Sunday, August 25, 2013

Continuing Education: Dalhousie University


Painful Emotions:

The Clinical Treatment of Anger and Shame

Ronald Potter-Efron, MSW, RSW

Anger and shame are difficult to treat -- behaviourally and clinically. Both anger and shame can develop into chronic conditions through which an individual's life becomes impoverished and dominated by these negative feelings. This online workshop will provide practical and effective approaches to dealing with anger and shame from behavioural, cognitive, affective, and existential perspectives. More...


Pen to Paper:

Journaling for Reflective Practice & Well-Being

Lynda Monk, MSW, RSW, CPCC

Reflective journaling is a proven technique for increasing self-knowledge, healing stress, nourishing creativity, and enhancing resiliency. In this online workshop, you will learn how and why to create and sustain a reflective journaling practice, understand the occupational hazards within the helping professions, and explore self-care on four key dimensions of wellness. More...


Counselling Skills Level 1

Jill Ceccolini, MSW, RSW & Debbie van Horne, MSW, RSW

Blending counselling theory with practice, this online certificate program familiarizes participants with the major theories of counselling. Mini lectures, discussion, reflective exercises, skill-building activities, role-plays, and case studies will be used to guide participants in their learning. More...


Up & Down the Worry Hill:

User-Friendly Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy for Anxiety in Youngsters

Aureen Pinto Wagner, PhD

Reflective journaling is a proven technique for increasing self-knowledge, healing stress, nourishing creativity, and enhancing resiliency. In this online workshop, you will learn how and why to create and sustain a reflective journaling practice, understand the occupational hazards within the helping professions, and explore self-care on four key dimensions of wellness. More...

902.494.6899 |

Continuing Education | School of Social Work | Dalhousie University | 1459 LeMarchant Street | Suite 3201 | Halifax | NS | B3H 4R2 | CANADA

Global Social Work: 300,000 Social Workers in China

China has 300,000 social workers, government reports

International Federation of Social Workers, 14 August 2013.

The number of specialized social workers in China has reached 300,000, including over 80,000 who qualified after passing the government exam, according to a government report published in Beijing on 12 August 2013, as reported by the Xinhua News Agency in Beijing.

“A Report on the Development of Social Work in China (2011-2012)” was published by the Social Work Research Center, under the Ministry of Civil Affairs, in collaboration with the Social Sciences Academic Press, under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

It is the second report of its kind to be published in the country. The first covered 2009-2010.

In China, “Social Work” refers to such sectors as social welfare, social assistance, poverty elimination, marriage and family affairs, mental health, disabled persons’ rehabilitation, employment assistance, and prevention of crimes.

By 2015 and 2020, the number of Chinese social specialists is projected to top 500,000 and 1.45 million, respectively, according to a government plan which calls for greater efforts to train more social-work specialists.

The country has had five national tests on the qualification of social workers so far.

China is reported to have more than 320 colleges and universities, including 266 colleges of social work undergraduate education and 60 vocational colleges offering specialist social work education.

Ministry of Civil Affairs Social Work Research Centre party secretary, Wang Jiexiu, said that in terms of practical needs, there are still gaps in the number of social work professionals.  He called for improved personnel training and increased recruitment.

IFSW works with our member organisation in China, the China Association of Social Workers.


See also China Daily and Daily News

Improving the Experience of Therapy for Clients

10 Ways Therapists Go Wrong
Jessica Spence, Social Worker Helper, August 22, 2013.

It’s not uncommon for a client to enter my office with previous experiences in therapy elsewhere. When meeting a new client, I always make sure that I ask: “Tell me what you liked or did not like about therapy before. What worked? What didn’t work?”

I don’t want to offend a client in the same way another therapist may have and I really don’t want to waste time trying interventions that just don’t fit.

Here are some of the ways therapists have gone wrong, according to clients I have asked:

1. “They made me talk about _____ when I really needed to work on ______." 

Missing the mark.  Sometimes it is hard to not push our own agenda as therapists, especially when our knowledge and experience is telling us what clients really need to work on. Having buy-in from the client is crucial.  I think we explain why it may be important to discuss a certain topic, then clients are more receptive. Another common complaint here is digging up the past when unnecessary.

