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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.

Kitchener campus  Kitchener

Held in-class in Kitchener, the Child and Youth Mental Health certificate provides learners with an in-depth understanding of the complex and multi-faceted field of child and youth mental health. We will be exploring areas such as development, risk factors and early indicators, and treatment options through our selection of courses. Participants will learn about some of the most common mental health issues affecting children and youth, such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, anxiety, depression and attachment. This program will also discuss the importance of fostering resiliency and well-being in children and youth. The unique needs of gender independent and trans children and Indigenous youth will be explored.

Throughout the program there will be an emphasis on a collaborative approach to children's mental health and how to work effectively with the support systems surrounding the youth, including schools, family and other professionals.

Completion Requirements

To complete the Child and Youth Mental Health Certificate, you must select a minimum of 84 course hours from the list below. You can complete this certificate in as little as one year or take up to seven years. Participants can only take one of Secondary Traumatic Stress, Compassion Fatigue and Resilience or Mindful Self-Compassion. You do not have to be working toward the Child and Youth Mental Health Certificate to take any of these courses.


Attachment in Adolescence: The Wonky Brain that Allows for Change

  • Dates: June 15 and 16, 2020 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
  • Cost: $330
  • Location: Kitchener
  • Instructor: Annette Kussin, MSW, RSW
  • Hours: 12

Yes, the adolescent brain is wonky and unpredictable because of changes in hormones and other chemicals. However, changes in the adolescent brain make this an opportune time to help adolescents with insecure attachments start to develop secure attachments. Although by adolescence attachment categories are imbedded in personality and the brain, the changes in the brains of adolescents allow for the adolescent to become aware of their attachments and the impact on their relationships. They are able to examine their relationships with parents, to reflect on their patterns in relationships with peers and other adults, to leave behind the harmful patterns of relating they learned from their families and to risk creating new patterns in their relationships.

This workshop will explore attachment in adolescents and examine the categories of attachment as they develop in adolescence. The workshop will present the latest information on brain development in adolescence and its implications for adolescent therapy. A model of treatment will be presented that focuses on family therapy for younger adolescents and individual therapy for older adolescents. Individual therapy is effective in helping older adolescents develop awareness of their early history and its influence on their present sense of self and patterns in relationships. The relationship with the therapist is the crucial vehicle for change. The goal of attachment focused therapy for adolescents is to help the adolescent become more secure and enter adulthood with the capacity for secure adult attachments.

The workshop will include:

  • Brief review of attachment theory.
  • Categories of child attachment.
  • Attachment in adolescence.
  • The adolescent brain.
  • Attachment focused family and individual therapy: stages of therapy.
  • Role of the therapist and understanding his/her own attachment.

Case examples, videos and exercises will be presented to demonstrate interventions.

Bizaamyaanmanitou: An Indigenous Approach to Child and Youth Mental Health

Bizaamyaanmanitou is an Ojibwe word which roughly translates as: “kind gentle spirit… respectful of spirit… how spirit works”.

From an Indigenous perspective, identity and value are central in our healing methodology. A strong sense of belonging is required for the individual to take up their place in family and community.

For far too many children/youth, there is deep longing-for-belonging/place, a desire to be fully seen, valued, respected that often goes unnoticed. Moving away from a strictly cognitive behaviour and deficit/disorder view of mental health, this workshop begins from a spirit and relational-based (aka deeply Indigenous) perspective of wellness and healing.

Topics include:

  • child/youth spirit recognition
  • land-based healing education
  • the relational heart of trauma
  • the myth of self-regulation
  • humour as an Indigenous healing tradition
  • land-based healing education
  • introduction to Indigenous child development theory

This workshop will use Indigenous ways of teaching (Indigegogy), including circle process. It will be of interest to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous practitioners working in a variety of human services including healthcare, education, social work, social services, police and law enforcement, residential facilities as well those considering careers in the helping professions.

Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) has approved this workshop for 12 continuing education units (CEUs).

Breathe In and Play: Mindfulness Practice with Children

  • Dates: May 5 and 6, 2020 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Cost: $330
  • Location: Kitchener
  • Instructor: Sara Marlowe, MSW, RSW
  • Hours: 12

Mindfulness is increasingly being shared with children in educational, medical, mental health, community and home settings. Research shows that mindfulness practice with children and adolescents can reduce stress, improve emotion regulation, foster academic learning, reduce anxiety, increase executive function and promote overall well-being. With all these known benefits, it is understandable why adults would want to start teaching children early on. But how can we engage children in practicing mindfulness, when it is associated with sitting still for long periods of time?

