Vanessa Dowell MSW, RSW

Vanessa has worked with individuals and families in various mental health and family counselling programs for over 18 years. Her experience and passion for her specialization in her practice is drawn from her education, 7 years experience working in a perinatal mental health program, as well as her own family’s journey through fertility, pregnancy and postpartum.

One’s fertility and perinatal experience can be marked with stress, anger, grief/loss, fears, anxiety, depression and difficulty in interpersonal relationships. Vanessa draws on trust and confidentiality in her practice while she supports you through self-awareness, reflection, reframing and discovering new tools to assist with your relationships, communication (often with support system and professionals), self-care, and growth during your journey. At times it will be suggested to engage a partner or other support person in your counselling to strengthen your support network, increase awareness of the situation and improve the functioning of the family relationships. The health of our relationships and support networks are vital to our health and coping during these often-difficult times.  Vanessa can also assist with connecting you with complementary health-care practitioners, support groups, reading material and financial aid as appropriate. It is her hope that with this support you will feel more grounded, have increased skills to manage stressors and have a plan how to move into your next life phase thriving.

Vanessa’s theoretical orientation is towards a client-centered, psycho-educational, strength-based approach and her therapeutic approaches are trauma and attachment informed and draw from training in: Narrative Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mind-Based Techniques, The Gottman Method and Family Systems Theory in her work supporting clients.

Vanessa is a Registered Social Worker with the BC College of Social Work therefore many employee benefit plans will reimburse for her services or they may be claimed on your annual income tax returns as a medical expense.

Vanessa is Verified by Psychology Today.


Masters of Social Work - Dalhousie University - 2014

Bachelors of Social Work Degree - University of Calgary - 2003

Clinical Training:

-Advanced and Enhanced Certificate in Accelerated Resolution Therapy-July 2023

Certified Accelerated Resolution Therapy Practitioner - November 2021

-Gottman Method Couples Therapy - Level 1 - 2020

-Certificate of Clinical Social Work Supervision - University of Calgary - 2020

-Foundations of Narrative Therapy - 2014

-Cognitive Behavioral Essentials Training Certificate - 2010

-Trained facilitator for Strengths Deployment Inventory - Personal Strengths - 2010

-Concurrent Disorders Training Program  IHA - 2009

-Critical Incident Stress Management Certificate - 2008

-Motivational Interviewing - The Associated for Psychological Therapies - 2007

-Cognitive Behavioral Training Level 1 - 2007

Previous employment:

2020-2021- - Nelson Community Services - Counselling and Family Services Program Manager

2014-2020 - Alberta Health Services - Early Childhood and Perinatal Mental Health  -Family Counsellor

2019-2020 - Adjunct Profession (MSW Field Instruction) Faculty of Social Work-University of Calgary

2016-2020 - Adoptions by Choice - Adoptions and Kinship studies assessment and reports

2012-2014 - Alberta Health Services, Family Care Clinic

2006-2012 - Interior Health Authority - Kootenay Boundary Mental Health and Substance Use-various programs such as; Early Psychosis, Substance Use Prevention, Adult Substance Use Day Treatment, Adult Mental Health

2005-2006 - Calgary Health Region - Mobile Response Team - Mental Health Therapist

2003-2005 - Calgary Health Region - Acute In-patient Mental Health - Foothills Medical Centre and Peter Lougheed Centre

1999-2004 - Hull Child and Family Services, Calgary, AB - Youth Counsellor in various residential settings