A World Without Sorrow


Empowering underserved communities through accessible counselling

Moving Forward Family Services (MFFS) is a mentorship agency – providing counselling and social work practice opportunities to interns and new graduates beginning private practice. We receive funding for clinical supervision (supervisors who support interns and new graduates) and these supervisors in turn oversees an agency that has over 125 part-time counsellors, social workers and interns on post-secondary practicums, providing support to some of our most vulnerable communities. Community support also comes by way of donated space.

This unique model allows the agency to offer timely, affordable (including free for those with no income) counselling and support without being bound by restrictions based on gender, age, geography or presenting issues. It also allows MFFS to complement existing services (as opposed to competing with them for the same pools of traditional funding) thus reducing pressures on these services.  MFFS is committed to building and contributing to healthy, healing communities.

Public services tend to be triage and short-term – the medical model of care. They also tend to be restrictive in who they serve (strict eligibility) and marked by waits. Private services tend to be more open and have minimal waits, but tend to be financially out of reach for many. MFFS attempts to bridge the gap between the two models – offering low cost services that are flexible and have the potential for long-term healing. Through community-based, grassroots efforts we envision a world without sorrow.

Why do we ask for fees?

While we receive numerous referrals from Health Authority sites, MCFD, Probation and Schools (who are responsible for publicly funded mental health and addiction counselling/psycho-education services), we are not funded by any of these groups – thus rely on fees to help cover our operating costs. There is benefit in not being funded by such sources – in that we do not have to limit who we serve based on age, identified gender, presenting issue, geography (bureaucracy!) yet in order to remain sustainable, we need to ask for fees … therefore if you are looking for free services please contact those government service providers.

What option is best?

  • You are low income, do not have insurance and may need longer-term therapy: consider services with a private, registered therapist ($50/$65). Currently these counsellors are only offering services online or by telephone. NOTE these private therapists reserve only a few spots in their practice for MFFS referrals – and they want to make sure those getting the low fee services truly need it – and cannot afford to pay more.  They may therefore conduct an assessment to determine eligibility for the low fee services
  • You are low income and cannot afford the fees for a private registered therapist: consider short-term services (up to 12 sessions) with an intern ($20/$35) – the intern as part of their school requires that they see a diverse range of clients, so cannot offer longer-term therapy (however can facilitate a transfer to another intern once the 12 sessions are completed). Currently these counsellors are only offering services online or by telephone. 
  • You have no income and cannot afford a private registered therapist: consider short-term services (up to 12 sessions) with an intern for ‘pay what you can’ – the intern as part of their school requires that they see a diverse range of clients, so cannot offer longer-term therapy (however can facilitate a transfer to another intern once the 12 sessions are completed). Currently these counsellors are only offering services online or by telephone. 

Do You require URGENT care? Health Authorities, provincial Ministries and School Districts provide urgent and short-term care in British Columbia. Consider accessing these services if in need of urgent care: (while some services offer drop-in, if possible, try calling first as hours may change due to Covid-19)   See RESOURCES page for URGENT resources

MFFS Founder and Executive Director

Gary Thandi has his Bachelors and Masters in Social Work. He was born and raised in Campbell River. About 20 years ago he relocated to the Lower Mainland where he continues to reside. He originally entered the field of Mental Health for the sense of purpose it brought him. He was doing something he felt good about.
Gary recognized his own struggles, despite his privileges. He readily shares his own history of anxiety, struggling during presentations at school until it got to a point where he would self-medicate with alcohol, prior to doing a presentation. He even switched out of a class that he felt had too many presentations. Gary recognizes that everyone has some form of struggle and it isn’t always a bad thing, but everyone should have equitable access to support to address such struggles.
Gary  has been both a provider and user of counselling support. He has experience significant traumatic loss, when his spouse died four years ago. He expressed that going through such a devastating loss gave him empathy towards others who may not have access to the same supports that he was able to obtain. Gary now channels some of his grief and pain into his work as well as focusing on continuing to raise their two teenaged children.
He started Moving Forward Family Services because he saw that people were needing a support where they didn’t have to fill out multiple ‘check boxes’ to be eligible for help and then wait months or years if they made it past the eligibility criteria.  Gary also identified the need for early intervention and prevention and if this a greater priority for our society we may not have to invest so much money into supports on the other end of the spectrum, such as policing, corrections, or long-term hospitalization.
Gary has a passion for working with and supervising students and new graduates. He believes having students, learning from them, teaching them, and connecting them with clients who would benefit from a fresh and unique energy and perspective has tremendous benefits. He recognizes workers in the field are often exhausted with large caseloads, whereas students and new graduates, with appropriate supervision and support, can have a fresh and passionate perspective and do transformative work.
Gary believes we have come a long way in the past 10-20 years but acknowledges there is still work to do.

Our Board of Directors

Aman Sohal

Aman cares deeply about limiting barriers that may make counselling inaccessible to many. Providing low-barrier, accessible counselling means that any person can access mental health services no matter what they can afford to pay.

Aman received his Bachelor of Business Administration from Simon Fraser University before joining PWC: the biggest company in the world. He deeply values family so he decided to join a family-oriented firm called Sangha Tone CPA. This firm has since merged with MNP where he is currently the Senior Manager. Aman has also been a board member at Moving Forward Family Services since June 2019.

Aman also loves to coach kids’ soccer, spend time with his family, and workout. He has two young boys and enjoys playing soccer with his eldest.

