The BC Association on Clinical Counsellors
Ross faciliatated a full-day professional development workshop for counsellors focused on the interconnections betwene substance addiction and screen addiction. Most counsellors, social workers, educators, and parents are fundamentally unprepared to support children and youth through these changes brought by technology. In this workshop, attendees learned about:
The particular vulnerability of children and youth to screen technologies and what the research shows about how digital technologies impact child and youth development.
The uniquely addictive capacities of digital technologies and the many ways in which young people are mediating the challenges of their development through technological devices and addictions.
The migration from substance addictions to technology addictions, and in some cases to a hybrid of the two behaviors.
The implications for the future of counselling, education, and social services.
Participants learned a core set of skills to address this situation with practical tools and directions for responding to an urgent call for change within the helping professions.
Richmond Addictions Services
In service of National Addictions Awareness Week, Ross was the keynote speaker for a public event, sponsored by Richmond Adictions Services, on the personal path of addiction. Addiction is an impulse toward healing, toward the resolution of pain and trauma. And yet we tend to regard addiction as a personal failing. We stigmatize and ostracize the addicted, without recognizing that they are driven by the same urgencies as the rest of us: to heal, to grow, to be whole.
This presentation explore ways in which we might cultivate a more compassionate and caring perspective of this most common human frailty.
BC Non-profit Housing Association
Ross presented two workshops at the Housing Central conference:
Self-Care & Mindfulness
In this workshop for front line and supervising staff, participants explored how to identify overwhelm, trauma, and compassion fatigue (in themselves and others), and how to support themselves (and their peers, and families) as they navigate stressful environments.
Trauma & Concurrent Disorders
Tenants often come to social service agencies with a history of traumatic experiences and resulting behaviours. This session was for front line staff who interact daily with these complex tenants. Participants gained a broader understanding of trauma, responses to trauma and techniques to recognize and support ourselves and others.
Ross facilitated two professional development workshops for post-secondary educators on the theme of Storming the Ivory Tower. In these workshops, participants explored ways of navigating the current turbulence in the post-secondary environment and how they might assist in cultivating positive change for their colleagues and students.
These sessions explored ten practical steps towards bridging the gap between what we want to do as educators and the barriers we encounter in post-secondary education. These steps are all focused on how do we develop the whole person in education.
- Creating emotional safety
- Developing self-awareness
- Cultivating empathy
- Cultivating character development
- Learning facilitation skills
- Learning mentorship skills
- Developing emotional safety
- Developing self-awareness
- Cultivating empathy
- Building character
Participants learned about the urgent need, within the post-secondary environment, to create transformative experiences for students; to give educators an opportunity to learn facilitation skills; to change to a more facilitative mode of instruction; and to commit to helping develop well-rounded, self-aware, and empathic students and faculty of character.
Community Options Society
Ross facilitated a full-day workshop, for social service providers, with a focus on mentorship, skills for working with youth aged 13-17, and with provision of a broad range of skills for dealing with domestic violence, mental health challenges, and related themes. The foundational approach of the workshop involved ways of providing authentic, empathic counselling using non-threatening and supportive methods.
Tenth Avenue Church Alliance
Ross provided an evening workshop to parents and families on the cultures of technology and their impact on childhood development, family life, community, and education. Gaming, social media, texting, and other digital tools are now foundational in helping kids manage the challenges of their development. Issues such as anxiety, depression, isolation, anger, and addiction are increasingly finding expression in – and sometimes are facilitated by – online communities.
Parents, educators, counsellors, and all those who work with children must be able to respond to this groundswell of change with new skills and strategies. This workshop provided a summary of those skills and strategies along with a suite of simple, practical tools that can assist adults in navigating – and helping kids navigate – the complexities of the digital landscape.
St. George’s school
Ross facilitated an evening presentation to parents on the theme of Being There: How to Guide and Support Youth through the Challenges of Substance and Technology Use and Addictions.
York House School
Ross facilitated a session for students focused on the theme of creativity: why it is the core skill of personal development and career success, how to nurture and cultivate creativity, and how to nurture passion and purposefulness in lifelong creative pursuits.
Ross facilitated a full-day professional development workshop for Air Canada employees who volunteer as peer support for their colleagues. Participants explored themes such as resilience, mentorship, mental health, and the skills required to assist those suffering from addictions, burnout, trauma, family stress, and related vulnerabilities.