2023 Toronto Regional Conference - Day Two

September 22, 2023

Power, Oppression and Trauma Treatment

Presenter: Dr Alana Tappin, C.Pysch
Abstract: There is deeply ingrained inequality in North American. This inequality is maintained by the social and economic dominance of some groups at the expense of others (Brown 2019). Each of us, therapists and clients alike, have multiple social identities connected to various cultural groups that are arranged in hierarchies (Brown, 2017). Some of these identities hold more social and/or economic “power over,” and others are oppressed. The Canada, the United States and many other ‘developed’ countries in the world operate on cultural homogeneity. This is where one particular racial group holds social and economic power and resources at the exclusion and/or exploitation of others who are not a part of that group. The values of this ‘ruling class’ have been embedded into our society and form dominant ideologies that self-perpetuate. Some of these ideologies such as white supremacy, patriarchy, and heterosexism all make up the status quo in this country and are embedded in institutions such as schools, religious organizations, and the judicial system (Myers, 2011). 

These embedded belief systems are considered ‘normal’ and cause great psychological harm to all, but especially to those who hold social identities not represented by these ‘dominant’ ideologies. This course looks at the way powerful societal ideologies contribute to individual and societal trauma for the therapist and client and the enactments that occur as a result. The aim is to help therapists increase awareness and understanding of the often unconscious dynamics (Ginot, 2015) of internalized superiority and internalized inferiority that often come from being socialized by the dominant ideologies. We will learn to understand the dynamics of power and oppression in the therapeutic relationship and how best to intervene to facilitate healing and create meaningful change for client and therapist alike.

Building Resilient Communities: The Role of Group Therapy in Trauma Recovery

Presenter: Cassandra Harmsen & Kristina Cordeiro
Abstract: Online group therapy is an accessible and effective treatment option for trauma survivors. Online group trauma therapy allows multiple survivors to receive treatment simultaneously, reduces waitlist times and costs associated with treatment, helps reduce social isolation by normalizing trauma experiences, and allows people from all over the province, particularly those in rural areas, to access and participate in live, specialized trauma services. Group trauma therapy has also been shown to significantly decrease trauma symptoms with a diverse range of trauma presentations. Despite these well documented advantages, group trauma therapy services offered in communities are limited. This presentation seeks to introduce attendees to a practical way of implementing groups into practice. First, we will discuss the use of Trauma Practice, a phasic approach to trauma therapy as applied in individual session. This discussion will include didactic exercises of unique and integrative strategies when working with trauma survivors. We will then explore how we adapted Trauma Practice in the context of group therapy. We will discuss the development and implementation of four phase-1 trauma informed groups: Recovery and Resiliency, Lean-in for Connection, Trauma-informed Meditation, and Anger Regulation. While these groups focused on different aspects of recovery, they shared 4 main goals: (1) to increase connection and decrease isolation among trauma survivors, (2) increase emotional awareness, expression, and regulation, (3) to teach safety and stabilization skills, and (4) to learn to manage interpersonal conflict. Using both clinician and client perspectives, as well as clinical research, we will explore what worked well and discuss future directions and areas for improvement. We will discuss the safeguards we took to promote safety in a group setting (e.g., balancing equal engagement from all members, reducing the risk of possible re-traumatization and dysregulation, respecting confidentiality, and acknowledging limits, and developing strong therapeutic relationships with group members). Last, we will discuss the unique consideration of online vs. in-person group therapy and provide recommendations on how to evaluate the progress and success of offered groups.
Course summary
Course opens: 
Course expires: 
Event starts: 
09/22/2023 - 9:00am EDT
Event ends: 
09/22/2023 - 5:00pm EDT
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Day Two Schedule

