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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.

Milton campus  Milton


Changes Due to COVID-19

In-person workshops from Sept. 2020 to Apr. 2021 will be live streamed through Zoom. In-person workshops from May to July 2021 are scheduled for on campus in either Kitchener or Milton. If we are unable to hold in-person events at the time of the training, the workshop will be changed to the live stream option. Registrations will be automatically switched to the live stream workshop and our usual cancellation policy will apply. If you have any questions, please contact the Faculty of Social Work Professional Development office at prior to registering.

Counselling is not one-size-fits-all. As a therapist, counsellor or social worker, you understand that each client has their own unique strengths and experiences. You want to be able to meet each client where they’re at, allowing them to draw on those strengths and experiences to help them move forward and thrive.

Held in our Milton location, this skill-based certificate will provide you with a broad overview of the various counselling approaches that can help you build a therapeutic toolbox to address the needs of most clients. This certificate will allow you to explore various therapeutic modalities in depth and provide you with opportunities to practice the skills you are learning with peers in the classroom so you’ll be able to confidently begin using the skills with your clients. 

Completion Requirements

To complete the Counselling Techniques Certificate, you must select a minimum of seven workshops from the list below. You can complete this certificate in as little as one year or take up to seven years. You do not have to be working toward the Counselling Techniques Certificate to take any of these courses. These workshops can be taken in any order.

Becoming a Therapist

Completing this Counselling Techniques Certificate will not qualify you to practice therapy or register with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers or the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. Please visit those websites for information on becoming a therapist in Ontario.


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: The Model, the Application, the Practice

  • Dates: April 27 and 28, 2021
  • Cost: $330
  • Location: Live Stream (Zoom)
  • Time: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
  • Instructor: Margaret Notar, MA, MSW, RSW
  • Hours: 12

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a psychotherapy model considered to be a more modern version of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and one of the “third wave” of behavioural therapies. ACT encourages us to let go of emotional struggles and live our lives according to our values, regardless of unwanted or uncomfortable thoughts, feelings, memories or physical sensations. Its goal is the development of psychological flexibility, achieved through the use of mindfulness, metaphors and experiential exercises. It is an interactive treatment approach that can be creative and inspiring!

This two-day workshop will be suitable for those who are new to the model, those who have only had some preliminary exposure to ACT as well as to those who are better versed in the model and are looking to expand their confidence in its clinical application. Day 1 will include an overview of the model, its six processes and its interventions to ensure we are all on the same page, presented as interactively as Zoom will allow! Day 2 will place a greater focus on practical application and honing of skills. To reflect the interactive spirit of ACT, this workshop will move beyond PowerPoint, and will include demonstration, experience and rehearsal of ACT strategies. Come prepared to deepen your understanding, expand and polish your clinical repertoire and become enthused by a user-friendly, down to earth model that speaks to us all regardless of our circumstances.

An Introduction to Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)

  • Dates: Next offering 2021/2022
  • Time: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Cost: $330
  • Location: Live Stream (Zoom)
  • Instructor: Elisha Van Harte, MSW, RSW
  • Hours: 12
Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) was initially developed for individuals with complex mental health problems and engaging in suicidal behaviour. It is the only evidenced-based intervention for borderline personality disorder. In the last decade DBT has been adapted to a wider range of severe emotional dysregulation disorders (bipolar, binge eating disorder) and effectively applied within a wide range of clinical settings (forensic, school, hospital, residential). DBT focuses on improving client’s ability to tolerate intense emotions, manage distressing situations without making them worse, improve interpersonal effectiveness and increase mindfulness skills all within a comprehensive, multi-mode treatment modality. 
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 5 modules of DBT skills group.
  • Explain dialectics and validation and its role within the treatment.
  • Describe stylistic strategies of DBT.

An Overview of Narrative Therapy

  • Dates: March 2 and 3, 2021
  • Time: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Cost: $330
  • Location: Live Stream (Zoom)
  • Instructor: Anna Toth, MSc, RP, RMFT
  • Hours: 12

Narrative therapy is a deeply respectful and highly collaborative therapy grounded in the theories of philosophers Michel Foucault and Jerome Bruner. Narrative therapy focuses on the stories that live us, the oppressive forms of power that hold us captive within those stories, and our multiple, unending forms of resistance to oppression. This timely and important two-day workshop will provide an overview of the key concepts and practices of narrative therapy, with emphasis on harnessing client resistance to oppression and using client stories to articulate the unique values, principles and preferences for living at the core of their resistance.

