• Vaughan Relationship Centre: Counselling to Empower.

Leslie Yaffa, M.S.W., R.S.W., Ed.D.

Leslie’s experiences and aspirations in Social Work have spanned over a twenty-year period where her clinical work has supported individuals, adolescents, couples, and families. She has helped many of her clients in dealing with stress and anxiety, interpersonal difficulty, depression and grief, parenting and behavioural concerns, racism, marriage/couple issues, self-esteem, and post-traumatic stress.

Leslie offers a therapeutic environment that encourages you to explore yourself and your strengths and develop new tools for you to take back and use in your environment pragmatically. She believes counselling is effective when it is a good fit between the therapist and the client. She is a down-to-earth person who is flexible in her therapeutic approach and wants clients to feel understood and comfortable to explore their issues in a safe space.

As a couples therapist, she helps both partners to understand the reasons behind their struggles and issues, facilitates honest discussions, and helps them to identify better means of communication and connection. Leslie’s goal is to equip couples with skills and knowledge so they can become better individuals and better partners for each other.

Leslie also enjoys working with families.  She assists them in understanding current family situations, creates a safe place for family members to be heard, examines their feelings, discusses steps in managing emotions, and assists in rebuilding broken relationships. Leslie helps families come together, learn how to manage underlying tension and develop better communication and understanding.  She aims to help families develop insights into their family dynamics, routines, intergenerational conflicts, co-parenting struggles, and cultural/ generational differences.

Dr. Yaffa is also an educator in the field of social work, where she has spent many years working in the West Indian/ Jamaican community. Her work in clinical/ community organizations has had her collaborative with refugees, immigrants, women, LGBTQ and radicalized youth and adults. She has developed clinical counselling programs, initiated innovative and strategic responses to social programs and plans, prepared needs assessments, and actively participated in community outreach/engagement. She is also experienced in mentoring, extensive clinical supervision (both with students and colleagues), crisis intervention, short-term supportive counselling, groups, and training/teaching in social services.

Leslie firmly believes in giving back and is particularly passionate about community development. She founded the Jahmeyka Project, a not-for-profit Community-Based Service Learning (CSL) Project, where an educational approach is used to integrate community development, capacity building and clinical services with partners in Jamaica. Through knowledge mobilization and partnerships, we are building a CSL that will be open to all helping professions.

Specialized focus on:

  • Couples Counselling/Marital Counselling
  • Discernment Counselling
  • Complex Family Work
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Adolescents
  • Life/work balance
  • Anti-racism/Antisemitism


  • Doctorate in Education (Nova Southeastern University)
  • Master of Social Work (MSW from Laurier University)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Sociology (BA from York University)
  • Human Services Counsellor Diploma (George Brown College)

Leslie uses a variety of effective psychotherapy and counselling techniques, such as:

  • Brief Solution Focused Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Strengths-Based Counselling
  • Narrative Therapy
  • Dialectical Behavioural Therapy
  • Gottman Method

Professional associations & designations:

  • Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW)
  • Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW)
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