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Join us at Laurier

Being a Golden Hawk means more than just cheering on our (really good) varsity teams – it means being a student who cares about your community, who works hard in the classroom, and who takes advantage of all the learning opportunities that can happen outside the classroom, too.


You don't need to enrol in a certificate course to take advantage of the engaging professional development opportunities available through the Faculty of Social Work. We offer a wide range of workshops to suit a variety of fields and interests.

Interested in a topic not covered by one of our workshops? Customized training is also available.

Advancing Single Session Therapy

  • Date: June 18 and 19, 2018; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Cost: $275
  • Instructor: Scot Cooper, RP

This workshop provides a venue for you to further extend your therapeutic skills for single session therapeutic contexts. We begin with exploration of our practice ethics and ways to navigate the tensions and pulls in working in such time constraint -- when must we 'lean in', how do we resist colonizing practices? Working with segments of transcript, scenario discussions and video review we will explore options for proceeding amidst various levels of complexity. Specifically, participants will have the time to practice conversation options amidst trauma conversations and through a re-conceptualization of 'crisis'. The practice of counter-storying will be introduced as a means to address the effects of negative identity conclusions that keep people mired in their distress. We will also explore a quality assurance/outcome measure that holds us accountable to our practice intentions and further informs our own professional growth.  

Learning Objectives

  • Extending our listening for the range of entry points to 'stories in the making' and counter stories.
  • Ways to resist replicating the politics of culture in session.
  • Ways to proceed amidst stories of the experience of trauma that shore up safety and infuse possibility.
  • A re-conceptualization of crisis that opens new possibilities for people and infuses a sense of hope.
  • The practice of counter-storying pathology.
  • Various uses of 'take-away documentation' to support a counter story.

It is required that participants have completed the Brief Single Session Therapy workshop (or similar) and have experience at walk-in clinics or other time-constrained contexts.  

An Introduction to Canine Assisted Interventions

Have you ever thought about incorporating your love for animals with your passion for the work that you do? Does it interest you to involve a co-therapist with four legs? Join us for an interactive two days that will include case studies, video clips, group work, discussion and handling experiences with Holly and Uley, facility dogs from National Service Dogs (NSD).

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the benefits of the human-animal bond and the ethical treatment of animal partners.
  • Gain specific knowledge about animal assisted interventions (AAI) with a focus on canine assisted interventions (CAI) with children and youth.
  • Differentiate between animal assisted activities and animal assisted therapies and acquire some concrete tools to incorporate AAI (both activities and therapies) into your work (with or without a live animal).
  • Attain the information to write a proposal for AAI within your work environment and learn about applying for your own facility dog through NSD. This workshop is required training for all National Services Dogs (NDS) facility dog handlers.

An Introduction to Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) was developed for people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. More recently, DBT has been used to help people manage painful emotions, bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, and improve relationships. DBT is focused on increasing people’s skill development in the areas of mindfulness, emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness and distress tolerance. It also provides generative ways of thinking about our judgments and expectations, our relationships and our behaviours, cognitions and emotions.  

Learning Objectives

  • Explain the main theories that inform DBT.
  • Describe a common way of structuring DBT.
  • Explain selected skills from the four groups of DBT skills.
  • Consider ways DBT can be integrated with other models of therapy, such as CBT, narrative therapy, and attachment-based therapies.
  • Critically examine some of the model’s assumptions (for example, what ideas about people, problems, solutions, and the world does DBT perpetuate and/or challenge?).
  • Consider issues pertaining to the therapist’s use-of-self when using DBT with clients.

Brief Single Session Therapy

  • Date: May 28 and 29, 2018; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Cost: $275
  • Instructor: Scot Cooper

Brief services have emerged as a core component of an agency's modern diverse service menu. As such single session therapy, often provided through walk-in clinic services, provides a viable alternative to long wait lists, offering a venue for people to address various life problems at their time of need. This two-day workshop will immerse participants in the thinking and skill set of brief single session therapeutic practice.

Drawing from contemporary 'brief therapies' we will explore concepts and practices that support a collaborative, competency-based, person-centred approach that builds pathways forward drawing from people’s lived experience. You will learn to hear several 'entry points' to possibility that foreground people’s preferences for life and the many skills of living they bring with them to these conversations. A structure for conceptualizing the single session conversation will be provided.

The application of brief therapies theory will be grounded in practical skills that you can use the very next day. Ideas will be explored through didactic presentation, group discussion, skills exercise and video review of conversations with children, and adults. This workshop is well suited to all service providers, beginning and experienced, working in time-constrained contexts with people describing various problems.

Learning Objectives

  • Ways of thinking about people, problems and change that relate well to exploring possibility and outline an ethic of practice.
  • A design for single session therapy sessions that brings focus, coherence and completion to the process.
  • How to listen with a 'brief ear' to quickly hear entry points to possibility.
  • Several questions to elicit difference and possibility that foreground competency.
  • Practices for co-crafting various 'take-home' documents.
  • Ways to co-develop culturally and contextually relevant 'next steps' and extend the conversation well past the session into everyday living.

Core Counselling Skills

Do you work in a role where counselling is not your primary focus, but where you are often required to assist, advise or counsel? This workshop is designed for people like you who find themselves assisting clients, students, patients, the public etc. with brief counselling and referral. The focus is on general counselling principles and skills and the integration of these into practice. The workshop will use lecture, role play and case studies as a way of engaging participants in the acquisition of practical skills. Participants can expect to actively participate in this course.