Brief Single Session Therapy

  • Dates: June 1 and 2, 2021
  • Time: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Cost: $330
  • Location: Live Stream (Zoom)
  • Instructor: Scot Cooper, RP
  • Hours: 12

Brief therapeutic 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 or call ahead appointment, provides a viable alternative to long waitlists, 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.

Coaching Skills for Clinicians and Therapists

What is the difference between therapy and coaching? What are the objectives, tools and scopes of practice for both? Can I hold myself out as a coach if I’m a regulated mental health professional?

A good many trends are at work in the field of mental health care, and one of them is that therapy is becoming a “go to” for just about everything. While this has created a robust and growing field for those of that practice, it has also introduced complications that muddy the waters of the therapy room. We must grow a toolkit of great clinical skills, but we must also know when to get out of those skills because something else is required. Your clients already possess incredible wisdom and intuition, where sometimes less is more from their therapist. In this two-day workshop we’ll learn:

  • The scope, tools and differences between coaching and therapy.
  • The difference between a “therapy” client and a “coaching” client.
  • Methods, skills and tools that help the coaching process occur.
  • Helpful exercises that facilitate application to your own context.
  • Knowledge of coaching certification, regulation and its role in contemporary workplaces.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy in Practice

  • Dates: Next offering 2021/2022
  • Time: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Cost: $330
  • Location: Live Stream (Zoom)
  • Instructor: Jennifer Hackbart, MSW, RSW
  • Hours: 12

Discover and begin using some of the most evidence-based interventions in the field of psychotherapy. In this workshop you will learn why cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is one of the most widely recognized and highly reputable psychotherapy models, and you will leave prepared to use a few of the most core and life changing interventions this model offers. Additionally, you will be equipped with several tools to help clients immediately begin seeing a shift and alleviation of symptoms of depression and anxiety, in both adult and child populations. This workshop will use a variety of adult learning methods including the use of lecture, live and video demonstrations, handouts and live coaching for competencies practice.

Creating Secure Relationships: An Introduction to Emotionally Focused Therapy

  • Dates: June 16 and 17, 2021
  • Time: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Cost: $330
  • Location: Live Stream (Zoom)
  • Instructor: Robin Williams Blake, RP
  • Hours: 12

Emotionally focused therapy (EFT) integrates experiential and systemic theories under the umbrella of attachment theory. It offers a unique combination of empirically supported change processes and techniques informed by an explicit theory of adult love.

An overview of emotionally focused therapy will be presented with a particular emphasis on working with couples. Lecture and discussion will demonstrate how the approach explores both the intra-psychic and the interpersonal worlds of the couple in distress.

As partners engage in typical, reactive ways (the negative cycle) we look to slow down and deepen emotional experience and begin to frame these reactions as understandable, predictable responses to attachment related fears and needs. The aim of this seminar is to offer an overview of the interventions used by EFT therapists that deepen the exploration of underlying, previously unexpressed attachment-related emotions, in order to help couples to develop more secure and deeply satisfying connections.

Emotionally focused individual therapy (EFIT) and emotionally focused family therapy (EFFT) models will also be touched upon. In her new book, Attachment Theory in Practice, Sue Johnson states the EFT tango is the basic intervention that the therapist employs again and again in all stages and forms (individual, couple, family) of EFT (Johnson – 2019).

Learning Objectives

This workshop is designed to help you:
  • Explain the emotionally focused couples therapy model, including the basic assumptions and theoretical foundations.
  • View relational distress from an attachment perspective.
  • Select and assess clients/patients appropriate for EFT.
  • Identify the clinical techniques and skills used in EFT.
  • Recognize how the EFT therapist elicits and deepens clients attachment longings and fears to create change.
  • Identify how EFT shapes new interactions and key bonding events.
  • Learn the key intervention in all modalities of EFT: the Tango.

Fundamentals of Ethics

  • Dates: Next offering 2021/2022
  • Time: 9 a.m to 4 p.m.
  • Cost: $330
  • Location: Live Stream (Zoom)
  • Instructor: Anna Toth, MSc, RP, RMFT
  • Hours: 12

Social work training programs rarely include courses on professional ethics. This workshop fills that gap. Over the course of two days, you will engage in a comprehensive overview of ethical principles, theories and decision-making in social work practice. Emphasis will be placed on concrete strategies and tools designed to help you make grounded and defensible ethical decisions. Topics include informed consent, confidentiality, safe and effective use of self, incorporating an anti-oppressive and equity minded lens in ethical decision-making, risk assessment and clinical documentation. This highly pragmatic workshop uses a variety of teaching and learning processes to effectively translate theory into practice for contemporary social workers. Keep the College off your back in this interesting, challenging and fun workshop.

Introduction to Motivational Interviewing

  • Dates: Next offering 2021/2022
  • Time: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Cost: $330
  • Location: Live Stream (Zoom)
  • 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.

