Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services

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Counselling Adult Survivors of Sexual Violence

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Who Is This Course For?

This 12 week online integrative course is designed for counselors, therapists, and other mental health practitioners who may wish to work with survivors of sexual violence, or who may be already working with survivors and would like to more deeply inform their counselling practice. Registrants must have, at a minimum, a bachelors level education in a social or health services discipline and/or are registered/licensed with a professional association that maintains a code of ethics and standards of practice that provide parameters for the registrant’s scope of practice. Special considerations may be accommodated on a case by case basis. For questions contact [email protected]

Please Note: If you would like a shorter 2 day  workshop consisting of a basic yet comprehensive ‘Identify, Respond and Refer’ training, please see our First Responder Training.

Course Description

This course offers an integrative, mindfulness-based approach to ongoing assessment and interventions with adult survivors (all genders) of sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse. It draws on the most current theory including feminist, attachment, regulation, and interpersonal neurobiology; and evidence-based practices, including mindfulness, cognitive, emotion-centred, somatic, neurofeedback and other emergent approaches for trauma, addiction and mental health. The baseline premise is that the embodied present-moment personhood of the therapist is the primary evidence-based intervention in working with survivors.
The course is also situated within an understanding of culturally relevant practice and how multiple identities, social locations and historical contexts inform interventions with survivors; and how counsellor reflection, self-knowledge and self-care form the basis for ethical counsellor praxis.
While this course does not provide in-depth training in a specific modality it will introduce and critically consider various modalities, theories, principles and ethics associated with working with survivors of sexual violence.
This course is designed for practitioners who may wish to work with survivors of sexual violence, or who may be already working with survivors and would like to more deeply inform their practice. Participation is open to those in the helping fields (mental health professionals, social workers, etc.) whose scope of practice falls within the code of ethics and standards of practice of the professional body to which they belong.

What Will Students Learn?

At the completion of this 12 week online integrative course, students will be able to:

  1. Integrate evidence-based self-care practices, including building a community of support, to increase resilience and minimize practitioner burnout;
  2. Articulate theoretical frameworks for understanding sexual violence and trauma, how they reflect values, worldviews, and interventions;
  3. Understand the complexities of responding to the effects and impacts of sexual violence, that there is ‘no average client’ and to affirm practitioners’ capacities to co-create and sustain a therapeutic relationship;
  4. Understand and apply the principles, tools, and skills to reduce distress and provide stability (including case work), and to conduct initial and on-going assessment strategies (e.g. feedback informed therapy);
  5. Understand the basic principles, tools, and skills of a variety of evidence-based approaches to the effects of sexual violence and trauma, including mindfulness, cognitive, emotional, somatic and anti-oppressive approaches;
  6. Draw from a number of approaches to work collaboratively with adult survivors of sexual violence, addressing the relationship issues that may be specifically meaningful to them such as: self-advocacy in the legal system, interpersonal boundaries, healthy sexuality, political action;
  7. Mindfully bring the therapeutic relationship to closure.

Instructors

Kate Burns, MSW, RSW

“During 30 years in the field of social work – mostly in non-profits – I’ve counselled individuals, facilitated groups / workshops, taught courses and mentored adult learners. Responding to women (mostly) who have experienced the effects of sexual violence has remained prominent throughout, whether working in residential recovery programs, a women’s centre, local college, women’s employment program, or engaged in social action.

Currently, through private practice, I offer a range of options to adults as they navigate the reverberating effects of sexual violence. While holding a collaborative and strength-based orientation, I incorporate dynamic mindfulness with experiential, sensory, and somatic practices. These are integrated with methods gleaned through certification in Hakomi, Equine Facilitated

Wellness, training in Self-Regulation Therapy and creative pursuits.

I meet with clients in the office and outdoors where we also include nature-based practices to support healing, recovery, and growth. I value an inclusive and liberatory approach and remain committed to the transformational powers held within each of us.”

Rachael Crowder, PhD, RSW

“My community-based social work practice began in the early 1990’s working with women who experienced interpersonal violence. I was at the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre for 10 years, and Executive Director of a women’s shelter for a short period before going into my PhD program in 2003.

Through various non-profits I facilitated groups for moms and children who experienced violence; empowerment groups with exotic dancers; therapeutic groups with survivors of sexual assault and historical sexual abuse; and crisis intervention with individuals face-to-face and over the telephone.

It was in the early years at the ORCC that I first learned how to use mindfulness as a grounding skill with women in flashbacks. I have been teaching mindfulness since my MBSR/MBCT training in 2006. My PhD research was about integrating mindfulness with feminist practice, a modality I call Mindfulness Based Feminist Therapy (MBFT). I joined the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary as an Assistant Professor in 2009, and teach mainly in our Clinical Master of Social Work (distance) program. For me, teaching and learning, whether sitting in meditation, with a client, or in a classroom, is a practice of liberation and love.”

 

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