DVAT Presentation Day 2

Provincial Family Violence Treatment Program

Knowledge Sharing Forum
Speaker Biography

Wednesday March 24th, 2011

Keynote Address Day 2

Therapists Beware: Vicarious Trauma and Compassion Fatigue by Dawn McBride

Dawn McBride, Ph.D., is Registered Psychologist (Clinical) & Supervisor and an Associate Professor at the University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education Graduate Studies: Counsellor Education program. Dawn will be examining the consequences of a therapist offering deep empathy when listening to stories of trauma. This will often lead to the therapist experiencing a phenomenon known as vicarious trauma (VT). This presentation will explore how trauma work can alter a therapist’s core psychological needs (e.g., trust & intimacy). In addition Dawn will also cover supervision strategies to help supervisees (and the supervisor) indentify, prevent and recover from VT.

Learning objectives:

    1.Identify, explain, and self-reflect on counsellor’s psychological needs that are most sensitive to disruption
       when listening to stories of traumatic events.
    2.Identify signs and symptoms of compassion fatigue and VT. 
    3.Identify, explain and plan for at least five ways to prevent or recover from VT. 

Download PDF PowerPoint Presentation on Vicarious Trauma Care by Dawn McBride

1st Concurrent Sessions of Day 2

Session A. Risk Assessment and Management by Stanley K. Wong

Stanley Wong is a Registered Psychologist (Clinical & Forensic) and has worked with the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Services – Community Geographic Team for the past five years preparing risk assessments for the courts and providing treatment to sex offenders and violent offenders in the community.

Session Summary: A brief overview of risk assessment, risk instruments, and risk management as it pertains to general violence, sexual violence, intimate partner violence, and stalking.

Learning Objectives:
 Participants will gain a general overview of risk assessment as one of the steps in risk management as it relates to violence. This will include an introduction to the various risk assessment tools available, how risk is determined, and what it all means.

Download PowerPoint Presentation on Domestic Violence by Stan Wong

Session B. Effective Recovery from Enviroment-Related Mental Illness and Associated Addictive Behaviours by Dale Lee

Dale Lee, B. Tech., B. Sc., P. Eng  is a Professional Engineer with The Association of Professional Engineers, Geologist, and Geophysicists of Alberta (APEGGA). He will structure the presentation from the perspective of a Professional Engineer returning to being an active member of society. Dale will speak to his personal experience with family violence and how that impacted him and his recovery from mental health issues and addiction.

EFFECTIVE  RECOVERY-- Dale Lee Presentation

When Narcotics Anonymous members identify themselves as “addicts and alcoholics,” “cross-addicted,” or talk about living “clean and sober” the clarity of the Narcotics Anonymous message is blurred.  To speak in this manner suggests that there are two diseases; that one drug is separate from the rest.  Narcotics Anonymous makes no distinction from the rest.  Our identification as addicts is all-inclusive, allowing us to concentrate on our similarities, not our differences.  We offer this statement in the spirit of Narcotics Anonymous unity. Please remember this request is not made to rule, censor, or dictate behavior.  We make this request in order to provide an atmosphere of recovery, where we can hear the simple, life-saving message of Narcotics Anonymous.

Questions and Answers 
1. What does recovery mean to you?
a. To me, effective recovery means to have a relatively happy, healthy and functional life.  It is to return to being an active member of society with-in the limitations of my abilities.  These limitations may change from day to day but they are in a different order of magnitude than when I was bogged down in mental illness and addiction.

 You said you had to fight to maintain supports, could you elaborate?  Why was it important for you to fight for them?
a. Since 2001, I have seen many professionals from different professions.  I “locked horns” with some of them and, as a result, my time with them was wasted.  Others, I may have had disagreements from time to time but they allowed me to work out my issues with them without taking things personally (like a pissing contest) and I learned from their experience and guidance.  

b. I have had the same “support professionals” about 5 years now and I believe this has a lot to do with my success and effective recovery.  When I moved to Calgary from Lethbridge, AiSH wanted me to change my psychiatrist and addictions counsellor to new ones in Calgary.  I fought this position strongly because I knew from my experiences that I may not find new professionals right away who I could work with.  Why change supports that are working?  I believed that changing professionals could have put my recovery in danger and I may not be here talking today if I did made the changes AiSH tried so hard to manipulate me into making.

 What do you want people to take from your story?
a. Pay attention to young children who are underperforming/over performing.  If they have nothing wrong biologically with their brain, I feel there is an extremely high probability that they are reacting to stimuli in their environments.

Do you think that Family Violence had any effect on your addictions and on your relationships you have had? Or what do you think early childhood exposure to family violence had on you?
a. I have always suspected that the experiences in my early life affected my interpersonal skills (even though most of my life I did not know of the concept of interpersonal skills) and therefore my ability to function “normally” in the cultures I grow up in.  After reading the books by Dr. Maté, I now have no doubt.

