Canada's Premiere Trauma Conference Presented by CAST Canada
Schedule, Presentation Descriptions and Biographies.
More Information and Presenters will be added regularly back often!
8:30 - 9:00 - Registration, coffee and mingle.
Keynote:-- Deputy Minister of Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services: Alexander Bezzina
Traditional Opening - by Elder Little Brown Bear
Working with Youth, Family and Trauma
Ongoing Colonization: Trauma-work with First Nation, Métis, and Inuit Youth
Personal story, system change
12 - 1 L U N C H L U N C H L U N C H Succesful Youth Community Engagement
Collaborative Partnerships: Lessons from Nunavut
Trauma Informed Addiction work for Trans Youth
A Focus on Healing: Reducing The Impacts of Trauma on Parenting
Trauma Informed Schools for
Indigenous Families and Communities.
Dr. Magda Smolewski
Group Program for Mothers who have Experienced Trauma Lisa Sura-Liddell
D A Y 2
D A Y 2
D A Y 2 Optional Morning Yoga with Laureen Partington
Infant and Toddler Trauma
Dr, Chaya Kulkarni, BAA, M.Ed, Ed.D,
The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON
Military Families on the Front Lines - part 1
Judy Sebastian and others
Understanding and working with Street involved and Gang Youth.
12 - 1 L U N C H L U N C H L U N C H Birth Trauma: Issues and Interventions
Emily Carrothers-Sereda Mindful Birth Doula Services and Family Counselling
Military Families on the Front Lines - part 2
Michael Macdonald and others
Protecting children from toxic stress: Investing in Families through active skill building and connection.
Suzanne Witt Foley, BEd.
Ethics Panel & Discussion
With Brad Davey, Bill Helmeczi, Tom Walker
Working in 2015 - Challenges and Successes
Alexander Bezzina, Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Children and Youth Services
Deputy Bezzina brings significant experience and expertise gained through senior leadership positions in both the Ontario Public Service and in the non-profit sector. Most recently, he was the Assistant Deputy Minister of Health System Accountability and Performance in the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. For the previous five years, he was the Assistant Deputy Minister of Operations for the Ministry of Community and Social Services. During his first three years there, he was also responsible for service delivery on behalf of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. Prior to this, Deputy Bezzina was the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Human Resources Strategy and Policy Division in the Ministry of Government Services. He was instrumental in providing leadership for the development of enterprise-wide human resources policies and strategies. Previously he was Director, Special Education Policy and Programs Branch in the Ministry of Education. Here he worked across the ministry, and with other ministries and school boards, to coordinate service approaches for children with special needs. Before joining the public service in 1999, Deputy Bezzina also had extensive leadership experience in the non-profit sector in agencies that delivered services to persons with disabilities.
Working with Youth and Families Where Trauma is Present and Past
Reflecting on a long and various career, exploring ways to be present amidst intergenerational issues.
Ernest W. Matton (Athehsa Niohkwá:rita:a) (Little Brown Bear) is a Métis Elder and guide who inspires living in today’s hectic world, bridging culture and professional disciplines to assist people in finding what works With his years of experience in the field, Little Brown Bear makes wellness practices and spirituality simple. Drawing from his academic background, vast work and personal life experiences, he focuses on what works to bring balance and inspiration to everyday life. He is a member in good standing with the (CACCF) Canadian Addiction Counselors Certification Federation and (OACCPP) Ontario Association of Consultants, Counselors, Psychometrists and Psychotherapists, T. I. R. facilitator, E.F.T Practitioner and Certified Gladue Writer. He is a seminar speaker and group facilitator in the areas of Trauma/Addictions/Mental Health, grief, suicide, conflict resolution, mediation, anger release, and Building Healthy Relationships. His philosophy is but a simple one: "People don't care how much you know, they want to know how much you care."
Engaging Urban Youth
An Understanding of Gang Mentality Applied to all Youth.
Tom Walker, BSW, MSW, RSW
Tom Walker, BSW, MSW, RSW
Tom Walker is a Human Factors Specialist with Ornge where he works as a clinical traumatologist supporting paramedics to mitigate compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder. Additionally, Tom works with youth and families of the organization to ensure that staff are able to focus on work and positive patient care. He is a trained Clinical Traumatologist & Certified Compassion Fatigue Specialist, associate trainer and consultant through the Traumatology Institute. Additionally, Tom is a trainer and consultant with the Canadian Training Institute (CTI). Previously he worked as the Clinical Supervisor of Nexus Youth Services and the Concurrent Disorders Program. Tom currently has a private practice (individual and family therapy) and also consults and trains various organizations to support them in dealing with clients deemed “hard to serve” including youth and families with addictions and mental health issues, as well as gang involved youth. Formerly Tom worked as the Director of Business Development and Training with CTI where he “trained people helping people” and took leadership roles with the Youth Worker Training Initiative and the Breaking the Cycle program (Youth Gang Exit Strategy). Tom has 25 years of experience working in the social services sector in frontline, management and senior leadership roles.
"Ethics Panel" - Important Questions - Deep Discussion and Debate.
Moderated by Brad Davey.
Panel Member, Responders.
Bill Helmeczi, M.Ed, M.Sc Psyc
Tom Walker (click for more)
Bill Helmeczi, M.Ed, M.Sc Psych
Bill Helmeczi is part of Safeguards Training Team and Director of Mental Health for Pathstone Mental Health Services. In this role, he also provides leadership to Pathstone’s two Institutes: Education and Training Institute and Research Institute. He is a part-time instructor in Child and Youth Studies Department at Brock University. He has an M.Ed and an M.Sc Psych and will complete his doctoral degree, in Public Health Policy, August 2013. His main areas of specialization are with high-risk youth and in ethical decision-making. He has nearly 20 years experience researching and working with high-risk aggressive youth. He is co-author of a treatment program for Adolescents that engage in inappropriate sexual behaviour. In addition, for the past twelve years he has provided clinical consultation to open, secure custody facilities and residential treatment programs.
