Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) Statement Concerning the Hate Crime in London, Ontario

Racism, white supremacy, and violent extremism have sadly become more visible and prevalent in society over the past decade. The recent anti-Islamic murder in London, Ontario is another devastating reminder of the danger these ideologies present to marginalized groups, to the Canadian public, and to all societies.

Psychologists can, and must, play a significant role in turning the tide against racism and terrorism. We must also take on the structures and systems that are built on racial disparities and inequities – structures and systems that play a part in creating a culture that leads to more overt racism and hate crimes.

The CPA stands with the Muslim community, and with all other groups that are regularly targeted by online hate and public violence. We are committed to doing everything we can to create a just society that enables all its members to contribute, thrive, and most importantly feel safe, in the communities, workplaces and societies in which they live, work and play, free from racism, prejudice and systemic discrimination.

Registration Still Open for the CPA’s 2021 Virtual Convention


The CPA is pleased to announce that registration is still open for the CPA’s 2021 Virtual Convention.

With over 1,000 submissions, a stellar line-up of keynote addresses and section featured speakers, and 6-month of on-demand access, this is an event not to be missed!

Visit the CPA’s Convention website to learn more and register! https://convention.cpa.ca/


CPA Statement on the Discovery of the Mass Grave of Indigenous Children in Kamloops

The Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) is horrified to learn about the discovery of the remains of 215 children at the site of a Residential School in Kamloops BC. Our thoughts and sympathies go out to the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc and Indigenous communities who are grieving this incalculable loss. We stand alongside Indigenous communities in grief, anger and sorrow. The CPA is committed to being a partner and an ally in healing, mental health and wellness for Indigenous communities across the country. Read more in Psychology’s Response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Report: https://cpa.ca/docs/File/Task_Forces/TRC%20Task%20Force%20Report_FINAL.pdf


Chronic Pain Centre of Excellence for Canadian Veterans Funding Opportunities – Deadline Extended to May 31, 2021!

As the national leader in Veterans’ chronic pain research, the Chronic Pain Centre of Excellence for Canadian Veterans is pleased to offer the below funding opportunities for 2021-2022.
Please click on the opportunities to learn more and apply.
Should you have any questions, please e-mail research@vcp-vdc.ca.

Research Funding Application Deadline
Expression of Interest: Construct(s) to Measure ‘Lifeskills and Preparedness’ May 31, 2021
Expression of Interest: Construct(s) to Measure ‘Housing and Physical Environment’ May 31, 2021
Expression of Interest: Needs of Veteran Populations to Inform Civilian Healthcare Providers May 31, 2021
Expression of Interest: Effectiveness of Veteran Peer Coaching May 31, 2021
Graduate Scholarships
François Dupéré Graduate Scholarship – Master’s May 31, 2021
Centre of Excellence Graduate Scholarship – Master’s May 31, 2021
Centre of Excellence Graduate Scholarship – PhD May 31, 2021

Message Regarding the CPA/CPAP BMS Liability Insurance Program

BMS, CPA logo
Dear Members,

We hope that you are continuing to stay healthy during this challenging time.

In early May, you will receive the 2021-2022 CPA/CPAP[1] Liability Insurance Program renewal from the program’s broker, BMS. You will see that Professional Liability Insurance (PLI) premium has increased this year. This increase is a direct reflection of increased claims, where millions of dollars of claims costs have been paid under the psychology program to defend and protect insured members.

The premium charged this year is substantiated by actuarial analysis and has been negotiated to keep the increase to the lowest amount acceptable to the Insurer to renew the policy.

2021-2022 Professional Liability Insurance coverage

Your CPA/CPAP policy is in place to provide coverage for legal defence costs and monetary judgements should a professional liability complaint or lawsuit be made against you. Each insured member can access up to $10M per claim and per year to defend against insured claims.

Another important element is the Regulatory Legal Expense coverage, where members can access up to $300,000 per claim and per year to pay the costs of legal defence associated with a complaint made to your regulatory body (professional College). This is an essential piece of coverage as more than 80% of claims under the CPA/CPAP program in any given year are College complaints, where legal defence costs can range from tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

We are aware that in an effort to reduce insurance claims, other programs or policies for psychologists have removed coverage for defence against College complaints and disciplinary hearings. While this may result in lower premiums, it also leaves psychologists without the kind of insurance coverage they are most likely to need. BMS is committed to ensuring that members are provided with comprehensive coverage that represents the needs and greatest practice exposures for psychologists.

Psychologists who are members of both CPA and a participating provincial/territorial association will continue to receive a discount on their premiums. Please feel free to connect with BMS at 1-855-318-6038 or psy.insurance@bmsgroup.com if you have any questions about the policy. To share any queries with the management of the program, contact executiveoffice@cpa.ca.

We thank you for your participation in this program and the confidence you have placed in Canada’s associations of psychology. Be safe, stay well.

[1] The CPA/CPAP program is available to members of CPA as well as members of the provincial/territorial associations of psychology who make up the Council of Professional Associations of Psychologists (CPAP).

Invitation: 29 April, 14:00 UTC | 16:00 CEST The two psychologies of the pandemic: from ‘fragile rationality’ to ‘collective resilience’

As part of the International Science Council’s ongoing engagement with scholars and contemporary thinkers, this webinar, in partnership with the International Union of Psychological Science will consider how the pandemic is impacting on the psychological sciences.

The webinar will address the following two questions:
1. How have different branches of psychology provided useful insights into thinking about the pandemic and in formulating responses to the pandemic?
2. How has the pandemic impacted on developments within psychology and on the changing relationship of psychology to other disciplines?

The webinar, featuring Stephen Reicher as the Keynote Speaker will be moderated by Craig Calhoun with Rifka Weehuizen, Shahnaaz Suffla and Jay Van Bavel as discussants.

Saths Cooper, Deputy Chair of the ISC Committee on Freedom & Responsibility in Science (CFRS), and Past President of the International Union of Psychological Science will introduce the webinar.

“This timely webinar lays bare some of the stark contradictions that COVID-19 has exposed. Pandemic profiteering, vaccine nationalism and other narrow approaches to our global condition only deepen the chasm, increase insecurity and damage the opportunity to create a better future. Our fractured world needs healing and deeper understanding of the issues that the webinar will cover” Saths Cooper

To see more information and to register, please visit: https://council.science/events/psychology-of-pandemic/

Science Brief: Behavioural Science Principles for Enhancing Adherence to Public Health Measures

This Science Brief was prepared on behalf of the Ontario Behavioural Science Working Group and the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table.

The brief describes how we can use behavioural science principles to maintain and enhance adherence to public health messaging, including promising strategies to increase effective masking and physical distancing.

Read the Science Brief


CPA, CAMIMH and CCR Comment on 2021 Federal Budget (April 2021)

On April 19th, the federal government presented its first budget in more than 24 months. The CPA issued a news release emphasizing that the pandemic recovery will depend on our mental health investments.

The Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) also publicly commented on the budget noting that it was a missed opportunity to invest in the mental health of Canadians.  The Canadian Consortium on Research (CCR) also expressed concerns about the lack of investment in basic research.


The Science of Psychedelics: Training for Medical Professionals

Ongoing – Homestudy

MD Media Inc

Location: Online
Contact Phone Number: (647) 919-3615
Contact E-Mail: info@mdmed.ca
Event Link: https://scienceofpsychedelics.com

The Science of Psychedelics: Training for Medical Professionals has been approved for 8.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ through the joint providership of CME Consultants and MD Media Inc., as well as accreditation through the American Psychological Association (APA), the California Board of Registered Nursing, the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, and the Oregon Board of Naturopathic Medicine (OBNM).

 


Three Upcoming Career-focused Webinars for CPA Student Affiliates!

Building on the huge success of the CPA’s inaugural virtual Career Fair in November 2020, the CPA, in collaboration with the CPA’s Industrial/Organizational Section, will be hosting three career-focused webinars in the month of May for Student Affiliates of the CPA.

The sessions will focus on some of the most important elements in starting and advancing one’s career:

  1. Searching for a job and writing a customized CV/cover letter (May 6th, 1:00 – 2:00pm ET)
    https://secure.cpa.ca/apps/Pages/ams-event-details/160558?isPreview=False
  2. Preparing for an interview (May 13th, 1:00 – 2:00pm ET)
    https://secure.cpa.ca/apps/Pages/ams-event-details/160679?isPreview=False
  3. Negotiating an employment agreement/contract/salary (May 20th, 1:00 – 2:30pm ET).
    https://secure.cpa.ca/apps/Pages/ams-event-details/160684?isPreview=False

Please note that space is limited for each webinar and that registration for the webinars is restricted to CPA Student Affiliates.

Register now for any or all of the webinars. Cost for each webinar is $10.00.

“Psychology Works” Fact Sheet: Asthma in Children

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a medical condition that involves inflammation of the airway in the lungs. Asthma currently has no cure and is therefore considered a chronic condition. While some children can outgrow asthmatic symptoms, asthma often requires long-term management. The primary symptom of asthma is recurrent cough, and it can also include symptoms such as shortness of breath, wheezing, or chest tightness. It is the most common chronic condition around the world affecting children’s lower airway.

Asthma affects about 8.3% of children (Akinbami et al., 2016). Boys are more likely to have asthma up until adolescence (i.e., 11-12 years old), but girls are more likely to have it during adolescence and into adulthood. Several factors exist that might put a child at a higher risk of developing asthma or experiencing asthmatic symptoms. Primary risk factors can include obesity, being exposed to smoke or alcohol during pregnancy or after birth, being around other chemicals or toxins in the environment (e.g., pesticides), living in a dusty residence or area, or having a history of respiratory infections. There is also a genetic component to asthma: 35-95% of children with asthma will also have a parent with the condition. In fact, a primary factor of asthma is the genetic tendency to develop allergic disease. Finally, children living in poverty and residing in certain areas of Canada are more likely to have asthma. This indicates that many types of privilege (such as socioeconomic, geographic, and racial privilege) can play a role in asthma, and highlights that marginalized groups typically face asthma at higher rates.

If your child is suspected of having asthma, a medical doctor may confirm a diagnosis by using a simple breathing test like “spirometry”, where your child would be asked to exhale into a sensor after taking a deep breath in. An asthma diagnosis is usually based on a decrease or obstruction of airflow, and the diagnosis can usually be confirmed if symptoms improve after the use of a bronchodilator. Bronchodilators and other asthma treatments are explained in the next section.

How is Asthma Treated?

Treatment for asthma in children is usually based on how severe symptoms are. Your doctor may suggest a bronchodilator (i.e., “reliever puffer”) as the first treatment approach, to help relax muscles in the lungs and widen the airway. For children whose lungs seem to function pretty well but who are dealing with occasional daytime symptoms, reliever puffers like salbutamol are often the only necessary treatment. These puffers are designed to provide a quick relief of symptoms.

For children with more long-term symptoms, inhaled steroids (i.e., “controller puffer”) like mometasone might be suggested to help control symptoms. Doctors generally work with families and children to find the best dose of medication.

If bronchodilators or inhaled steroids are not effective at any dose, doctors might search for other diagnoses because bronchodilators or inhaled steroids have been found to work for most children with asthma. Other issues that might cause asthma-like symptoms are allergies, sinusitis (an inflammation of the sinuses), acid reflux, physical activity (e.g., running or playing sports), reactions to certain fungi, or problems with vocal chords.

For severe cases of asthma, a doctor might prescribe medication that can be taken orally, often combined with bronchodilators or inhaled steroids. These medications might involve oral corticosteroids like prednisone, or alternate medications that are designed to reduce inflammation in the airway. Doctors might suggest medications given by injection (e.g., allergen immunotherapy or omalizumab) in cases where other treatments are not successful or not recommended.

In addition to medical treatments, psychological interventions for asthma may be suggested for many reasons. For example, certain situations may “trigger” asthma symptoms, such as intense exercise or being in cold weather for too long. So, psychological treatment may involve recommendations about how to identity these triggers and limit them to manage symptoms, while still finding ways to engage in enjoyable activities. Taken together, management for asthma may involve a combination of medical and psychological interventions which can often be difficult to implement and navigate for families.

What Can Psychologists Do to Help?

Psychologists can help with several aspects of asthma management, including those described below:

a.      Perceiving Symptoms

Children or adolescents may sometimes have difficulty describing their symptoms or how their medications are helping to control symptoms. Approximately 15-60% of asthma patients struggle to describe symptoms (Janssens et al., 2009), which can lead to an overuse of medication.

Psychologists can help children and adolescents learn ways to identify and describe their symptoms comfortably. This is often accomplished by helping focus increased attention on bodily sensations and recognizing situations in which symptoms may present themselves. Psychologists can similarly help children recognize “trigger” situations, in which symptoms might be more likely to arise (e.g., in cold weather). By optimizing the way that children can describe symptoms and recognize triggers, management of asthma can be improved.

b.      Coping

Asthma is often a stressful illness that requires tough adjustments in psychological, emotional, and behavioural areas. Psychologists can help children and families by discussing strategies that could help them cope with asthma.

Some situations are particularly challenging for children and families with asthma, such as moving to a new school or switching to a new medication. A psychologist can work with families to promote helpful coping strategies such as problem-solving rather than unhelpful strategies such as ignoring or denying issues. Research has shown that using helpful coping styles can have a positive effect on children’s quality of life (Braido et al., 2012).

c.       Adhering to Treatment

There are many factors that can get in the way of children and families adhering to the treatments that are prescribed or suggested by healthcare providers. Some of these interfering factors can include misunderstanding how to take medications, embarrassment about taking the medications in public, denial surrounding the illness, difficulties incorporating treatments into a daily schedule, forgetfulness, or lack of knowledge about the importance of management.

