Interview With Maria DeRubeis, MSW, RSW


Maria received her Bachelor of Social Work degree in June 1985 from the University of Windsor; she returned to school in 2002 and obtained her Masters of Social Work degree in 2004. Maria also has a certificate in Couples Counselling from the Toronto School of Social Work. She is a 7 Principles Gottman Educator. Maria is a Reiki Master.

Maria has practised social work in the Windsor/Essex area for over 35 years and currently owns and operates her own counselling practice PASSAGES-Pathway to Healing, providing individual, relationship/marital counselling.

Maria has worked in non-profit agencies such as bulimia Anorexia Nervosa Association, Hiatus House, Sexual Assault Crisis Centre and Catholic Family Services. Maria’s expertise includes working with individuals who have experienced trauma/loss, childhood sexual abuse, family of origin, depression, anxiety, PTSD, stress, co-dependency and relationship difficulties.

Maria works mainly from a Solution Focused and Emotional Focused perspective, guiding clients towards accepting themselves, recognizing and using their strengths and becoming active participants on the pathway to healing.

Maria joined the Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW) as a student and has been a member since 1984. She is a registered social worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW) from 2000 to present. Maria was a member of the Ontario Association for Counselling and Attendance Services (OACAS) from 2012-2022.

She was the author of a bi-monthly column entitled “Challenges and Choices” for the LaSalle Silhouette, a local community paper. She currently offers a social work perspective on the AM800 Listener Dilemma, Dan MacDonald show, every Tuesday.

Maria has been on the board of directors for: Bulimia Anorexia Nervosa Association, the LaSalle Women’s Association, Sacred Heart School Parent Council and the Ontario Association of Social Workers-Southwestern Branch. She served on the Ontario Association for Counselling and Attendance Services (OACAS) Executive Council. She also served on the Ontario Association of Social Workers.

Maria is featured in the Who’s Who of Canadian Women by Chatelaine Magazine. Maria was honored with the OASW-Southwestern Distinguished Social Work Service Award in 2010. She received the Ontario Volunteer Service Award in 2012. Maria received the Lifetime Membership Award for the Ontario Association of Social Workers in 2020. In 2021, Maria received the Orville Watson Award.

She is involved in various committees with the Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board and the Ontario Association of Social Workers as well as the Ontario Association for Counselling and Attendance Services.

Maria is a mother of 2 beautiful children and a grandson and lives in Windsor-Essex County. She is committed to living a healthy lifestyle enjoying her children, family and friends. She enjoys reading, running, movies, socializing and fine dining. Maria is passionate about her work and enjoys working with her clients and making a difference in their lives.

Maria is a breast cancer survivor and considers herself a Warrior.

What are some red flags when dating a man?

Love Bombing

  • When your partner attempts to manipulate you to become dependent on him. i.e. “I can’t live without you”, “I have never met anyone like
  • The love bomber will talk all about your future, shower you with affection and grandiose declarations of love, and get you to fall for them — only to pull away and leave you broken-hearted.

Bashes His Ex

  • When your partner bashes all of his ex’s for all the problems in the relationship and for the relationship breaking down.
  • Your partner takes no accountability for his part in the breakdown of the relationship.


  • If you feel like you’re not being seen or heard. Does your partner take an interest in the things that you care about.
  • Does your partner seem distant/distracted? Does he respond to your calls/texts or does he ignore you?

They Push your Physical Boundaries

  • You want to ensure that he respects your boundaries, how does he react when you say “no” or “stop”?

They Put you Down

  • Excessive sarcasm, a mean sense of humor, or jokes that regularly point out your flaws is verbal/emotional abuse.


  • Gaslighting is a form of emotional manipulation where he twists reality making you doubt your perceptions through denial i.e. “I never said that” or by blaming you “You’re too sensitive”.
  • Gaslighting leaves you feeling like you are crazy. He makes you question your sanity.

Jealousy/Controlling Behaviour

  • He who checks your phone to see who you’re texting or tries to make rules about who you can and can’t see.
  • He is possessive or controlling of your plans, what you wear, who you hang out with, or isolates you from your friends and family, this could be an indicator of future emotional abuse.

Extreme Emotional Reactions

  • Does your partner have the ability to express empathy?
  • Does your partner manage his emotions appropriately or does he fly off the handle quickly. If your partner displays uncontrollable anger/rage or gives you the silent treatment, this may be an indicator of future emotional/physical abuse.
  • Does your partner use excessive sarcasm, a mean sense of humor, or jokes that regularly point out your flaws is verbal/emotional abuse.

Alcohol and/or Substance Abuse

  • Does your partner have difficulty regulating his alcohol intake?
  • Your partner could have an addiction if he is unable to handle their alcohol and/or use substances in excess.

If you notice any of these red flags, it is important to pay attention. Sometimes we ignore red flags because we really want to be with someone. Take some time to reflect if you want to continue with the relationship. Ask yourself if you are being too harsh or are the flags a real issue. Are you misinterpreting his words and/or behaviours based on your past experience. It may be helpful to ask for clarification.

If the issue is worrisome, them it’s important to have a conversation with your partner. They may not be aware of how they are coming across. We all have different love languages and it’s important to let your partner know how to treat you. Keep in mind that if there is abuse – no communication is required. If you and your partner have discussed these issues and change has not occurred then perhaps it’s time to end the relationship.

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