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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  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.

Mental health and wellness are no longer just the responsibility of healthcare professionals. According to Government of Canada statistics, one in three Canadians will experience mental illness during their lifetime*. This means that whether you are working in healthcare, education, human services or business, you will likely work with employees, colleagues, students, clients and others who are facing mental health and wellness challenges. Held in our Milton location, this certificate will help you understand what mental health is, explain some of the most common mental illnesses and provide you with the foundational skills to help you support your staff, clients and students.

Who should take this certificate: Anyone working or volunteering in a role where they interview, manage, support or advise people will benefit from this certificate, including allied health professionals, human resource professionals, teachers, organizational managers and leaders, nurses, clergy and student affair professionals.

*Government of Canada. (n.d.). Retrieved from 

Completion Requirements 

To complete the Counselling Skills for Mental Health Certificate, you must select a minimum of seven workshop 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 Skills for Mental Health Certificate to take any of these courses. These workshops can be taken in any order.

Becoming a Therapist

Completing this Counselling Skills for Mental Health 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.


Introduction to Motivational Interviewing

  • Dates: Next offering 2021/2022
  • 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

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.

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 two-day, highly experiential 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 training 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 any setting where active listening, empathy and engaging with others is paramount. This may include, but is not limited to, human resources staff, healthcare providers, educators, police and law enforcement personnel, first responders, residential staff and those considering work or volunteering in the helping professions.

Suicide Intervention Skills

Although suicide impacts so many individuals, families and communities, many people struggle with how to bring up what's thought as of a taboo topic. This workshop will introduce the topic of suicide using the most current research understandings and best ways to talk about it with others. From suicide myth busting to skill development for how to best respond to acute thoughts of suicide, this workshop will give you the information and practice you need to support yourself and others in their suicidal crises.

Crisis Intervention

Helping professionals regularly encounter crisis situations in various work environments. At times, they can seem overwhelming and taxing, even for the most seasoned professional. Managing a crisis effectively can dramatically decrease individual, family and a community’s possible traumatic and/or mental health reactions, increase coping strategies, reduce the possibility of chronic or maladaptive symptoms and re-establish pre-crisis equilibrium or functioning. The emphasis of this course will relate to mental health in a variety of possible settings with various populations including: children and youth, adults, seniors and families in the context of broader systemic influences.Upon completion of this course, participants can expect to:

  • Increase their knowledge base related to crisis intervention theory, as well as various models and their application.
  • Increase their awareness of personal reflexivity, values and beliefs related to crisis themes.
  • Broaden their understanding of, and develop intervention strategies related to, specific areas of trauma and crisis that may include: mental health and addictions, loss (anticipatory and ambiguous), grief, possible intimate partner violence (if participants are not enrolled in other trauma workshops with this theme), aging parents and related sibling and family issues, as well as community theory and interventions, with a heightened focus on school violence.
  • Gain skills in assessing and intervening suicidality ideation and behaviours, as well as understanding the duty to protect and warn as it relates to ethics.
  • Gain an understanding of broader systemic influences, as well as work with diverse populations/social locations and the possible role of spirituality.
  • Gain knowledge and develop strategies related to self-preservation and safety.

This workshop will offer numerous practical skills and interventions, case examples, practice exercises, video clips and rich discussions as experiences are shared by the instructor and participants. In addition, there will be useful handouts for future referencing.

Please Note: As themes for review are quite varied and are all important, there is room for flexibility around the course themes, depending on the experiences and interests of the participants.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Mental Health

Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is one of the most prevalent, widely-respected models used in psychotherapy today. The purpose of CBT is to improve mental health, relationships and goal attainment by using proven techniques and interventions to restructure and reframe ways we think about and respond to situations.

In this workshop you will learn why Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is one of the most reputable psychotherapy models, and you will leave understanding a few of the most core and life changing interventions this model offers. Key interventions from the model will be thoroughly introduced with case examples from a variety of professional settings, to help you identify when you can draw upon these interventions to improve relationships and to reach current professional goals. 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.

Becoming Trauma Informed

This two-day, highly experiential workshop will introduce participants to the concepts of becoming ‘trauma informed’. The focus is on a foundational understanding of what trauma is, what becoming trauma informed means and skills for the integration of those concepts into a non-clinical helping practice. The workshop will use lecture, role play and case studies as a way of engaging participants in the acquisition of practical skills. Participants will be expected to actively participate in this course.

Throughout the two days participants will:

  • Become familiar with the definitions of trauma and what it means to be trauma informed.
  • Gain an understanding about working with people through a trauma informed lens.
  • Practice those skills through role play, observation and coaching.

Specific aspects of the two-day workshop include:

  • definitions of trauma and the impact of trauma on individuals
  • trauma and the impact on the brain
  • principles for becoming trauma informed
  • exploration of post-traumatic stress, injuries and growth and the myths often associated with trauma
  • diversity and cultural issues
  • self-care and resilience

This workshop will be of interest to those working in any setting where working with others is paramount. This may include, but is not limited, to human resources staff, healthcare providers, educators, police and law enforcement personnel, first responders, residential staff and those considering work or volunteering in the helping professions.

How People Grow: Coaching Skills and Technique

“Coaching is the new management”. Across every industry, the skills related to developing the gifts and talents of others is quickly becoming the most important role needed to build great workplaces. In this workshop, we’ll learn the difference between a coach, manager, consultant and therapist, helping participants clearly define how to bring out the brightest and best in the people around them. We’ll address:

  • The role and objective of great coaching.
  • Methods, skill and tools that help the coaching process to occur.
  • Helpful exercises that facilitate application to the student’s own context.
  • Knowledge of coaching certification, regulation and its role in contemporary workplaces.

Mindfulness 101: What It Is and What To Do With It

Mindfulness. It seems like everywhere we turn these days, we’re hearing about this thing called mindfulness. What is it and what is it not? In the words of Jon Kabat-Zinn, who is often credited as having brought mindfulness to the North American healthcare system, “this is not McMindfulness by any stretch of the imagination!” (2015).

This workshop will explore the concept of mindfulness, its history and introduction into mainstream culture. Advantages and disadvantages to the personal and professional practice of mindfulness will be presented, and experientially, formal and informal practices will be introduced with ample time allowed for practice. Guidelines for setting up a personal daily mindfulness practice will be provided. Finally, caveats for the implementation of mindfulness in clinical practice and recommendations for further training will be outlined. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing, and to bring along a yoga mat or blanket, only if available.

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