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Becoming 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.

ACT for Anxiety: Letting Go of the Struggle

This experiential workshop is intended for participants who are experimenting with acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) in their practice and specifically wish to finesse their skills when addressing client issues relating to general anxiety disorder, panic disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder. Our aim will be to explore how ACT can be applied to address the cognitive fears that accompany anxiety, to calm the physiological responses to that fear, to shift clients towards acting in a less avoidant manner, and instead in a manner that reflects what truly matters to them. The ACT matrix and the choice point will guide us through this process.

It is expected that participants will have already taken an introductory ACT course (through Laurier’s Faculty of Social Work Professional Development program, online, or through another organization) and are, at minimum, familiar with the six core processes of the Hexaflex, as well as ACT language, exercises and metaphors. It is also expected that participants are familiar with the diagnostic criteria for these anxiety disorders since our focus will be less on defining anxiety and more on applying the ACT model to anxiety.

Note: This is not an ACT workshop for beginners. Participants will need some foundational knowledge of ACT prior to this training.

Advancing Single Session Therapy

  • Dates: June 10 and 11, 2019 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Cost: $275
  • Instructor: Scot Cooper, RP
  • Hours: 12

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 Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) Booster

This experiential workshop is designed for those who have already taken an introductory ACT course (either through Laurier’s Faculty of Social Work Professional Development program, online, or through another organization) and want a refresher on application and practice.

The assumption will be that participants are familiar with the six core processes of the Hexaflex but wish to feel more comfortable implementing the accompanying exercises and metaphors. We will spend time practicing the application of each of the processes, with time for troubleshooting, experimentation and peer consultation. Participants who feel stuck with particular client issues are encouraged to bring these practice dilemmas to the workshop and be prepared for some hands-on practice. Participants can expect less of a lecture-style workshop, and more of an interactive, practice-based, skills-focused day.

As the intention is to tailor this workshop to the needs of those attending, participants will be contacted after registration and asked to identify one area of ACT they wish to focus during the training.

Note: This is not an ACT workshop for beginners. Participants will need some foundational knowledge of ACT prior to this training.

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.

At the end of this workshop participants will be able to:

  • Explain the main theories that inform DBT.
  • Describe the structure and modes of treatment of DBT.
  • Review the five modules of DBT Skills Group.
  • Explain dialectics and validation and its role within the treatment.
  • Describe stylistic strategies of DBT.

An Introduction to Motivational Interviewing for Helping Professionals

  • Dates: April 4 and 5, 2019 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Cost: $275
  • Instructor: Angela Rolleman, MSW
  • Hours: 12

Motivational interviewing (MI), developed by clinical psychologists William Miller and Stephen Rollnick, is a directive, client-centered approach used to strengthen clients’ motivation for positive behaviour change by exploring and resolving feelings of ambivalence. Research has shown that the MI approach, first developed for work with problem drinkers, is effective in activating positive behaviour change for a wide range of concerns including substance abuse, mental health problems, unhealthy relationships, diabetes management, smoking cessation, weight loss, unemployment and health care improvement.

This two-day interactive workshop will introduce participants to the fundamental principles and techniques of motivational interviewing. Upon completion of this training, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the basic concepts of motivational interviewing, including its spirit and essential strategies.
  • Describe the stages of change model and explain the relationship between motivational interventions and stages of change.
  • Assess clients’ readiness for change.
  • Implement motivational interviewing strategies to explore and resolve clients' feelings of ambivalence or resistance to change including eight different strategies for responding to resistance.
  • Identify and facilitate "change talk" in their clients including nine different strategies for eliciting “change talk.”
  • Strengthen empathic engaging skills (described by the OARS acronym).
  • Practice applying MI to address difficult situations.

This workshop is not part of the Addiction certificate program. If you are working toward the Addiction certificate you must take the two-day Motivational Interviewing in Addiction Treatment workshop in order to receive credit towards the certificate.

Brief Single Session Therapy

  • Dates: May 27 and 28, 2019 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Cost: $275
  • Instructor: Scot Cooper, RP
  • Hours: 12

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.

Together we will explore:

  • 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

Fall 2018

Spring 2019

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."

At the end of this workshop participants will be able to:

  • 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 workshop that requires a basic understanding of DBT. Participants must have completed a foundational DBT workshop (such as An Introduction to DBT) before registering. The instructor will assume participants are familiar with:

  • The four areas of DBT (mindfulness, individual therapy, group and coaching), and the function of each
  • Bio-social theory of DBT and invalidating environment.
  • Seeking validation before seeking for change.
  • Dialectics and what that means for the therapist and the client.