Protecting children from toxic stress:
Investing in Families through active skill building and connection
Suzanne Witt Foley BSc. Health Studies
Presentation Description: This presentation will examine a framework that shapes our understanding of the impact toxic stress can have on family well-being and why building relationships and fostering community connectedness can have a tremendous mitigating effect. According to Darcy Lowell, an associate clinical professor at Yale University School of Medicine, “Children can be shielded from the most damaging effects of stress if their parents are taught how to respond appropriately. One thing that is highly protective is the quality of the relationship between the parent and child.” The Muskoka Strengthening Families program capitalizes on that protective factor. Strengthening families is a unique family program where parents and their children actively work together to strengthen the quality of their relationships. This presentation will explore elements of the Muskoka Strengthening Families program that have contributed to its success and 15 years of sustainability. This evidence based program exemplifies the need to focus on building the capabilities of caregivers and strengthening the communities - that together - form the environment of relationships essential to children’s lifelong learning, health, and behaviour.
Suzanne Witt-Foley is an innovator in knowledge exchange, training and education, has over 25 years of experience in mental health promotion, community development and capacity building. She is a passionate advocate and speaks about the connection between mental health & addiction, toxic stress, living conditions (social determinants of health), social connectedness and wellbeing. Suzanne spent 16 years with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health as a local consultant and has worked in a variety of other settings including a community health centre, public health and health planning. More recently, she fulfilled a contract with Trillium Lakelands District School board as the Mental Health Leader and is currently providing community outreach consultation/education for Addiction Outreach Muskoka Parry Sound, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health as well as coordinating the Muskoka Strengthening Families Program. Suzanne is an education associate for Parent Action on Drugs and also instructs Mental Health First Aid and Bridges Out of Poverty workshops.
These presentations will highlight the challenges faced by Members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and the experience of the people who love and support them. Speakers from Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS) and The Toronto Military Family Resource Centre offer their firsthand experience as members of a network of support services available to CAF Members and their families.
Hear how families face the “echoes of war” and how they manage to overcome overwhelming obstacles, drawing on inherent strengths while grappling with some of the stark realities of military culture. The presentation asks: what can we learn from “families living on the front-lines”? In the later-half of the presentation, through a case study and experiential exercises participants will also explore: when confronted with client’s stories of suffering, tragedy and trauma; how can we adequately respond to and define the experience of fragmentation that characteristically resists definition? How do we navigate these often treacherous waters without getting pulled under ourselves?
Judy Sebastian has been involved with the Toronto Military Family Resource Centre (TMFRC) since 2011. The TMFRC is a non-profit organization that provides effective support and services to military members and their families living in the GTA and surrounding regions. These services are designed to meet their unique needs such as deployment and reintegration support, volunteer services and mental health support.
Judy works as the Family Separation and Reunion Coordinator which provides support to families who are experiencing separation due to deployment, temporary duty, special tasking or restricted posting. When working specifically with deployed families she provides one-to-one support discussing the cycle of deployment and reunion, methods for dealing with common reactions and strategies for coping while loved ones are away as well as preparing for their homecoming. As a military spouse Judy is passionate about engaging with deployed and separated families through one-to-one support, information sessions and workshops and programs.
Michael MacDonald - As the Prevention, Support & Intervention Coordinator at The Toronto Military Family Resource Centre Michael provides short term psychotherapy to individuals, couples, families and children of serving military members. Michael holds a Master’s Degree and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Arts-based Psychotherapy, and has extensive training in verbal counselling approaches including Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Focusing Oriented Psychotherapy and Narrative Therapy. For ten years Michael has been using the arts in therapy with individuals, groups and families, helping them respond to life’s challenges through the imagination and creativity.
Michael is especially interested in the role of the imagination, play and art-making as primary means of addressing both intra and inter-personal issues related to complex trauma. He presented his work at the Strengthening Resiliency Conference (for Military Mental Health Service Providers) in 2014 and has been facilitating arts-based personal development workshops and groups for youth and adults since 2003. For the past 20 years, as an Arts-based “re-searcher/explorer”, Michael has personally endeavoured to understand and experience the world through the lens of the arts and play.
Classically trained as a visual artist, Michael’s education in Expressive Arts Therapy has him exploring with clients through the full range of the arts including music, movement, poetry and drama.
Michael feels honoured and privileged to have the opportunity to serve the CAF community. In addition to providing therapy he regularly takes part in Reservist Unit Briefings across the GTA to promote mental Health in the CAF, to raise awareness for Suicide Prevention and to reduce the stigma of reaching out for help
Laryssa Lamrock has been a Family Peer Support Coordinator with the Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS) program since 2007; an organization that provides peer support for members and families that struggle with Operational Stress Injuries (OSIs) such as anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression. Within her role, she delivers one-to-one peer support, facilitates support groups, delivers presentations and manages volunteers. Prior to that, Laryssa worked supporting families of deployed Canadian Armed Forces members at the Military Family Resource Centre.
Laryssa has had numerous speaking engagements involving mental health awareness specific to OSIs, the OSISS program and her personal experiences. A few of the most noteworthy have been the 4th US/Canada Forum on Mental Health and Productivity, an appearance before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs and the Healing the Family Forum at the Canadian Embassy in Washington D.C.
In her continued effort to inform and connect Military members, Veterans and their families, she has initiated many projects including development of the OSISS National Newsletters and co-creation of the OSISS Operational Stress Injury Family Handbook. She has also participated on a number of Committees including the National DND-VAC-RCMP Mental Health Advisory Committee and the National Operational Stress Injury Family Ad Hoc working group.
Along with her professional experiences, Laryssa is truly a military family member as she is the daughter, spouse and mother of formerly or currently serving Canadian Armed Forces members. Laryssa is very passionate about supporting those she works with as she has lived experiences in supporting a loved one with an Operational Stress Injury as well as her own journey with depression.