2. “They were late all the time.”
I have trouble understanding this one. Barring crisis situations, therapists need to respect and model time boundaries. I think 15 minutes is reasonable, but I’ve heard stories of clients consistently waiting over an hour. Frequent cancellations are another common complaint.

3. “I left their office feeling worse than when I came in.”
I think this could relate to unnecessarily digging up the past, but it also has to do with hope.  Of course there will be sessions where problems aren’t solved in 50 minutes, but homework and talking about future improvement is important. Effective therapy can bring up uncomfortable feelings, but hopefully with informed consent and some discussion, clients can learn to accept temporary discomfort as part of getting better.

4. “They wanted to pray during sessions.”

I hear pretty frequently about situations where the therapist tries to bring religion into therapy unsuccessfully. Many clients find religious practices to be a helpful adjunct to their treatment. However, we need to take care to be culturally competent and respectful of others’ religious beliefs. Remember that freedom of religion also means freedom to have no religion for many people.

5. “They relapsed.” or “They invited me to use with them”.
Self-care is so important for therapists, especially when they are in recovery from substance abuse or mental illness themselves. It can be really damaging to a client’s confidence that they will get better if even their expert therapist has failed. It is okay for therapists to have problems, but we are also responsible for demonstrating how to cope with these issues.  If you are having an acute substance abuse or mental health problem you need to get help, even if that means leaving your job until you are well enough to return.

6. “They fell asleep
This one is hard for me to believe, but I’ve heard it several times. We all have clients who are depressed, flat, monotone or dull, but there is no excuse for falling asleep during a session. If you are so exhausted that you risk falling asleep during a session, then you need to get a strong coffee or cancel appointments for the day and rest up!

7. “It was too expensive.”

This is one that most therapists can’t avoid.  Truth is that overall, therapy is a luxury for most people. Offering sliding scale or case management to get appropriate healthcare resources can help.

8. “They didn’t seem accepting of _____.”
Just fill in the blank with anything remotely controversial. I’ve heard of clients who felt their therapist didn’t respect their sexual orientation, mixed race relationships, spiritual beliefs, culture, politics, you name it.  I think most therapists view themselves as being open minded, but everyone has their own bias and it can really show to sensitive clients. Refer to another provider if you need to.

9. “It seemed like they wanted to talk about their own problems.”

Sounds like a pretty classic self-care issue. It can be really helpful to disclose to clients your own experience, but this needs to be done very carefully and ideally after consult with a supervisor or colleague. If a client gets the feeling that you need them to listen to your problems, they probably will end up feeling like you can’t handle their issues. Not to mention feeling neglected themselves.

10.” They abandoned me.”
This is a by-product of our mental health system that has left too many therapists with the experience of showing up to work only to find a note on a locked door saying the company has closed. It is unfortunate that this happens because it can be so damaging for clients.  My first two jobs as a therapist ended abruptly and despite my attempts, I was forced to say goodbye to my clients with very short or no notice. I felt so guilty and awful that I wasn’t able to even make referrals for some clients to get set up with a different therapist elsewhere.

Ideally terminating the therapeutic relationship should involve wrapping up unresolved therapy issues, transferring to a new therapist, referral for community resources and a session to reflect back on the experience and say goodbye.  It is so rare in life that we get appropriate goodbyes in our relationships, so what a great experience to have if you can provide it.

I think what is most important is that we ask clients about their experiences and approach therapy as a collaborative process.  Checking in with clients periodically throughout treatment provides an opportunity for feedback.  If we are unaware of where we are going wrong, we can’t fix it.  What have your experiences been with helping clients who have dealt with some of these wrongdoings?