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 increases 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.

At the end of this workshop participants will be able to:

  • 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 workshop that requires a basic understanding of DBT. Participants must have completed a foundational DBT workshop (such as An Introduction to DBT) before registering. The instructor will assume participants are familiar with:

  • The four modes and functions of DBT Treatment (individual therapy, skills group, telephone coaching and consultation).
  • How DBT conceptualizes clients through the bio-social theory of DBT.
  • What validation and dialectics are and how to use them effectively as clinicians in DBT.

I Just Graduated... Am I Ready?

Graduating with an MSW can come with relief from the student world of classes, readings and assignments, and eager anticipation of entry into the social work practice world. Despite recognizing that they have furthered their education and have accumulated some experience, many new grads also feel as though they could be more confident transitioning if they had a few more concrete, practical skills. This workshop is intended to address that need and to boost confidence moving forward.

This experiential workshop is geared towards recent Master of Social Work graduates and will be tailored to meet the identified needs of the participants registering for the day. As a result, participants will be invited to identify specific skills they wish to enhance and practice, and to note them at the time of registration for the workshop. Examples of such skills may include (but are not limited to) assessment skills, therapeutic techniques, documentation, supervision, job interview skills, as well as addressing “imposter syndrome.” The workshop will be built around the identified needs. Be prepared to engage in an interactive, skill specific, hands-on day aimed at enhancing skills and building confidence as you make the transition from new grad to practitioner.

Introduction to Drama Therapy

This course will introduce participants to the theory and practice of drama therapy.* Drama therapy is the intentional use of drama and theatre processes, often using a blend of story, role, metaphor, embodiment, play, and expression, in order to help participants achieve therapeutic goals. Rationale for, and examples of, using drama therapy for expression, healing, and action will be explored in individual, family and group contexts.

Drama therapy is active and experiential. Therefore, rather than spending too much time “telling,” this course will focus on learning through “doing.” It is designed to be highly experiential, allowing participants to actively engage in drama therapy methods as both a participant and a facilitator.** In addition, some didactic information regarding different approaches to drama therapy will provided throughout the course using video, conversation and handouts.

Participants will:

  • Gain an introductory understanding of the use of drama and theatre processes towards therapeutic goals.
  • Experience drama therapy activities and exercises across the developmental spectrum and in different settings (e.g. individual, family, and group).
  • Gain knowledge on at least three different approaches to drama therapy (role method, developmental transformations, five phase model)
  • Obtain a handout of useful articles, books and websites with additional resources.
  • Receive information about training programs and accreditation in drama therapy.

Notes

*This is an introductory course and calling oneself an arts therapist is a protected term. If you are interested in becoming certified in expressive arts therapy or one of the specific modalities, further information about official training programs and national organizations will be provided.

** Experiential activities will differ from other workshops being run by Christine Mayor.

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.

The workshop will include information on:

  • 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.

The Basics of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is a popular clinical model that can be a helpful tool when working with individuals, families and groups. Because its impact tends to be more easily measured than some other clinical treatments, it is one of the most recommended therapies and is often the key method referred to when research refers to "evidence-based practice."

This introductory workshop will review both cognitive and behavioural techniques, with time allotted for demonstration, practice and discussion of case application. Beginning clinicians, as well as those who are newer to CBT, will increase their confidence in identifying when and how to apply these strategies. A variety of teaching tools including PowerPoint, discussion, film and triad work will help us move throughout the day.

Note: This workshop cannot be used toward the CBT certificate.

Using Music Listening Techniques as a Therapeutic Tool

This two-day experiential training will offer participants practical ideas and tools for using music listening as a therapeutic tool.​ The workshop will begin with an overview of the rationales for using music with your clients. Together, we will then explore and experiment with the various some of the techniques for using music listening as a therapeutic tools, including symbolic distance, associative listening, guided imagination and listening, memory evoking listening, trauma/grief work and music listening, problem solving and listening, music listening and life line, personal musical biography, song discussion, empowering listening, uplifting listening, relaxing listening, drawing and music listening, storytelling and listening and creative writing and listening.

Learning Objectives

  • What are the neurological and psychological rationales for using music as a therapeutic tool?
  • What are the contraindications of music listening?
  • How can music be used in the psychotherapeutic process?
  • Why is sad music often considered therapeutic?
  • When and how to use provocative music.
  • Practice, practice, practice.

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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