Anne Harvey

Anne Harvey believes that counselling significantly contributes to harmony and happiness in the world. Anne has personally experienced how helpful counselling can be when life gets tough. She values how Moving Forward provides this helpful experience to everyone who requests it, regardless of their financial situation.

Anne is an organization development consultant who helps organizations and companies become more effective by integrating new technology and processes.

Anne has previously volunteered with Street to Home, the United Church, and Burnaby Multicultural Society. Anne currently serves on the board of Moving Forward and the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).

When she is not serving the community, Anne likes to hike, lift light weights, garden, and read crime fiction. Anne also has a daughter who is a Registered Clinical Counsellor and is extremely proud of the work that she does.

Bhavraj Singh

Bhavraj recognizes the ethical responsibility mental health organizations have to provide accessible, anti-racist, and anti-oppressive services. When utilizing counselling services, Bhavraj has personally experienced racist counselling and knows how detrimental this can be.

Bhavraj believes that Moving Forward Family Services has the ability to change the landscape of how counselling services are provided which, in turn, can change the landscape of our community.

Having graduated from Simon Fraser University in 2006 with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics, Bhavraj is now a Procurement Partner at the University of British Columbia. He is also a board member at Moving Forward Family Services and the Sikh Research Institute (SikhRi). The Sikh Research Institute aims to make Sikh education accessible to everyone.

Bhavraj was part of the team that co-founded Guru Nanak Free Kitchen in 2007. Guru Nanak Free Kitchen is an organization that serves disadvantaged communities across the lower mainland. At the Darpan Magazine annual gala in 2018, he was bestowed with the honour of a community award on behalf of the organization.

He enjoys staying fit by playing hockey, riding motorcycles, and spending quality time with his two-year-old daughter.

Randi Seguin

Randi Seguin “got a crash course in advocacy and the importance of outreach work” when she was a youth in care. “I myself have experienced the profound impact that finding the right  counsellor can have on one’s quality of life. Moving Forward’s wide-net approach is something that is very important to me because so many people slip through the cracks and I believe that this is avoidable.”

Randi holds a Bachelor of Social Work degree and a Social Services Diploma from the University of the Fraser Valley. Her volunteer experience has primarily been with the Correctional Service of Canada as a facilitator for a parenting program. She also has experience in residential addiction treatment, both private and non-profit counselling agencies (including a practicum placement at Moving Forward), and in community corrections for

individuals on federal parole. While these settings were all different, one of  the commonalities she marked was that finding anti-oppressive, affordable, timely, trauma-informed counselling or other mental health services was a significant challenge for people in every one of these fields.

Randi currently works in the Family Justice Services Division with the BC Public Service and is a mum of four wonderful children aged two through sixteen. In her spare time, she enjoys practicing yoga, baking, and spending time in nature.

Sukhminder Singh Virk

Sukhminder is passionate about serving on the board of directors at Moving Forward Family Services because he wants to give back to the organization that once helped him. He believes that everyone should have equal opportunity to access these life-changing mental health services.

Sukhminder is a lawyer at Soul Counsel who graduated from Kingston University. He has previously served as chair of the Board of Governors for the Justice Institute of British Columbia and has been a board member at Moving Forward Family Services for the past two years.

In his spare time, Sukhminder likes to read, write, exercise, meditate, and most importantly, spend time with his two boys.

Dr. Van Chek

Dr. Chek received his education from the Faculty of Medicine at Phnom Penh University, Cambodia. In 1970. Dr. Chek immigrated to Canada with his wife and 3 daughters in 1975 after Cambodia fell into Communist Regime. In 1980, he joined the World Relief of Canada as the head of the medical team to work in the United Nation refugee camp in Bataan Philippines. There, he provided medical care to 20,000 refugees from Cambodia, Vietnamese, and Laos. His wife, a former school teacher accompanied him to the refugee camp to provide social integration and ELS training and education to refugees.

In 1984, Dr. Chek requalified as a Physician in North America and received his License as a Physician and Surgeon in Michigan, USA along with his license in Family Practice in Ontario, Canada. Dr. Chek spent his residency in Moose Factory Federal Hospital serving the First Nations Community. Dr. Chek held a private practice as a family physician affiliated with Humber River Memorial Hospital in Western Ontario for 18 years. During those years, Dr. Chek was elected as the President of the Canadian Cambodian Association of Ontario. The Organization mission was to help Cambodian refugees and immigrants to settle in Ontario, Canada.

Dr. Chek relocated his practice from Ontario to British Columbia in 2000 where he practiced in the community of Coquitlam for 20 years. He retired in 2020, and enjoys filling his days with gardening, reading medical journals, cooking, playing musical instruments and fishing.

 Services Offered

To view and request services, please visit the Request Counselling page

Free coaching program based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – minimal waits

Free coaching program on Healthy Relationships – minimal waits

Mindfulness-Based Somatic Therapy for low income clients – minimum fees apply

(group is closed – no further registrations accepted)


(group is closed – no further registrations accepted)


(this study is open – if interested in participating please email contact on poster)

(group is closed – no further registrations accepted)


(group is closed – no further registrations accepted but registrations accepted for future group – group date TBA)

Registrations accepted for future group – group date TBA (sign-up through the secured link under ‘Request Counselling’ tab)

Registrations accepted for future group – group date TBA (sign-up through the secured link under ‘Request Counselling’ tab)

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