Geneviève Malena

ShiftGrit Therapist

Geneviève Malena - Registered Social Worker/ Therapist

Like all Shift Clinicians, Geneviève is trained in the ShiftGrit protocol- a structured therapy program that uses counter-conditioning and evidence-based techniques to establish new perspectives. This creates better, automatic responses for our clients- things like less reactivity, stronger boundaries, healthy assertiveness, smoother communication, improved mood-optimized performance... and many more...

What is your name?

Geneviève Malena

What do you do at Shift?

I offer individual therapy sessions for adults and adolescents, as well as couples. I seek to optimize and enhance clients' lives by bolstering their recognition of their capabilities and unique perspectives. I am endeavoured in providing a safe and validating space in which to challenge protective factors that once were needed and helpful, and now may be in the way of individuals living their best lives.

What are your academic credentials?

I am a registered Social Worker with a Master's degree from Wilfrid Laurier University. I have been in the field of social work for over 20 years and as a perpetual learner, I believe that there is no room for stagnation as far as continuing to scaffold my educational endeavours.

Why did you decide to become a therapist?

I believe in the inherent goodness in all of us. I have a gift of being able to parse out that goodness in most of my encounters with fellow humans and believe in people's ability to see themselves as protective rather than defective. My fascination with the mind and the connection to body and spirit and all this encompasses and drives my passion for helping others challenge shame and blame and understand that it is not what is wrong with us, it is what happened to us (or what did not happen when it should have!). I consider myself a wounded healer and feel honoured to have been given the gift to be a doula for nature, and our inherent ability to heal.

What do you bring to your therapy sessions, and what are some goals?

My wish for the clients that gift me with the honor to walk alongside them in their journey is to enhance their lives in a way that they are able to show up in the world with congruency and being seen in a way that feels safe in vulnerability. I am so grateful when other's have the courage and the bravery to allow another human see into the intricacies and webs of pain and protective factors that are woven together in our psyche. I bring a safe, regulated, light-hearted, authentic energy to my sessions, and with my extensive use of expletives, my boisterous laugh, and my genuine belief in humans and their capabilities, I hope to create a soothing, encouraging and caring environment.

Who do you work with?

I have had experience working with most demographics and populations throughout my career, from adults and adolescents (16 and up)

Why are you passionate about what you do?

I am fascinated by the human experience! I often cannot contain my excitement and enthusiasm for the revelations and ah-ha moments that come out in interaction with other humans. The wiring of the brain and all that transpires from the science behind this leaves me with a continued thirst to know more, to learn more, and to put more pieces together. The ding of the lightbulb in the face of epiphany whether it is my own or others is what drives me to pursue my passion of aiding in elevating other people into the best version of themselves. My belief system is firmly rooted in the desire to spread the sentiment that we are all deserving of living an optimized life, and that we are all capable of bravery and courage and of getting out of our own way.

What do you do in your spare time?

I am an avid bird watcher, and have come to believe that most people in their forties will find themselves birdwatching unexpectedly! Seems to come with the territory in moving into the second half of life haha. I am ensconced in training my recently rescued mama dog, which is a work in progress however she is teaching me lessons everyday and I am grateful for the challenges she presents so I can take a deeper look into where the learning lies. I enjoy walking in nature (more birds!) and I live outside as much as possible, especially when the sun is out. I love to laugh and playing with words brings me a lot of joy. I ride horses when I can, and have been riding and training and coaching for the better part of 30 years. I have 2 teenagers and while they are supposed to think I know nothing at this age we still manage to have a pretty good time!

What is a skill that you are currently working on?

I am very interested in Internal Family Systems work, or "parts" work, and in my own healing journey this has played a significant role. In my future scholastic adventures I will be looking to expand my knowledge in this area. I am also working on genuinely processing my feelings and emotions in order to widen my own window of tolerance in challenging areas, so that I can better support clients in doing the same.

What motivates or inspires you?

My motivation comes from the deep genuine connections I have built with past clients and the resurgence of joy and levity that I have witnessed come back into their lives. My inspiration comes from those that I have worked with, or been in relationship with, transforming from believing they are broken, busted and beyond repair, into glorious versions of themselves for all the world to see. Walking alongside others while they are lifting the veil of damaging impact and unleashing the authenticity, the courage, the wholeheartedness of themselves is a magnificent journey to witness.

What are your additional areas of clinical interest?

Internal Family Systems, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Somatic Therapy, Mindfulness and Neuro-Psychology.

What additional specialty trainings, courses, certifications or education do you have?

I have training in specific modalities that include Narrative Therapy, CBT and DBT, as well as suicide prevention and non-violent crisis intervention.

Do you have any lived or personal experiences that can be utilized in therapy with you?

I have been on my own healing journey for the last 30+ years, and as I move into my 50's I wish to continue to this journey towards living an optimal life, filled with passion and promise. My journey as a single mother has taught me a tremendous amount, both around my family of origin and with my own children. I have continually challenged myself to move though complacency, to laugh as much as possible and to find joy in everything I do as much as I can. One of my favorite sayings is "even darkness is a gift". There is opportunity for growth in everything we do.

What's one podcast that you like and why?

Anything by Brene Brown or Gabor Mate! I am so inspired by their perspective and views around shame, courage and community.

What's one book that you like and why?

Maybe you should talk to someone by Lori Gottlieb is an in depth and humorous look at a therapist endeavouring in her own therapy. Excellent read around challenging limiting beliefs and self-fulfilling prophecy.

What's one quote that you like and why?

Well I have too many quotes to count. One that I love dearly is "Grief is just love with nowhere to go" ~ Jamie Anderson

Additional Workshops & Training

  • Recipient of the Above and Beyond Award (The Family Centre 2015)
  • Brain Story Certification- Alberta Wellness Initiative
  • Sustaining High Performance and Resilience Through Mindful Leadership- Maria Gonzales
  • ALIGN Conference (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022)
  • Diverse Voices (2018, 2019)
  • Pre-Migration; Culture and Context – Karin Linschoten
  • Omanitew (2018)
  • Intergenerational Trauma – Kerri Moore
  • Social Inclusion and Compassion – Gabor Mate
  • Working with Children Youth and Families with Complex Needs – Michael Unger
  • Vicarious Traumatization and Staff Self-Care- Lori Beyer
  • Brain Based Parenting – Jonathan Baylin
  • Signs of Safety – Heidi Hebditch
  • The Impact of Childhood Experiences on Adult Health and Well Being – Vincent Felitti
  • Practice Based Evidence – Scott Miller
  • Brain Development and the Impact of Trauma on Capacity to Learn in Children- Edmonton Public School Board
  • Trauma Informed Practice- Daniel Hughes/Jonathan Baylin
  • Trauma and the Brain- Dr. Edna Wakene
  • Historic Trauma and Aboriginal Client Services- Patti Laboucane- Benson
  • Practise in Ceremony- Bent Arrow
  • Feedback Informed Treatment – Scott Miller

Available for:

Anxiety | Trauma and PTSD | Relationship Issues | Coping Skills | Depression | Exposure Therapy | Anger Management | Codependency | Coping Skills | Masculinity | Family Conflict | Self-esteem | Life Transitions | Parents that have children with Developmental Disabilities | Self Esteem | Stress | and much more...


Insurance Coverage
Covered by most benefits
Individual Sessions $220


Contact Information

10445 124 St, Edmonton, AB T5N 1R7, Canada
Zip/Post Code
T5N 1R7

Author Info


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