Book an appointment

To book an appointment, click on the “Book Your Appointment Online” button in one of the Counsellor, Student Life and Outreach or Healthy Students Liaison bios below or, for the next available counselling appointment, click on the link below and select any counsellor.

*Please note that our Student Life and Outreach and Healthy Students Liaisons are not able to offer counselling services. If you need to see a counsellor, please select one of the counsellors indicated below.

*If this is an emergency, or you need to speak to someone outside of regular office hours, please call 911, Here2Talk: 1-877-857-3397 (24/7 free student counselling service) or the Vancouver Crisis Line (24/7) 1-888-494-3888.

You can also contact Student Services to make an appointment:

  • Campbell River/Mixalakwila: 250-923-9700
  • Comox Valley: 250-334-5000
  • Port Alberni: 250-724-8711

Appointments for video, telephone and in person counselling can be made at the Comox Valley, Campbell River, Mixalakwila and Port Alberni campuses and for those taking in-community programming.

Meet the Counsellors

Indigenous Counsellor - Campbell River/ Comox Valley

Sarah Lawrence

Hello! My name is Sarah! I am a proud Cowichan Tribes woman born and raised in the Cowichan Valley, grateful to be raising my family and working on the Unceded Traditional Territory of the K’ómoks First Nation, the traditional keepers of this land.

Feeling heard, truly feeling heard is what makes us feel seen and empowers us to be vulnerable. When we feel seen, it enables us to live authentically to who we are as individuals. Understanding occurs when we sit with a non-anxious presence who is truly listening to our deepest selves. My practice stems from a place of authenticity; I like to connect with students in an honest and relational way.

Utilizing a two-eyed seeing framework that is formed from Indigenous knowledge and ways of being and various Western modalities. With a trauma-informed, person-centred lens, I aim to meet you where you are at and work alongside you to reach your goals and make sure you feel heard.

My happy places are outside on or by the water, with my three young children, indulging in reality TV and buying plants.

Tel: 250-925-9708

Campbell River/Comox Valley

Amy Rowes

Hi, my name is Amy. I was raised in Alberta and came to Vancouver Island in 1997 to attend university in Victoria.

I have both an education degree and a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology. I completed a one-year Compassionate Inquiry (trauma theory) training program with Dr. Gabor Mate, which heavily informs my therapeutic practice. I work from a “brain-body” perspective, helping students understand how their nervous system shapes the way they experience their lives. I’m certified as a clinical counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors.

I have an interest in many things: neurodivergence, identity development, 2SLGBTQ+, anxiety, emotional regulation, relationships, communication and trauma. I believe each person has the capacity to heal themselves and that change is possible with awareness and connection to our authentic selves. When I’m not working, you would probably find me at the gym, running in the forest or reading young adult fiction. I look forward to meeting you.

Tel: 250-334-5000 Ext. 4277

Campbell River

Catherine O’Toole

Hello, my name is Catherine. I am a registered clinical counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors and I have been supporting students at NIC since 2019. I hold a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology and I am also a NIC alumna. I started my education journey at NIC, completing an Associate of Arts degree at the Comox Valley campus in 2012. I value a person-centered, collaborative and solution-focused approach to counselling, as well as a strong emphasis on self-care and compassion. I believe in supporting students to recognize and grow their strengths, as well as tailoring counselling to each student’s individual needs and goals. Your journey at NIC will challenge you, but you are not alone. I am here to support you in finding and paving your path forward.

Tel: 250-923-9700
Email: catherine.o'

Comox Valley

Megan Cunningham

My name is Megan Cunningham (she/her). I grew up in the Comox Valley and spent summers commercial fishing out of Prince Rupert. My career as a Registered Nurse has found me working for the past 17 years in Mental Health and Substance Use. Through nursing, I have been privileged to learn much about the human spirit by walking alongside those who are often at the most vulnerable times in their lives.

Due to Dr. Gabor Mate’s Compassionate Inquiry approach's profound impact on my life, I completed a mentorship, internship, and certification. I am presently completing my Master of Counselling practicum here at NIC.

My practice is informed by personal and professional experiences that have helped me understand and appreciate the gifts and challenges of being neurodivergent in a neurotypical world. I am particularly interested in working with ADHD, trauma, gender diversity, anxiety, and addiction.

I love hiking, biking, skiing, going to the gym, and spending time with family and friends in my free time. 

Tel: 250-334-5000 Ext. 4366

Janet Beggs

Hi, I’m Janet. I was born in England, moved as a child to Australia, and made Courtenay home in 2006. I like to explore—in the mountains, within myself, and in connecting with people. This exploration led me to study a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology (SFU). I am a certified clinical counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors.

My aim is to assist students to acknowledge whatever is happening, investigate feelings and thinking and what the body knows, recognize capabilities, and gently find ways forward. If you are unhappy or struggling with something, are facing a tough decision or a life transition, want to understand yourself better, or to simply talk through what’s going on in your life, please consider making a time to meet.

My other main passions are music and animals.

Tel: 250-334-5000 Ext. 4048

Port Alberni

Samantha Banton-Smith

Hi, I am Sam. I have a Master of Arts in Counselling, as well as certification in Coaching and Harmony Integration practices. I am a certified clinical counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC). I have worked at NIC since 2005 as a counsellor, academic success coach and an instructor in the Human Services department.

I enjoy supporting students towards their academic and life goals through a collaborative and strength-based approach. Together we break down obstacles and explore solutions to support your journey at NIC.

Tel: 250-724-8734

Student Life and Outreach Liaison

Rachel Birch

Rachel Birch

Hello, my name is Rachel Birch. I am the Student Life and Outreach Liaison and I manage the Early Assist program. At Early Assist, we know that life as a student in post-secondary education can be challenging. In my role, I listen to your story and connect you to the supports and resources that can help you in your learning journey. If you or someone you know is struggling and you are not sure what your options are, please send me an email at


**Please note that our Student Life and Outreach Liaison is not able to offer counselling services. If you need to see a counsellor, please select one of the counsellors indicated above.

Healthy Students Liaison

Sierra Gale

Sierra Gale

Hello! I'm Sierra, the Healthy Students Liaison at North Island College. I'm here to provide dedicated support to students in the NIC Trades, Apprenticeship, and Technical programs. My main goal in this role is to promote mental health and wellness within the trades community by connecting you to the right resources and developing tools that align with the fast-paced nature of school, work, and life. I approach this work with a strong commitment to fostering respect, diversity, inclusion, and equity within the trades community.


**Please note that our Healthy Students Liaison is not able to offer counselling services. If you need to see a counsellor, please select one of the counsellors indicated above.