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2018 George Spady Training Conference

Session Descriptions

Keynote Presentation: Positive Approach to ‘Vicarious Trauma’ – Dr. Jacquie Linder

This session will explore the impact of vicarious trauma through the lens of interpersonal neurobiology. Strategies for fostering resilience in the face of trauma will be drawn from the whole-hearted research data of Dr. Brene Brown.

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Indigenous Protocols – Ken Armstrong

This session will explore aspects of Indigenous protocol. Indigenous culture is very distinct, and teachings vary from region to region. A focus on protocol with respect to requesting services from elders, medicine picking, and ceremony will be discussed.

This will be a discussion with encouragement and lots of opportunity for participants to ask questions.

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Supervised Consumption Sites – Erica Schoen

This presentation will discuss the importance of incorporating harm reduction strategies into mental health services and community support programs. Erica will explore the benefits and challenges of developing supervised consumption services (SCS), discussing the importance of client advocacy in the continuity of care.


Sexual Exploitation – Stephanie Mackintosh

Whether one sees prostitution as a criminal act that induces violence and violates human rights or as a specialized occupation, there is no denying the significant risks associated with the profession.
Many studies have examined the harm associated with the sex trade. By analyzing violence, disease, exploitation, criminalization, and case studies, we gain a greater understanding of how to reduce negative aspects of prostitution.

This presentation will question how the harm reduction model, in conjunction with social psychological theories, can be used to develop programs to reduce harm within sex work populations. Negative effects of the trade, leading to individual and social harm, will be explored throughout the presentation. The criminal and social justice models will be compared to consider the perspectives and consequences of each model. The presentation will conclude with a brief proposal of how social psychological theories and the harm reduction model of social justice can be integrated so sex workers can be safer within their profession.

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Pregnancy Pathways – Wendy Bouwman-Oake

Every year in Edmonton, approximately 100 pregnant women are experiencing homelessness. These vulnerable women often do not access health care and other supports consistently due to mental health and addictions issues, precarious housing situation, lack of knowledge about services and/or fears that their babies may be apprehended by Children’s Services.

Pregnancy Pathways is a unique partnership of some 25 stakeholders from acute health care, addictions, mental health, government and non-profit sectors, collaborating to address the unmet housing and support service needs of these women and their children. Boyle McCauley Health Centre is the Lead Agency managing and staffing Pregnancy Pathways. We have a dedicated apartment building with 24-7, on-site supports and a gathering space to build community and foster peer support. All supports will be provided from a harm reduction, strengths-based and trauma informed perspective, including a strong emphasis on cultural supports for our Clients, most of who are Indigenous.

In this presentation we will share our learnings from the first nine months of Pregnancy Pathways.

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Understanding and Achieving Wellness: An Integrated Approach to Supporting People with Complex Needs – Tanya Wasielewski & Jennifer Sadowski

The Recovery Model of Care integrates current best practices in supporting people with complex needs. Utilizing this integrated approach, COAST has developed a framework of support for people with complex needs. This Wellness Framework identifies and develops person- centered strategies that are meaningful, meet needs, and support recovery and well-being. By focusing on a person’s strengths and needs, we can help people develop hope and happiness, so they can flourish.

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FASD Support Strategies – Andrew Wilson & Curtis Babcock

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) has become recognized as one of the leading, if not the leading cause, of many forms of cognitive difficulties from learning disabilities to brain damage. The disability is over-represented in the social service, legal, and health systems. Without assistance, many with FASD will live frustrated and oppressed lives struggling with experiences like mental health issues, substance abuse, homelessness, and legal problems. These issues often lead to early life in the custody of Child Services, suicide ideation, and periods of incarceration. All helping professions and services need to become aware of this disability and ways to help produce positive outcomes for affected individuals.

One presenter will demonstrate, through a case example, how a social worker adapted a model of trauma-informed care to an individual affected with FASD, worked with a flexible mind set, and with other agencies to produce a positive case result. In the second half of the presentation, barring unexpected circumstances, the subject of the described case will speak of FASD in the context of his life and his service experience.

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Bias Awareness and Cultural Safety – Detective Ryan Ferry & Sargent Michelle Horchuk 

After instruction on the science and sources of bias for all people, the presenters will challenge participants to reflect on personal sources and patterns of bias that they may be unaware of in their daily lives.  This session will initially create uncomfortable conversations, with the long term goal of increased self-awareness and empathy for those we may be inclined to stereotype with a single story.

Participants will be provided with some tools needed to embrace “The Art of Casual Conversation”, how to develop effective communications skills that focus on building rapport and mutual respect while still getting the job done.

An interactive activity will lead participants through a process to build awareness around the biases we all hold and strategies to manage those biases. The group will discuss how a lack of bias awareness can lead to making assumptions and judgements about people that can result in creating barriers to culturally safe service provision. Strategies to manage biases will be identified and discussed.

Participants will be given examples of how practicing cultural safety has helped Det. Ferry and Sgt. Horchuk in their community work.

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Building Community through Restorative Practices – Kris Knutson

Conflict and wrongdoing is common in most communities. The challenge is: how do we as a community address the wrongs done and create space for healing and reparation? Restorative Justice provides a path towards healing and the establishment of healthy and sustainable communities. It promotes participation and engagement in all who are impacted by the conflict or wrongdoing and seeks to repair the harm that was created.

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