About UsNicole Gfeller, MA, RPC, DVATI
Counsellor, Consultant, Teacher
Nicole’s passion for helping adoptees can be traced back to her own challenging experience growing up in an adoptive family in Switzerland in the 1980’s where there was no understanding about the sometimes painful journey of an adopted person. When she became a teenager, she started secretly thinking about her birth mother, and wondering what had made her give up her baby. This was the beginning of a challenging path of self-discovery, mostly because she had nobody to share this with, neither her family members, nor a counsellor or adoptee mentors. It is in her teenage years that she started struggling with undiagnosed mental health issues and symptoms which she desperately tried to repress so as to appear as a “normal” and functioning person.
As an adult, she started working on her mental health with various professionals which helped her slowly heal from her past. Another highlight in her journey was to search, find and finally meet her birth mother in Peru, which required a lot of processing to do.
Today, Nicole is grateful for her experience as adoptee because it helps her deeply understand other adoptees and explain to adoptive parents what their children might be feeling too. She transformed her wound into a gift to support others, and found her true life calling.
In 2003, Nicole started her professional life as a High School teacher after graduating with a Master’s Degree from the University of Fribourg followed by a year-long Teacher Training. She taught English as a Foreign Language to High School students in Switzerland for almost 7 years. There, she gained unparalleled experience in the arts of teaching while also learning how to create connections with adolescents. After a few years, she realized that she wanted to work with young people in a different format, namely as a therapist or mentor rather than a teacher. So, she decided to immigrate to Vancouver, BC, in 2013, and studied relentlessly for many years until she became trained in Art Therapy, Expressive Arts Therapy, Counselling and Life Coaching.
Nicole is setting a new standard for how to help adoptive families. Thanks to her various trainings, her work experience as a trauma child and youth therapist as well as her personal story as an adoptee, she is offering a unique and unparalleled approach to helping adopted children and youth as well as their families. With a combination of theory, practice and personal story, she offers a holistic and well-rounded approach that is unique and one of its kind.
Apart from her counselling and consulting business “Unconditionally Adopted”, Nicole has also been working part-time as a Trauma Therapist with children and adolescents in a non-profit organization in Surrey, BC, for almost three years.
On the weekend, you can find her playing tennis, walking or biking the seawall when the weather permits, or reading a book in a local cafe in Vancouver, BC.
We value professionalism in our approach to counselling, and consulting. We take our work seriously as we are aware of the responsibility we carry in supporting adoptees and adoptive parents.
We value authenticity and genuineness as we wish to empower and inspire both adoptees and adoptive parents by sharing the struggles and successes of our own journey as adoptees.
We value compassion, respect and open-mindedness as core values in order to create a non-judgmental and safe space for all the adoptees and adoptive parents we work with.
- Professional Counsellor Diploma, Rhodes Wellness College, Vancouver (2016)
- Life Coaching Certificate, Rhodes Wellness College, Vancouver, BC (2016)
- Expressive Arts Therapy Certificate, Vancouver Expressive Arts, Vancouver, BC (2015)
- Post-Graduate Art Therapy Diploma, Vancouver Art Therapy Institute, Vancouver, BC (2014)
- Teaching Diploma for Upper-Secondary Education in English As A Foreign Language, University of Bern, Switzerland (2006)
- Master of Arts, University of Fribourg, Switzerland (2004)
Canadian Professional Counsellors Association
Registered Professional Counsellor (#3804)
Canadian Art Therapy Association