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How to Outsmart your Negative Brain

CARE4YOU: The Fifth Annual conference on Compassion Fatigue, Secondary Traumatic Stress and Burnout is designed to care for those who care for others. This year, the program was developed around the theme of “Creating Change Agents”. The Conference will be held in Kingston, On. June 9-10, 2015.

This week, we highlight some of our exciting speakers and topics

How to Outsmart your Negative Brain With Daniel Doherty

Do you ever find it challenging to separate your work and personal life?

Helping professionals often feel personally invested in their caring roles – after all, we are caring individuals. There are great rewards for your investment, but there can also be a great personal cost attached to helping others. It can become difficult to separate work from home, and sometimes affects our personal relationships. Our go-to coping mechanism is often detachment from work and home. While we hope to be protecting ourselves, catching our breath, relaxing, and re-charging, the end result of detachment can lead to simply basking in negative thoughts.

Daniel Doherty tackles these issues in his presentation ‘How to Outsmart Your Negative Brain.’ During this session, Daniel will help participants understand the effects of stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol on our limbic system and pre-frontal lobes. Neuropsychologist Rick Hanson, Ph.D., believes the brain has a built in “negativity bias.” Stress often reinforces this negative bias and also diminishes and/or decreases the useful effects of our “happy hormones.” By understanding our brains when they are stressed, we can take advantage of those “happy hormones” oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin, oxygen.

Throw in some jalapeno peppers and 26 seconds to learn how to outsmart the negative intrusive thoughts that keep us in a fatigued state of mind.

Daniel Doherty, MSN, works at Christiana Care Health Systems in Delaware. Christiana Care Health System is one of the country’s largest health care providers that serves more than 600,000 patients yearly; recently Christiana was honored with the Magnet Award status for excellence in nursing by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. For the past 20 years, Daniel has gained experience in emergency nursing and staff development. Daniel has presented similar workshops on this topic to over 100 staff members at Christiana Care Health System and 34 police officers in the Wilmington Delaware Department. Daniel is also a part of the adjunct faculty with Delaware Technical & Community College. Delaware Tech is the State’s first community college, and seeks to inspire their mission of commitment, responsiveness, and vision on a national and state level.

For more information on CARE4YOU click here

Change on a Dime & Sparkle like Sunshine

CARE4YOU: The Fifth Annual conference on Compassion Fatigue, Secondary Traumatic Stress and Burnout is designed to care for those who care for others. This year, the program was developed around the theme of “Creating Change Agents”. The Conference will be held in Kingston, On. June 9-10, 2015.

This week, we highlight some of our exciting speakers and topics

Change on a Dime & Sparkle Like Sunshine:

Bridging the Gap Between Neuroscience and Real Life Applications

heart and brain

Speakers: Steven Hughes and Farah Jindani

In this 75 minute session, Steven Hughes and Farah Jindani invite participants to engage their bodies and brains to experience innovative techniques in trauma therapy. Their creative approach highlights new insights and understanding of trauma exposure, and the role of trauma-informed interventions. Participants will gain resources, including handouts and experiential activities, which will help change the way they feel and learn. Techniques are drawn from fields such as mindfulness, developmental optometry, neuroscience, neuro-linguistic programming, motor development, positive psychology, acupuncture and dance. Activities take between 30 seconds to 1 minute, which assists in restoring a feeling of calmness and control while improving focus. Theory is complemented with plenty of opportunities for hands-on practice and skill-building practices. Participants will learn specific techniques and movement that complement learning styles. Steven and Farah use re-patterning sequences that activate visual, auditory, and kinesthetic areas of the brain to work in synergy. Their strategies will help you to gain confidence, control, and tools to facilitate lasting focus and relaxation.

Steven Hughes, M.Ed., CTDP is an Education Specialist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto. Steven provides educational programs that support physical and mental health, resilience and well-being. Steven integrates his interests and areas of expertise that include accelerated learning, positive organizational development, mindfulness, and wellness- based modalities. All of his programs support learners to gently explore the edges of their personal growth boundaries and to experience new realms of self-discovery. All of Steven’s programs are in harmony with trauma-informed and anti-oppression principles.

