Building Skills, Solutions and Supports

Provincial Conference, Friday, October 26, 2018

Conference Location

Citadel High School
1855 Trollope Street, Halifax


Parking at Citadel High: Anywhere on site with the exception of the HRM parking lot at the end of building. This is very clearly marked HRM parking only.  There is also parking in the streets surrounding the school and some paid parking lots nearby (Scotia Square, Park Lane, etc.)


Thursday, October 25  
7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Thursday Night Social
Tempo Restaurant (Delta Barrington Hotel)
1875 Barrington Street, Halifax, NS
Friday, October 26  
8:00 a.m. –9:00 a.m.  Registration
9:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. Welcome and Introductions (TBD)
  • Greetings from NSTU
  • Greetings from NSSCA President (Martia MacLean)
9:15 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. Keynote Address:  Diversity vs Confidentiality
Robert S. Wright, MSW, RSW
10:15 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. Nutrition Break
10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. Concurrent Sessions
11:45 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Lunch (on your own)
12:15 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. NSSCA Annual General Meeting
1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Concurrent Sessions
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Keynote Address:  Solution-Focused Therapy in Schools
Heather Fiske, Ph.D.
3:00 p.m.- 3:15 p.m. Closing remarks

Registration Information

Fees include NSSCA membership

Conference Fee: $95.00 (includes NSSCA professional membership)
Full-Time Students, Substitutes & Retirees: $55.00

As per NSTU Operational Procedure 14(e)(iii): receipts of payment and attendance will not be distributed until the conference has concluded.

Contact Information

Martia MacLean or

Keynote: Robert S. Wright, MSW, RSW
Diversity vs Confidentiality

Confidentiality is a key ethical consideration for professionals from various backgrounds.  Many services have rigid processes and procedures in place that often prevent disclosure of information.  While this is a sound ethical and legal way of working it often prevent effective service delivery.  This is especially true when working with families and communities who differ culturally from many mainstream service providers.  Our agencies and institutional processes are designed based on Eurocentric values.  Other cultural groups place different emphases on family and community and it is expected that friends and family will be allowed to participate in each person’s care.  This is not necessarily possible with rigid adherence to mainstream privacy considerations.  Furthermore, mainstream service providers do not necessarily have the knowledge to help people from diverse backgrounds and need guidance from friends and family of those being served.  In this key note address, Robert will discuss issues of cultural competency in relation to confidentiality, outline structural barriers to serving immigrant, African Nova Scotian, and other diverse communities, and how mainstream service delivery models can be changed to adapt to the changing needs of these populations.

Please note: There is NO food or drink allowed in the Spatz Theatre.


Robert Seymour Wright is a Social Worker and Sociologist whose 28 year career has spanned the fields of education, child welfare, forensic mental health, trauma, sexual violence, and cultural competence.  A “clinician/academic/administrator,” he has always integrated his work delivering direct practice clinical service to clients with teaching and supervising interns and promoting lasting systemic change through social policy advocacy.  He also consults, trains, speaks and comments on a wide range of issues.  His pioneering work with colleagues in cultural competence and conducting cultural assessments has received national attention.

Robert holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in social work and has post-graduate training in social work and sociology.  He has served in notable roles as the Race Relations Coordinator of the former Dartmouth District School Board, Executive Director of Family & Children’s Services of Cumberland County, and the Executive Director of Nova Scotia’s Child and Youth Strategy.

Robert also serves as the Executive Director of The Peoples' Counselling Clinic which provides no and low cost counselling and case management services to low income individuals and special populations.  A "Teaching Clinic” it is staffed by a case manager and counselling interns supervised by Robert.  Through the Peoples' Clinic, Robert conducts ManTalk, a treatment/support group for male victims of sexual violence, and other programmes for special populations.

Keynote: Heather Fiske, Ph.D.
"Practical Solution-Focused Strategies for Schools"

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) is an evidence-based approach that is respectful, strengths-based and hope-friendly. The practice has been used extensively in counselling, and also in classrooms, in teacher consultation and in school management and supervision. Around the world there are many examples of whole schools and school systems operating on a solution-focused model. In this keynote, we will discuss how SFBT works and some examples of its use in schools, such as Sue Young’s solution-focused anti-bullying programs.

Please note: There is NO food or drink allowed in the Spatz Theatre.