This experiential workshop will offer an introduction to sharing mindfulness with children and adolescents in engaging and age appropriate ways, informed by the intersection of mindfulness and neurobiology. Through story, art, music, movement and ‘formal’ mindfulness practice, participants will learn to share mindfulness and neuroscience information with children and families in age-appropriate, playful and creative ways. All practices will be infused with mindfulness attitudes, such as acceptance, beginner’s mind, letting go, patience, trust, non-judgment, non-striving, as well as self-kindness and compassion.

In addition to didactic teaching and small group discussions, participants will have the opportunity to lead mindfulness-based practices and inquiry intended for children and families. With step-by-step scaffolding, participants will further develop their skills and confidence in sharing mindfulness with children and adolescents.

Building Resilience in Children Who Have Experienced Trauma

This course focuses on building resilience in children who have experienced trauma by reviewing the various definitions of childhood trauma and exploring how trauma impacts the brain and areas of development specifically in a child or youth. The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACES) is reviewed to demonstrate how trauma interrupts development and presents itself through behaviours, reactions, responses and symptoms that often mimic or contribute to the development of mental health disorders. The critical core components of evidence based treatment models are reviewed to highlight effective intervention practices. Concepts from positive psychology and the narrative approach are integrated into this course, along with the recent research on resiliency, well-being, post traumatic growth and self-regulation. Pathways to resilience and protective factors in childhood are emphasized so that participants feel hopeful and have concrete strategies to help. Strategies on creating a safe place for children and youth who have experienced trauma, that specifically attends to their needs, will be explored along with the key elements involved in helping to create the context to shift a trauma story into one that focuses on resilience.

Information is provided throughout the presentation using video, activities, conversation and handouts. Many resources will be shared to provide participants with tools to further integrate building resilience in their work with children and youth who have experienced trauma.

Participants will learn:

  • Definitions of trauma.
  • What the research is telling us on how trauma impacts childhood development and the elevated risks of unresolved trauma.
  • Critical components common to all effective trauma treatment interventions.
  • How the research from positive psychology, resiliency, well- being, post traumatic growth and self- regulation can help us in our work with children who have experienced trauma.
  • Nine resilience based story shifters that can make a difference for someone who has experienced trauma.

Calming The Storms of Anxiety and Depression in Children and Adolescents

In 2015, a survey by the Canadian Mental Health Association found that 46% of girls and 26% of boys in grades 7 to 12 reported symptoms of anxiety and depression. Clinicians are experiencing a rise in children, youth and their families struggling to cope with debilitating symptoms that are affecting their day-to-day lives. There is a growing need for therapists to expand their understanding as to the complexity of potential influences, as well as develop effective interventions, for anxiety and depression across childhood to adolescence. In addition, therapists are increasingly being called upon to work collaboratively with the communities such as schools and extra-curricular organizations to assist in better serving struggling young people.

Childhood and adolescent anxiety and depression must consider the relationship between the larger systemic context of the twenty-first century and individual and family stress related to challenges with diminished internal and external resources, culture, developmental transitions, etc. Discussions will also focus on individual and family resiliency within a strength-based perspective. Participants can expect lively discussions, a multi-media presentation and hands-on practical applications and exercises.

Over the course of two days we will explore:

  • The prevalence of child and adolescent anxiety and depression in today’s society.
  • The various forms of anxiety with an emphasis on generalized and social anxiety as well as school avoidance.
  • The characteristics of anxiety and depression and associated developmental frameworks in understanding symptoms on a continuum.
  • Individual, family and broader systemic influences, including parenting and family dynamics, domestic and community violence, the role of social media, societal demands and expectations, attachment relationships and culture.
  • Building resilience in youth, families and communities.
  • The unique contributions of various treatment models including, attachment, CBT, systemic, narrative and mindfulness.
  • The importance of a trauma-informed, culturally sensitive approach.
  • The practical application of strategies to enhance a therapist’s skills.
  • The importance of collaborating with community partners.

