Education and Training
Jelena earned her Master of Social Work degree at the University of Toronto, specializing in Mental Health and Health. Jelena completed coursework and has training in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Emotion-Focused Therapy, Narrative Therapy, ASSIST training, Motivational Interviewing and Mindfulness-informed approaches. Jelena’s practice is informed by her experience working with individuals from diverse backgrounds in educational institutions, acute care and outpatient hospital settings, and her extensive volunteer experiences at the Toronto Distress Centre and Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
Jelena practices from a culturally responsive, trauma-informed, anti-oppressive, and client-centered lens. Jelena takes the time to establish and maintain an effective and sustained therapeutic alliance with clients by drawing on her ability to be genuine, authentic, respectful, collaborative, client-focused, and non-judgmental. Jelena creates a safe space for clients to explore their concerns and collaboratively work towards their treatment goals, as she strongly believes that clients are experts in their own lives.
Jelena utilizes an eclectic and integrative approach to therapy where she draws from multiple evidence-based theoretical orientations and techniques, including:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
- Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT)
- Narrative Therapy
- Solution-Focused Therapy
- Motivational Interviewing
Jelena has experience working with clients with various presenting concerns, including:
- Adjustment to chronic health conditions
- Stress Management
- Interpersonal Conflict
- Grief and Bereavement
Jelena is a first-generation Russian-Canadian who immigrated to Canada from Latvia as a teenager. Having to learn a new language, get accustomed to new culture and lifestyle while trying to keep up with academic work and sustain a part-time job was not an easy task and it was complicated by her experience of being bullied at school which subsequently led to depression and isolation. This was the time when Jelena learned how culture, socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, and immigration experiences can affect people’s lives and shape how they see themselves, others and the world.
Jelena’s passion for therapy was driven by her lived experiences where she had to navigate her mental health challenges, life lessons, and losses. These experiences shape and inform her therapeutic work. Jelena is passionate about helping clients understand themselves better through therapy and feels privileged to be able to join clients in their journeys to self-reflection, self-discovery, and healing.
English and Russian
Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW)
Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW)
Peer-Reviewed Academic Publications:
Surikova, J., Payne, A., Miller, KL., Ravaei, A., & Nolan, R.P. (2020). A cultural and gender-based approach to understanding patient adjustment to chronic heart failure. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 18(1). doi:10.1186/s12955-020-01482-1.
Nolan, R., Ross, H., D’Antono, B., White, M., Chan, S., Toma, M., … Surikova, J. (2015) Prototypical trajectories of patient engagement with an e-counselling platform to promote self-care in heart failure. Canadian Journal of Cardiology, 31(10). doi:10.1016/j.cjca.2015.07.571
Nolan, R. P., Feldman, R., Dawes, M., Kaczorowski, J., Lynn, H., Barr, S. I., . . . Surikova, J. (2018). Randomized Controlled Trial of E-Counseling for Hypertension. Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, 11(7). doi:10.1161/circoutcomes.117.004420
Payne, A.Y.M., Surikova, J., Liu, S., Ross, H., Mechetiuc, T., & Nolan, R.P. (2015). Usability testing of an Internet-based e-counseling platform for adults with chronic heart failure. JMIR Human Factors, 2(1), doi:10.2196/humanfactors.4125
Tanaka, R., Banerjee, A., Surikova, J., Tracey, J., Payne, A., Ross, H., & Nolan, R. (2018). A Moderated e-Forum for Adults with Cardiovascular Disease: Usability Study. JMIR Human Factors, 5(2), doi:10.2196/humanfactors.8820