Psychologists can help children and families identify barriers that might be getting in the way of adhering to treatments. For example, they can share relevant strategies and educate families about the importance of taking medication and structuring the day to incorporate treatment activities. Psychologists can then help children and families make practical changes to help them adhere to medications.

Adherence can become particularly challenging when children are becoming more independent and beginning to take their medications themselves. Many parents are highly motivated to help their children adhere to their medications, but it can often be difficult to translate responsibilities from parent to child during this period of increasing independence. Psychologists can focus on areas such as motivation and setting reminders to help older children remain adherent as they become more independent.

d.      Parent-Guided Strategies

Parenting a child with asthma can be particularly challenging, especially since children with asthma have been shown to demonstrate more emotional and behavioural challenges than their peers without asthma. Parents who have children with asthma may report higher levels of stress or psychological distress as a result.

A psychologist can work with caregivers (either alone or together) to troubleshoot issues related to caregiving such as managing stress, regulating emotions, coping effectively, optimizing parenting approaches, improving the ways parents and other family member interact with children, and helping with adherence to medications.

e.      Navigating Anxiety Associated with Asthma

Children with anxiety symptoms or anxiety disorders can face particular challenges when navigating their asthma. A primary source of distress among children higher in anxiety involves beginning to associate anxiety-related shortness of breath with asthma.

Psychologists can help children and families recognize that shortness of breath is also a common symptom of anxiety, and they can help children develop strategies to distinguish between, and think differently about, the situations that might be inducing breathing problems due to anxiety versus asthma. They might also discuss ways to regulate worry (e.g., relaxation exercises) that arises in the face of true asthma symptoms.

What Types of Interventions Do Psychologists Use to Help with Asthma?

Psychologists might use several different types of therapies or techniques when providing help for asthma-related concerns. Two common types of therapy are described below.

a.   Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a psychological treatment approach that uses strategies focused on thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Many of the strategies mentioned on this fact sheet may be incorporated into a CBT plan to address difficulties with asthma. For example, a CBT plan often involves education about the illness, identifying behaviours that interfere with treatment, and addressing anxiety associated with symptoms.

With regard to the “cognitive” piece of CBT, psychologists can help by engaging children and families in discussions about thoughts that might interfere with their management of asthma. For example, thoughts about medication being “unimportant”, assumptions about what children believe their peers think about asthma medications, or parental fears about children taking medications incorrectly can all interfere with optimal asthma management. Psychologists using a CBT model will typically help children and families improve their functioning by helping them notice unhelpful thoughts about asthma, “challenge” these thoughts, and engage in behaviours to test and support more helpful thoughts.

b.   Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) focuses on acceptance and mindfulness strategies that can help people engage in behaviours connected to their values.

Psychologists who use ACT can help parents to be aware of their thoughts and feelings surrounding asthma, to accept and adapt to challenging situations, and to take actions that allow them to help their children in a value-driven way.

ACT has also been found to be useful with adolescents directly. Psychologists can work with adolescents in areas similar to parents: increasing awareness of thoughts and feelings, heightening acceptance and flexibility in asthma-related situations, and making health-related decisions that are linked to their values.

Are Psychological Interventions Effective?

The short answer is, yes; psychological interventions are effective for asthma! Research has demonstrated that psychological interventions involving educational, cognitive, behavioural, and family components are beneficial for children and adolescents (Oland et al., 2017). These interventions have been shown to be helpful in homes, school settings, and medical settings.

However, it is worth noting that most of the research conducted on childhood asthma has been conducted in unique ways. For example, studies have often included children with different levels of asthma or have tested the level of children’s symptoms using different tools. This has made each set of research findings quite different from one another. A large review of psychological interventions for childhood asthma was proposed in September 2019 (Sharrad et al., 2019), so it is likely that findings from this review will emerge to shed further light on asthma management.

Even though psychological interventions have been shown to be effective (and often very important for improving outcomes for families), since medical management is the primary treatment for asthma, families should contact a medical doctor if they suspect a diagnosis of asthma or believe there are problems with the current medical management of a child’s asthma.

Helpful Resources?

Visit these websites for useful asthma resources:

  1. Asthma Canada: https://asthma.ca/
  2. The Canadian Lung Association: https://www.lung.ca/
  3. The Children’s Asthma Education Centre: http://asthma-education.com/
  4. You Can Control Your Asthma: https://cumming.ucalgary.ca/research/icancontrolasthma
  5. The Canadian Thoracic Society: https://cts-sct.ca/guideline-library/

For More Information:

You can consult with a registered psychologist to find out if psychological interventions might be of help to you. Provincial, territorial and some municipal associations of psychology often maintain referral services. For the names and coordinates of provincial and territorial associations of psychology, go to https://cpa.ca/public/whatisapsychologist/ptassociations/.

This fact sheet has been prepared for the Canadian Psychological Association by Jason Isaacs (PhD student at Dalhousie University), in consultation with Dr. Dimas Mateos (MD at IWK Health Centre) and Martha Greechan (RN at IWK Health Centre).

Date: March 17, 2021

Your opinion matters! Please contact us with any questions or comments about any of the Psychology Works Fact Sheets:  factsheets@cpa.ca

Canadian Psychological Association
141 Laurier Avenue West, Suite 702
Ottawa, Ontario    K1P 5J3
Tel:  613-237-2144
Toll free (in Canada):  1-888-472-0657

References:

Akinbami, L. J., Simon, A. E., & Rossen, L. M. (2016). Changing trends in asthma prevalence among children. Pediatrics, 137(1), e20152354.

Braido, F., Baiardini, I., Bordo, A., Menoni, S., Di Marco, F., Centanni, S., … & Canonica, G. W. (2012). Coping with asthma: Is the physician able to identify patient’s behaviour? Respiratory Medicine, 106(12), 1625-1630.

Janssens, T., Verleden, G., De Peuter, S., Van Diest, I., & Van den Bergh, O. (2009). Inaccurate perception of asthma symptoms: a cognitive–affective framework and implications for asthma treatment. Clinical Psychology Review, 29(4), 317-327.

Oland, A. A., Booster, G. D., & Bender, B. G. (2017). Psychological and lifestyle risk factors for asthma exacerbations and morbidity in children. World Allergy Organization Journal, 10(1), 35.

Sharrad, K. J., Sanwo, O., Carson-Chahhoud, K. V., & Pike, K. C. (2019). Psychological interventions for asthma in children and adolescents. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2019(9).

