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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
December 3, 2016
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Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

Easton-McCarney Workshop

Working with Children and Youth with Complex Needs: An Ecological Approach to Nurturing Resilience
Jul 9/14

Date: Jul 9/14 - Sep 26/14
Time: 9:00 - 12:00
Location: 120 Duke Street West, Kitchener
Cost: Free (registration is required as space is limited)


Date: Friday, September 26, 2014

Time: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Location: Faculty of Social Work, 120 Duke Street West, Kitchener, Room 101

Cost: This is a free workshop, but registration is required as space is limited. 

TO REGISTER CALL LAUREN AT 519-884-0710 ext. 5234.

Working with Children and Youth with Complex Needs: An Ecological Approach to Nurturing Resilience 

When treating children and adolescents from poor, violent and emotionally difficult backgrounds, we often focus too narrowly on the individual’s complex needs and problems -- like delinquency or conflict with caregivers -- and miss the broader sources of healing and resilience in young people’s lives. This workshop will present a strengths-focused, resistance-proof model that draws on the child’s friends, cousins, aunts, uncles, parents, teachers, community and cultural mentors as potential sources of resilience and positive development. Participants will learn how to identify and encourage children’s sense of personal self-control, agency and power, social justice and fairness, belonging and purpose, spirituality and cultural rootedness and to use this ecological "map" to engage them. We’ll discuss how to contract to achieve useful therapeutic goals that are culturally meaningful, and participants will leave knowing how to help these clients transition their success in the office into their real-life social ecologies. 

This ecological approach to nurturing resilience will be demonstrated using interactive exercises, clinical transcripts and video recordings. It builds on best practice knowledge borrowed from both clinical work and studies of resilience among populations who face significant adversity. This model of intervention creatively combines clinical practice with aspects of case management and advocacy, making it ideally suited to the needs of mental health professionals working in community mental health clinics, addiction treatment centres, correctional settings, schools, residential settings and home-based family support programs. The core principles of the approach, navigation and negotiation, can be integrated with other therapeutic models to effectively intervene with children, youth and their families. This workshop explores practical techniques for clinical intervention and case planning while providing participants with an opportunity to discuss the most challenging children, youth and families with whom they work.

The learning objectives for this workshop are to:

  1. understand how individuals and families with complex needs use "problem" behaviours to enhance their resilience and well-being when more socially acceptable solutions are not available
  2. become familiar with the principles of an ecological approach to individual and family intervention informed by research on resilience
  3. learn about seven aspects of resilience necessary for positive development
  4. develop strategies for working without resistance with hard-to-reach, culturally diverse children and adolescents
  5. discuss ways services can be structured for children, youth and families that make resilience more likely to occur

A number of Michael's books will be available for sale at the event. Cash only. 

Dr. Michael Ungar

Michael Ungar, PhD, is both a family therapist and a Professor of Social Work at Dalhousie University where he co-directs the Resilience Research Centre that coordinates more than five million dollars in funded research in over a dozen countries. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on this topic of resilience and is the author of 11 books including The Social Worker, his first novel. Among his most recent works are We Generation: Raising Socially Responsible Children and Teens and Too Safe For Their Own Good: How Risk and Responsibility Help Teens Thrive

In addition to his research and writing, Michael maintains a small family therapy practice in association with Phoenix Youth Programs, a prevention program for street youth and their families, and was the recipient of the 2012 Canadian Association of Social Workers National Distinguished Service Award. Michael's numerous community contributions include his service as co-chair of the Nova Scotia Mental Health and Addictions Strategy Advisory Committee, executive board member of the American Family Therapy Academy, and Scientific Director of the Children and Youth in Challenging Contexts Network. 

In the past 10 years Michael has made over 350 invited and peer-reviewed presentations to mental health professionals, parents and policymakers across North America, Europe, Africa, South America and Asia. He sits on several editorial boards as well, including Family Process and the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. His blog, Nurturing Resilience, can be read on Psychology Today’s website.

Michael received his PhD in Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University in 1995.

Contact: Lynne Jordan
Phone: 519-884-0710 ext. 5265

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