Maryam Ebrahimpour, M.Ed., CCC. has been the Family Liaison Officer with the Toronto Military Family Resource Centre (TMFRC) since 2012, a non-profit organization that provides family and loved ones of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members with supports such as psychotherapy and other mental health programs. Within her role, she offers support and psychotherapy to Families of Fallen (families of military member who have passed away due to psychological and physical illness, injury, or combat), as well as families of ill and injured Canadian Armed Forces who live in GTA.
Maryam holds a Master’s Degree in Counselling and extensive experience in trauma, grief and bereavement, individual, family and couple’s therapy. In addition to providing psychotherapy to families, Maryam develops and facilitates various mental health programs and workshops for families on topics of grief and bereavement, trauma, relationship etc.
Successful Youth Engagement
Highlight Communities - Accessing the Value
Facilitated by CAST Canada’s Tom Regehr, this discussion will explore successful trauma informed youth engagement projects from across Canada. By highlighting some successful projects and talking about common themes as well as the experiences of workshop participants we aim to access the value and some key ideas for organizations embarking upon their own youth engagement strategies. With input from workshop participants we will discussing highlights, failures, funding and rewards and identify the key elements of a truly successful youth engagement project.
Tom Regehr is a successful consultant and health educator who speaks directly to the professional mind about sensitive issues. Regehr has been self-employed since the age of 14 and is the founder of CAST Canada, an organization with the goal of helping professionals and corporations to better understand the roles of trauma and unresolved grief in addictions, homelessness, chronic unemployment and mental illness through the coordination of workshops, conferences and keynote speaking. Regehr reflects on his direct, lived experience with family mental health, multiple traumas, addiction, homelessness and recovery with humor, insight and connection. He has developed his material by facilitating over 80 panel discussions whereby other individuals in recovery from trauma and addictions offer feedback to helping professionals. Since then, Regehr has developed unique trauma based workshops for service providers and clinicians. It is popular material that many agen- cies have hired for ‘all staff’ events and the material has been adopted as curriculum at McMaster University. Regehr has been contracted by various organizations, government agencies and first nations communities to deliver his presentations. Tom resides in Peterborough Ontario and offers workshops and speeches through- out small town, rural and remote areas. He is often contracted by Provincial organizations, such as Ontario Works, to offer trainings to their staff as well as hosting large-scale National conferences. Regehr works as a consultant on many govern- ment level initiatives and travels extensively throughout Ontario High Schools to educate youth about addictions in their communities and their homes.
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1. Understand the unique parenting issues facing mothers who have experienced violence and trauma.
2. Understand the impact of violence and trauma on infants and toddlers.
3. Gain practical knowledge and understanding of the program components, structure and rationale of Mothers in Mind.
4. Increase knowledge and intervention skills with this population.
Experiences of violence and trauma, such as family violence, childhood abuse, neglect and sexual assault can impact many facets of a mother's life, including her experiences of parenting and her relationships with her child. Mothering through or after violence is a key issue impacting children's mental health today with potentially harmful consequences for: 1) children's emotional health and well-being; 2) the mother-child relationship and 3) future attachment relationships for children. Mothers in Mind TM is an innovative, relationship-based therapeutic mother-child program designed specifically to meet the parenting needs of mothers who have experienced violence and trauma and have children under the age of four. It was developed at Child Development Institute in Toronto and has recently expanded province-wide with over 25 agencies trained and licensed to run the program. The focus of the program is to intervene early in the lives of young children and their mothers in order to strengthen parent-child relationships, enhance parenting skills and reduce parenting stress. At first glance, Mothers in Mind TM looks like any other mother-child play group: children on the floor playing with their mothers, mothers feeding their children and larger group discussions. The uniqueness of this program lies in the content of those discussions, in the comfort and safety women have in discussing the impact their trauma has had on their parenting--how they feel triggered when they breastfeed their baby, the way their toddler's tantrum reminds them of their abuser, how sometimes hugging their child doesn't feel good. These are discussions that occur regularly in Mothers in Mind TM . Alongside the safety and support of a group of mothers with similar histories comes the individual attention to each mother-child relationship. Time is devoted each week in the group to supporting mothers In the moment' with their child. Whether it is to help a mother see her child differently, begin to develop a strategy to respond sensitively to her child or to reflect back to a mother a moment of connection a facilitator observed between a mother and her child. This combination of group and individual mother-child support encourages positive shifts in mother-child relationships impacted by trauma.
This presentation will outline the unique parenting issues facing mothers who have experienced violence and trauma, highlighting the need for a specific trauma-informed parenting group. It will also touch on the impact violence and trauma may have on infants and toddlers. Details outlining the guiding principles, program structure and components of the 10-week Mothers in Mind® program will be discussed. Eligibility criteria will be reviewed with an emphasis on the clinical approaches, practical strategies and self-reflective practices necessary to working effectively with this population. The presentation will conclude with a brief review of the program evaluation results related to the recent province-wide implementation.
Lisa Sura-Liddell Lisa Sura-Liddell, MSW, RSW is the Manager of Program Development and Implementation, Family Violence Services for Child Development Institute, a multi-service child and family agency in Toronto. Ms. Sura-Liddell has 15 years experience in the violence against women and children's mental health sectors. Her practice interests include the development, facilitation and management of innovative, therapeutic group programming for women and children impacted by violence and trauma. Ms. Sura-Liddell made significant contributions to the development of Mothers in Mind® in response to a service gap in programming for mothers who have experienced violence and trauma and have young children. Currently Ms. Sura-Liddell is the lead on the expansion and implementation of Mothers in Mind® across the province of Ontario, training and consulting to over 25 licensed agencies. She regularly promotes knowledge translation and exchange through the development of the Mothers in Mind website www.MothersinMind.ca as well as invited speaking engagements, community-based workshops and conference presentations.