 

Notice of the 2021 Annual General Meeting

The eighty-second Annual General Meeting of the members of the Canadian Psychological Association will be held virtually on Wednesday, June 9, 2021 at 1:00 pm (EST), for the purposes of:

  1. receiving and considering the annual report of the President and Committees of the Association, and approving the minutes of the previous Annual General Meeting;
  2. receiving and considering the financial statements, the report of the Auditor and any change in Membership and Affiliation Fees; 
  3. appointing of an Auditor;
  4. election of the Board of Directors

BY ORDER OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS, on the sixth day of April 2021. 
Karen R. Cohen, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer


Call for Nominations for the 2021 CPA Board of Directors

Nominations are required for the positions of: 

  • Director-at-Large

Note: All Board terms are for three years (beginning in June).

As specified in By-Law 5.04, Directors shall be elected by the members by ordinary resolution at an annual meeting of members at which an election of Directors is required.

Instructions for Nominations

As per By-Law 5.06, any CPA Member can submit a nomination for election to the Board of Directors for the open positions, not less than 30 nor more than 65 days prior to the date of the Annual General Meeting of Members (AGM). A call for an electronic advance vote will be issued before the AGM. Advance voting will occur by electronic vote.

Members and Fellows of the Canadian Psychological Association are invited to make nominations for the position listed above.  Each nomination must include a curriculum vitae for the candidate, including educational background, present and former positions, and research and/or professional activities. It must be accompanied by a letter from the nominator and four letters of support that state the position for which the candidate is being nominated, express support for the candidate, and contains a statement to the effect that the nominator has ascertained the candidate’s willingness to stand for nomination. The nomination letter and letters of support must come from CPA Members or Fellows. In addition, each nomination must include a statement from the nominee, not to exceed 250 words, that indicates the nominee’s highest degree and current positions(s) as well as any credentials, major awards, and licenses held. Most importantly, the letter should detail the qualities, interests and goals the candidate brings to their nomination, as well as a picture to be used on the electronic ballot. 

The names and supporting materials of nominees must be received at CPA Head Office by May 10th, 2021 and should be sent by email to:
governance@cpa.ca

For the Present Board Representation please click here

Please take this opportunity to speak with colleagues and friends about running for a seat on the CPA Board of Directors.  Your association needs you – membership engagement makes for a strong and successful organization!

**Please note that CPA affiliates and associates are not eligible to run for a seat on the CPA Board of Directors.

Premiers Focus on Promising Practices in Mental Health/Substance Use (March 2021)

In January, the Premiers launched Promising Practices which focuses on innovations in one of the provinces or territories in addressing mental health and substance use with an emphasis on rural, remote or northern communities.  CPA member Dr. Heather Hadjistavropoulos was featured in March.  The CPA congratulated Premier Silver (Yukon) for leading this important initiative.


MAiD Legislation and Independent Expert Review (March 2021)

With the passage of Bill C-7 – An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in Dying [MAiD]), the federal government must complete an independent review by experts to consider the safeguards and protocols for requests for MAiD for persons who have a mental illness within the next 12 months.  The CPA has written the Minister of Justice and Health requesting that a psychologist, with MAiD expertise be a member of this review. . In 2020, a CPA Task Force released a report on MAID and Practice Guidelines for Psychologists Involved in End-of-Life Decisions.


Voices With Impact 2021: Film Premiere & Festival of Ideas

June 21-25, 2021

Voices With Impact
    Location: Virtual (must register for individual session links)
    Contact Phone Number: (647) 716-4918
    Contact E-Mail: amy@artwithimpact.org
    Event Link: https://artwithimpact.org/voices-with-impact/2020-21/.

    From June 21 to June 25, Art With Impact will be hosting a free, online short film festival focused on stories of Black and immigrant mental health. The festival kicks off with a screening of short films, followed by a series of virtual workshops around these topics. The festival sessions will center the voices and experiences of Black and immigrant folks, while being open to the broader community.

    Sign up for the different sessions for free through the event link! Registration is required.


CPA’s 82nd Annual Convention & Tradeshow – Virtual Event

June 7 – 25, 2021

CPA 2021 Virtual Conference Logo

Location: Virtual
Email: convention@cpa.ca
Website: https://convention.cpa.ca/

The CPA is pleased to announce that registration is now open for its 82nd Annual National Convention. Taking place, virtually, from June 7th – 25th with Pre-Convention Workshops, taking place from May 31st – June 5th, this is an event not to be missed!

Registration: https://convention.cpa.ca/registration/


An Integrative Mind-Body Approach to Hypnosis

June 4 – 5, 2021

Canadian Society of Clinical Hypnosis - Ontario Division

Goal Management Training® Train-the-Trainer Workshop

May 27, 2021

Goal Management Training® Train-the-Trainer Workshop
Location: Virtual
Contact Phone Number: (416) 785-2500
Contact E-Mail: goalmanagementtraining@research.baycrest.org
Event Link: http://bit.ly/GMTWorkshop

Goal Management Training® (GMT) is a leading evidence-based intervention for treatment of patients with impairments in concentration, planning, and effective task completion, known as executive functions. It is an interactive program designed to improve the organization of goals and the ability to achieve them for people experiencing executive function impairment, including the long-term effects of COVID-19. Join the next GMT Train-the-Trainer Workshop, led by Dr. Brian Levine, Ph.D., C.Psych., ABPP-cn, on May 27, 2021, to learn the latest on the assessment of executive functions and their rehabilitation with GMT. Attendees of this workshop will gain priority access to new electronic resources and protocol adaptations to increase the flexibility of delivery of GMT across clinical contexts. Get 10% off if you register by Friday, May 7!

Please visit https://goalmanagementtraining.weebly.com/training.html for more details.


CPA Statement on New Brunswick’s Bill 35 (March 2021)

CPA submitted a letter to the New Brunswick government detailing our position on psychological test use and opposing the sections of the Bill [https://cpa.ca/cpa-statement-on-new-brunswicks-bill-35/] which proposes that qualified teachers be able to administer level C tests.

“The Canadian Psychological Association’s guidance paper on psychological test safety describes the training necessary to use psychological tests as part of an assessment of an individual’s cognitive, emotional and behavioural functioning. It is the CPA’s position that psychologists are uniquely trained to undertake psychological assessments, which include, but are not limited to the administration of a single test. The CPA opposes any diagnostic, treatment or remedial decisions made on the basis of the results of a single psychological test alone.”


Sun Life Group Benefits Coverage for Psychological Services (March 2021)

Sun Life recently released the document Shaping group benefits: Employer insights that are helping guide the plans of the future, which is intended to help employers shape their (health) benefits for employees.  Importantly, following discussions initiated by CPA, Sun Life included the CPA’s recommendation to increase coverage for psychological services to $3,500-$4,000.  Many employers currently cap their coverage in the $500-$1,000 range. This step is an important recognition by one of Canada’s largest insurers of the value to employers in providing meaningful amounts of coverage for psychological services.


