Compassionate Self-Care for Post-Secondary Counsellors and Carers

December 13, 2019 

Nanaimo, BC at the Vancouver Island University – Nanaimo Campus

This event has passed.

“Strategy Session with Jonny Morris”
Jonathan Morris, CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Div
Monday, May 4, 2020
In a changing landscape of new policies, procedures and approaches to mental health, we face new opportunities and challenges as post-secondary counsellors in British Columbia. Fortunately, there is strength in numbers! Kicking off the 2020 PSCA conference, Jonathan Morris, CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association BC Division, will brief us on the current strategic landscape in the province and will go on to facilitate a deep dive discussion around our priorities and goals for engaging with government. Jonathan Morris comes back to the Canadian Mental Health Association BC Division as CEO after almost two years in the public service working for the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, where he played a key role in helping build this new Ministry from the ground up, eventually leading the Policy and Legislation Branch as Senior Director. In this role, Jonathan was responsible for providing advice on a range of complex policy and legislative initiatives, while leading several transformational mental health and addictions programs. In his past role at the Canadian Mental Health Association, Jonathan provided leadership for provincial mental health and substance use operations through the Association’s provincial office and the branch network across British Columbia. His work focused on addressing systemic disparities between physical and mental health, campus mental health, the criminal justice system, systems transformation, policy and government relations. Jonathan has a long research and practice history in suicide prevention, has trained as a counsellor, and has held sessional teaching appointments at the University of Victoria and Douglas College in Child and Youth Care.
“Connectedness for Counsellor Wellness”
Sarah Lefebure, MA, RCC
Monday, May 4, 2020
Most counsellors would agree that being connected to others is essential for our wellness as human beings. Yet, how many of us stop to think about connectedness as it relates to our experiences as humans working in a helping profession? In this interactive workshop, we will explore how the nature of our roles can lead to a sense of disconnection and even aloneness – thus putting us at risk for burnout and compassion fatigue. Together, we will discuss ways that we can work to build a “strong web of vibrant connectedness” (Hou & Skovholt, 2019) in order to bolster our resilience and wellness as counsellors and as human beings. Sarah Lefebure, MA, RCC has been working in postsecondary counselling since 2008, first at John Abbott College in Montreal, followed by Camosun College in Victoria and now at Okanagan College in Penticton. She has been training in AEDP since 2014 and aims to live in a wholehearted way, as inspired by the work of Brené Brown. Sarah’s own experience of burnout in 2018 has led her to explore ways to undo aloneness in her role as a counsellor, with a goal of fostering sustainability and vitality for herself and her colleagues.
“Utilizing Nervous System Regulation Tools to Help Students Thrive”
Carrie DeJong, MC, RCC
Tuesday, May 5, 2020
9:00am-12:00pm and 1:00pm-4:00pm (Full day workshop)
Post-secondary students are facing increasing challenges that impact their capacity to learn and thrive. The rates of anxiety, depression, and addiction disorders have increased. Every counsellor needs a solid foundation for understanding these issues as well as tools to support students who seek help. This workshop provides an overview of neurophysiology (brain/body connection) through the lens of Polyvagal Theory. It will offer a more in-depth exploration of attachment, co-regulation, and emotional regulation. We will look at The Vortex Model of Addiction – a model based on neurophysiology that provides a foundation for understanding the complexities of mental health challenges, trauma, substance misuse, and addiction disorders. It looks at how challenges impact the nervous system and how unhealthy coping behaviours are used to manage the overwhelming activation that results from anxiety, chronic stress, and trauma. The workshop also provides a framework for understanding how various interventions, tools, programs, and resources fit together in supporting students in their personal and academic lives. Carrie DeJong (MC) is a Registered Clinical Counsellor with over 20 years of experience in the fields of addiction and trauma. She brings greater awareness to the impacts trauma and stress have on overall functioning and behaviours, especially the use of mood-altering substances and behaviours to cope. Her therapeutic approach, as well as the Vortex Model of Addiction she has developed, is rooted in somatic and neurobiological approaches to trauma and addiction. Carrie has utilized the Vortex Model as a framework in providing training to professionals in clinical settings that include mental health, healthcare, and addiction treatment.
“The Power of Connection”
Kristi Blakeway
Wednesday, May 6, 2020
Everyone has a story worth hearing.  In this interactive presentation, Kristi will lead us through reflective activities discovering the power of connection.  She will share her personal journey working with students to help residents of the Downtown Eastside re-connect with family through greeting cards, phone calls and face to face reunions.  She will challenge us to step outside our comfort zone and see those that are otherwise invisible. Her stories will inspire and encourage us all of us to connect with compassion in our personal and professional lives. Kristi Blakeway is a school principal in Maple Ridge. She is the founder of Beyond HELLO – a student run initiative that helps the homeless reconnect with friends and family. Kristi is the author of Beyond Hello: Rekindling the Human Spirit One Conversation at a Time.  She is also a TEDx Speaker, Olympic Torchbearer and winner of the YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Connecting Community.
Wednesday, May 6, 2020
Closing Experiential Exercise (details to follow).