Understanding the Effects of Ongoing Colonization:
Trauma-work with First Nation, Métis, and Inuit Youth
Bonnie Freeman, School of Social Work, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario
Sean Kinsella, Peel Aboriginal Network, Mississauga, Ontario
Donna Dubie, The Healing of the Seven Generations, Kitchener, Ontario
Maria Liegghio, School of Social Work, York University, Toronto, Ontario
Trish Van Katwyk, School of Social Work, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario
- To understand the traumas associated with the genocide of Canadian Aboriginal peoples and its effects on First Nations, Métis, and Inuit youth
- To examine trauma-work within a framework of understanding the effects of ongoing colonization
- To explore the significance of adopting a “de-colonizing” approach to practice
Reports indicate that First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children and youth experience higher rates of depression, suicidal thoughts, and issues related to substance abuse than their non-Aboriginal peers and that feelings of despair among many youth and families in Aboriginal communities are compounded by poverty, violence, food insecurity, and racism (Bennett, Blackstock & De La Ronde, 2005; Wabano Community Study, 2013). We contend that rather than being appropriately supported within mainstream mental health and trauma service systems, Aboriginal children, youth, caregivers, and communities may be inappropriately diverted, and thus entrenched in other systems, specifically the youth justice and child welfare systems. For instance, in one report First Nations, Métis, and Inuit youth living with a mental health issue were six times more likely to be incarcerated than their non-Aboriginal peers (Odgers et al., 2005). We propose that for trauma-work to be appropriate it must be situated within an understanding of the effects of ongoing colonization, legislative policies (i.e. the Indian Act), and racism over generations. Trauma-work with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit youth must assume a de-colonizing approach.
In this interactive workshop we examine the traumas associated with the genocide of Canadian Aboriginal peoples and its effects on First Nations, Métis, and Inuit youth. Through reflexive exercises, questions, and small and large group discussions, we consider trauma-work within a framework of understanding the effects of ongoing colonization. We conclude with a consideration of the significance of adopting a “de-colonizing” approach to practice, and our roles, responsibilities, and positions, as trauma practitioners, within the approach.
Bonnie Freeman is Algonquin/Mohawk from the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory in Ontario, Canada. She recently completed a Ph.D. in Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University and will transition into a tenure-track Assistant Professorship in the School of Social Work at McMaster University starting July 2015. She brings many years of practice experience, with her work is rooted in connections with Six Nations, the Hamilton Aboriginal Community, as well as many other Aboriginal communities throughout Canada and the United States.
Bonnie’s dissertation research was with the Six Nations Haudenosaunee youth known as the “Spirit of the Youth.” This group of youth journeyed on foot through their ancestral lands promoting the message of peace and unity to their Haudenosaunee relatives and communities, and to present a Youth Declaration at the United Nations. The dissertation findings highlight the transformation of identity and well-being as a result of the agency and resilience possessed by Native youth while engaged in culture-based activism. Her research interests include: Aboriginal youth, women and cultural based activism; Indigenous cultural interventions in social work practice; Indigenous collective and community health and wellness approaches; and Aboriginal perspectives on anti-oppressive practices and decolonization.
Seán Kinsella (Cree/Algonquin/Métis/Irish) is the Co-Chair/Executive Director at the Peel Aboriginal Network Indigenous Friendship Centre in Mississauga. He is also the Coordinator of Residential Transition Programs at the University of Toronto Mississauga, where he organizes the First Year Experience Program, a first year transition program that utilizes methods of Supplementary Instruction to aid students in their transition to university. Seán has also completed a Masters of Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in Higher Education, with a specific research focus looking at Indigenous education methodology and pedagogy. He is focused on building capacity for the Indigenous urban community and also works as a traditional helper in the Peel community, studying under a traditional teacher in the old way.
Trish Van Katwyk is an assistant professor at the School of Social Work, Renison University College, University of Waterloo. Her research is studying the social implications of recognition, mis-recognition, stigma and the ways in which relationships carry the potential for transformation or trauma. This research exploration has included the critical consideration of relationships in education, in social work practice, and in research. She is particularly interested in research methods that are community-based, participatory and arts-based. She carries a private practice in individual, couple and family therapy, and is the founder of a community-based collaboration centre which celebrates innovative ideas about health and sustainable communities. Her current work focuses on youth and stigma as social processes of mis-recognition
Maria Liegghio is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Her main areas of research are social work epistemology in child and youth mental health; the stigma of mental illness in child and youth mental health; critical social work education, theory, and practice; and collaborative, community-based and participatory action research. She has extensive experience working as a child and family mental health therapist. Her current work is focused on the experiences psychiatrized children and youth and their caregivers have of policing and police encounters.
The Power of Collaborative Partnership - Lessons from Nunavut
Illustrating the use of collaboration among agencies to help Nunavut youth with trauma, family violence, addictions and grief
Victoria Madsen and Shauna Seeteenak
- How to implement the Collective Impact Model in the mental health care of youth
- Description of ‘buy-in’ techniques necessary for collaboration among agencies
- Examples of collaborative projects for possible implementation in other regions
In Nunavut there is a crisis regarding youth experiencing mental health difficulties. The suicide rate in Nunavut is 12 times higher than the rest of Canada. Of these suicides, nearly two-thirds were under the age of 24. Between January 1, 1999 and today, 25 Inuit youth between the ages of 10-14 and 153 Inuit youth between the ages of 15-19 have died by suicide.
There are many reasons cited for this tragic situation, including the combining of tradition and modern worlds; substance abuse; food insecurity; over-crowded housing; violence in the home; uninvolved parents; lack of coping abilities; difficulties with romantic relationships and bullying at school.
Without effective intervention, mental health problems in the Nunavut youth will get worse, increasing the likelihood of high risk behaviours such as criminal activity and suicide attempts.
