Meet Our Team

Derrick McEachern Owner, Counselling Therapist Five Star Wellbeing

Our Commitment:

If you're looking for help, you aren't alone. We all struggle at times in our lives.  

Wellbeing doesn't mean being happy all the time, and it doesn't mean having an absence of difficulty and suffering. There has never been a way around painful experiences in life. People have always experienced and been exposed to illness, loss, betrayal and trauma. 

Derrick McEachern, Registered Counselling Therapist, Owner.

Ask Yourself This Important Question

Wellbeing can be experienced when you have a set of skills and practices that sustain your mental health, and provide resilience during times of loss and suffering. 

After my divorce I found myself feeling lost, alone and struggling with fatigue and anxiety. To complicate things, I went through an unexpected job change and months of feeling exhausted and depressed. I knew I needed to make some serious changes when I found myself overwhelmed with the simplest everyday household chores. 

Like most people, I thought there was something wrong with me, and as a therapist, I felt even more ashamed because I thought I should be better than this. After all, I was supposed to be helping others. That was when I started researching wellbeing more closely.

My journey started with meditation, and learning to be more compassionate with myself. I acknowledged that I wasn't much different from most people. I wasn't perfect, and I'd experienced some very real, and painful circumstances in my life. I also had to face some poor choices I had made.

Self-compassion not only helped me see myself more clearly, it allowed me to hold myself more accountable. It allowed me to start to acknowledge my strengths without ignoring or disregarding the parts of my life that needed attention. I started asking for help and learning what I needed to be healthy and well.  

I read the research on wellbeing. I was encouraged to find that the evidence largely suggests that our environment, not our genetics, have the greatest impact on mental health.

I began examining all aspects of my life; my diet, my sleep, and my level of physical activity. I scrutinized the people I was choosing to bring into my life. I faced my financial situation, and evaluated the role I wanted to have in the community.

I found a good naturopath, a good therapist, and I found a good doctor who supported my desire to seek health and wellbeing while reserving medication as an important alternative if necessary. 

Eight years later, a growing body of research continues to affirm my belief that there really is a path to greater wellbeing and lasting mental health. Five Star Wellbeing is my way of sharing what I have learned, with you. 

When you come face to face with adversity and suffering, ask yourself this this important question: how can I live this moment in a way that doesn't contribute to greater suffering?

Take good care, 

Derrick McEachern,

Counselling Therapist and Owner, Five Star Wellbeing

Whatever challenges you face, we're here to help you take stock, set goals and make whatever changes you need to be healthy and well.  

Derrick McEachern

Counselling Therapist, Owner

I am a Registered Counselling Therapist (RCT) in Nova Scotia, and a Canadian Certified Counsellor.  

I provide clinical counselling supervision to counsellors in training, and am an Approved Candidacy Supervisor for the Nova Scotia College of Counselling Therapists. In my practice, I specializes in providing therapeutic counselling in the areas of anxiety, depression, trauma, couple and family therapy, grief and loss, and career and life transitions. 

Shortly after high school, I began working in programs and group homes for youth and adults with learning, mood and developmental disabilities. After earning my teaching degree, I taught at two International Schools in Hong Kong for 6 years before studying to become a therapist. After graduating with my Masters in Counselling in 2006, I have worked as a Middle and High School guidance counsellor, at Acadia University and the Nova Scotia Community College for over 15 years. 

I opened Five Star Wellbeing Counselling and Mental Health in 2014 where I provide counselling at my home office in New Minas, and for clients across Canada online. An experienced facilitator, I consults with businesses on ways to improve wellbeing and mental health through through workshops and online webinars

I live in the beautiful Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia with his partner Sheila and our furry forest animal Taz. I am truly grateful for our growing family which includes Elise, Dominique, Jaden and Ella, along with their partners and our grandson Leo.

Derrick McEachern

Petra Cross

Associate Therapist

Therapy is an opportunity to spaciously delve into the complexities of our lives. While you can't change the past, you can navigate your present with presence and self acceptance; and with this clarity, your options become clearer.

Invitation: I invite you to co-create with me, a spacious window to reflect whatever problem brings you to therapy; to explore the tangle of how beliefs, emotion and physical sensations (your feelings) tend to weave barriers in your relationships with yourself, others, your career, and your wellbeing goals.

We will work together to see the patterns clearly, allow your emotions to be what they are, energy in motion, and attend to your nervous system, so your next steps and options for action become clear.  

Using: Together we will use counselling conversations with reflections, questions, hypnosis, mindfulness and homework.

The goal: To create an authentic expression of yourself, to (re)create a template of evolved values and routines to live by, and (re)create a decision making analysis to support the pursuit of wellbeing.

About Petra 

I am a Registered Counselling Therapist (RCT) in Nova Scotia, and a Canadian Certified Counsellor.  My core values of feminism support a belief in trauma recovery, pursuit of fairness, equity and the potential to examine and evolve all elements of our relationships. These beliefs are informed by growing up in a military family, attending 6 schools before graduating high school; having a parent whose first language is not Canadian English. This along with exposure to gender and system violence at critical ages has shaped my life philosophies of agency, accountability, vulnerability, and an intersection of systems. I graduated from Acadia University with a Masters in Education (Counselling) 2006, and continue to learn, share, change, adapt, and evolve as a counselling professional.  I am committed to the decolonization of mind, body, and consumerism. I engage a feminist, anti racist intersection analysis and proudly celebrate diversity within LGBTIA2S+cis communities. 

