About us.

Strategic and personalized support from our team of dedicated experts and social work professionals.

About Key Connections Consulting Inc.

Key Connections Consulting Inc. (KCC) is a family centred, multidisciplinary team of professionals including Behaviour Consultants, Counsellors, Speech-Language Pathologists, and Occupational Therapists.

What we know matters, but who we are matters more.

Brené Brown

Our Mission 

We are dedicated to improving the lives of children, youth, and adults with challenges by supporting them to reach their full potential.

Conference Room at Key Connections Consulting

Our Team

Brandie Andrews, MSW, RCSW, Director | Behaviour Consultant/Counsellor

Brandie Andrews, MSW, RCSW is a Registered Clinical Social Worker who has a clinical specialization in children and families and she is qualified to provide provisional diagnosis’. Brandie loves her role of Clinical Counsellor, Supervisor and also Behaviour Consultant. She places strong emphasis on the therapeutic relationship, honoring safety and trust as integral in the healing journey. Brandie is trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) which is an evidence-based intervention used to treat trauma and has shown benefit to improving symptoms related to trauma, anxiety, depression, and stress.

Brandie has been working in the human services field for over 21 years, working directly with children, youth and adults in educational, mental health and rehabilitative settings. She has experience working with children, adults and families requiring support in the following areas: trauma, depression, anxiety, positive parenting, co-parenting, stress management and self-regulation. Brandie practices a holistic approach and values the importance in understanding history and the environment outside the presenting issue in order to provide the best and most suitable treatment plan possible.

Brandie holds much enthusiasm and has a keen interest in working with individuals with complex needs including: Severe Behavioural Disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, ADHD, FASD and Mental Illness. Brandie works from strengths-based perspective and strives to empower and build hope and capacity in the individuals and team that she serves. Brandie was also named to Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce’s ‘Top 40 Under 40’.

Sonja Miller, MA, R.SLP, CCC-SLP, Director | Speech-Language Pathologist

Sonja Miller is a Speech-Language Pathologist with experience working with children, youth, and adults with a variety of disabilities. Sonja has experience working within a multidisciplinary team and has facilitated child and parent programs. In addition, she has provided training sessions and presentations for conferences, in-home support workers, educational teams, and the community.

Sonja has extensive experience in the area of Autism Spectrum Disorder and severe developmental disabilities. She enjoys working with families and team members to create the best possible outcomes. Sonja was also named to Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce’s Top 40 Under 40′.

Kent Hollingsworth, MA, CSFT, Associate Partner | Behaviour Consultant/Counselor

Kent Hollingsworth is a Certified Solution Focused Therapist and an Approved Clinical Supervisor with over 25 years of counseling, mediation and consulting experience with children, adults, couples and families, agencies, and school divisions. A 3-time presenter at the SFBTA North American Solution Focused Therapy Conference, his main areas of focus include family and couple counseling, grief, trauma, and loss, and supporting individuals of all ages with neurodevelopment challenges, including FASD, ASD, ODD, and ADD.

Trained in EMDR and Somatic Experiencing, he also incorporates the empowering Response-Based Therapeutic Approach in counselling with those who have experienced violence, domestic abuse and trauma. A passionate and popular workshop presenter in the areas of Supporting Challenging Behaviours, Sol Foc Counselling and Grief and Loss, Kent and his wife are the parents of two wonderful children with developmental disabilities who have Fragile X. He is honoured to provide Lethbridge and the surrounding community with counselling and consulting services as a part of Key Connections’ unique collaborative, multidisciplinary team approach.

Beth Puszkar, BSW, MSW | Counsellor/Behaviour Consultant

Beth is a registered social worker, with a diverse skill set that allows her to support individuals and families in various aspects of their lives. Her background as both a nurse and a social worker provides her with a unique perspective on the complex needs people face.

Beth works with children, youth, adults and families, focusing on their unique needs and challenges, covering areas such as anxiety, stress, transitions, relationship/family challenges, and trauma. She works in partnership with her clients, with the intention of creating a safe, compassionate and empathetic alliance. Beth’s training in polyvagal theory, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy and Synergetic Play therapy contribute to her commitment to using evidence-based practice in her work, recognizing the role of the nervous system and the importance of the mind-body connection.

Beth has taken specific training to support the collaborative divorce process and is a designated family professional/divorce coach. With knowledge of interpersonal family relations, child development and conflict resolution, she works along side families to support them through this transition. Often this process involves exploring communication skills, emotional regulation strategies and developing a parenting plan, all while holding space for this challenging process.