Using the Collective Impact Model, agencies in Iqaluit, Nunavut are able to come together and develop a collaborative plan to maximize resources and provide more appropriate, efficient and effective services for the youth.
The Collective Impact Model is based on the idea that no single agency can fix complex social problem. This model is an excellent fit for the Iqaluit situation as there are multiple agencies attempting to address the complicated needs of the youth. Also, the high staff turn-over in this region results in inconsistent and fragmented practices. Often there is a ‘re-invention of the wheel’ as attempts are made to address the difficult needs of the youth. The Collective Impact model helps alleviate this barrier as the collective efforts of many, compensate for the individual staff changes.
Pre-conditions for employing the Collective Impact include an’ urgency for change’. There is an absolute urgency in Nunavut, as the rate of suicide in the youth continues to grow and families continue to ask for help.
Through an interactive session the presenters will walk the participants through the implementation of the Collective Impact Model in youth mental health care. The presenters will include the Mental Health Program, Embrace Life Council, and an Inuit youth representative.
Iqaluit has a variety of agencies working in the Collaborative Impact Model, including Embrace Life Council, Mental Health Program, Education, RCMP, Youth Detention and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association. Historically, these agencies did not work together in a consistent, trusting way. The participants will be given examples of practical methods used to bring these partners together and work in a collaborative manner.
Examples of collaborative projects will be outlined for possible implementation in other regions. One example of Collective Impact work in Iqaluit is the development of youth peer support counselors. Romantic problems and breakups are the precipitating factor for almost 70% of Inuit youth suicides, mostly males (Kral, 2003). The primary form of coping with problems for these youth was speaking with a friend. This is typical of young people, and peer relations are important for their well-being (Gelhaar et al., 2007; Park, 2004). As a result of such research, peer support counselling is a powerful method to provide support to this population. Collaborative efforts between Embrace Life Council, Mental Health Program and the schools are essential for the successful implementation for a peer support service.
A second example includes a youth diversion program with the RCMP, Youth Detention, Family Services and Mental Health. A tool has been identified by these agencies for use when the RCMP identify a youth engaging in criminal activity. The tool will determine the resources required to divert the youth from high risk activity. The involved agencies work together with the common agenda of providing necessary resources to an attempt to avoid future high risk activity.
Victoria Madsen is the Director of Mental Health in Iqaluit, Nunavut. She received her MA in psychology from Lakehead University and has worked as a psychological associate in multiple psychiatric settings. Victoria has functioned as a front-line clinician in both hospital and community settings. Her specializations include geriatric psychiatry, psychological assessments and behaviour management. After fifteen years as a front-line clinician, Victoria entered management specializing in community development and partner collaboration. She has had 25 years of experience in Mental Health and feels strongly that excellent client care is achieved through dependable relationships.
Victoria currently resides in Iqaluit, Nunavut with her family.
Shauna Seeteenak is the Project Assistant for the Embrace Life Council in Iqaluit, Nunavut. She started working with the Embrace Life Council in January and thoroughly enjoys the opportunities to help educate and support youth regarding suicide prevention. She has volunteered for 3 years with a committee called BLAST (Baker Lake Against Suicide Team) in Baker Lake, Nunavut. Shauna played a significant role with BLAST by arranging dances and movie nights to fundraiser for the annual Suicide Prevention Camp, held every summer in different communities in the Kivalliq Region of Nunavut. Shauna is very active with song writing and performing. Check out her song Qiviktailigit (Don’t Give Up) available on YouTube: http://youtu.be/qhT17KmZXng
Trauma Informed Schools
Creating Safe Places To Learn and Thrive for Indigenous Families and Communities
Dr. Magda Smolewski, Hon. BA, MA, and PhD
Workshop Description:This workshop will entail a presentation by the OFIFC regarding its recent work on a Trauma-Informed Schools research project, followed by a discussion of key findings and recommendations from this work. Participants will be asked to participate in a sharing-circle format and will gain exposure to traditional understandings and approaches to addressing trauma in an Indigenous context. Furthermore, participants will learn about USAI (Utility, Self-Voicing, Access, and Inter-relationality) which is the community-driven framework our research was grounded in. There will be opportunities throughout for participants to ask questions. The session will open and close in a traditional way, respectful of Indigenous traditions.
Background: In 2014, the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC) conducted a community-driven research project that broadly examined the role of historic trauma transmission in select urban Indigenous communities in Ontario and its continued impact on children, parents, and caregivers in current public schools systems. This work also contributes to a growing body of literature on the impact of historic and intergenerational trauma and its continued role in creating social and economic disparities for Indigenous youth, families, and communities. These disparities ultimately result in greater exposure to violence, weak school performance, and disengagement from school. This project also considered how school systems can play a stronger role in cultivating safe and accepting environments predicated upon healthy and respectful relationships. Findings from this project indicate that our communities continue to face socio-economic hardships in raising children, but also reveal deep currents of resilience among parents, caregivers, and youth. This work reinforces that the success of trauma-informed schools for Indigenous leamers is contingent upon inclusion of Indigenous wholistic approaches to learning which includes the engagement of a child's parents, caregivers, extended family, and community at large.
Magda Smolewski is Research Director, Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres, holds Hon. BA, MA, and PhD in socio-cultural anthropology from the University of Toronto. In her academic research in Australia, where she worked with Aboriginal women, she looked at their colonial and post-colonial experiences and their present social and cultural conditions, including gender relations. For many years, Magda has been a teacher and a mentor to many students at the University of Toronto, teaching courses in medical anthropology, gender studies, spirituality, and research methods, and currently is on the faculty of the Royal Roads University in Victoria, BC, as a graduate supervisor. Co-author of Historic Trauma and Aboriginal Healing, published in 2004 by the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, worked at the Ontario Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, provided services as a consultant to First Nations and Aboriginal organizations across Canada, including work on Indigenous education, urban Aboriginal issues, violence against Aboriginal women, healing, and youth leadership. She also collaborated as researcher and writer with OMNI TV on several documentary films, has two poetry books published, paints and experiments with artistic photography.