Expressive Arts Therapy with Children and Adolescents

This course will introduce the use of expressive arts when working therapeutically with children and adolescents with a variety of needs and goals.* Rationale for, and examples of, using the arts for expression, wellness and healing with youth will be provided. Basic concepts from drama therapy, art therapy, music therapy, dance/movement therapy and the use of writing, poetry and play will be explored. In addition, intermodal approaches that use numerous arts-based methods will be demonstrated. The course will provide information about working from childhood through adolescence in a developmentally appropriate manner.

Rather than “telling,” this course will focus on learning through “doing.” It is designed to be highly experiential, allowing participants to actively engage in arts-based methods as both a participant and a facilitator.** In addition, information will provided throughout the course using video, conversation and handouts.

Participants will:

  • Gain an introductory understanding of expressive arts therapies and each of the modalities.
  • Experience activities and exercises in each of the arts modalities across a developmental spectrum.
  • Learn how to use arts in an intermodal way.
  • Practice effective facilitation of arts-based methods for expression and wellness.
  • Obtain a handout of useful articles, books and websites with additional resources.
  • Receive information about training programs and accreditation.


*Please note that 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.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD): Knowing What to Look For and Recognizing the Potential

  • Dates: Next offering Fall 2020
  • Cost: $210
  • Location: Kitchener
  • Instructor: Karen Huber, CYC, BA
  • Hours: 6

This practical, hands-on workshop is meant to help professionals better recognize what behaviours might be indicators of a potential fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), why their feelings of frustration when a child/youth is not learning from previous experience are likely justified and what to do next.

FASD describes the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These effects may include physical, mental, behavioural and learning disabilities. Individuals with an FASD are often misdiagnosed and misunderstood. Not taking into consideration the brain differences caused by prenatal alcohol exposure can exacerbate difficulties for individuals.

Participants will leave this workshop with practical resources and a sense of hope. With the right supports and strategies in place, there is an increased likelihood of success and interdependence.


In this workshop you will learn:

  • Why we need to care about and understand FASD.
  • How to better identify individuals with a possible FASD.
  • What is an FASD-informed approach and how to include this approach in your practice.
  • From a families perspective, learn about the journey from misdiagnosis to correct identification and from frustration to understanding FASD all resulting in finding hope for the future.
  • Practical strategies and interventions for support.

Foundations of Trauma

Spring 2020

Understanding the impact of crisis and trauma on peoples’ lives and being able to respond in meaningful ways are crucial skills for those working in the helping professions.

This two-day interactive workshop will provide both a conceptual framework and practical skills for assessment and interventions when working with those who have experienced a range of crisis and/or traumatic experiences.

This workshop will leave participants with:

  • An understanding of the meaning of crisis and practical crisis intervention skills.
  • A conceptual framework for understanding trauma.
  • Practical and applicable therapeutic tools for responding to trauma and traumatized individuals.
  • Specific counseling techniques that are proven effective for people with lived trauma experiences.
  • An understanding of the impact of vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue, as well as skills to manage the impact of the work on ourselves.

Sue and Sandy use a relaxed, interactive teaching style with lots of discussion and time to reflect on the material. Come to the workshop prepared to interact and practice the skills!

Grieving Children and Youth

The dying and death of a family member or loved one has complex, profound and lasting effects for children and youth. Fearing that children were "too young" to understand or to cope with death, adults have often tried to protect them from the devastating, yet unavoidable and natural, experience of grief. Growing knowledge about young people’s needs and capacities has supported the recognition that parents, professionals and community members can support them throughout these experiences by communicating openly, including and engaging them, and fostering resilience amidst adversity.

This interactive workshop will explore relevant theories, research, clinical implications and concrete strategies for supporting young people from infancy through adolescence, who are facing their own death or that of a family member or a loved one. Knowledge and strategies will be transferrable to adults who are parents or caregivers, educators, health or mental health professionals, volunteers and other community members.

Participants in this interactive workshop will:

  • Develop a foundation of knowledge about children and young people’s perceptions, and capacities to understand dying and death.
  • Examine common and unique elements of grief in relation to child and adolescent development.
  • Explore effective communication strategies and the implications of language in discussions about illness, dying, death and grief with children and youth.
  • Reflect on the complexities, necessary sensitivities and flexibility in working with various family members, structures and dynamics in support of grieving children and adolescents.
  • Engage in hands-on creative activities to encourage legacy and continuing bonds, remembering, emotional literacy and expression, caregiving and self-care with young people of all ages.