In her role as a behavioral consultant, Beth extends her support to families dealing with parenting challenges. By helping them find balance, build skills, and manage stress, she aims to empower families to navigate the complexities of raising children. This aligns with her overall goal of promoting healthy growth and development.

Beth is passionate about assisting individuals and families on their life journeys. Her commitment to client-centered care and recognizing the value of each person’s unique experience underscores her dedication to fostering personal growth and resilience in those she works with.

Tanner Lee, DipSW, BSW, RSW Behaviour Consultant/Counsellor/ICC Coach

Tanner Lee is a registered Social Worker who completed a Bachelor of Social Work degree at the University of Calgary and a Social Work Diploma at Red Deer College. Tanner’s 20 years of human services experience includes positions in outreach, case management, leadership, program development, and various counselling roles. Tanner’s professional experience encompasses a variety of multidisciplinary settings including mental health and addiction, disability services, employment counselling, and programs supporting indigenous youth. In addition, Tanner has enjoyed working with children and youth for over 25 years as a hockey coach and instructor throughout Canada and the United States.

Tanner strives to create unique connections with the individuals and families he supports. He is passionate about increasing capacity for growth, fostering resilience, and empowering families to maximize their skills, implement new strategies, and advocate for the resources needed to navigate and overcome challenges while discovering their full potential.

In his spare time, Tanner enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, coaching hockey and baseball, and attending live music, stand-up comedy, and sporting events. Tanner is very grateful to be a part of the KCC team, and is eager to work alongside individuals and families in Lethbridge and southern Alberta.

Emily Bennett, MSW, RCSW | Behaviour Consultant / Counsellor

Emily Bennett is a registered clinical social worker with 14 years of experience in a variety of areas including play therapy, group therapy, and medical social work. She is passionate about helping people live up to their potential and beyond their expectations. Coming from a strengths-based and client-led perspective, Emily believes that individuals and families are the experts of their own situations.

Having been trained in EMDR and Synergetic Play Therapy™ Emily is skilled and honoured to help individuals of all ages move towards healing. Combined with her skills in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy and mindfulness allow Emily to provide guidance to those who have encountered trauma, stress, anxiety, low self-esteem, depression or are in need of more coping and adjustment skills. Having lived in Lethbridge for over 15 years she is personally invested and involved in the community. Emily is excited to be part of a multidisciplinary team that can address multiple needs by providing holistic assessments and interventions.

Jackie Lea, CCYC, ACTA | Behaviour Consultant |Trainer

Jackie has worked in the human services industry in Southern Alberta for over 25 years. Her experience has ranged from front-line service delivery, training, negotiating contracts, licensing and accreditation, mediation/facilitation, school, agency, and home-based clinical behavioral consultation, program development, and management. Jackie has worked collaboratively with School Districts, Children’s Services, Disability Services, Health Services, post-secondary institutions, numerous service providers, and a network of local and provincial bodies to provide a continuum of care in our region.

Jackie believes strongly in working as a team and is passionate about serving individuals, families and caregivers to ensure the best outcomes and most meaningful quality of life. As a behaviour clinician, Jackie has found a niche in incorporating collaborative, think outside the box approaches to consulting to very complex and high needs cases. One of Jackie’s dedicated platforms has been her role as a SIVA (Supporting Individuals through Valued Attachments) Trainer for over 13 years, expanding that role to the only Professional Trainer in Alberta since 2015. Jackie is fully certified as both a Child and Youth Care Counsellor and the Federation of Associations for Counselling Therapists in Alberta.

Joanne Steed-Takasaki, M. Psychology and Counselling, M. Ed., CCC, CCTP, EMDR | Behaviour Consultant / Counsellor

Are you tired of just existing and ready to start living? Change is possible.

Joanne is a Canadian Certified Counsellor with master’s degrees in both psychology and counselling, and education. Her areas of passion, research and expertise are: Trauma. Anxiety, Depression, Addiction, Grief and Loss

Joanne’s practise is grounded in Emotion Focused Therapy and selectively incorporates several other systems, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy and Internal Family Systems Therapy. She is trained in EMDR, and she is a certified personal fitness trainer. Joanne co-authored two books – Awakening the Workplace, and Sink or Swim: Stress Management Strategies to Ensure Your Survival. She runs both group and individual counselling sessions. She has presented internationally, working with department heads in corporations such as the Mirage Hotel and Casino, and the Monte Carlo Hotel in Las Vegas.

Joanne is passionate about health and wellness. As a two-time cancer survivor, she firmly believes that wellness is more than just an absence of illness, and that a healthy lifestyle involves more than taking care of our physical needs, but our emotional needs as well.

