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Course Description

Workshop 1: Vicarious Trauma: Why It’s So Tricky and How our Bodies can lead us to healing

Presented by Barb Higgins, professional speaker and former television news journalist

Vicarious trauma shows up differently for all people who are working around other people’s trauma. This workshop helps us to learn more about how stress shows up for us personally, the stigma associated and what stops us from looking at it, and how there is a cumulative effect of this trauma. Through this workshop, guests will be able to look at the continuum of vicarious trauma, name their own symptoms and develop knowledge of their own personal cues for stress.

Barb Higgins is best known in Southern Alberta for her 22 year award-winning career as Senior News Anchor and Producer of the CTV Calgary News at 6.  In 2010 she ran for Mayor of Calgary. Years later Barb was shocked to discover she had Vicarious Trauma as a result of her news career.   Barb is now trained as a Certified Wellness Counsellor and Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, specializing in trauma.  Barb is a trauma educator, helping people understand how stress is a universal experience, yet unique to each of us.  She mixes personal stories with the latest in scientific research to help us see how stress really shows up, and how we can let our bodies play a critical role in healing and prevention.

Workshop 2: Managing the things we cannot unsee—resilience in trauma-exposed workplaces

Presented by Kathleen Gorman, presenter with TEND Academy Ltd.

Repeated exposure to traumatic images and difficult stories can erode our defenses, cause added pressure on service providers, and increase workplace conflict and    tension. Exploring the tools required to develop exquisite empathy and equanimity and learn how to manage trauma exposure - both in the moment and after - in order to quickly return to a healthy baseline while working in challenging, high volume, and trauma-exposed work environments.

Kathleen Gorman is of Irish and Maliseet descent and follows Mohawk teachings after her adoption into a Mohawk Longhouse Family.  She has worked in the fields of trauma, mental health/addictions, and   domestic/sexual violence for 38+ years.  She is a registered MSW in clinical practice, a Certified Trauma Treatment Specialist and a Somatic Experiencing® (SE) Practitioner and SE Training Assistant.  Kathleen is also a sessional instructor for the University of Calgary Faculty of Social Work, Central and Northern Division and a social work field coordinator/sessional at MacEwan University. She provides individual/group counselling at Aboriginal Counseling Services and has a private Practice.  She has presented     locally, nationally and internationally on many topics including trauma-informed care, Self-Care and Vicarious Trauma, and impacts of colonization.

Course Details

About the Hosts:

The Social Work Professional Development Partnership was formed to bring ACSW accredited workshops to Southern Alberta.  Meetings are held once a month.  If you are interested in helping with next year’s forum, please contact a committee member or wendy.sera@ucalgary.ca  

PDP Committee Members:

  • Alberta College of Social Workers
  • Ministry of Children’s Services
  • Lethbridge Family Services - Counselling, Outreach & Education
  • Piikani Child and Family Services
  • Ashlea Golding, BA, BSW, RSW
  • Kenneth McLean, BSW
  • Jessy Pisony, BSW RSW
  • Micheal Ward, BA, BSW, RSW
  • Social Work Students’ Association (SWSA)
  • University of Calgary, Faculty of Social Work, Southern Alberta Region
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