What are some of the barriers that you faced on your road to recovery?
a. AiSH – Micromanaging and changing my income source while I was attending my program at SAIT.  I was only able to stand my ground because I knew I could rely on my mother as backup if AiSH decided to get nasty.  But, when mom did help, some of my family would get upset so I had to be very carful if I asked for mom’s help. Now my mother is gone, and because of some members of my family, I have walked out of her Will.  Due to manipulation and (a perceived) total violation of trust of her care givers, taking advantage or her and grabbing a good portion of her assets over the last two years, I chose to walk out of the Will for the sake of my Sobriety. If it was not for my mother, I would not have been able to complete my SAIT program with the success I had because of issues with AiSH.  My AiSH worker told me they were following policy. That policy is designed to keep people down and dependent on AiSH.  It is not designed to help people who are proving with a track record (verifiable by Alberta Health Services – Mental Health and Addiction Services), that they are trying to work back into self-sufficiency and off of AiSH’s support.

b. The concept of “Clean Time” in the recovery rooms and treatment centers.  I notice a lot of people put “the cart before the horse” by mainly focusing on “Clean Time”.  Many who lose their “Clean Time” seem to also have lost their identities in the recovery rooms; as a result, they seem to have a hard time staying in the recovery rooms after a relapse.  This affected me because I felt judged at the beginning of my recovery path when I could not accumulate “Clean Time.”  What is “Clean Time”? Different people have different perceptions of it.  This means (to me) it cannot be measured or proven and, as a result, it is a meaningless variable.  For example, does someone on Methadome , using it properly as prescribed by a knowledgeable addictions doctor, have “Clean Time”? Some would say absolutely not! I would ask if that person is now functional to the best of their abilities as a result of Methadome or are they still functioning as they did in active addiction?  Effective Recovery can be measured by the fruits of one’s work and accomplishments.  If someone can accomplish tasks which they could never accomplish in mental illness or active addiction, this indicates they are working towards and, may have achieved, effective recovery.  In this case, “Clean Time” will eventually accumulate.  As the limit is take with respect to time (a calculus concept) the two variables, effective recovery and “Clean Time”, will converge to the same thing; a healthy, happy contributing member of society.

c. If the focus is more on effective recovery and less on “Clean Time”, I believe more people would find long term recovery.  The former is a process and the latter is a point in time.

d. Another barrier I came across is in the expectation of clients in becoming honest.  Expecting clients to be completely open and honest, especially at the beginning of their recovery paths, is asking too much at first. Some people had to spend a life time lying and manipulating to survive.  In treatment centres, I experienced (or perceived) a guilt complex around being honest with counsellors and staff.  Clients need to be able build trust before they can realistically be expected to be honest; it may take years for this trust to build for some people depending on the environments they grew up in.  I believe when guilt or any other form of manipulation is used by counsellors, this is a form of abuse.  

Most of my life, I experienced guilt because it was a way my mother control me.  So when I perceived guilt in treatment (real or imaginary) it had a negative effect on me.  Until I came to understand why I was feeling the way I did around guilt, this perception caused more damage to me in the long run.  In a lot of treatment centers that I attended, this affected my ability to recover because it also affected my ability to trust counsellors.  Being a professional engineer, and having an understanding of professional ethics, I came to lose trust in some counsellors and SOME treatment centers because of the disconnect I perceived in what they said and in what they did (or report to their administration).  I will go as far to say some of the counsellors I encountered were very unprofessional and dishonest about me and their other clients when briefing about us to other staff and management.  

I learnt that it did me no good to lodge a complaint.  I feared a complaint could and would be used against me in the future.  I feel counsellors need to be accountable for their actions just like a profession engineer is accountable if an accident occurred.  Most counsellors I encountered were very good but, I believe, a few used their positions to hide incompetence and some clients suffered (and perhaps lost their one and only chance for recovery and life) as a result. After many treatment centers, I eventually learnt not to use the treatment center counsellors’ for anything other than general counselling.  If I was to do anything against the house rules, and I told them, then I may be asked to leave.  I was kicked out treatment centers a few times for being too trusting and telling on myself. In my opinion, it is a conflict of interest to tie treatment centres’ counsellors with treatment centres’ administration rules or policies; unless, there is a concern for other clients’ safety.

e. I would not have been successful today without the help of Fresh Start Recovery Centre.  But while I was there, I did not use their counsellors for my main counselling because of my experiences with other treatment centers.  Today I am in daily contact one of their senior staff as my sponsor in recovery. Not one of my supports knows everything about me because the “truth” required a level to trust which I had not initially established with any of them.  Now, I have established that level of trust, but I feel there is no reason to tell anyone person everything about my past or what I did wrong.  I do talk quite openly about my present emotional conditions with all my professional supports. I am in effective recovery to improve the quality of my life and to be a contributing member of society again.  I did not seek recovery to grow a halo or wings.  Today, I believe, I am no longer a complete drain on our society. I now have the ability to work towards self-sufficiency and I hope to soon have full time employment as a Professional Engineer, P.Eng., because of my effective recovery program.

