Jane Gavin-Hebert joined MSVU Counselling Services as the Intake Worker in the fall of 2020. Jane, who is a registered social worker with the College of Social Workers in Nova Scotia, holds a Master of Social Work degree from Dalhousie University, a joint Master of Arts degree from Mount Saint Vincent University and Saint Mary’s University, and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Gender and Women’s Studies from Saint Mary’s University.

Jane has experience as a counsellor in a variety of settings including schools, prisons, and community-based organizations, and brings a feminist and trauma-informed approach to counselling. Prior to joining MSVU, she worked at Avalon Sexual Assault Centre for 11 years as a therapist and educator. Jane has enjoyed working with students across campuses, helping to co-create safer communities with a focus on sexualized violence prevention through policy and programming development, training, education, awareness, and advocacy.

Learn more about Jane in the below Q&A:

1. What is your role within MSVU Counselling Services?

My role as an Intake Worker is to offer immediate support to students seeking to explore counselling services. Through a brief video or phone session, we can collaborate on determining next steps moving forward.

2. What does a regular counselling intake appointment look like?

Students can call or email Counselling Services and Sarah (the Administrative Assistant in the Office of Student Experience) will go over consent forms and the initial booking. Then students can connect with me by phone or video, and we will have 30 minutes to talk about individual counselling needs and hopes. From there, students get linked up with a Counsellor for up to 10 sessions per school year that are 50 minutes in length.

3. Describe some of your past experience. How does it relate to your current role?

I have worked in non-profits most of my career, beginning in the late 90s in Toronto working as a harm reduction worker for a needle exchange. I have worked on the frontline for drop-ins, shelters, women’s centres, sex work organizations, outreach services, and most recently at the local sexual assault centre for the past 11 years.

4. What do you most look forward to in your position at MSVU?

I look forward to meaningfully connecting with students and helping to co-create a safer campus community.

5. What do you love to do outside of work?

I love to walk with my dog, Lucy, and chill with my daughter, Kayla. I practice yoga and breath work and dance. I love to bathe in the forest, have bonfires on the beach, and swim in a lake or pond. I’m drawn to rainbows, waterfalls, and the moon, and like to learn about astrology and tarot. Music and community are important to me, and above all, family and friendship keep it real. Oh and I‘m SUPER into plants!

6. What was the last series you binge-watched that you would recommend?

I really enjoy shows that focus on feminist friendship, such as Riverdale, Trinkets and Broad City.

7. If you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Anything vegetarian made by local Masterchef winner extraordinaire and queer feminist icon Jennifer Crawford.

8. What is your favourite book and why?

My current favourite book is “Crocuses Hatch From Snow”, lovingly written by my incredible friend Jaime Burnet. This book is a coming of age story in k’jipuktuk, and it’s such a beautiful narrative about a young queer cis woman becoming politicized about the legacies of colonization, racism, gentrification and resistance.

Lately I’ve been returning to poetry and find myself inspired and struck by the powerful words of Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Marge Piercy, Naomi Shihab Nye, Mary Oliver, and Adrienne Maree Brown.

9. How can this role support folks looking for support related to sexual violence?

This role is meant to support survivors by ensuring anyone who has been subject to sexualized violence will continue to work with me, if they choose to do so. This practice is intended to mitigate further traumatization by reducing the amount of times a person has to tell their story, to ensure disclosure is responded to immediately with care and respect.

10. Why is this work important to you?

This work is deeply important to me, and as a feminist I truly believe the personal is political. I am a single mom to a young woman who is now 21, and I feel we owe it to ourselves, our daughters and each other to break the silence for those suffering in shame and to stand together, against oppression and violence in all its forms.

11. How can students contact you? What would they need to do to make an appointment with you?

Reach out to counselling services by email (counselling@msvu.ca)  or phone (902-457-6567) and Sarah will book the initial intake session.