Mental Health & AddictionsTraining - Different Locations around BC

Crisis and Trauma Resource Institute Inc. presents the following workshops
in Vancouver, Victoria and Kamloops

For detailed information on our workshops please go to

Self-Injury Behaviour in Youth - Issues and Strategies
Vancouver – October 15-16, 2013

Disordered Eating - From Image to Illness
Vancouver – October 17, 2013

Understanding Mental Illness
Vancouver – October 24, 2013
Victoria – November 1, 2013

DSM-5 - What's New.. What's Different
Vancouver – October 25, 2013, 9am-12pm
Victoria – October 31, 2013, 1pm-4pm

Anxiety - Practical Intervention Strategies
Vancouver – November 6, 2013
Victoria – November 15, 2013

Trauma - Strategies for Resolving the Impact of Post Traumatic Stress
Vancouver – November 7-8, 2013
Victoria – November 13-14, 2013
Kamloops – November 20-21, 2013

De-escalating Potentially Violent SituationsTM
Victoria – November 26, 2013
Vancouver – November 27, 2013
Kelowna – November 27, 2013

Addictions and Mental Illness - Working with Co-occurring Disorders
Prince George – December 4, 2013
Vancouver – December 5, 2013
Nanaimo – December 12, 2013

Substance Abuse in Youth - Creating Opportunities for Change
Vancouver – December 6, 2013
Nanaimo – December 13, 2013

Stalking - Assessment and Management
Vancouver – December 12, 2013

For more information:

Crisis and Trauma Resource Institute Inc.

Satir Training - Transformational Change in the Sand Tray - Ladysmith - November 2nd & 3rd

Satir Institute of the Pacific Presents:

"Where Words Cannot Reach"

Transformational Change in the Sand Tray using the Satir Model

November 2, 3, 2013

with Madeleine DeLittle, M.Sc.

cost $300.00 per person (SIP Member and Early Bird Rates Available)
Lunch and Coffee Break Included

Where: Printingdun Beanery - Terrace Room 341-1st Avenue, Ladysmith, BC

Overview of the two-day workshop

  • Overall look at how the Satir model is used in the sand tray
  • Looking at the change theory in the sand tray
  • The critical importance of the congruence of the therapist
  • How to make the process in the sand tray experiential for the child
  • How to recognize all parts of the iceberg in the sand tray
  • Recognize how to see the coping stances in the sand tray
  • Understanding the neuroscience of the therapeutic transformational process in the sand tray.
  • The basics of the crucial role of attachment in the sand tray.
  • Finding the resources in the play
  • Changing the impact in the sand tray
  • What a typical session looks like.
  • Anchoring the play
  • Working with parents
  • Setting therapeutic goals
  • Putting it all together.
For more information see attached brochure and registration form or contact:
Cindi Mueller, Administrator
Satir Institute of the Pacific
13686-94A Avenue
Surrey, BC V3V 1N1

Friday, August 16, 2013

MSD Assessors Needed - Metro Vancouver area

MPA Mission statement

Inspiring hope and supporting recovery for people with mental illness by establishing and operating social, vocational, recreation, advocacy and housing programs that support people in their own communities.

MPA Society is a non-profit and Registered Charitable organization founded in 1971 by people facing the challenges of mental illness.
The Advocates of MPA Advocacy work with low income people who have mental illness to access benefits such as the disability allowance through Provincial Income Assistance. RSWs are needed to conduct a clinical assessment that supports the narratives of physician and client and provides an understanding of daily living restrictions.

The Application for Designation as a Person With Disabilities (PWD) is divided into three sections. Typically we assist the client with Section 1 which is the client’s chance to tell their own story about difficulties they may have with daily living. After this we still need a medical report and an assessment. We then send the client off with the application and a STRONG suggestion that a doctor do only Section 2. The Physician’s Report. 

My personal preference, and that of most of the Advocates (there are 4.8 of us) is that another person do Section 3. The Assessor’s Report. We describe this as a clinical assessment that supports the narratives of both the Doctor and the client but which provides a deeper understanding of daily living restrictions. These applications tend to be the strongest.

In our collective experience the best Assessors seem to be Social Workers, BSW or MSW but always registered with the College. That is a legislative requirement.

The Assessor typically does this job on his/her own time and is paid directly by the BC Government. You would not be working for MPA but with the Advocates for the benefit of the clients. All will be revealed once someone expresses an interest in this work and meets with the Advocates. Or the Advocates can come to you!

We never have enough Assessors to do timely applications and really need assistance.

I can be contacted through email or the telephone link below. Thank you for your time.

Karen Hobbs, Advocate
MPA Advocacy 
Office 604-482-3706
Fax 604-738-5875

Equality Rights & Speaking Up Against Hate, Bigotry & Intolerance

One of my Facebook friends posted the letter that I responded to. It is probaby the most offensive, hateful thing I have ever read in a newspaper. 