Heather Fiske, Ph.D. is a psychologist with over 30 years of clinical experience. Originally from Cape Breton, she has worked in hospitals, community clinics, schools, and correctional facilities. Currently she is in private practice and active in clinical consultation, supervision, and education, as well as working on a book about solution-focused work in suicide prevention. Heather has served as a Director of the Canadian Association of Suicide Prevention (CASP) and is the recipient of the CASP national service award. Her teaching activities range from a postgraduate program in brief therapy at the University of Toronto to training service providers to the homeless. She is one of the founders of the Solution-Focused Brief Therapy Association and will co-chair the SFBTA’s first Canadian conference in Toronto in 2007. Sadly, she no longer plays the bagpipes.

Full Day Session (10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.)

Concurrent Sessions C and I:  "Sexualized Violence and Trauma Informed Practice"
Dee Dooley, MA, 
Regional Capacity Coordinator, AVALON
"Sexualized Violence and Trauma Informed Practice" will provide an overview of victimization and detail trauma informed practice and response in responding to disclosures of sexualized violence.  The workshop will outline trauma effects, supportive responses, and the medical, legal, and therapeutic healing options for victims/survivors of sexualized violence, as well as strategies to build resilience. This presentation will be in two parts.  
Presenter Bio:  Dee Dooley is a socio-legal researcher and community development professional. She is currently working as the Coordinator of Community Education and Professional/Legal Training at Avalon Sexual Assault Centre. Through this role, she facilitates educational opportunities for the community and works with organizations, service providers, and governments to develop trauma informed responses and policy to address systemic advocacy issues related to supporting survivors of sexualized violence. Dee has over ten years of experience with crime prevention and leadership development programming for women, youth, and LGBTQ populations who have experienced violence. She holds degrees in sociology, gender studies, and criminology where her research focused on the criminalization of women survivors of intimate partner violence.

Concurrent Sessions (10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.)

Concurrent Session A:  Mindfulness
Stephen Paquette, BASc, RYT, MPH

Mental Health Promotion Specialist
Mindfulness Facilitator & Keynote Speaker 
Two one-hour sessions will be held in the Drama Room of Citadel High at 10:45 am and 1:00 pm, no experience necessary.
Steve Paquette, BASc, RYT, MPH is a teacher, yogi, health pro and architect of the AIM of NOW; a proven tool to support the application of mindfulness-based practices and principles in the classroom and the staffroom. Steve became a multi-millionaire in his twenties and struggled to find meaning in wealth creation. A personal health crisis focussed his attention on the mind-body link to healing and recovery. Steve trained yoga teachers at the Kashi School of Yoga for ten years before returning to Nova Scotia. He will provide two sessions that may include mindful movement, brain training and other tools based on the AIM of NOW.

Concurrent Session B:  Helping Queer "Boys": Identity, Sexual Health, and Victimization
Robert S. Wright, MSW, RSW

In recent years society has come to terms with the fact that sexual abuse, harassment, and exploitation are real problems that we need to address.  The development of the Nova Scotia Sexual Violence Strategy and the #MeToo movement are evidence of this.  But what about our boys?  Particularly GTIQ2S+ male-identified youth?  Do we know what the current norms and problems are among our male-identified Queer youth?  In this break out session Robert will discuss the sexual victimization of boys and young men with a focus on Queer male-identified persons.  He will offer some guidance for service providers about talking about sex and relationships with this population and what to do with their disclosure of sexual victimization.

Please note: There is NO food or drink allowed in the Spatz Theatre.

Concurrent Session D:  The Early Years--Career Development for Young Children
Milldred Cahill, PhD

CERIC (Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling) is a charitable organization that advances education and research in career counselling and career development, in order to increase the economic and social well-being of Canadians.
Educators and parents are uniquely positioned to inspire, motivate, and support young children in their academic, social/emotional, and career development.  In this session, participants will have an opportunity to see the findings of a three-year research study on young children (Preschool to Grade Three), their parents, and teachers on career development.  Children reveal through play their stories and musings about themselves, work and career concepts.  Educators and parents reveal their perceptions and recommendations for effective career education for the early years.  Two publications (one for Educators and one for Parents/Guardians) roll out these rich findings.
Dr. Mildred Cahill has just retired from Memorial University where she was a Teacher and a Counselling Educator for 34 years with the Faculty of Education.  Her research includes the design, implementation, and evaluation of Counselling Programs in Career and Diversity Counselling for children, youth, and adults.