 

Farah Jindani, MSW, Ph.D has provided integrative counselling services to individuals, couples and adolescents for over 10 years. Farah studied psychology and gerontology at the University of Waterloo and went on to study criminology at the University of Cambridge, U.K. Her research interests led Farah to pursue a Masters of Social Work at the University of Toronto, specializing in Health and Mental Health.  Her approach is holistic, blending contemplative practices (including mindfulness, breath work, and yoga) with Western psychology and neuroscience. Her doctoral research focussed on the development, implementation and evaluation of an 8-week mindfulness/yoga program for post-traumatic stress. Farah seeks to understand traumatic stress within the context of each person’s lived experiences, relationships and society. She strives to increase resiliency and has developed training programs that assist with addiction, mental health and mindfulness. Farah currently works with the CAMH and provides consultation services.

 

 

For more information on CARE4YOU click here

Grounding Techniques for the Trauma-Exposed Practitioner

CARE4YOU: The Fifth Annual conference on Compassion Fatigue, Secondary Traumatic Stress and Burnout is designed to care for those who care for others. This year, the program was developed around the theme of “Creating Change Agents”. The Conference will be held in Kingston, On. June 9-10, 2015.

This week, we highlight some of our exciting speakers and topics

Emotional Freedom Technique: Creating Personal Change through Tapping With Diana Tikasz, MSW.

meditation

Do you ever feel stuck? Do you ever wish things would change, that you could be different? You are not alone. Too often we set resolutions, goals, and personal vows only to slip up and reach for that TV remote, that third chocolate cupcake and that second glass of wine. Making emotional changes is tough; we fall back on old patterns and give up on our goals. But deeper, lasting change is possible…especially if you have fun!

In her session, Diana Tikasz presents a powerful tool for creating personal change. ‘Emotional Freedom Technique’ is a simple acupressure technique that allows us to dig deeper and address the beliefs that can often sabotage our efforts and keep us feeling stuck. EFT has been growing in popularity because the simplicity of the technique can be applied to a wide variety of complex issues.

This workshop will provide hands-on training in the basics of EFT, and highlight emerging research that reveals a direct calming of stress in the body when EFT is applied. Diana will help teach you ways to create deeper emotional change that will stick.  Be prepared to have fun and tap into your “silly side” as you learn this procedure. The session is designed to not only help you create your own personal change, but to also help others realize their goals.

Diana Tikasz, MSW has worked in the teaching and health care sector for the past 27 years.  Her helping work began as an early childhood educator nurturing children and their families to reach their fullest potential. Over the course of her career she has worked in emergency department crisis teams, coordinated hospital based sexual assault/domestic violence treatment programs, which involved assisting individuals experiencing a current crisis, counselling those who have been traumatized by violence, and teaching other professionals how to do this work effectively while staying healthy themselves.  She has also worked in various Employee Assistance Programs and private practise where she has specialized in working with individuals who are feeling stressed by their personal and/or work life. Diana grounds her work in current knowledge of the neuro-biology of stress and trauma and utilizes techniques/strategies that work on rebalancing holistically.  Her passion is to assist people in creating personal, professional, and organizational changes that promote optimal health and make us more effective helpers.

 For more information on CARE4YOU click here

Healthy Living: Know, Nurture and Nourish Yourself

CARE4YOU: The Fifth Annual conference on Compassion Fatigue, Secondary Traumatic Stress and Burnout is designed to care for those who care for others. This year, the program was developed around the theme of “Creating Change Agents”. The Conference will be held in Kingston, On. June 9-10, 2015.

This week, we highlight some of our exciting speakers and topics

Food: Know, Nurture and Nourish Yourself

with Dr. Deb Thompson

In the helping profession, conscious self-care is challenging. Eating well, exercising and quality sleep are not always priorities, especially when competing commitments get in the way. Nourishing yourself for optimal energy, vitality, wellness and body composition is challenging, but not impossible. In this session, Dr. Deb Thompson shares her expertise in guiding helping professionals who struggle to sustain conscious self-care, including how, when, why and what to eat.

Her experiences include a personal weight loss of 85 lbs, which she has successfully maintained over 10 years. Her commitment to healthy nourishment is a personal and professional one. Throughout her presentation, participants will learn how to work with individual resistance, rebellion, preferences and competing commitments to forge a self-nourishment plan.

Participants will discover tools to help identify eating patterns, and ways to meet needs for fuel, flavor, fun, and comfort in deliciously effective fashion. She will encourage participants to become curious, compassionate and responsive to nourishment needs. As well, Dr. Thompson will help teach participants strategies for organizing nourishing efforts, since disorganization can undermine sustainable lifestyle change. Helping professionals are busy, responsible and caring people. This session is designed to help the helpers lead healthier, more joyous lives through the comfort of nourishing foods.