Throughout the day participants will:

  • Become familiar with a variety of individual counselling skills.
  • Practice those skills through role play, observation and coaching.
  • Gain an understanding about ethical and professional issues involved with the counselling process.

Specific aspects of the program include:

  • Principles and ethics of counselling.
  • Empathy and assessing needs.
  • Contracting and goal settings.
  • Solution focused interventions.
  • Diversity and cultural issues.
  • Crisis intervention.
  • Self-care and knowing when to refer.

This workshop will be of interest to those working in a variety of human services including healthcare providers, educators, social workers, social service workers, police and law enforcement personnel, residential staff and those considering careers in the helping professions.

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy: Assessment and Individual Therapy

Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) is a comprehensive treatment approach for chronically suicidal clients. However, in the last decade DBT has received empirical support to treat other populations including eating disorders, addiction, anger problems and other mood disorders. Additionally, it has been adapted for adolescent mental health populations, inpatient, residential and forensic settings. DBT clients are taught more skillful ways to regulate their emotions, effectively manage the distressing situations in their lives, and improve and maintain relationships with the people around them. These skills are taught within a caring treatment relationship that accepts the client for who and where they are, while maintaining a movement towards creating "a life worth living".

Learning Objectives

  • Understand how to conceptualize a case based on the principles and theory guiding DBT.
  • Identify how to structure the individual therapy session.
  • Describe and use commitment, dialectical and stylistic strategies common to DBT.
  • Identify core treatment strategies for managing difficult in session behaviour and avoiding therapeutic impasses.

Note: This is an advanced level course that requires a basic understanding of DBT. Participants must have completed a foundational DBT workshop (such as An Introduction to DBT) before registering as an overview of DBT will not be provided.

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy: DBT Skills Group

Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) is a comprehensive treatment approach for chronically suicidal clients. However, in the last decade DBT has received empirical support to treat other populations including eating disorders, addiction, anger problems and other mood disorders. Additionally, it has been adapted for adolescent mental health populations, inpatient, residential and forensic settings. A core mode of intervention within DBT is the DBT Skills Group whereby clients are taught more skillful ways to regulate their emotions, effectively manage the distressing situations in their lives, and improve and maintain relationships with the people around them. These skills are taught in a weekly skills group for adults and in a multi-family skills group for the adolescent population. There is currently evidence that supports decreases in problematic behaviour and increase in adaptive coping by implementing skills group as a stand alone intervention; this has resulted even in the application of DBT Skills within the education system.

Learning Objectives

  • Have a clear understanding of the theory and principles behind DBT.
  • Understand the content within the five modules of DBT skills: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness and walking the middle path.
  • Learn how to run a DBT skills group both in structure and guiding principles.
  • Understand how to deal with therapy interfering behaviour in a group setting.

Note: This is an advanced level course that requires a basic understanding of DBT. Participants must have completed a foundational DBT workshop (such as An Introduction to DBT) before registering as an overview of DBT will not be provided.

Redeveloping Secure Adult Attachments: A Journey of Awareness, Mourning and Change

Relationships with caregivers in the early years have a profound influence on an adult’s self-perceptions, perception of others and his/her capacity for intimate relationships. Adults with secure attachments and healthy mutual adult relationships usually have had consistent nurturing and care from parents or caregivers. Yet adults with a history of inconsistent parenting, rejection or even severe neglect and abuse can redevelop their capacity for secure attachments in adulthood. By understanding the impact of early childhood experiences on their personality development and present relationships, mourning the losses and longings from these early child/parent relationships and developing a non-judgmental stance in exploring their patterns, adults can develop greater security.

This workshop will present a model of therapy and interventions for therapists to help clients recognize their unconscious models of relationships, to develop greater security through the therapeutic relationship and to risk new and healthy interactive patterns in present relationships. The therapist/counsellor’s awareness of her/his own attachment is important in the work with clients.

Learning Objectives

  • A brief review of attachment theory.
  • Adult attachment categories.
  • Assessing adult attachment.
  • The neurobiology of adult attachment.
  • Mental health categories from attachment theory perspective.
  • Attachment based model of individual adult therapy.
  • Mourning early longings and losses.
  • The reparative process of the therapeutic relationship.
  • Risking change in everyday life.

Case examples, videos and role playing will be presented to demonstrate the interventions.

This workshop will be of interest to experienced service practitioners working with adults in individual therapy, marriage and family and parent work, such as counsellors, social workers, social service workers, psychologists and other professionals providing psychotherapy.

Use of Self

Therapists’ "self" is a significant part of their work with clients; it is the instrument we use, just like musicians use their instruments in making music. Who we are as a person impacts who we are as therapists. Any therapeutic model or intervention that we use in our work, it is mediated through the person we are. And who we are is shaped by our histories, life experiences, social locations and many other factors. The more aware we are of our "self," the more intentional we can be in how we employ our selves in our work.

In this workshop, we will spend some time looking at various factors that shape our self. We will explore the interplay between the personal and the professional and enhance our understanding of "safe and effective use of self."

Certificate Courses

You can take any of the courses associated with our certificates without working towards the full program. Learn more about the certificates we offer.

Customized Training

We also provide customized training solutions delivered right to you, saving your organization time and money. We will work with your agency, organization or association to provide your staff or members with a professional development program that meets your unique needs.

Contact Lynne Jordan in the Professional Development office.

Contact Us:

Lynne Jordan, Coordinator, Professional Development

E: ljordan@wlu.ca
T: 519.884.0710 x5265

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