Indigenous counselling

Indigenous counselling offers a safe and caring place that honours Indigenous knowledge, experience and healing. The Indigenous Counsellor treats mental health and life issues from Indigenous perspectives to relate to the diverse cultural backgrounds of Indigenous students. Treatment may also address the long-lasting intergenerational effects of historical wrongdoings against Indigenous peoples.

We provide both individual and group counselling and discussions that treat the heart, body, mind and spirit.

Indigenous counselling sessions are flexible in length, you are seen on the spot for emergency appointments and in general, you are able to meet with the Indigenous Counsellor without having to wait too long.

Although the Indigenous Counsellor meets only with Indigenous students, you also have the option of meeting with a non-Indigenous counsellor, or you may choose instead to meet with an Elder in Residence for help and guidance.

Contact information

To book an appointment, please call the Student Wellness Centre at 250-721-8563, extension 1. * Please indicate that you are an Indigenous student.

Roger John, Indigenous Counsellor

Roger John, Indigenous Counsellor

Kalhwa7alap/hello to all of you, my name is Roger John and I am Tsalalhmec (People of the Lakes) of the St’at’imc Nation from the interior of British Columbia. I have been a visitor on Coast Salish Territory (Lekwungen & Musqueam) for over thirty years. I am a Counsellor for Indigenous students at UVic Counselling Services. I am available to see students Mondays to Thursdays.

I hold a master’s degree in Counselling Psychology from UVic and I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors.

I utilize Indigenous principles and practices of healing as the foundation for my therapeutic approach and I utilize relevant and respectful mainstream therapeutic techniques. My therapeutic orientation and methods include prayer, drumming, smudge, person-centered therapy, narrative therapy, Cognitive Behaviourial Therapy and Somatic Transformation. I am well aware of the impacts of colonization on the lives of Indigenous peoples and I believe that Indigenous peoples do not need to be held hostage by the traumas inflicted by colonization. We all experience times when we can feel overwhelmed and asking for help is one of the greatest strengths and abilities a person can possess.

Conflict of Interest Statement: Students whom I taught undergraduate and/or graduate courses should note that due to a potential conflict of interest I am unable to see them as clients. I have worked in multiple roles at the University of Victoria and for reasons of ethical principle I will strive to maintain clear and respectful boundaries in my counselling relationships.

Kukwstumkalap/thanks to all

Meli Louie, Indigenous Counsellor

Marcey LouieHello, my name is Meli Louie and I am Ahousaht of the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation from the west coast of Vancouver Island. I have been a visitor in the L’kwungen, Esquimalt and WSÁNEĆ territories since I was a child.  I am a half-time counsellor for Indigenous students at UVic Counselling Services. During the last academic year, I completed a year-long internship with UVic Counselling as part of the completion requirements for the M.A. in the Indigenous Community Counselling Psychology Program through the UVic Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies

I believe that everyone has gifts that may be realized, discovered and built upon with support. I work from a strength-based, person and community centered approach. I look holistically at the self, striving for balance in all aspects (emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual). I am also aware of the impacts of colonization and intergenerational trauma while recognizing resilience and wellness in our communities and cultures.

I am honoured to have the opportunity to provide counselling support for Indigenous students.


Gerry Ambers, Elder

GerryAmbersHeadshotGerry is Kwakwaka’wakw from the ‘Namgis Nation in Alert Bay, and the mother of five children and six grandchildren. She studied Northwest Coast design with acclaimed Kwakwaka’wakw carver Doug Cranmer, in a studio set up for art training in the basement of the former St. Michael’s Residential School in Alert Bay (which has since been demolished.) During the 1980s, Gerry assisted Doug Cranmer on the post and beam construction of U’mista Cultural Centre and the Folk Life Pavilion at Expo ‘86 in Vancouver.

Today Gerry supports the work of art galleries, Indigenous organizations and post-secondary institutions on Vancouver Island as an Elder, mentor and healing worker. She became the Elder in Residence at Open Space Gallery in 2019. Besides her life-long passion for art, Gerry has also been intrigued by spirituality in cultures around the world. She’s travelled as far away as Hawaii, Japan, England and India for spirituality and healing training. She is also a master level Reiki in the Usui tradition.

While studying international healing practices, Gerry continued to learn from Indigenous healers. She is called upon to provide cedar brushings, space cleansing and other Indigenous culural practices. “As Indigenous people, we’ve always had ways of healing that come from nature,” Gerry said. “All the plants, the plant medicines, the water, the fire. Even the rocks, the oceans and the rivers. We all need to acknowledge those beautiful gifts that have been given to us.” 

Gerry was coordinator of the Kwagiulth Urban Society Suicide Prevention and Intervention Program for 13 years, where she helped develop and deliver programs in Indigenous communities. Later she worked with survivors of residential schools for the Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society. Her favourite part of being an Elder in Residence at UVic is meeting with students and seeing the energy they create. In her role as Elder, and as a former UVic student, Gerry knows how important it is that “students feel that they belong on campus and that it’s a safe place.”