Celeste originates from Northern British Columbia. She is a member of the Wet’suwet’en Nation located in the northern interior with a land base of 500 square kilometres. Her mother is non-Aboriginal and was raised in northern British Columbia. Her father is Wet’suwet’en and a member of the small Frog Clan. Celeste is Bear Clan and a member of the Grizzly Bear House.
Celeste’s first involvement with Friendship Centres started when she was 20 in Smithers, BC. In preparation for a Canada World Youth exchange she presented to the Friendship Centre’s Board of Directors to donate money for her exchange. They did not provide any money but they did offer her a summer job as a Youth Employment Counsellor.
Since then Celeste has worked and lived in Vancouver, Montreal, Regina and now Toronto. During this time she has always maintained a connection to the local Friendship Centre or Aboriginal community through her work. Beginning as a Diabetes Program Assistant, Celeste obtained funding as an Executive Assistant for the summer. Following the approval of funding, Celeste took on the role of Director of Operations because the need of the Friendship Centre extended beyond the realm of an Executive Assistant. Since that point, Celeste has continued to work in management positions as she moved to different communities and organizations.
Celeste has a solid background in high risk and at risk program delivery on the frontline. Her position with the OFIFC is the first step back from the frontline since her start at the age of 20.
Celeste has a BA in Religious Studies and a Masters Candidate in Public Administration.
Trauma Informed Addiction Work for Trans/LGBT Youth
An academic and personal viewpoint
Tim is developing a new model of addiction day treatment specifically for trans/LGBT youth.
Tim is a transgendered man who currently works in Toronto as a Community Outreach Worker in housing/homelessness . In 2012/13 he was as a counsellor at Portage, a youth residential addictions treatment program in New Brunswick, where he was, in 2007-2008, in treatment himself. He is proud to be a recovering consumer, having suffered from substance abuse and mental health challenges; he is also a survivor of trauma.
He has a strong interest in issues affecting transgendered people in addictions treatment, and has written policies and procedures for Portage in this area. Tim has a keen interest in film, reading, Chelsea FC and cats.
On Becoming Trauma Informed - An epic family story
Trauma that leads to individual and systemic change
with Tim McConnell
This workshop will tell the story of Rachel and her family; Rachel’s journey to becoming Tim, and the resulting journey for her mother Claire. Rachel grew up in a loving, happy home but a combination of undisclosed trauma at the age of 13 and her gender identity issues led to a descent into addiction and mental illness throughout her teens, unbeknownst to Claire. This was particularly difficult for Claire to understand, given that she has worked in the mental health and addictions system for many years, including time at the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and the Central East Local Health Integration Network. Claire embarked on what she describes as “a huge fight at multiple levels”, in order to get Rachel the help she needed so that Rachel would firstly stay alive, and secondly move forwards to recovery and health. There were ultimately successes in finding the appropriate help, but these successes were punctuated by many failures. What Claire learned about the mental health and addictions “system” shook her to her core and she embarked upon the systemic advocacy road, without having ever really planned to do this.
Positive change did actually happen, eventually, with a Day of Action at Queens Park, a meeting with the Minister of Health and Long-Term care and both the funding of new youth residential treatment beds in Ontario and a change in the funding practices for youth traveling to other provinces in Canada for treatment.
This advocacy took a severe toll on Claire’s emotional health, but she then embarked on her own personal journey of recovery. Meanwhile, Rachel was continuing her own journey towards health, which led to Rachel becoming Tim. Claire will tel her story in a presentation format, with time at the end for questions and answers.
1. Improved understanding of the journey through trauma to positive change, from both a personal and a systemic perspective
2. Understanding of the strategies that can bring about change
3. Understanding of the family’s resilience in the face of trauma, from the micro level
Claire defines herself as a family member and consumer. She has learned and grown through her journey with Tim through “the system” and is an advocate for change. She, like Tim, is a trauma survivor: her trauma comes from her experience of the addictions system as an “insider on the outside”. In addition, she is a mental health and addictions professional who has worked in the system for thirty years at various levels, including stints at MOHLTC and the CE LHIN. She now runs her own consulting business. She shares Tim’s interest in Chelsea FC and cats, and also enjoys swimming and windsurfing.
Claire's' blog is a must read. Follow the link, scroll down or search for Claire.
A focus on Healing: Reducing the Impacts of Trauma on Parenting
Julia Dunlop and Jill Pariser
- Participants will learn how to facilitate this evidenced based, researched TLC trauma group for parents and how the group addresses trauma in a neuropsychological way (i.e. building new neural pathways) and aims to increase parents' awareness and understanding of their trauma, increase their coping strategies to better manage their trauma and improve their parenting capacity. This may result in better outcomes for overall treatment and potentially prevent bigger problems for the child and family later in life by intervening early and addressing the trauma-related behaviour that is getting in the way of achieving goals and making successful changes.
- Participants will learn what makes the group so effective: specific strategies for making the group a welcoming, safe place for group members where the focus is on healing, not on re-living the trauma
The impact of trauma is pervasive and affects not only parenting, but all significant relationships. Parents who have reactions from their own past trauma may need intervention to prevent triggering, which results in problematic behaviours that significantly impacts their relationship with their child(ren). In order to increase the well-being and functioning of the child and family, we first needed to support parents to work towards healing their trauma symptoms. We offered a trauma group for parents based on the TLC trauma manual (William Steele).