Tracey Young , Vancouver / Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Times, August 15, 2013. Retrieved from:

Dear Editor,
I am a proponent of free speech, but this letter from Dell Krauchi [Call me anti-gay not homophobic, Aug. 13, The TIMES], in which he writes “I simply put the gay community and those with so-called gender-disorders in the same category as I would rapists and child pornographers” can only be described as promoting hate, prejudice, and intolerance towards gay, lesbian, transgendered and other people who have been fighting for decades to have the same human rights, safety, and dignity as others in society.
Krauchi proves the point that opinions are like @$$^%!#$, everyone has them.
He should also get his facts straight before writing about topics he clearly knows nothing about.
Homosexuality has not been considered a “gender disorder” for decades and was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-II) in 1973. Forensic profiling of pedophiles also quite clearly identifies heterosexual males as the most common type of child sexual abuser.
A civil society does not condone this kind of mentality, nor does it give it any airtime.
These hateful and harmful comments clearly illustrate that the struggle for respect, equality, and to be viewed like any other citizen is still being fought.
Fortunately, dinosaurs like Krauchi are dying off and their antiquated bigotry goes with them as new generations grow up believing and knowing that love, acceptance, and equality are cultural values that are meant for everyone in our society.
Tracey Young, Vancouver
© Copyright 2013

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Registration of Child Protection Social Workers - Letter to the Editor

This is a letter to the editor I wrote as a response the Winnipeg Free Press to their editorial about the silence around requiring child protection social workers in Manitoba to be registered coming out of the Phoenix Sinclair inquiry. 

We need to stop spending money on inquiries after tragedies happen to children and implement best practices in child welfare, train workers in them, and make sure regulatory bodies can help work with employers and government to clean up child protection practice across Canada. Where there is a will there is a way. 

Tracey Young, MSW, RSW

Social work standards                                                                                                                 

Young, T. (2013). Have your say. Winnipeg Free Press. 

As a former child protection social worker with the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) and a current registered social worker with the B.C. College of Social Workers I concur wholeheartedly with your editorial (Require social work standards, Aug. 1) that child protection social workers should be registered members of regulatory bodies. Manitoba, however, is not "the lone holdout in Canada" where registration is concerned. B.C. also continues to escape professional accountability in terms of requiring mandatory registration of its child protection workers.

The situation in B.C. is particularly egregious in that back in November 2008 the Ministry of Children and Family Development enacted and updated the Social Work Act, exempting a number of classifications of social workers from having to be registered under the regulations. This included child protection social workers who are employed by MCFD, the very same ministry in charge of administering the act. If that is not a conflict of interest I don't know what is.

The B.C. College of Social Workers has worked diligently for the past five years to remove some exemptions of public service social workers. By September 2013 all social workers working in the health authorities will be required to become RSWs with the college. The B.C. government continues the exemptions on child protection social workers from being registered. This is to the detriment of the public, the children in its care and custody, and the families who are faced with inconsistent and variable practice, and at its worst serious professional misconduct, incompetence, and bad faith.

Tracey Young


Retrieved from:

Monday, August 5, 2013

Editorial on Registration of Child Protection Social Workers in Manitoba

There is some very important food for thought in this editorial which calls for mandatory registration of child protection social workers. People in BC may not be aware that although the Ministry of Children & Family Development (MCFD) is in charge of administering the Social Work Act and is the employer of the majority of CPSW's in the province, the BC government continues to exempt their own workers from being Registered Social Workers (RSW's). I have been advocating for this exemption to be removed since Nov. 2008 when the new Act was proclaimed.

Due to different media reports, the different blogs I publish, as well as my forensic social work practice, I am aware of the truly abysmal child protection practice that occurs in BC at times, by some workers.

There is virtually no recourse for the children and families caught in the quagmire of a system that will ALWAYS protect itself and its workers. This has to change so that the workers and the system that create the circumstances of practice become accountable, responsible, and transparent in their decision-making processes and their practice. This is a matter of human rights and social justice for children, parents, and sometimes, workers.

