Counselling Adult Survivors of Sexual Violence

Introduce and critically consider various modalities, theories, principles and ethics associated with working with survivors of sexual violence.

This 12 week online integrative course is designed for counselors, therapists, and other mental health practitioners who are new to working with survivors of sexual violence, or who may be already working with survivors and would like to more deeply inform their counselling 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. Applicants must have, at a minimum, a bachelor’s 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].

If you would like a workshop consisting of a comprehensive, yet beginner, ‘Identify, Respond and Refer’ training, please see our First Responder Training.

Course Description

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 offers an integrative, mindfulness-based approach to on-going 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-centered, somatic, 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. 

Learning Objectives

Upon completion students will be able to:

  1. Discuss 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. Describe 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. Recall the principles, tools, and skills to reduce distress and provide stability and to conduct initial and on-going assessment strategies
  5. Name the basic principles, tools, and skills of a variety of evidence-based approaches (including mindfulness, cognitive, emotional, somatic and anti-oppressive) to respond to the effects of sexual violence and trauma
  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
  7. Mindfully bring the therapeutic relationship to closure.

Participant Feedback

“It was very informative and a great learning experience.”  

“I found it interesting and helpful to hear from other professionals around the country about their experiences and therapy strategies.” 

“Thank you so much for the wonderful knowledge and support, I so appreciated every week with the cohort.” 

“Thank you for making this program available to professionals across the country.” 

“Thank you for a valuable learning experience.”

I am fortunate to be engaged in the work that remains closest to my heart. I have many interests – this course being one of them. I have worked with survivors of sexualized violence since the 1980s. Locations have changed through the years: residential recovery programs, women’s centre, non-profits and their administration, the local college, bridging programs, professional and community social actions. Offering adult learning experiences, facilitating groups, providing individual counselling, and agitating for social change has remained at the core, throughout. I’ve had many teachers, including clients, colleagues, authors, long-time friends (like Rachael), my partner and family, as well as Cedars and horses.  And while it has largely been people (and nature) that have influenced my work there are three strong streams still shaping my practice today:

I have a strong living systems orientation inspired first by my deep love of nature and next by the Work that Reconnects (WTR) (, which I was introduced to in the 1980s. I continue to co-facilitate WTR workshops, book groups and experiential gatherings. Second, my attraction to the rest of nature led me to horses (that was never in the plan) and Generation Farms ( where I began a now 15 year relationship, became a certified Equine Facilitated Wellness (EFW) practitioner and mentor (see, and continue to co-facilitate trainings, with a strong nature-based focus, for those seeking EFW certification. And third, as a result of looking for an approach that I felt was broad and deep enough to support the transformational shifts I witnessed clients making, I pursued certification in Hakomi ( These along with many other experiences (like yoga, creative writing, mindfulness practices) help me offer a collaborative, strength-based, and eclectic approach which I hope to share and expand through engagement with anyone interested in this course so that we can support each other in co-creating spaces for healing, growth, and connection.

I have lived a long full life so I will summarize it in decades! During the 90’s I was at the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre where I first learned how to use mindfulness as a grounding skill with women in flashbacks. The 00’s was focused on learning and earning university credentials in social work and certification in mindfulness-based interventions. During the 10’s I taught in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary, and now in the 20’s I am the Executive Director of the PEI Rape and Sexual Assault Centre. Throughout years 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 so much more. I love my work, I love the path that brought me to it, and the relationships I’ve made along the way.

I have a wonderful, loving, creative life companion whose been my mainstay for more than 50 years. I have three adult children who are smart, funny, and challenging at the same time (NB: if you have teenagers don’t assume they will outgrow being challenging); two young adult grandchildren who are the main reason we moved to PEI (and, of course, have either moved province or in the process of leaving); three cats who own the house (we just pay the mortgage); and wonderful friends (like my co-teacher Kate) who join me on various kinds of adventures. Depending on the season, I spend my leisure hours enjoying complicated knitting projects, strolling PEI’s many beautiful beaches and wooded areas, or planning, germinating, planting, weeding, and reaping my garden.

Course Details

Course Outline

Counselling Adult Survivors of Sexual Violence Course Outline


January 25 – April 11, 2024 – Live Class Sessions
Thursday afternoons 2:00pm – 4:00pm MT

Live online classroom plus course work

Please Note: In January 2024 students will receive an email from the Instructors to schedule a one-on-one orientation appointment to review technology requirements and course content. These appointments will be scheduled starting January 15, 2024. Students will then receive notification of registration on NeonTrain about a week before the first live class. With the NeonTrain registration, students will have access to tour and familiarize themselves with NeonTrain in preparation for the first live class that follows on January 25, 2024.

During the week preceding the first live class, students will be required to

  1. introduce themselves by posting a short bio on the Discussion Board
  2. read materials and watch the videos in the Week One module.

Course Workload: Students can expect to invest 5-6 hours per week in live class and homework. Homework includes: Reading, Watching Videos, Reflective Writing (Journaling).

Deadline to Apply

December 22, 2023
This course usually runs twice per year (September and January start dates). If you would like to be notified when applications open for the next session, please subscribe to the ContEd mailing list.


Early Bird: $645 – Application and payment must be received by November 24
After November 24, 2023: $695
AASAS Member Price: $295

Apply Now

Apply for the January – April, 2024 session.


Live online classroom sessions take place on the platform; course work (readings, videos, journaling) is on the NeonTrain learning management system

Course Materials

All students will need to purchase the following book for this course and are encouraged to begin reading before the start date of the course. The book can be purchased at Amazon or Chapters/Indigo for approximately $25.

Van der Kolk, B.A. (2015). The body keeps the score: Brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma. NY: Viking.

It can be found here: Amazon 

Technology Requirements

You require your own computer (desktop or laptop), either a headset or a built-in microphone and speakers, and a high-speed internet connection.

Mailing List

If you would like to be notified of upcoming training dates, subscribe to our ContEd mailing list


Cancellation and Refund

If for any reason you need to cancel your registration please notify us at [email protected].

  • Any cancellations made prior to the first scheduled class of training will receive a full refund, but a $40 administration fee may be in effect. No refunds will be issued if the cancellation is made after the first class begins.
  • You may transfer your registration before the first class begins to another person but a $40 transfer fee may be in effect.
  • You may also transfer yourself into the same course, offered at a future time, by paying $40 transfer fee, if you do so before the start of the third live class. Please contact [email protected] for any cancellation and transfer requests.

Certificates of Completion

To receive a Certificate of Completion, full attendance, completion of 10 journal entries, and completion of an evaluation is required. Certificates will be sent via email once these have been submitted.

Persons with Disabilities

We are committed to doing what we can to make our workshops accessible to all people. Requests made for accommodations for persons with disabilities are provided to participants on a case-by-case basis, to fit the needs of each individual(s). To make arrangements, phone 403-237-6905 ext. 298 or email [email protected].

Category A Credits for Social Workers

Effective July 15, 2021 continuing education credits were no longer offered to participants of the Counselling Adult Survivors of Sexual Violence Course. AASAS will maintain participant records for seven years. Past participants requiring a record of their participation can contact [email protected].


If you have questions or concerns about the course, please contact AASAS at [email protected] directly to sort out any grievances.


[email protected]
403-237-6905 ext. 298

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