Concurrent Session E:  Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS®)
Michelle Hurlburt

This session will discuss the research-based social and emotional learning program, Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS®). Relevant research, along with an overview of the program’s key features, and stories of its benefits and how it is being implemented in classrooms in the Tri-County Regional Centre for Education will be presented.
Michelle Hurlburt graduated from the Nova Scotia Teachers College with a Bachelor of Education degree and a Specialization in French after receiving her high school diploma from Yarmouth Consolidated Memorial High School. With her new teaching license in hand, she moved halfway around the world to live, teach, and travel in Asia for eight years. Two years after her return to Nova Scotia, she gained a position in the Tri-County Regional Centre for Education as a Junior High School French Immersion Teacher. However, in her journey to discover her true purpose in the public education system, she tried her hand at teaching a variety of subjects. Her passion for education was finally validated when she worked as a Behavior Intervention Resource Teacher supporting adolescents with school and behavioral difficulties. Currently, Michelle works as a Social and Emotional Learning Coach and Behavior Intervention Teacher within TCRCE’s Student Services department. She is often on the road, traveling to elementary schools in the region to support P-6 teachers with the classroom implementation of the PATHS® program and to support schools with students who demonstrate challenging behaviors. Michelle is proud to have graduated in 2017 with a Masters of Education in Leadership in Mental Health Education degree from Saint Francis Xavier University. Along with mental health and well-being, she also has a passion for golf, gardening, reading, travelling, gourmet food, and for learning.

Concurrent Session F:  Trauma Informed Care in a School Environment
Holly Murphy and Prasanna Kariyawansa, IWK

Please join us and explore strategies to create a culture of trauma informed care in a school environment. Two members of the IWK Trauma Informed Care team will provide a brief introduction to participants. Objectives for the session are:

  • Differentiate between trauma and stress.
  • Differentiate between trauma treatment and trauma informed care.
  • Learn 5 principles of trauma informed care which can be applied to students, families and the workforce.  
  • Introduce a clinical framework to guide professionals.
  • Provide tools to assess your existing environment, strategies and needs of the workforce.
  • Resource to obtain more information from the IWK Trauma Informed Care Team.  

Holly Murphy, MN, RN BScN, CPMHN(C),, Advanced Practice Leader - Trauma Informed Care.
Holly has enjoyed various roles from clinical care, professional practice, patient safety and management. She believes we all play an important role in creating trauma informed environments. Holly values time with family and friends, being mindful and enjoying the outdoors; especially being by the ocean or a campfire.

Prasanna Kariyawansa, Program Educator, IWK Mental Health & Addictions Program. 
Prasanna has an established history of supporting and educating care providers and families with clients between the ages of 3 and 19. He has worked in Day Treatment Services, 24/7 Intensive Services, Inpatient Services, Community and Close Custody environments. Prasanna is passionate about his family, volunteering, cooking and educating people about creating safe environments for all.

Concurrent Session G:  myBlueprint from a Counsellor's Perspective
Daphnee Morin, Bilingual Partner Success Manager

As an education and career/life planning resource available across Nova Scotia, myBlueprint is used extensively by school counsellors. Whether you are a myBlueprint novice or pro, this session will help you discover a new perspective, including counsellor features, student tools, and support materials that you can use now to best support your students and school community.

Concurrent Sessions (1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.)

Concurrent Session H:  "Practical Solution-Focused Strategies for Schools
Heather Fiske, PhD

Solution-focused practice offers practical ways to make conversations more efficient and effective: between counsellor and client; between teacher and student; between school staff and parents; among school staff; and among students.  In this interactive workshop, participants will observe and practice some of the key tools of the solution-focused approach. The tools may include constructive listening, compliments, scaling questions, future-oriented conversation, and adapting language to the client.

Please note: There is NO food or drink allowed in the Spatz Theatre.

Concurrent Session J:  The Early Years--Career Development for Young Children
Milldred Cahill, PhD

Sess Concurrent Session D for description

Concurrent Session K:  Mindfulness
Jenny Kierstead, Breathing Space Yoga Studio

Description to follow
Jenny Kierstead is the founder of the National Award Winning Breathing Space Yoga Studios and Yoga in Schools. A visionary in the yoga movement throughout Eastern Canada, Jenny received the prestigious Women of Excellence Award in entrepreneurship and innovation and the RBC Women of Influence.

Concurrent Session L:  Trauma Informed Care in a School Environment
Holly Murphy and Prasanna Kariyawansa, IWK

See Concurrent Session F for description

Concurrent Session M:  Mindfulness
Stephen Paquette, BASc, RYT, MPH

See Concurrent Session A for description

While we encourage members to have an NSTU web account, one is NOT REQUIRED to register for a conference.
You may register utilizing any email account.


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