Dr. Deb Thompson is a Registered Psychologist and Integral Coach™. She has worked in private practice for almost 20 years as a therapist, and 7 years as a life and executive coach and fitness instructor, with a special interest in topics of self-care, health and wellness. Deb knows firsthand the challenges of integrating the commitments of self, family and work in a helping profession. Her approach includes cognitive behavioural therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, person-centred therapy and compassion-focused therapy. She is committed to listening and questioning attentively without judgment, offering fresh perspectives and championing patient growth.

 For more information on CARE4YOU click here

Meet a Real Change Agent: Stéphane Grenier

CARE4YOU: The Fifth Annual conference on Compassion Fatigue, Secondary Traumatic Stress and Burnout is designed to care for those who care for others. This year, the program was developed around the theme of “Creating Change Agents”. The Conference will be held in Kingston, On. June 9-10, 2015.

Over the next two weeks, we will highlight some of our exciting speakers and topics

Keynote Presentation with Lieutenant-Colonel (Ret) Stéphane Grenier, Mental Health Advocate

Be Brave: Empower Agents of Change

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In today’s modern workplace, mental health problems have become the leading cause of disability claims, accounting for 70% of workplace disability management costs in Canada. As someone who continues to cope with the effects of former post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, Lieutenant-Colonel (Retired) Stéphane Grenier knows the toll mental health issues can take on individuals firsthand.

He also understands that for organizations, making changes to company policies and procedures and mobilizing human resources to create better, healthier, more effective teams is hard.  Stéphane Grenier has seen first-hand that there are often monumental changes that need to be effected, and that efforts to shift company culture can create fear.

LCol (Ret’d) Grenier will offer pragmatic advice to foster workplaces that support open, non-stigmatized approaches to mental health. He will encourage us to “Be Brave” and empower the agents of change in our organizations to be the ones that can lead the way to better, healthier, more effective workplaces.

For more information on CARE4YOU click here

Beyond Kale and Pedicures – Part Five

Part Five: This isn’t About Perfection

This week, we bring you an all-new feature article in five parts. To read Part One, click here. Part Two click here. Part three click here, Part Four click here

To download the complete article, click here.

By Françoise Mathieu, M.Ed., CCC.

Mount Sinai: A Success Story and a Work in Progress

Nestled between several much larger health care facilities, Mount Sinai hospital is a 450-bed acute care teaching institution located in the heart of Toronto’s downtown. Like many Jewish hospitals in North America, Sinai was originally created nearly one hundred years ago in response to anti-Semitic discrimination and a lack of services for Jews and other vulnerable groups. Since its inception, Mount Sinai has aimed to stay true to its heritage of offering care to those who need it most, and filling a void for those who have nowhere else to turn. This philosophy has also influenced their approach to staff well-being. Sinai has high rates of employee engagement, and a leadership structure that believes in a culture of employee health at all levels, from the cleaning staff to the CEO. The hospital has developed a series of programs and initiatives such as a stress resiliency course called the “Stress Vaccine”, an online module that is now available to health-care workers worldwide. The hospital has a poet in residence, an active wellness committee, and many initiatives aiming to turn Sinai into a magnet hospital for new staff. They also have a commitment to reviewing the efficacy of their programs regularly, based on employee feedback. Read more ›

Beyond Kale and Pedicures – Part Four

Part Four: Where are we headed? 

This week, we bring you an all-new feature article in five parts. To read Part One, click here, Part Two click here and Part Three click here. On Friday, you will be able to read the final part and also download the piece in its entirety.

By Françoise Mathieu, M.Ed., CCC.

It turns out that wellness practices are probably a great idea for everyone – therapists, circus acrobats and accountants alike. During the past year, I had to research and write this lengthy piece while juggling a busy work and family schedule. I am a writer, a consultant, keynote speaker, business owner and a parent. I travel extensively and have a heavy workload. And so, to cope with this busy time I made sure to exercise daily, practiced yoga several times a week, meditated, ate greens, drank lots of water, avoided excess alcohol and caffeine, tried to get enough sleep, connect with others and have some leisure time. I find that these practices are essential to my well-being. Sure, I can go a few days without them, but I start feeling unwell fairly quickly and that would also be true for many of my overextended civilian friends. Self-care and work-life balance are wonderful tools to manage the pressures of life, and perhaps live a little longer, and it is likely that they are particularly important for those of us who work in high stress, high trauma settings, but it is now clear that these strategies alone cannot compensate for unsustainable caseloads, excessive trauma exposure, toxic work environments and lack of training.