McGill Summer Institute for School Psychology – Virtual Conference

May 25th to May 28th, 2021

McGill Summer Institute for School Psychology – Virtual Conference
    Location: Virtual
    Contact Phone Number: (514) 398-4242
    Contact E-Mail: infosisp.ecp@mcgill.ca
    Event Link: http://www.mcgillschoolpsychinstitute.com/.

    This year’s conference will feature 4 English and 2 French Workshops. The topics covered through the English Workshops will include recent findings and interventions on service provision for immigrant/marginalized children (Dr. Doris Paez), the role of educational technology in teaching/learning processes (Dr. Adam Dubé), bullying interventions (Dr. Amanda Nickerson), and child sexual abuse (Dr. Rachel Langevin). While our French Workshops will include recent findings and interventions related to trauma-informed care (Dre. Delphine Collin-Vézina), and autism & cognition (Dre. Isabelle Soulières).

    As mandated by professional orders (OPQ and CPA), all our applied workshops will contribute to the continuing education of attendees. This conference is an excellent opportunity for mental health professionals and students alike, from across Canada and the United States, to foster new relationships and promote professional development.

    Registration is open until May 24th. For more information regarding registration, please visit: http://www.mcgillschoolpsychinstitute.com/registration.html

    Abstract submission for poster presentation will be open until April 9th. All abstracts will be received by McGill professors in the field of School and Educational Psychology. Please visit: http://www.mcgillschoolpsychinstitute.com/abstract-submission-1.html


Embedding Sleep:

May 19 – June 30, 2021

CambiumEd Consulting Inc
    Location: Online
    Contact Phone Number: (780) 702-8905
    Contact E-Mail: linda@tilleypsych.com
    Event Link: https://embeddingsleep.cambiumed.ca/

    Sleep problems are reaching an epidemic level in our society, especially with the current pandemic stresses. Hypnosis is often recommended and can be effective for sleep problems, but most published scripts are targeted towards simple insomnia – difficulty falling asleep in the absence of significant sleep or co-morbid mental health challenges. Most of our clients are much more complex.

    Embedding Sleep is a 7 week, online course that offers an introduction to sleep disorders (both primary and secondary to other mental health challenges) as well as practical, psychoeducational, and hypnotic strategies to treat sleep problems.

    The Embedding Sleep program is an approved CPA Provider (2021) and is authorized to offer 20 CEC credits for members of the Canadian Psychological Association.

    The course starts on May 19th and finishes on June 30th. Course materials include pre-recorded and live online sessions. The live sessions are offered weekly on Wednesdays at 5:30 Mountain time.

    Cost: $397 CAD + appropriate taxes. There is a 10% early bird registration discount if you register before May 1, 2021. Registration closes May 15, 2021.

    Please go to https://embeddingsleep.cambiumed.ca/ for more information.


Prolonged Exposure Therapy for PTSD – 4-Day Intensive Online Training Workshop

May 13-16, 2021

The Centre for Posttraumatic Stress & Anxiety Treatment
    Location: Online via Zoom
    Times: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Mountain Standard Time)
    Cost: $850.00 CAD plus G.S.T.
    Cost includes electronic copies of workshop slides and assessment materials, and a certificate of completion from the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety at the University of Pennsylvania. Participants are strongly encouraged to purchase the Prolonged Exposure Therapy for PTSD Therapist Guide and Workbook (Second Edition) prior to the workshop.

    Additional Information:
    (Registration Details and other information that will be helpful for your attendees)
    Prolonged Exposure Therapy for PTSD
    4-Day Intensive Online Training Workshop – May 13 to 16, 2021

    The Centre for Posttraumatic Stress & Anxiety Treatment is pleased to announce a four-day intensive online training workshop in Prolonged Exposure (PE) Therapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

    PE is a manualized cognitive-behavioural treatment for PTSD with an extensive base of empirical support. Numerous controlled studies have shown that PE significantly reduces the symptoms of PTSD in a wide range of trauma survivors. PE is strongly recommended by every major U.S. and international clinical practice guideline for the treatment of PTSD.

    Topics covered:
    • Assessment, diagnosis and psychopathology of PTSD;
    • Empirically-supported psychotherapeutic treatments for chronic PTSD and their comparative efficacy;
    • Emotional Processing Theory and its relation to PE;
    • Implementation of the components of PE, including psychoeducation, breathing retraining, in vivo exposure to trauma reminders, imaginal exposure to trauma memories, and processing of exposures;
    • Identification and management of obstacles to effective emotional processing, including avoidance, over-engagement, and under-engagement;

    Video vignettes will illustrate the various components of PE, and participants will have an opportunity to practice selected interventions in pairs during break-out sessions.

    Intended audience:
    Licensed mental health professionals or those working under the supervision of a licensed mental health professional. Previous training and experience with cognitive-behavioural therapy is advised.

    Registration: https://www.cpsat.ca/workshops/pe-for-ptsd-may-2021
    Deadline May 1, 2021
    Space is limited to 40 participants

    Cancellation:
    Fees are fully refundable (less an administration charge of $25 plus G.S.T.) for cancellation requests received prior to May 1, 2021.

    More information: www.cpsat.ca
    training@cpsat.ca
    780. 800. 5585

    About the trainer:
    David Paul, Ph.D., is a Registered Psychologist and Co-director of the Centre for Posttraumatic Stress & Anxiety Treatment in Edmonton, AB. He is certified as a Prolonged Exposure Therapist, Supervisor, and Trainer by the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety (CTSA) at the University of Pennsylvania. This workshop is recognized by the CTSA, and qualifies toward CTSA certification as a PE Therapist for participants who complete the required additional case consultation.


Interdisciplinary Conference in Psychology/Conférence interdisciplinaire en psychologie

May 13-14, 2021

Interdisciplinary Conference in Psychology  |  Conférence interdisciplinaire en psychologie
    Location: University of Ottawa
    Email: publicity@icp-cip.com

    The Interdisciplinary Conference in Psychology (ICP) is an international peer-reviewed academic conference organized each year by graduate and undergraduate students from the School of Psychology at the University of Ottawa. ICP will be celebrating its tenth anniversary on May 13th and 14th, 2021, online.

    ICP aims to foster reflections and discussions on the different innovative approaches towards interdisciplinary research. The conference is an event for all students, professors, and researchers. It offers a unique opportunity to showcase and discuss innovative research on all topics related to psychology. It provides a forum for interdisciplinary learning and collaboration between students and experts.

    For more information about ICP, please visit our website: www.icp-cip.com.


    La Conférence interdisciplinaire en psychologie (CIP) est une conférence nationale revue par les pairs. Elle est organisée chaque année par les étudiants des cycles supérieurs et du premier cycle de l’École de psychologie à l’Université d’Ottawa. La CIP célébrera son dixième anniversaire le 13-14 mai, 2021, en ligne.