Introduction to CBT for Children and Adolescents

Come learn six of the most important cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) interventions for children and adolescents, and how to deliver these in adaptive and creative ways. Receive an introduction to the CBT model, Cool Connections, My Mind Movies (cognitive narratives), Stinking Thinking (cognitive distortions), Imagery and Victory Ladders (exposure response prevention). You will also briefly learn how to best incorporate caregivers into the treatment process. If you are looking for an informative, creative workshop on how to use some of the best evidence-based techniques with children, adolescents and their caregivers, this is the workshop for you.

Mindful Self-Compassion

This one-day introductory, educational and experiential workshop will provide information on current research that supports the science and components of self-compassion. The physiology of self-compassion with the foundation of mindfulness will be presented that supports the benefits of this practice.

Through discussion, mindfulness meditation and experiential exercises, you will gain knowledge along with practical skills to help cultivate and integrate self-compassion into your daily life. The difference between empathy and compassion is explored to help with the development of self-compassion. You will learn how to motivate yourself and others with kindness rather than criticism by creating inner strength and reliance to meet everyday challenges.

Please wear comfortable clothing to support mindfulness and self-compassion practices presented throughout the day. If you have a meditation practice you are welcome to bring a yoga mat and/or meditation pillow or bench to use during these short practices.

CACCF: Six core continuing education hours.

Secondary Traumatic Stress, Compassion Fatigue and Resilience

Spring 2020

An informative and interactive workshop designed for service providers in order to understand the conceptual impact of the helping field on personal and professional selves. Skills, theories and practical applications will be explored and practiced on both an individual and organizational level.

Suicidal or Self-Harming? Assessment and Treatment of 'At Risk' Teens

Adolescence is a time where impulsivity can lead to risky behaviours in the average teen. When impulsivity is added to mental health issues and/or troubling familial, peer, academic or cultural environments, the stage can be set for the increase of additional risk in the form of either suicidal thinking or behaviours, or self-harming behaviours that are not intended to be fatal. In spite of that, these behaviours frequently raise alarm bells in those associated or working with these youth, be they family members or friends, school personnel, counsellors or social service staff, as examples.

This workshop will focus on how to:

  • Assess for safety risk when faced with a teen who is either suicidal or self-harming.
  • Distinguish between these.
  • Assess for protective factors as well as risk.
  • Engage and approach the adolescent client as well as his/her support network.
  • Implement crisis intervention strategies.
  • Approach treatment.
  • Implement self-care in the event of a suicide.

Supporting Gender Independent and Trans Children, Youth and Their Families

  • Dates: Next offering Fall 2020
  • Cost: $210
  • Location: Kitchener
  • Instructor: Mandi Cowan, MSW, RSW
  • Hours: 6

In this workshop, participants will gain an understanding of the complexities of gender identity and expression. Participants in this training will gain an understanding of Affirmative Therapy practices, which will provide information about how to support transgender, non-binary and gender independent, children, adolescents and families.

We explore how to support clients in an affirming and inclusive way through the application of trauma informed affirming therapeutic frameworks that can be easily applied in combination with other therapeutic modalities. Participants will also further develop their understanding of gender identity, development and expression as well as learn key factors around supporting clients social, medical and legal transition needs.

Understanding Youth and Addictions

  • Dates: June 5, 2020 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Cost: $210
  • Location: Kitchener
  • Instructor: Julia Read, MSW, PhD (c)
  • Hours: 6

This one-day workshop aims to help participants gain an understanding of the unique considerations of working with youth who are experiencing addiction issues. This workshop will explore how substance abuse can influence the developmental stages from adolescence to young adulthood. Through interactive learning modules and case studies, an overview of bio-psycho-social approaches to assessments, interventions and treatment modalities will be discussed.

Participants will be provided with information about resources and treatment options currently available.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the difference between youth substance use, misuse, and abuse.
  • Describe the developmental stages from adolescence to young adulthood.
  • Understand different treatment modalities.
  • Understand the stages of change model for youth.

Contact Us:

Lynne Jordan, Coordinator, Professional Development

T: 519.884.0710 x5265


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