Download PowerPoint Presentation on Effective Recovery by Dale Lee

Session C.Application of Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics in Domestic Violence Prevention Shelters by Helena Kreca and Lindsey Matkvich

Helena Kreca is a Clinical Psychologist and Art and Play Therapist. She has completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at the International American University in Vienna, Austria and post-graduate certificate in Advanced Clinical Supervision at the University of Calgary in Calgary, Alberta. She has worked for fifteen years with children impacted by violence.  A Child and Youth Program Coordinator at Discovery House she works with clients aged 8 months to 17 years. The focus of her work is to foster the power of resiliency by using art and play therapy and trauma counselling in child centered settings to remediate the impact of domestic violence and war trauma on children and their parents. In recent years her work has expanded to clinical supervision and teaching practicum students and clinicians in professional settings at various conferences, and training workshops. In the past year, the Child and Youth counselling team and Helena Kreca presented workshops at The First World Conference of Women’s Shelters in Edmonton, at The Knowledge Sharing Forum; Best practices, Experiences, Approaches and Conversations in Calgary and at 2008, 2009 ACSW (Alberta College of Social Work) Conferences.

Lindsey Matkovich’ is a graduate of the Applied Child Studies program from Mount Royal University, Calgary Alberta. As the Follow up Child and Youth Counselor Lindsey works with families who have departed from the shelter and are now living independently in the community. The focus of Lindsey’s role is to foster independence and support resiliency for women and children living free of domestic violence. Lindsey focuses on supporting mothers with parenting, attachment, and accessing community resources. Support for children includes continued assessment of children’s developmental milestones through art and play therapy techniques, school assistance, and accessing community resources.

Session Summary: Participants will learn how the traumatized brain heals and how to implement the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutic in their clinical work with traumatized clients.

Learning Objectives: Increase knowledge regarding the specific impact of domestic violence and trauma has on the neurobiological development of the brain and clients quality of life; practical strategies for addressing the impact of domestic violence and trauma on brain development and functioning and clinical tools for building capacity and supporting resiliency that assisting clients in transforming their traumatized and dysfunctional brains in to fully functioning brains. Workshop participants will leave with copies of Developmental Checklists to assist them in their ongoing work with this population.

Download PowerPoint Presentation on How Does the Brain Heal by Helena Kreca and Lindsey Matkovich

2nd Concurrent Sessions of Day 2

Session AFamily Violence and Substance Abuse by Kevin Oishi

Kevin Oishi, RSW, works for Alberta Health Services, Addiction and Mental Health. He has seven years experience in the addictions field and three years within the domestic violence field. 

Session Summary; Kevin will focus on the process of addiction, assessment, impact on families’ stages of change and strategies in addiction counselling.

Learning Objectives: Participants will gain an understanding of the process of addiction; how the spectrum of use is measured; the impact it has on families; the effectiveness of treatment and the stages of change and the strategies to work with clients.

Download PDF PowerPoint Presentation on Family Violence and Substance Use by Kevin Oishi

Session B. Working with Adolescents Who Have Experienced Domestic Violence by Allan Rosales

Allan Rosales, MA., Art Therapy, has been working with the YWCA of Calgary Sheriff King Home since 2006. Currently he is the Individual for Children Exposed to Domestic Violence Counsellor and a part-time faculty member of Mount Royal University in the Department of Child and Youth Studies. Allan received his Masters in Art Therapy from Concordia University and is also a certified Yoga Teacher.

Session Summary: This workshop will discuss an 8-week group intervention for teens aged 14-17 years-old who have experienced domestic violence. The methods used with the teens include art therapy, photo therapy and social media.  

Learning Objectives: Participants will learn about the Adolescents Paths of Change program facilitated at the YWCA of Calgary Sheriff King Home. The presenter will review the neurobiological, psychological and socials issues facing teens today. The artwork and case examples of participants will be included and discussed.

Download PowerPoint Presentation on Working with Teens by Allan Rosales

Session C. Identifying and Intervening with High Conflict Clients by Gary Gibbens
Gary Gibbens is currently the Manager of the Special Domestic Violence Projects at the YWCA Sheriff King in Calgary. Mr. Gibbens has worked with domestic violence offenders and victims since 1984. He specializes in Risk Assessment, Risk Management, and Treatment Planning.

Session Summary: High Conflict Clients frequently take up the majority of group or individual time and energy in the DV area. This workshop focuses on identifying these individuals and developing intervention strategies.

Learning Objectives: Participants will be able to identify high conflict clients and understand their agendas and participants will be presented with several strategies for de-escalating, understanding and intervening with these individuals. 

Download PowerPoint Presentation High Conflict Clients by Gary Gibbens