Victim and Trauma Counselling Services

Victim and Trauma Counselling Services
Victim and Trauma Counselling Services

Deninne Berkers

Principal and Practise Owner of Victim and Trauma Counselling Services

Provide counselling and support to individuals, couples, families and groups who are victims of crime, witness a traumatic event or suffer from mental health illness to assist them in recovery.




Deninne has an impressive employment and educational background which has helped her craft her unique service business. Her professional credentials include:

  • Member of the Ontario Association of Consultants, Counsellors, Psychometrists and Psychotherapists (OACCPP)
  • Graduate Certificate in Victimology
  • Registered Practical Nurse in good standing with the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO)
  • Member of the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario (RPNAO)
  • Completed the Professional Practice and Jurisprudence E-Learning Module on the legal, ethical and professional obligations of a Psychotherapist

Deninne, why did you think you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

As a nurse working in a family physician’s office it was my job to know what local resources were available in our community so we could refer our patients. Making a referral to a local counsellor was difficult at times because of the lack of available specialized counsellors, the demographics or the inability for patients to pay. Community agencies had long wait lists and people were not being seen.

I saw a business opportunity to utilize my knowledge and skills as a graduate of Victimology, current skills as a community, urgent care and family physician nurse, former skills as a criminal courtroom clerk and entrepreneur skills as a paralegal and therefore to provide counselling services to individuals, families, groups and the community.

As you think of your business so far, what success are you most proud of?

I am most proud of is being approved by the Victim Quick Response Program as their Trauma Specialist. This program in Durham Region is administered by Victim Services of Durham Region on behalf of the Ministry of the Attorney General. This program allows Victims of Crime to obtain counselling quickly to mitigate long lasting effects of the crime and assist in their recovery.

How did BACD help you to get started?

The BACD helped me in a number of ways. First of all, I met with Ryan and he made me feel comfortable by allowing me to express my business idea and in return he gave me valuable information to consider before opening. Ryan supported me when I had questions and gave me his feedback when I was looking for guidance when searching for leased space. He also reviewed my website and gave me suggestions for improvement, referred me to other professionals and took the time to personally interview me at my business location.

Secondly, the BACD has offered numerous workshops throughout the summer teaching me how and why it is important to create a business plan and model, branding yourself and your business, financial and making your business present on the internet.

What was most impactful in the advice you received from BACD?

Ha ha, that would have to be Ryan’s advice on an office space I was looking at in Whitby. It was beautiful and affordable but based on the establishments in the close vicinity and the type of clientele I would be counselling, let’s just say I passed on the space!

What has worked for you in marketing your business so far?

Well in all honesty I thought it would have been my website but as I learn through this process people do not just look for you on the internet. There are things you do that are necessary to create your internet traffic and to increase it to generate business.

I realized early that it is also all about “word of mouth” and establishing yourself and your business as a leader in the industry. I have reconnected with many local professionals such as the doctors, lawyers, Durham College, Victim Services, CMHA and other related agencies in our community.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own business?

I would say do it slowly, create a carefully thought out plan, research and then seek advice from the BACD. They can give you advice on what may or may not work in this community and they can guide you one step at a time on making your dream a successful reality by learning through their learning workshops. Then network!

What was more difficult than you thought it would be?

Creating my website was challenging. I am not a creative thinker and needed the help of a web designer. He was very helpful and patient but when something needed to be corrected on the website, it created other problems. Also I was unable to get the domain name that I wanted to match with my company name. Maintaining the site can be tedious and I still have to learn to blog so I did not enjoy the process.

Has technology impacted how you conduct business?

Yes. Everything has changed from when I owned my own business years ago. The internet was becoming popular but in the early stages. Now cell phones are used for office phones, everything is email and scanned rather than direct mail, everyone has a website, Facebook and Linked In account and profiles not to mention Blogging. Even the way people purchase your services has changed from cash and cheque to Debit, Credit Card, E-Transfers and you need machines to process the payments. It is endless and I am learning everyday

What do you do to keep abreast of the changes in your business and in your industry?

I have one full time technician and a part time technician.

What do you do to keep abreast of the changes in your business and in your industry?

I am a member of the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario (RPNAO), The Ontario Association for Consultants, Counsellors, Psychotherapists and Psychometrics (OACCPP) and they both offer workshops and conferences that I attend frequently. I am also a member of Psychology Today.

Furthermore, I stay informed about the upcoming local workshops and conferences at many of the community agencies such as Victim Services of Durham Region, DRPS, CMHA, DMHS and John Howard Society.

What is the future for this type of business?

Victim and trauma counselling is a service that is necessary to intervene in crisis intervention and assist in trauma recovery. Everyone at any time in their life could encounter a traumatic event and require crisis intervention. Counselling individuals in sexual assault, domestic violence, human trafficking and abuse are difficult and sensitive subjects to talk about and to hear sometimes and require a special person to gain trust.

Whom do you seek advice from for your business?

Anyone I can who is willing to answer a question. I usually seek advice from other professionals within my network, new professionals I am meeting everyday and of course, the BACD.