Require social work standards
Commissioner Ted Hughes can retire now to the quiet of his office to contemplate the reams of evidence collected during 91 days of testimony that described some of the tragically short life of Phoenix Sinclair. There is no doubt, as child-welfare officials agree, state intervention -- and lack thereof -- badly failed the five-year-old, brutally murdered by her mother and step-father in 2005.

Mr. Hughes' task is to filter through the details of who did what, when and why to recommend ways to keep children from being left in the hands of dangerous parents or caregivers.

Samantha Kematch, in prison for first-degree murder, was Phoenix's mother but she was no parent. Despite ample signs of her inability to care for Phoenix, child-welfare agencies and those closest to the girl let her fall back into Kematch's hands. Phoenix's days were numbered when Kematch began living with Karl Wesley McKay, a man documented as criminally violent, and an abiding danger to women and children.

Numerous reports laid out the many errors of commission and omission by a multitude of CFS workers who touched Phoenix's file -- from her birth in 2000 to just months before she was slain, CFS was frequently involved, or alerted, that the girl was in peril. Successive Family Services ministers insist those reports must be hidden from public scrutiny, but that is untrue and unnecessary.

If findings about the weight of caseload described in the review of CFS's involvement with Phoenix had been known publicly in 2006, change could have come faster. This is just one obvious aspect of the value of public accountability.

An analysis of how well vulnerable children fare over time by the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy found kids involved with CFS have the worst outcomes. Why? Because they were scarred from their earliest years, or because CFS response was inadequate: too little, too late? Many children live in a succession foster or group homes before "aging" out of the system to fend for themselves.

A running narrative in the testimony from those closest to Phoenix -- her father Steve Sinclair, her surrogate parents and other relatives -- was that the little girl was surrounded by love and, until Kematch reclaimed her in 2004, was bright, well-adjusted, happy, healthy. "Incredible," was how Rohan Stephenson described her. And all of those who loved her did what they could to keep Phoenix out of the clutches of child-welfare agencies.

That was not just to keep Phoenix close, but because they had a deep-seated distrust of CFS, much of it from personal experience. This is the primary challenge of the agencies tasked to protect children and help families. Front-line services must be organized to separate the role of apprehension from that of offering help. Mr. Hughes' thoughts on how that can be done, drawing from experience in other jurisdictions, would be useful.

Finally, not one of the intervenors who offered summary advice to the commissioner this week called for the professional regulation of child-welfare workers who wield substantial power over the lives of parents and children.

The provincial government has not proclaimed legislation passed in 2009 to require mandatory registration of social workers. There is a lot of opposition to establishing a self-regulating college to license and monitor the professional work of social workers -- many front-line workers do not hold social work degrees.

The use of the term "social worker" should be restricted, and those wielding statutory power to intervene in the lives of families and children ought to meet professional ethical and training standards and be held accountable for their conduct.

Commissioner Hughes must make it clear Manitoba, the lone holdout in Canada, can no longer allow child-welfare workers to escape professional accountability.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 1, 2013 A10.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Canadian Core Competencies Profile for Case Management Providers

Canadian Core Competency Profile
Case Management Providers

From the National Case Management Network. 
What is the Canadian Core Competencies Profile for Case Management Providers?

This first generation of the Canadian Core Competency Profile for Case Management Providers (hereinafter referred to as the Profile) is a foundational document that describes the core competencies (i.e., the knowledge, skills and abilities) required by those working in Case Management in Canada at the beginning and throughout their practice. 

It was developed by the National Case Management Network of Canada (NCMN) as a companion to the Canadian Standards of Practice for Case Management developed in 2009. Case Management is described as both a process and a role. The Standards focus on the process of Case Management and the Core Competencies focus on the role of Case Management Providers.

The Profile aims to provide concrete and actionable competencies while remaining broad enough to encompass the diversity of professional backgrounds and working environments that fall under the Case Management umbrella.

The Profile was created to reflect the diversity of Case Management practice and to help support the evolution of Case Management in relation to the changing nature of the Canadian health care system. The document will be of value to a wide variety of stakeholders but was created primarily to guide Case Management Providers and employers while providing the public with information about the role and competencies associated with the provision of Case Management in Canada.

Click here to order your free copy(s) today!