Joanne has a deep respect and compassion for all individuals, and considers it an honor to walk on the difficult and rewarding journey of healing with her clients. Her personal philosophy is based on being a therapist who is willing to accept individuals where they are at, and who they are, without bias or judgment in helping them to attain their true potential. She believes that in the quiet moments of contemplation the answers will come, with the help of a therapist who is guided by a strong theoretical background, continued learning from evidence-based studies and an open heart and mind to the discovery of the human condition.

Joanne’s absolute favorite things to do are playing with her grandbabies, spending time with her family, working out, and gaining new knowledge.

Favorite Quote: Life is short.  Live your dream, and wear your passion. 

–The Holstee Manifesto

Karey Rieder, CYCCA Level ll, ACTA | Groups/Aide Coordinator

Karey Rieder has worked with children, adults and families for the last 29 years in the human service industry. Karey’s experience has ranged from front-line service delivery, school supports, and group facilitation. She also has experience as a Family and Connection Facilitator and is a certified WRAP facilitator ( High-Fidelity Wrap Around Service Model). She also provided outreach services, management roles, team building, and supporting and counselling adults and youth experiencing mental illness diagnoses and addiction. She also has enjoyed working collaboratively with Children’s Services, Health Services, and Disability Services. Karey’s focus over the last 12 years has been working in the Mental Health and Addiction field focusing on individuals with dual diagnosis and drug induced psychosis, NCR adult reintegration, and helped to create a pilot program that focused on reintegrating long term mental health patients back into community to improve their quality of life.

Karey thrives working in a multi-disciplinary team and uses a strength based and trauma informed lens. Karey is a strong advocate for harm reduction and equality. She has recently moved back to Lethbridge and is looking forward to serving her community focusing on a holistic approach to care. Karey is an avid gardener, dog lover and actively involved in volunteering for her children’s sports activities.

Kristen Harrold, M.S., R.SLP, CCC-SLP | Speech Language Pathologist

Kristen Harrold is a Speech Language Pathologist who is a certified member of the American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) and the Speech-Language and Audiology Canada (SAC). She has experience working with a variety of populations and disorders. She received her Master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology from Northeastern State University in Oklahoma in 2012.

She moved to Dallas, Texas where she had the opportunity to work with children in the school setting with a wide range of communication disorders. She is passionate about working with individuals with ASD and other communication disorders to support their communication goals, as well as with their families to facilitate the best possible outcomes. She understands the power of literacy and the SLP’s crucial role of addressing speech/language impairments to promote literacy skills. Kristen is happy to be back in Canada and she is excited to be a part of the KCC team.

Lynn Wytrykusz, ECE Diploma, B.Comm | ICC Coach/Behaviour Consultant

Lynn Wytrykusz has been a passionate educator in the field of Early Education. She brings over a a decade of experience working with children in their early years, spending 9 of those years as an Early Learning Educator for a local school division. Being a strong supporter of inclusive education, Lynn has seen the beauty of diversity first hand and all that it can bring to enhance learning. Her experience working with children with complex needs has helped her to build a strong toolkit of skills to help best support children at varying developmental levels. Lynn is an advocate for the power of play- based learning and sees all children as mighty learners. Through her career Lynn has worked alongside a multi-disciplinary team and promotes collaboration for a best practice approach.

Over the years Lynn has had the opportunity to be a part of the U of L’s Building Brains Together project, and has a keen interest in the area of helping children build executive functioning skills in a play-based way. As a co-presenter with the project she has had multiple opportunities to share her knowledge on how to take an every day, play- based, and also very intentional approach to this brain game learning, with groups of educators, school teams, caregivers and parents. In 2020 she was awarded a Prime Minister’s Award of Excellence in Early Childhood Education, being named a Regional Certificate of Achievement Winner.

With a philosophy of helping all children to achieve their best, Lynn is excited to join the KCC team as a Behavior Consultant and Inclusive Child Care Coach, giving her an opportunity to support families and children in a whole new way.

Larissa Layton, R.SLP, S-LP(C), Speech-language Pathologist

Larissa graduated from the University of Alberta with her Master’s in Speech-language pathology in 2018. She completed a practicum in Lethbridge where she fell in love with Southern Alberta and her future husband! They now reside in the Crowsnest Pass with their three kids. She has many years of experience working with preschool aged kids. She particularly enjoys working alongside parents/caregivers of young children, empowering them to be the main therapist for their child. She firmly believes that “play is the work of children” and that a child can reach their fullest potential when given the time, space, and motivation to do so. 