    La CIP cherche à promouvoir les réflexions et les discussions sur les différentes approches novatrices de la recherche interdisciplinaire. La conférence est un événement unique pour les étudiants, professeurs et chercheurs. Elle offre l’opportunité de présenter et de discuter de recherches innovatrices par rapport à tous les sujets liés à la psychologie. La CIP fournit un forum pour l’apprentissage interdisciplinaire et la collaboration entre étudiants et experts.

    Pour plus d’informations à propos de la CIP, veuillez visiter notre site Web : www.icp-cip.com.


Working with the Inner Critic with Kathy Steele

May 8th, 2021

Solutions On Site
    Location: livestream
    Contact Phone Number: (226) 268-2307
    Contact E-Mail: register@sosworkshops.ca
    Event Link: https://SOSWorkshops.ca/.

    Everyone experiences an inner critic, based on negative messages from authority figures and from ourselves in reaction to unrealistic expectations of perfection and emotions such as fear, shame, contempt, or envy. In this workshop we will explore an integrative approach to understanding and working with a wide range of inner criticism, punishment, and harshness in our clients, but also in ourselves as therapists. We will explore how these inner aspects develop, and understand their several functions of protection, avoidance, and attempts to gain or maintain validation and care from others. Participants will have an opportunity to explore their own inner critic with compassion as a step toward helping clients learn to deal with their own. Our ability to reflect on and shift our own tendencies toward self-criticism and perfectionism will support our capacity to work with these experiences in our clients.

    Early Bird rate: $89 + hst
    A recording of this event will be available to registered participants until June 11th

    To register, visit SOSWorkshops.ca/ or call 226-268-2307


Working with Shame with Kathy Steele

May 7th, 2021

Solutions On Site
    Location: livestream
    Contact Phone Number: (226) 268-2307
    Contact E-Mail: register@sosworkshops.ca
    Event Link: https://SOSWorkshops.ca/.

    Chronic shame is one of the most challenging experiences to resolving in many clients, and therapists often do not feel they have sufficient skills to effectively address it. This workshop will explore several functions of shame and how we defend ourselves against shame in maladaptive ways. A practical integration of cognitive, emotional, somatic, and relational interventions to resolve chronic shame will be discussed. We will also explore specific “antidotes” to shame, as well as ways to help clients (and therapists) develop resilience to shame reactions. Most importantly, we will examine how to be with shame -our own and our clients – with curiosity and compassion, finding ways to create a safe relational space in which to deeply attune with and help repair chronic shame.

    Early Bird rate: $89+hst (1/2 day event), group rates available
    A recording will be made available to registered participants until June 11th.

    To register, visit SOSWorkshops.ca/ or call 226-268-2307


Intro to Nature-Based Therapy

April 15, 16 & 23 (1:00-4:30pm)

Nature-Based Therapy Workshop

CPA 2020-2021 Honorary President Dr. Benoit-Antoine Bacon

CPA 2020-2021 Honorary President Dr. Benoit-Antoine BaconThe CPA is excited to announce the selection of the 2020-2021 Honorary President. Dr. Benoit-Antoine Bacon, President & Vice-Chancellor of Carleton University, has graciously accepted the invitation from CPA President Dr. Kim Corace. Says Dr. Corace,

“Dr. Bacon has demonstrated tremendous leadership in promoting mental health and substance use awareness through the University, in the community and nationally. His tireless commitment to addressing and de-stigmatizing mental health and substance use has helped drive mental health transformation at Carleton University and beyond.”

The selection of Dr. Bacon as Honorary President is the most recent in a venerable list that includes Dr. Suzanne Stewart, Dr. Donna Markham, The Honourable Irwin Cotler, Ms. Mary Walsh, and more. We look forward to hearing Dr. Bacon’s address at the CPA’s 2021 Virtual Annual Convention, taking place June 7 – 25.

Psychology Month Profile: Dr. Justin Presseau

Justin Presseau
Psychology Month has been extended two days, so we can bring you the work of Dr. Justin Presseau, who is co-Chairing a working group of behavioural scientists advising Ontario healthcare executives and government representatives on best practices during the COVID-19 pandemic.

About Justin Presseau

Justin Presseau

Dr. Justin Presseau is going to welcome a new baby in about a month. His wife Leigh is eight months pregnant, which means this new child will be born in the middle of a global pandemic.

This adds one more job to Dr. Presseau’s portfolio, which also includes Scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Associate Professor in the School of Epidemiology and Public Health and in the School of Psychology at the University of Ottawa, and the Chair of the Health Psychology and Behavioural Medicine Section of the CPA.

As with many researchers, much of Dr. Presseau’s work had to pivot because of the pandemic. He leads a team co-developing new ways to support new Canadians with diabetes to be comfortable taking an eye test. Retinopathy is a manageable issue for people with diabetes when identified through regular screening but attendance rates could be improved, and so Dr. Presseau and his team are building relationships with different communities and community health centres virtually.

Another thing that’s difficult to do from a distance is blood donation. Dr. Presseau and his team are working with Canadian Blood Services and local communities to develop approaches to support men who have sex with men who may want to donate blood plasma, as screening and deferral policies continue to change to allow more MSM to donate if they want. Part of that work involves addressing the historic inequities that led to the exclusion of these men in the first place. But then – there was a pandemic, and his team like so many others have pivoted to continuing to develop key community relationships and campaigns virtually.

In addition, Dr. Presseau is tackling a lot of COVID-related projects, like for example a national survey of to understand what factors are associated with touching eyes, nose and mouth. The research is changing as we continue to develop an understanding of how COVID-19 is transmitted.

Maybe the most important of these COVID-related projects is the  , a group of behavioural science experts and public health leaders who summarize behavioural science evidence in the context of COVID-19 and identify actionable guidance for Ontario’s pandemic response. Dr. Presseau is the co-Chair of this working group, which also involves CPA President Dr. Kim Corace.

“We sit within the larger Ontario Science Advisory Table. We’ve brought together expertise in behavioural science and particularly psychologists across Ontario, based both in academia and within government, to work alongside public health experts and ministry representatives.”

Dr. Presseau says that because the working group contains representatives from all these different areas and the team can communicate directly in this setting with decision makers and policy creators, it is the most direct form of knowledge transfer and knowledge mobilization of behavioural science in which he has been involved in his career.

“From an impact perspective, we get to translate our science to people who can make use of it right away, and they can also provide feedback to us – what are they looking for? What’s helpful to them? Of all the things I’ve done in my career this feels among the most impactful. One of the hats I also wear in the hospital where I’m based is Scientific Lead for Knowledge Translation [in the Ottawa Methods Centre], so I think about knowledge translation a lot. The ability to connect directly with those in the field that are making a difference is excellent. It’s also such a validating experience for me, as a behavioural scientist and a psychologist, to see that there’s recognition of our science and a need for an understanding of how we can draw from the behavioural sciences to support Ontarians and Canadians.”