8:30 - 9:00 AMRegistration and Light Continental Breakfast
9:00 - 10:30 AMPower, Oppression and Trauma Treatment (Tappin)
10:30 - 11:00 AMBreak
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Power, Oppression and Trauma Treatment (continued)
12:30 - 1:30 PMLunch Break - Provided
1:30 - 3:00 PMBuilding Resilient Communities: The Role of Group Therapy in Trauma Recovery (Harmsen, Cordeiro, Tzalazidis, Radosavljevic, and Salisbury)
3:00 - 3:30 PMBreak 
3:30 - 5:00 PM

Building Resilient Communities: The Role of Group Therapy in Trauma Recovery (continued)

Central YMCA
20 Grosvenor St
Toronto M4Y 2V5
+1 (416) 975-9622
Presenter: Alana Tappin

Presenter Biography: Dr. Alana Tappin is a clinical psychologist, and the owner of a psychology clinic that specializes in psychological support for marginalized and racialized people, based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Dr. Tappin earned her doctorate degree from Long Island University, C.W. Post Campus in 2012 (specialization in family violence). Dr. Tappin developed the idea of applying shame resilience theory (by Dr. Brene Brown) to racial justice. She and her colleague Robin Schlenger, LCSW, co-developed a training series based on this idea entitled Shame Resilience and Transformational Skills for White People. She has developed a new training series entitled Addressing the Pain of Internalized Anti-Blackness and does anti-oppression and antiracism trainings for mental health professionals. Dr. Tappin is a faculty member at The Institute for Advanced Psychotherapy at Loyola University in Chicago. She teaches about the intersection of systems of power, oppression and the therapeutic process and leads weekly case consultations for students pursuing a postgraduate training in advanced psychotherapy.



Presenters: Cassandra Harmsen & Kristina Cordeiro
Presenter Biographies: Cassandra Harmsen is a Ph.D. student in the Clinical-Developmental Psychology program at York University, in Toronto, Canada. She obtained her B.Sc. in psychology from McMaster University in 2014, and her M.A. in Clinical-Developmental Psychology from York University in 2021. As a Ph.D. student under the supervision of Dr. Robert T Muller, Cassandra’s primary research focus is understanding effective interventions for trauma survivors. Her work has been presented at various conferences, including the 40th annual ISSTD conference and she currently has two publications in review on this topic.
Cassandra has other published work in the areas of Emotion Focused Family Therapy, barriers to trauma treatment for LGBTQ+ individuals, and complicated grief during COVID-19. Cassandra has several years of experience working with children and young families in several clinical settings. She has practiced in hospitals, including the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH), and most recently at Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre (Hamilton Health Science) as an intervention practicum student. She has also worked in private practices focusing on assessing and treating youth with various presenting concerns. She uses evidence-based practices, including CBT, ACT, Family Based Therapy for eating disorders, and EFFT most prominently.

Kristina is a senior PhD student in the Clinical-Developmental Psychology program at York University, in Toronto, Canada. Supervised by Dr. Robert T. Muller, her research has focused on intrafamilial trauma and attachment-based treatments for children and their families. Most recently, she’s been collaborating on a large clinical trial of the effectiveness of Emotion Focused Family Therapy for caregivers supporting children living with mental illness, and she has been studying the clinical benefits of using the Adult Attachment Interview as an add-on to therapy. Her research has been recognized by the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation, and she has received numerous grants in support of her research and clinical training.
Kristina has over 15 years of experience working with children and young families in educational and clinical settings and is a trained behaviour therapist. Currently a Doctoral Associate at the Family Psychology Centre, Kristina works with youth, adults and families presenting with a variety of mental health concerns, providing both assessment and treatment services. She is passionate about increasing access to effective and timely mental health services and considers the caregiver-child relationship to be a critical entry point for preventative interventions. Her hope is to affect systemic change in how we involve parents in the treatment of their children.

Participants attending Day Two in full will receive six APA and ASWB continuing education credits and six ISSTD Certificate Program credits. Information about credits for each session are included in the information for each session. Participants will receive individual certificates for each session attended for the sessions which they meet the requirements for. To earn credits, participants must sign in and out of each session and attend 50 out of every 60 minutes of the session. 

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