Petra Cross

Kate Sullivan

Administrative Assistant 

Kate is a recent graduate of the Office Administration Program at Nova Scotia Community College. She spent the younger years of her childhood on Nova Scotia’s South Shore and moved to the Annapolis Valley in 2001. 

Kate is always to you with scheduling, appointment changes, and to support with technical questions related to Jane App, billing and all of your administrative needs. 

Kate is an avid reader, tv and movie watcher. She also enjoys cooking, doing the occasional craft, going on ATV runs, and spending time with her family and close friends.

Kate Sullivan

Team Members & Contributors

I personally want to thank the following individuals for the contributions they have made to Five Star Wellbeing with technical services in the development of our Wellbeing Assessment, our Workplace Mental Health Assessment, and with research to support our workshops, and helping people learn about Five Star Wellbeing.

Allison Hatcher

Allison Hatcher

Research Assistant

Allison completed two co-op work terms doing research, creating content and helping develop and deliver workshops for Five Star Wellbeing. 

Allison is from Ottawa Ontario. She recently graduated with her Bachelors of Science from Acadia University. She is passionate about research, especially in the areas of health and developmental psychology.  She plans to complete her undergraduate thesis before going on to pursue a masters degree.

Allison's brings strong research skills, creative ideas, insight and enthusiasm to her job. She is a wonderful asset to our team.   

When she is not in school she enjoys being outside and active, and plays various sports. She competed in the Ontario Summer Games (2014) and The National Championships (2017) for field hockey. More recently she keeps active practising yoga and enjoying getting outdoors Geocaching.

Erin Sellers

Database Analyst

Erin has played a key role in developing and securing the database, and helping us understand, interpret and visualize the data from our Wellbeing and Mental Health Assessment, and Workplace Mental Health Assessment.

Erin graduated from St. Francis Xavier University with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics in 2018, and more recently graduated from the IT Data Analytics program at Nova Scotia Community College. 

She has always had an interest in numbers, so data analytics was a natural fit. She knew after her first mathematical modeling course that she wanted to spend her life playing with numbers in order to help make decisions supported by data.

Born in NYC, raised in Toronto and Montreal, Erin has always been drawn to the Maritimes and currently lives in Halifax with her partner and their sphynx. Outside of work she enjoys riding her horse and spending time at her family cottage in Prince Edward Island.

Erin Sellers
Luke Melong

Luke Melong

Web Developer

Luke has played a key role in redesigning our website and designing the plugin and interface for our Wellbeing and Mental Health Assessment, and Workplace Mental Health Assessment.

Luke is a recent graduate of the Web Development program at Nova Scotia Community College. 

He has been programming for over 8 years and has interests in many areas of technology. From the newest cell phone trends, to modern website design and even advancements in engineering, he enjoys understanding and creating new technologies that drive change in today's fast paced society. 

Outside of work, Luke plays hockey and basketball. Luke is playing key role in the development of our Quality of Life Assessment. He is an excellent communicator, and brings fresh ideas to and experience to our team.

Luke  hopes to be able to see the world and experience the positive impacts that technology has, as well as learn about business culture in different parts of the world. 

Tia Hampton

Tia Hampton

Marketing Assistant

Tia is a student at Acadia University studying business administration.She grew up in Nova Scotia on a property with her two horses. She loves painting, sketching, and taking advantage of any opportunity to get outdoors.

At school, Tia participates in volleyball intramurals with her friends. She volunteers at Acadia’s Student Union Food cupboard, an organization that provides students access to resources and supplies that are in need. And she is an active member of the Acadia Business Society as the International Student Representative.

Tia is self-motivated and loves to learn; her future goal is to develop her own skills to build a business that makes a community stronger.

Dahila Erick

Dahlia Erick

Research Assistant

Dahlia is a Psychology student from Acadia University, originally from Alberta, but currently moving back and forth from home province to Nova Scotia on a regular basis.

She’s a co-op student with one placement, as a psychologist’s assistant, under her belt, and next year she will be on an exchange to Sweden, making the most out of her university’s hands-on opportunities.

She’s an English minor who loves reading and taking care of her dozens of plant babies.When living in Alberta, Dahlia’s very close to her family and is always there for game night and canoeing down the river. She’s learning to say yes to new adventures, to ensure she has great stories to share down the road.

Madison Stowbridge

Research Assistant

Madison is an Acadia University student majoring in Psychology and minoring in Chemistry. She was born and raised in rural Newfoundland where she enjoys the outdoors, especially water sports and walking. 

At Acadia University, Madison volunteers with Kinderskills, a program that provides preschool aged children with a variety of movement activities in order to promote their development. She also volunteers with the S.M.I.L.E program (Sensory Motor Instructional Leadership Experience), that provides persons with varying disabilities a unique physical activity experience in order to improve their total development as individuals.

Madison's strong research skills, her hard work, commitment have been a great addition to to our team.    

Her goal is to become a Speech-Language Pathologist, where she can continue her passion for helping others.

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