My name is Garion and I am the Founder of Co & Associates. My journey from birth to where I am today has been filled with joy, challenges and personal growth. I was born somewhere in Seoul, South Korea in the early 80’s and adopted shortly thereafter by my parents.
I grew up, followed the path I thought I was supposed to and wound up in a completely different spot than I had ever envisioned. I became a wife, a mother, a divorcee and a survivor.
Most importantly, I have become a Registered Social Worker and Psychotherapist.
I have worked for over 16 years in the social services sector, assisting clients navigate through a variety of issues: mental/emotional health; separation and divorce; parenting issues; substance use/addictions; trauma; domestic violence; self-efficacy & self-esteem; life transitions and redesigning their lives.
Through my personal and professional experiences, I have developed strong clinical skills with a trauma lens, working from an anti-oppressive and anti-racist practice perspective.
My work is client led and casual while engaging in a mutual dialogue. Working together means we will have raw, genuine and deliberate engagement.
I want to normalize an ongoing dialogue regarding emotional health and to help make emotional health check-ins a regular habit. This reduces the somewhat invisible isolation that presides and creates safety in vulnerability, discovery and self-development.
I have always been passionate about helping others, building community and creating a safe space for connection and engagement.
I look forward to working with you.
Bachelor of Social Work, Ryerson University
Registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers
Member of the Ontario Association of Social Workers
Level One: Fundamentals of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy - Wilfred Laurier University
Meet Melissa Klassen!
Melissa is a mother of two little humans, wife, food lover, life-long learner, and nerd for the environment. She has been interested in education for as long as she can remember and has always felt she could understand and relate to children in a special way, which has led her here to Co & Associates and her new role as a Parenting Coach.
Melissa graduated from Sheridan College with a diploma in Early Childhood Education and went on to complete her post-graduate program in Educational Support Work. She was hired by the Halton District School Board prior to actually graduating and has worked with the school board as an Educational Assistant since 2007. Melissa also has a Bachelor of Sociology Degree.
Melissa continues to be successful in supporting a variety of students and their educational needs through the mainstream educational system, as well as, through self-contained programs.
Melissa has a strong passion for helping children feel understood and connected with their caregivers. She has been able to do this by providing personalized strategies and ongoing empathic and effective support throughout their own journeys.
Melissa has recognized a gap in service and wait times for parents and most importantly, for children impacted by the challenges of long waitlists to access services, the modern-day challenges of children, and the complex needs that they and their families continue to face.
Melissa is a valuable member of our team and an asset as our Parenting Coach.
University of Guelph Bachelor of Arts Sociology
Sheridan College Diploma Early Education
Sheridan College Educational Support Worker Certificate
Geneva Center for Autism - Applied Behaviour Analysis for Educators Certificate.
Think Kids - Collaborative Problem Solving Tier 1
Meet Stephanie Maza!
Stephanie is a Psychotherapist with many years of experience working as a mental health clinician in various clinical settings and practices a range of treatment modalities.
She brings with her extensive education and training in psychology, psychotherapy and counseling, and crisis intervention. Stephanie has a passion for helping her clients through the various impacts life can bring. Through a collaborative client-therapist relationship, Stephanie helps individuals heal emotional wounds, build resiliency and work towards their goals to live a life full of happiness, fulfillment, and purpose.
Connect with Stephanie through her website. Click Here.
Stephanie is a member of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) and the Ontario Association of Mental Health Professionals (OAMHP).
Stephanie has a Bachelor of Social, Applied Human Science with an emphasis in psychology Post Graduate Certificate in Concurrent Disorders Professional training in CBT, DBT, Trauma, Crisis Intervention and Mental Health Assessments. She is currently completing her Masters of Psychology.
Meet Haadiya Saleem!
Haadiya Saleem is a graduate of the University of Toronto. Having double-majored in psychology and human biology, Haadiya understands the critical link between mental and physical health. She completed her undergraduate journey with courses based around developmental and clinical psychology with a passion for working with youth patients. Haadiya is an affiliate member of the Ontario Association of Mental Health Professionals (OAMHP).
Haadiya is compassionate towards all backgrounds and walks of life, having experienced a wide variety of cultures firsthand with her residences in seven countries. This allows her to create an empathetic relationship with her clients to initiate an insightful conversation and fully understand client concerns. Her experience with youth patients in the past has allowed her to relate better to their emotions and provide a warm environment to ensure their comfort. She is presently researching the role culturally adapted therapy can play in assisting with depression, anxiety, and addiction for those of South-Asian origin.
She will be working under the guidance and supervision of Stephanie Maza and Garion Sparks-Austin as a student therapist. Her goal is to work alongside her clients to ensure a safe and comfortable environment and equip them with the right mechanisms to manage, address, and overcome their challenges. The ultimate goal is to initiate the path toward healing.
Outside of work, Haadiya values the time she is able to spend with her family and friends as well as painting.
Haadiya is an affiliate member of the Ontario Association of Mental Health Professionals (OAMHP).
Haadiya is a graduate of the University of Toronto. Having double-majored in psychology and human biology.