The purpose of the group is to begin healing the trauma wounds so that participants will be more available to meet their children's needs. There is an important educational element regarding learning about the differences between trauma and grief. The group is tailored to each participant's individual struggles by assisting each to identify which trauma symptoms they struggle with the most and then providing specific strategies to help them cope with these emotions. To help participants recognize that they, as women and mothers, are much more than their trauma through an exercise that identifies their identities, hobbies and interests. Facilitators witness their trauma while participants use drawings and stories, and to teach them relaxation methods as well as other ways of lessening the effects of the trauma. It is crucial that facilitators have trauma training that enables them to calmly witness participant stories and be able to react appropriately in case of crisis. We found that a majority of participants had never sought treatment for their long trauma histories and we were able to reach this population only because we were working with their children and had their trust.
We will describe why we offered the group (as noted in the Learning Outcomes above). We will describe the group model including the content of each sessions, discuss who is appropriate to attend the group, how to screen group referrals, tips for facilitating the group, and reporting requirements. Finally, we will discuss lessons learned, successes and challenges and describe outcomes as measured by pre- and post-PTSD questionnaires and participant feedback surveys. We will share case examples of how this group program has had significant implications for outcomes in family therapy that we did think could be possible.
Julia Dunlop, MSc,
Julia is Certified in attachment classification using the Circle of Security - Secure Base Safe Haven Assessment Coding framework and has attended trauma training with Bruce Perry, Geraldine Crisci, and has worked at Vanier Children's Services for ten years. Julia is also a part-time Practicum Supervisor at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario.
Jill Pariser, MSW RSW,
Jill has obtained training in Level One Trauma Certification through the National Institute of Trauma and Loss (TLC) and is a registered EMDR therapist. Jill has had training in the Circle of Security Secure Base Safe Haven Assessment and Coding Framework, Geraldine Crisci and Bruce Perry. Jill has been working at Vanier Children's Services for eight years and also works as a family practice nurse. She has her Certificate in Grief and Bereavement from King's University College at UWO. Jill presented at the Infant Mental Health Promotion Conference in 2008 and has presented at medical conferences internationally. Jill has acted as an associate professor at UWO from 201.0 until 2014. Julia Dunlop, MSc, is Certified in attachment classification using the Circle of Security - Secure Base Safe Haven Assessment Coding framework and has attended trauma training with Bruce Perry, Geraldine Crisci, and has worked at Vanier Children's Services for ten years. Julia is also a part-time Practicum Supervisor at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario.
Infant and Toddler Trauma- The Origins and Development of Early Mental Health: Why Recognizing and Responding to Early Mental Health Vulnerability Needs to be the New Normal
The quality of mental health experienced by a baby or toddler can have lifelong consequences, yet few understand how to recognize when infant mental health may be at risk and if so, how to intervene. Many adverse outcomes can be prevented when caregivers are provided with the support and information that enables them to be optimally responsive to their infants and young children. Well planned early intervention can promote positive outcomes, even in the face of diverse cumulative risk factors. We will address how early detection and rapid response can influence a child’s trajectory throughout life. We will identify and review the knowledge that practitioners need to have when working with this vulnerable population focusing on the impact of trauma. Furthermore, we will explore how the stress that accompanies trauma is associated with a very critical time in early brain development. Experiences in the early years of a child’s life have a direct relation to mental health and development in a child’s later life. This presentation will link directly to parents and families, nurses, child and youth mental health agencies, child welfare agencies, early childhood programs and more.
- Participants will become aware of the definition of infant mental health
- Participants will understand the factors that promote and derail infant mental health
- Participants will understand the impact trauma has on infant and toddler development and wellbeing
Dr. Chaya Kulkarni, BAA, M.Ed, Ed.Di, Sick Kids Hospital, Toronto,
Dr. Chaya Kulkarni is currently the Director of Infant Mental Health Promotion (IMHP) at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Infant Mental Health Promotion is a community based coalition of individuals and professional agencies dedicated to promoting optimal mental health outcomes for infants in the first three years of life. Dr. Kulkarni provides leadership to research, professional education and public awareness activities at IMHP. In her role with IMHP, Chaya is currently leading advocacy and training initiatives in areas such as child welfare including family courts, and community based programs supporting families in their neighbourhoods. She leads IMHP in the development and implementation of curricula and materials to support professionals working with families of young children.
Prior to joining IMHP, Chaya held positions as Vice President of Parent and Professional Education at Invest in Kids and as a Senior Policy Advisor at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Chaya is also an instructor at York University in the Infant Mental Health Certificate Program, and at Seneca College in the Bachelor of Child Development program, and lectures frequently at professional development events.
Chaya has also sat on the Prime Minister's Committee for the Award of Excellence and currently sits a number of committees within the health and social services sectors including: the Children’s Programming Advisory Committee for TVO, Health Nexus - Healthy Baby Healthy Brain project, FRP Canada Advisory Committee, Metro Toronto Family Services Consortium, Self Regulation Working Group (SickKids), SickKids Continuing Professional Development Committee, and the Board of Directors for Family Day one of the largest not for profit providers of child care in the GTA. She is also the co-author of a book, Your Guide to Nurturing Parent Child Relationships.
Dr. Kulkarni received her B.A.A. from Ryerson University and obtained her Masters and Doctorate degrees in Education from the University of Toronto.
Birth Trauma: Issues and Interventions
Birth Trauma, the effects in the postpartum period and interventions that can be of use – particularly for women who are facing addiction or who are survivors of sexual abuse or assault.
Emily Carrothers-Sereda, BSW, MSW (candidate) CLD.
Learning Outcomes: Most common forms of birth trauma, their presenting symptomology and their timelines. - Interventions and resources for women experiencing birth trauma, particularly women that are facing addictions or who are survivors of sexual abuse or assault. - Preventing birth trauma; prenatal discussion topics for women and partners, questions for practitioners, common pitfalls in the prenatal period that have indicators for experiencing birth trauma. Statement of Benefits: Attendees will leave this session with a deeper understanding of birth trauma in all women, particularly women facing addictions or previous sexual abuse and assault, it’s effects, presentations and common causes, as well as practical and easy interventions to help clients in the here and now.