After seven years working as a crisis counsellor in a busy clinic, I quit. Read more ›

Beyond Kale and Pedicures – Part Three

Part Three: The Climate We Create – The Culture We Feed

This week, we bring you an all-new feature article in five parts. To read Part One, click here. To Read Part Two Click here. Come back for Part Four tomorrow. On Friday, you will be able to download the piece in its entirety.

By Françoise Mathieu, M.Ed., CCC.

Practitioner impairment is a complicated phenomenon and is often the result of a combination of compassion fatigue, burnout, secondary trauma, moral distress and sheer overload from the incredibly hectic lives many of us lead. So, what is the solution? How do we unpack the contributing factors so that we can find a path forward? How do we become, or continue to be, healthy, grounded professionals who also have a life?

In 2008, Toronto-based Kyle Killian’s research confirmed previous preliminary findings suggesting that social support was vitally important for a healthy workplace: “Individuals in the helping professions who reported greater social support suffered less psychological strain, had greater job satisfaction, and greater compassion satisfaction,” Killian wrote. The cruel irony is that one of the first casualties of compassion fatigue and burnout in the workplace is connection with others – we develop a “poverty mentality” and nitpick one another on the length of breaks, or the fact that one person always leaves early to pick up their children at daycare. Unhappy staff engages in office gossip and create cliques where they vent about the inequities of the work, or where they compete to share graphic stories from their trauma cases over the lunch hour. In essence, on the road to burnout, we lose compassion for one another as staff members.

Read more ›

Beyond Kale and Pedicures – Part Two

Part Two: Does Self Care Work?

This week, we bring you an all-new feature article in five parts. To read Part One, click hereCome back for Part Three tomorrow. On Friday, you will be able to download the piece in its entirety.

By Françoise Mathieu, M.Ed., CCC.

Pioneers in the field of compassion fatigue and secondary traumatic stress research say that they were caught off guard by the enthusiastic response that they received when they published their initial findings in the 1990s. One colleague recently told me: “It was a bit like trying to put the toothpaste back into the tube – people were very excited about this new idea of compassion fatigue, and the notion of self-care caught on like wildfire but meanwhile, the field was still in its infancy. There wasn’t even agreement on a name for this phenomenon, let alone what really worked to prevent or reduce it.” In fact, to this day, terminology continues to be hotly disputed: is it burnout, compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, secondary trauma, compassion stress, moral distress, empathic strain? Are they one and the same or are they clearly distinct concepts? The debate rages on. Meanwhile, back in the trenches, helping professionals of all stripes were trying to do the best they could while working within an increasingly compromised system.

In the past few years, new research has emerged which suggests that it is time for a more sophisticated understanding of the best ways to manage and reduce CF and STS – one that goes beyond healthy eating and massages. Read more ›

New Feature Article: Beyond Kale and Pedicures – Part One

This week, we bring you an all-new feature article in five parts. Come back for Part Two tomorrow. On Friday, you will be able to download the piece in its entirety.

By Françoise Mathieu, M.Ed., CCC.

Part One: Beyond Kale and Pedicures

 

I have been locked out of the seminar room.

Peering through the glazing, I can see two dozen Operating Room nurses in scrubs, milling about inside the auditorium. The space is nearly full, and they are chatting and eating lunch. The session on compassion fatigue and self-care is about to begin, but the door is locked and I can’t get in. I knock once, and then again a little bit louder. They can see me, but no one comes to unlock the door.

Problem is, I am the presenter, and this isn’t starting out particularly well.

After a few minutes, the caterer, who has just delivered sandwiches to the team, unlocks the door from the inside and whispers to me on his way out: “I’m warning you, it’s worse than high school in there.” It turns out that this group has just learned that all of their summer leave has been cancelled, due to cutbacks, but this session is mandatory, so there they are, steaming mad, and not particularly inspired to discuss sleep hygiene and breathing with me.

Luckily, this isn’t my first rodeo, so I am not too rattled. I am also lucky to rarely encounter such hostile audiences, but I do specialize in delivering training to high stress, high trauma-exposed helping professionals: prison guards, child welfare workers, trauma nurses and docs, and so many others who are trying to care for patients and clients in an increasingly challenging and under-resourced climate. But at this point, in 2011, I am starting to ask myself whether what I am teaching them is at all effective.

Many of my audiences express growing frustration at working in a system that feels broken, and no amount of kale and yoga can fix that overnight. Read more ›