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Keyano Mental Health Coordinators learn valuable lessons at Canadian Mental Health Summit

Author: Greg Bennett/Thursday, January 31, 2019/Categories: Keyano College General

Two Keyano College Mental Health Coordinators are better equipped to support students as the result of a recent professional development event. 


Jane Barter and Natali Levasseur attended the Canadian Mental Health Summit: Advanced Interventions and Strategies for Frontline Professionals in Richmond B.C, from November 26-28, 2018. This conference brought together 13 internationally renowned experts, for a series of full-day workshop options.


The first workshop they attended was offered by Margaret Wehrenberg, Psy. D., and focused on depression management techniques.


Depression is a painful experience and its symptoms actively interfere with our daily functioning. While depression is one of the most common mental health disorders, there are different causes. This workshop offered an opportunity to learn about the interaction between neurochemistry, cognitive function, and lifestyle within four types of depression. It also examined the disorder’s underlying causes. This training provided different techniques for energizing clients to help them end their isolation and live a more balanced and better quality of life.


The second workshop provided insight into the science of addictions and compassion in healing.

In this workshop, Gabor Mate, M.D., told participants, that contrary to popular belief, the source of addictions is not found in genes, but in early childhood environments where neurobiology of the brain’s reward pathways develops and where the emotional patterns that lead to addiction are wired into the unconscious. Stress, both then and later in life, creates the predispositions for addictions, whether to drugs, alcohol, nicotine, shopping, or sex. In his model, Dr. Mate sees addiction like a response to a distressing life history and life situation. He advocates for a compassionate approach toward the addict as opposed to a blaming or judging approach.


The next workshop focused on a new treatment approach to addictions, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts, and self-destructive behaviour, and was presented by Janita Fisher, Ph.D. In it, they learned about the “Trauma-Informed Stabilization Treatment (TIST) model and learned different techniques related to mindfulness-based interventions, sensory psychotherapy, and techniques to help clients with a wide range of diagnosis, including PTSD, borderline personality, addictive and eating disorders, and dissociative disorders.


The last workshop was “Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) Skills Training for Mental Health Professionals” and was presented by Eboni Webb, Psy.D.  DBT is a highly specialized treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder. This workshop focused on varied DBT skills to work with clients with different diagnosis.   


“We are grateful we had the opportunity to attend this conference and we feel the lessons learned will benefit students at Keyano,” said Mental Health Coordinator Natali Levasseur.   



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