The Behavioural Science Working Group is currently focused on vaccine confidence and uptake among health care professionals. Over 80% of Ontario health care workers say overwhelmingly that they intend to receive a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to them. The working group is looking to communicate behavioural science approaches to support healthcare organisations across the province to optimise their vaccine promotion programs – for instance, by clarifying that despite having been created at record speed, these vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective and it’s important that those in the healthcare field get one.

Part of this is modeling good behaviour for the rest of the population. And within the healthcare field, modeling good behaviour is one way the working group is hoping to reach those who may be undecided. It’s one thing to have politicians and celebrities get vaccinated publicly, it’s another far more effective thing for your peer group, and hospital CEOs, and team leaders, to do so in front of your team.

Much of this work involves drawing on the literature from around the world to inform hospital policy or public policy. But some of it happens directly, and goes in two directions. For example,

“Our co-chair Dr. Laura Desveaux and her team did surveys with healthcare workers that not only ask if they intend to get the COVID vaccine, but also ask questions that are drawing from behavioural science and psychological principles around the specific constructs or factors might be associated with greater or lesser intention. So they were able to identify key predictors in healthcare workers in January of 2021, the most current data we have. So it’s kind of exciting to be able to quickly draw from on-the-ground data, iterate principles, and push that out to the field to support those who are doing this.”

We have asked most of our Psychology Month participants if they see a ‘silver lining’ in the pandemic. Something that is good, but that would not otherwise have happened absent the pandemic. Dr. Presseau says one silver lining is that it has highlighted just how important and relevant health psychology and behavioural medicine are to understanding and supporting health behaviour change and health and well-being during pandemics.

“After all, behaviour underpins most if not all the public health measures and vaccination activities that are key to seeing the other side of this pandemic.”

When Leigh and Justin’s baby is born, the pandemic will still be ongoing. But that baby will be born into a world that has a much greater understanding of pandemic science, of the behavioural science that accompanies it, and with more and more diverse teams of interdisciplinary experts working together to solve problems – locally, provincially, nationally, and globally.

One day, this baby will grow into a person who can take pride that Dad had a lot to do with that.

Psychology Month: Silver Linings in the Pandemic

Featured Psychology Month Psychologists
Psychology Month has focused on dozens of aspects of the pandemic, a global catastrophe that is deeply tragic. To close out Psychology Month, we focus on a few positives that have come about as a result of COVID-19.

Silver Linings in the Pandemic

Silver Linings in the Pandemic

It has been a tough year for everyone, and so Psychology Month this year has been tough as well. No matter how many innovative, creative, dedicated psychologists are doing incredible things, it’s tough to forget the reason why. A pandemic that has ravaged the globe, caused untold economic damage, mental health issues, and more. Above all, we can’t forget the two and a half million people who have died as a result, which makes the subject of this year’s Psychology Month deeply tragic.

It is for this reason that we want to end on a high note, in as much as such a thing is possible. We asked many of the psychologists who were profiled for Psychology Month to tell us something good they saw come of the pandemic. A personal or professional observation of a way things had improved despite the global catastrophe. Here is what many of them had to say:

“Across hundreds of universities, dozens of countries, many languages, many disciplines, from the virologists to the immunologists to the mental health practitioners – all these people are working together over months. And doing this work under pandemic conditions, doing this work in labs that themselves could cause a super-spreader event. It’s an amazing human accomplishment that we’re already talking about how to get it under control.”
- Andrew Ryder

“One thing that amazed me was how quickly our field – psychology – was able to pivot to online services and mostly remote delivery of therapy when beforehand it was more of an exception to the rule to see people online or over the phone. Seeing that in-person visits can sometimes be adequately replicated via Zoom, or the phone, or other technologies, has been a really interesting experience for me as a trainee.”
- Chelsea Moran

“It wasn’t on the radar at all to offer virtual group psychotherapy for chronic pain, or for psychologists to have virtual appointments. The way Quebec is set up, we cover people who live seven, eight hours away from our centre. For them, being able to have weekly sessions with a psychologist is something that’s very precious. And for others in chronic pain where even thirty or forty minutes driving in the car to the hospital brings their pain level from a three to an eight, not having to come in on some days can be helpful as well. It’s a door that opened that wouldn’t have opened as fast had it not been for the pandemic.”
- Gabrielle Pagé

“There are certain people who, pre-pandemic, were super-productive and making amazing contributions at work. But because they weren’t bragging, and because they weren’t charismatic, they didn’t get the attention of their bosses and they were kind of overlooked. But now when everyone’s at home, it’s easier to track who’s contributing stuff, who is sending in work product. So all the ‘do-ers’ are getting their chance to shine.”
- Helen Ofosu

“I think the move toward virtual care is something that many many patients find very positive. In the capacity that they’re able to receive care from their home, rather than having to work to get themselves or their children or their family over to the hospital. Parking, and having to sit in a waiting room to come to your appointment – to know that you can do it from home is a huge advantage for a number of patients. This has really pushed us to advance in this area that is a real advantage for many of our patients.”
- Ian Nicholson

“For me, it’s being able to spend time on things I really enjoy. I really like to bake, and I really like to read non-academic books. I love murder mysteries! Being able to give yourself permission to actually engage in the activities that you enjoy, that are non-work-related, that are just for you, to me has been my silver lining.”
- Joanna Pozzulo

“Now that the pandemic has gone on for a long time, I don’t really miss the things like international travel – those were perks. But the things I do miss are seeing my family more, my friends more. Some of these things were clarifying, that the things I thought I was missing were perks but not necessary. As soon as I started giving up on my expectations and the things I was missing, it became easier to deal with them, and easier to reach out to other people for connection.”
- Vina Goghari

We also asked our members to point out some ‘silver linings’ in a poll question we included in our monthly newsletter. Here are some highlights of the responses we received:

“The involuntary aspect for many people to slow down as they were laid off or take time to quarantine and are forced to take time off from vacations and traveling is an opportunity to reflect on goals, and "reset" intentions coming out of the pandemic.”
- Charlene F.

“I have seen increased accessibility to services for people with disabilities.”

“I have seen distance barriers disappear - people are able to access learning, support, and other services virtually no matter where they are (assuming they have access to reliable internet!).”
- Gillian S.

“One positive thing for me was that I left my office and started to work virtually from home. It is much easier for me not to have to drive and find parking, and I don’t have to pay rent. The clients are really happy with that option, too, because it is a lot easier for them not to have to take a half day off work to come to the office.”
- Sharon Z.

“More people enjoying the great outdoors!”
- Julie B.