Mental Health 101

  • Dates: Next offering 2021/2022
  • Time: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Cost: $330
  • Location: Live Stream (Zoom)
  • Instructor: Ian Robertson, MSW, RSW
  • Hours: 12

This two-day workshop will overview mental health for professionals in the fields of health, education, social services and justice. This course is also open to paraprofessionals who are seeking a basic overview of mental health knowledge and understanding. This training will cover the definitions of mental health and illness, its prevalence, symptoms and treatment approaches for mood disorders, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, concurrent disorder using an integrated model approach, suicide and parasuicide and finally, the role of health promotion as a means to working towards mental wellness strategies and resiliency.

Learning Objectives
  • Review the definitions of mental health and illness.
  • Statistical impact of mental health in Canada.
  • Gain knowledge on the signs and symptoms of a mood disorders, anxiety disorders and
  • schizophrenia.
  • Review the components of a mental status examination.
  • The power of 'connection' as a means to wellness.
  • Provide an overview of concurrent disorders and an integrated approach.
  • Foreseeability versus predictability of suicide.
  • Review the risk factors to the pathway of suicide.
  • Gain knowledge and understanding to parasuicidal (cutting, burning and other self-harming acts) behaviours and how to respond.
  • Effective safety planning for suicidal risk.
  • Multi-systemic assessment of threat making behaviour.
  • Health promotion, mental wellness approaches and resiliency.

Solution Focused Brief Therapy: 'Slicing it Thin'

Solution focused brief therapy (SFBT) is an evidence-based, brief psychotherapy approach that provides interviewing tools and techniques that practitioners can use to identify and amplify people’s strengths and viable solutions to problems. “Rather than looking for what is wrong and how to fix it, we tend to look for what is right and how to use it” (Berg and Miller, 1992).
This workshop will provide participants with clinical training in solution focused brief therapy, focusing on the three key components of competency: clinical thinking, clinical stance and clinical practice (techniques and specific applications). A solid foundation on the systemic background and philosophy of SFBT will set the stage for mastering the main interventions:

  • advanced micro-skills
  • micro-questions
  • the specific SFBT techniques
  • step-by-step guidelines (including the ‘Therapist Checklist’ and ‘micro-analysis’) for conducting effective SFBT

Didactic presentation, video-recorded examples of SFBT sessions, and experiential exercises will be used to provide a comprehensive, fun and challenging training experience.

Learning Objectives:
Suppose tonight, while you’re sleeping a miracle happens – and tomorrow when you awaken you find that you’re an even more efficient solution-focused brief therapist than before! How will you know? What will you notice? Specifically, what will you be doing differently?

By the end of this workshop participants will:

  • Know the research supporting SFBT.
  • Understand the tenets, assumptions and stance necessary to provide effective SFBT, including the influential theories that guide SFBT.
  • Know techniques for discovering the abilities, skills and virtues of their clients and the rationale behind doing so based on Seligman and Peterson’s research on character strengths and virtues.
  • Understand and be able to implement the five main treatment interventions.
  • Master techniques specific to SFBT.
  • Utilize micro-questions and the ability to ‘slice it thin’.
  • Use micro-analysis to develop therapeutic skills.
  • Know how languaging skills, such as being tentative, pre-suppositional, and metaphorical, enhance the work.
  • Understand the application of SFBT to specific presenting issues such as anxiety and depression.

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

  • Dates: Next offering 2021/2022
  • Time: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Cost: $330
  • Location: Live Stream (Zoom)
  • Instructor: Annette Kussin, MSW, RSW
  • Hours: 12

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 Private Practice Roadmap

You know you have the clinical skills, but you aren’t sure what steps to take to move into private practice. You have always practiced ethically and responsibly, and you are not about to compromise those professional values in private practice. The sheer volume of information and things to consider when opening your practice is daunting. You have planned your private practice in your head since you started graduate school. You have dreamed about your practice, read blogs, listened to podcasts, and received countless free tip sheets from programs that are created to help you build your private practice. Putting your faith in these resources scares you. It feels like a risk. Legalities, ethics, and financial considerations all run through your head and cause you to feel overwhelmed with unanswered questions.

The Private Practice Roadmap is a course designed to answer your questions about private practice and give you a structured, sensible and practical plan to help you lay a solid foundation for your practice. Over the two days, we will cover such topics as motivation, ethics, set-up, expenses, administration, marketing and cultivating referral and client relationships. By the end of the workshop, you will have achieved clarity on your vision for your practice, have created a concrete plan to launch your practice and will develop confidence in your ability to sustain it over the long term.

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