and foster creativity.” This experience inspired her dream of writing.

“However, fate had other plans, and in the end, I discovered something truly wonderful – the path of a psychotherapist,” says Tanya. “This choice did not contradict my childhood dreams. Instead, it provided me with a unique opportunity to combine all my passions. I find great happiness bringing beauty into people’s lives, applying the deductive approach of Sherlock Holmes to solve the complex problems of parenting and the impact of traumatic experiences on personality, and collaborating with my clients to rewrite and reimagine the scripts of their lives.”

Tanya hopes to start a new career in Canada soon.

She joined a LINC class to adapt her good English skills to the Canadian environment. And she was thinking about how to start a career in a new country. One of her classmates recommended the Mennonite New Life Centre of Toronto (MNLCT).

Tanya sent an email to MNLCT and a settlement worker contacted her. After going through counselling, she joined the She-Covery program to prepare for, and learn more about the Canadian job market. She-Covery helps transition newcomer women from unemployment or underemployment conditions into job market opportunities.

Additionally, MNLCT staff recommended Tanya to enrol in the Entrepreneurial Excellence and Leadership (EXL) program. EXL provides the learning, resources, coaching, peer support and guidance to be self-employed and to start own business, connecting clients with community partners. They helped Tanya register and open her own business. Tanya is thinking about starting the School of Relationship, which will help people build a variety of relationships – parents with kids, couples, friends, and businesses.

To practice as a psychotherapist in Ontario, Tanya needs to obtain a licence from the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO). MNLCT offers four bridging programs including BREM – Bridge to Registration and Employment in Mental Health which supports immigrant mental health professionals who wish to work and license in their field.

Tanya is considering joining this program to start her psychotherapeutic practice in Canada.

Since 2006, I found my true calling as a psychologist and psychotherapist, and to this day I am actively involved in various psychological areas,” says Tanya. “This profession remains one of the most exciting and fulfilling aspects of my life.

Looking to the future, my ultimate goal in life is to establish myself as a psychologist and psychotherapist in Canada while continuing the meaningful work that brings me the greatest joy and satisfaction.

I am grateful for the varied path that has led me to this exciting profession that has allowed me to fulfill not only my childhood dreams, but also my true calling – making a difference in people’s lives.”

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"The Mennonite New Life Centre and its BEMC program came in very handy for me at the lowest ebb of my life by providing a lifeline and I am eternally grateful for that,”

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