The British Columbia project Gendering the National Framework (2009) states that 1/3 of women identify their birth as traumatic. This is a startling statistic, particularly when we add in considerations for women who are pregnant or who are giving birth who face addictions or who are survivors or sexual assault or abuse. Pregnancy and birth can be an extremely triggering time, and can exacerbate predilection towards addictions for women that have been previously violated, as well as women who are highly anxious or fearful of the birth process. If the last time a woman received vaginal stitching was after an assault, there needs to be an understanding that she may be re-traumatized after birth. As a clinical social worker completing my master’s degree, and a certified labour doula (CAPPA Canada), I work with women and families who have experienced birth trauma and are looking to prevent another birth trauma with a subsequent pregnancy or who are looking to work through their current symptoms in order to resume functioning and enjoy their time with their new little ones. There are numerous key intervention strategies that can be very effective if birth trauma identified. The Isis Rising Prison Project (2014) looked at having prenatal, labour and postpartum supports in place for women who are incarcerated and had such excellent outcomes for lowering trauma and maintaining harm reduction or cessation of addictions that the United States government has decided to fund these birth supports. I would like to share these interventions and outcomes in the hopes that we can stem the tide of trauma in birth.
The workshop will take place in three twenty minute segments, allowing for 15 minutes of Q & A at the end: Section 1 The workshop will begin with an overview of birth trauma, it’s most common causes and links to addiction, sexual abuse and assault, and anxiety disorders. This portion will be research informed with recent studies, the Isis Prison Project (2014), Gendering the National Framework (2009) and The Birth Trauma Report (2013) forming the bricks and mortar. Section 2 This section will focus on how birth trauma presents in the postpartum period. Who is typically the first to notice that mom is struggling? What about when women live in shelter or are under housed, are the presentations different? This section aims to get the attending practitioners to apply their knowledge of women in the postpartum period, be it in shelter or in wealthy families, and begin to tease out what a woman struggling with trauma might “look like”. Section 3 This section will cover the interventive strategies for women and families facing birth trauma. Again, the aim will to have attendees connect clients to one or two practical interventions of four that will be presented. We will discuss PTSD and Postpartum Psychosis as well as postpartum anxiety and disassociation.
Emily Sereda is a clinical social worker and a certified labour doula practicing in London, Ontario. She holds her BSW and is completing her MSW, with her main area of research concentrated on birth trauma and anti-oppressive birth practices. She holds her doula certification from the Childbirth and Postpartum Professional’s Association, Canada.
Along with her research, Emily practices with women and families who have experienced birth trauma and are looking to prevent another birth trauma with a subsequent pregnancy or who are looking to work through their current symptoms in order to resume functioning and enjoy their time with their new little ones.
Emily is also a mom of three, aged 5 years, 2 years and 9 months, and is passionate not only about social work and feminist practice, but also about finger painting, cookie baking and all forms of play.
Emily hopes to go on to doctoral work in Social Work, with the aim of completing research into birth practices that would help to mitigate trauma and make birth an empowering and safe event for all, no matter socio-economic or mental health status.
A Documentary about the families of soldiers
With Family from the film onsite for panel discussion
"Soldier's Children" - by Laura Sky. Documentary Screening with some youth from the film.
" In October 2011, we convened a working group of veterans, a psychiatrist, an art therapist and a documentary film team to create a Participatory Documentary Project that will give Canadians the opportunity to better understand the individual, family and community experiences of people living with PTSD. The group has since decided to highlight the voices of their children, who are so deeply effected by their parents' experience of PTSD. Together, we have made a commitment to produce a documentary project which will also serve as a forum for participants to express themselves, engage in a healing process and reach out to others in the military, in their neighbourhoods, in their schools, and in their circles of family and friends...."
Laura Sky Executive Director, Producer/Director
In 1980, after eight years at the National Film Board, Laura Sky began her career as an independent film director and producer. She established SkyWorks in 1983. Her work is widely known and acknowledged both here at home and throughout the world as evidenced by the many awards and citations her films have received. She has taught film at Queens, York, and Ryerson Polytechnic Universities and has lectured extensively throughout Canada, and in Germany and Sweden. Laura has also worked as a free-lance journalist and research for both radio and television current affairs programs. In 1986 she received a Woman of Distinction award from the YWCA of Metropolitan Toronto for her contribution to arts and letters. In June 2005, Laura received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Laurentian University for her achievements as one of Canada's most distinguished documentary filmmakers. A socially committed creative artist, Laura Sky has made her personal vision of film making a vibrant and popular reality
A personal view and response to Soldier's Children: Military Families, Operational Stress Support
Description coming soon
Born into a military family, Kayla has experienced the joys and struggles of military culture first hand. Her dad served for 24 years as an infantry soldier and completed 7 tours. At 12 she began volunteering for the Meaford Military Family Resource Centre and opened a drop-in centre for teens. She has since been volunteering for Military Family Resource Centres in Toronto and London. These experiences lead her to complete her Early Childhood Education at Fanshawe College. With great passion for military families, Kayla has continued her education at the University of Western Ontario in Family Studies and Sociology. In 2011 she began volunteering with OSISS, an organization that provides peer support for members and families that struggle with Operational Stress Injuries. She has participated in a variety of public speaking engagements and community outreach actions in support of military families and mental health.
Laureen Partington is a certified yoga instructor, having completed the the 200 hr Wavelength Yoga Teacher Training Program of 2012/2013 ( Norwood ,ON) Laureen regularly incorporates her yoga philosophy into her everyday life and finds it beneficial in her role as a wife and mother of two daughters. Laureen has developed a trauma informed yoga practice at the Youth Emergency Shelter in Peterborough, where she volunteers her time. She has also created her practicum at Camplbellford Hospital’s Mental Health Centre in their outreach program for out-patient clients.
Laureen is also part of a military family.
Please bring a yoga mat and appropriate clothes.
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