Mariko Boulet, MScOT | Occupational Therapist

Mariko Boulet is a registered Occupational Therapist who has experience working with individuals with diverse occupational needs. She completed her Masters of Occupational Therapy at the University of Alberta and is excited to be back home working and giving back to the Lethbridge and area community where she grew up. Her past experiences involve collaborating with interdisciplinary teams to support individuals in different settings such as pediatric outpatient clinics, home care, supportive living, inpatient psychiatry, and return to work.

In addition, she has had the opportunity to work with various demographics from children to geriatrics. She utilizes a family-centered care approach to provide children the opportunity to use their strengths and interests to foster independence and continue to strive toward a meaningful quality of life. Mariko has a passion for adventuring to new places which gave her the opportunity to utilize her Occupational Therapy skills and knowledge during a pediatric clinical placement in Indonesia. In her spare time, Mariko also enjoys reading, spending time with family and friends, trying new foods, coaching ringette, and being outside.

Melissa Habetler, BA., MC., CCC., Registered Provisional Psychologist

I believe that all humans should experience feeling

understood, connected with, cared for, valued and respected for who they are at their core and so these are the values that I bring forth in my work with individuals, regardless of what their struggles may be. It is important to me as a therapist to reach a level of genuine understanding of who a person is – their likes, dislikes, needs, and the healing that they wish to address. Part of getting to this place with the people that I work with, involves listening in a non-judgemental way, and letting my client tell me who they are, since they know themselves the best. I enjoy incorporating games and artwork in my work with young individuals, if they are interested in doing the same.

I have experience in working with individuals who have experienced and are experiencing anxiety, trauma, and attachment ruptures. I work with individuals on learning how to understand their nervous system signals and the feelings in their body that are connected with their nervous system signals, and how to calm their nervous system when they feel they need to. I also do work with individuals on learning what they need in order to feel valued, loved, and cared for and how to communicate that with others through appropriate communication and boundary setting. So much of life is related to human connection and relationships, and it is my honor to be able to witness others’ stories about their connections and relationships and to work alongside them in their recovery from ruptures as they move forward to create meaningful connections in their healthiest way. I look forward to meeting you! 

Mark Scheffelmair, BSW, RSW | Behaviour Consultant/ICC Coordinator

Mark Scheffelmair is a registered social worker who completed his Bachelor of Social Work through the University of Calgary and his Child and Youth Care Counselling diploma at Medicine Hat College. Mark has worked in a variety of settings offering support, strategies, and advocacy to individuals that have disabilities, mental health concerns, and substance use issues. …He works from a strength-based and person-centered approach to assist individuals in creating specialized plans ensuring open communication and collaborative goal setting is a focus throughout the process.

Christie Ftichar, M.Ed., R. Psych | Psychologist

Christie Ftichar, a former member of our team, is pleased to continue her connection to KCC by providing a number of psychological assessments to individuals in the Lethbridge area that we serve.

In addition to her role at Key Connections Consulting, Christie has been working as a Registered Psychologist in a local school division since 2015. Prior to that she worked as a behavior consultant with KCC working with individuals with developmental disabilities and severe behaviour challenges. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology as well as her Masters of Education in Counselling Psychology at the University of Lethbridge. Christie has a strong understanding of various disabilities such as Autism and FASD, as well as the challenges that come with diagnoses such as ADHD and Anxiety. She specializes in working with individuals with challenging behaviours as well as psycho-educational assessment and inclusive programming.

In her spare time, Christie enjoys spending time with her family, dancing with Ammena Dance Studio, golf, yoga and reading.

Sophia graduated from the University of Lethbridge with a Bachelor’s degree in Addictions Counselling. During her undergrad, Sophia worked with vulnerable populations at Alpha House while it was located at the Lethbridge Shelter and

Stabilization Center. Since working at the shelter, Sophia found that the behaviours she saw in adults who suffer from mental health concerns and substance abuse disorder often began in adolescence and childhood. Sophia began working at Hull Services within the safe direction’s continuum working primarily with teenagers with substance abuse disorder. Sophia then began working with pre-adolescence with behavioural concerns and mental health conditions and supporting the kids and their families through healing and building resilience. At Hulls Services, Sophia was trained in the Neurosequential Model of Therapy (NMT) and is continuing to grow her therapeutic repertoire.

Tracy Hawkins, Rehabilitation Practitioner/Program Coordinator

Tracy Hawkins is a Rehabilitation Practitioner with experience working in school settings, senior respite care facilities, long-term care facilities and working with children with disabilities. She also has over 20 years of combined customer service experience in the transportation, dental and swimming professions. Tracy values a team atmosphere, thrives on challenge, possesses integrity and demonstrates initiative and professionalism. In her spare time, Tracy enjoys running, golfing, reading, travelling and spending time with her family.