“One positive thing that I have seen come out of the COVID-19 pandemic is an increased societal focus on the importance of both mental health and social justice.”
- Danial A.

“I'm a third-year undergraduate psychology student at Ryerson. I've really been struggling with adjusting to an online semester, work from home, and volunteering and researching from home. This time has really challenged my mental health, but something positive that has come out of this pandemic is that for the first time in my life I am actually putting my mental health first and prioritizing my own wellbeing. I think I'll come out of this pandemic with so much self-growth, and I truly believe if I did not have so much time alone with my own thoughts, I would not have gone through this self-care journey.”
- Giselle F.

“I have noticed that staying at home has increased my focus on family life. Learning new and fun activities to keep the family busy while staying away from everyone we used to visit. For example, we have discovered new trails in our local area which is difficult because we are already active hikers so know most of the trails. Also, we have taken up painting rocks and searching for others' painted rocks on the more common trails.

As a student I have noticed a high increase of togetherness among students. There is a massive use of discord in the psychology department at VIU. This has helped to stay on top of school work and have discussions about our projects or simply to figure out how to get onto the zoom link the teacher put in a funny spot we can't find. Also on the psychology discord site, students are looking at common interests like gaming that they can do together and discussing various interesting novels that they enjoy.

I have never felt so connected to other students while walking around campus. Now I can log on and ask about test topics or paper ideas.

It's been tough distancing from everywhere, but I realize family life is the most important thing in my world and will not disappear from my life. School is a long term goal and I know one day I will be done with it, COVID is just a bump in the road.”
- Donna S.

“The pandemic has been grounding in the sense that many people have suddenly recognized and remembered the most important aspects of life. When faced with a universal threat to health and livelihood, the superficial details of a day become recognized as such, and the aspects with the most weight and meaning to our lives become clear.”
- Kathryn L.F.

“I believe that this pandemic has taught most individuals the importance of well-being. Seeing as we are no longer under the extreme pressures of traveling from day to day events, we now have more time for self-reflection, personal examination, questioning, and learning. It takes a certain level of resilience to shift perspective from uncertainty and anxiety to gratitude. However, with the pandemic disrupting what we knew as our normal lives and continuing to do so, those who are fortunate enough have been able to embrace this shift. Despite what may be happening in the world the most important thing we can focus on and should focus on moving forward is our overall well-being.”
- Emily T.

“A personal silver lining of the pandemic was having the time to finish my research and apply for residency a year earlier than anticipated. I also had more time to spend with my fiancée since both of us were working from home.”
- Flint S.

“More slowing down. A chance for children to play and be.”
- Jen T.

“Something positive I have seen from the pandemic is a newfound appreciation for in-person interactions, particularly in the younger generations. With so much screen time and so little face to face interaction, not only is in-person socializing of higher value, it’s become higher quality. I’ve noticed people are more likely to put their phones away and live in the moment. Interactions are limited, and we need to make the most of what we get. In my own life and for many of my friends, family, and classmates, it’s been something we’ve come to stop taking for granted.”
- Genevieve J.

“Psychologists being forced to become familiar with providing telehealth services, and the increased access that has provided.”
- Janine H.

“Nonobstant la dure réalité de la pandémie, beaucoup de réalités positives ont émergées. En premier lieu, l’esprit d’entraide et communautaire. Deuxièmement, la créativité, que ce soit dans toutes les formes d’art en tant que telles, mais aussi dans l’adaptation, la réinvention et la recherche de solutions. Troisièmement, toutes les nouvelles habitudes acquises, que ce soit le jardinage, l’exercice, l’apprentissage d’une langue, d’un instrument de musique ou d’une habileté ou encore de connaissances en général. Pour ce qui est de la psychologie, en particulier, la création de portails sécuritaires pour offrir des services en ligne.”
- Elisabeth J.

“Something positive in the pandemic- people have slowed down and reassessed their priorities, needs, and desires.”
- Heather P.

“The negatives from a global pandemic have been catastrophic. The most damaging effects being the crippling of the economy, deaths of millions of loved ones world wide, and an extreme toll taken on people's mental health in so many different ways. Keeping children away from school and their friends, forcing families to remain in abusive situations under the radar, allowing small business's to close down permanently day by day... this damage will take years to repair, and maybe won't be repairable at all.

This cannot be forgotten; however, in order to keep my head above the waters of these unforgettable events, I choose to remain optimistic and seek the positive in a sea of negative.

I remind myself that I have been given a chance to spend quality time with the most important person in my life - myself. People tend to neglect themselves daily, and I believe this pandemic has allowed us to check in with ourselves and take the time to look after our needs and self care. I also think that we often neglect the loved ones in our life. This time of isolation has encouraged me to pick up the phone and call people that I have not spoken to in a long time. I have called my parents more than ever before. I even call my friends instead of just sending them silly photos back and forth on Instagram. These conversations are meaningful.  When we are allowed windows of social gathering, these windows are so meaningful also.

Besides these main points, I think that there are some little positive outcomes as well such as cooking more meals at home that are healthier for our bodies and mind, spending more time in nature and trying new activities we never would have tried otherwise, and of course, saving money if you are lucky enough to keep your job.

Negativity will drown you if you let it and positivity will keep you afloat. “
- Sacha H.

“Since COVID, I have become closer with my roommates. We spend more time together instead of doing our own thing all the time.”
- Laura J.

“1] a lot of children may be spending less time on screens by going outside tobogganing, building snow forts, and snowmen.

2] parents are actually spending more time with their children that they did before such as helping and supervising homework but also playing like colouring together and even playing non-screen table games like the good old days, monopoly, snakes and ladders etc.

3] couples like myself with my wife spend more time having coffee together and talking about all things which there may not have been time for before when people ran off to work for the entire day.”
- Jack A.

“I work in education, and I see teachers paying more attention to their own mental health. We bend over backwards for the kids we work with, but it is rare for a teacher to step back and say "I am not okay", and I have seen more of that this year than ever before. They are getting the help they need and taking time off to rest and heal. I hope this continues as teacher burnout is a real thing.”
- Danielle F.

Thank you to everyone who followed along with Psychology Month in 2021. This past year has been difficult, and it has been hard to put into words. Thankfully, there are psychologists all over Canada willing to try. We salute them all, and we salute the resilience of Canadians who have weathered this storm with diplomacy and aplomb. Take care of yourselves, and those around you.

Attachment and Trauma Treatment Centre for Healing

April 12, 2021-April 16, 2021

Attachment and Trauma Treatment Centre for Healing
    • Location: Live Online

 

    • Contact Phone Number: (905) 684-9333

 

    • Contact E-Mail:

reception@attch.org

    • Event Link:

http://www.attachmentandtraumaconference.com

    • .

Gain insight into leading edge treatments including integrative approaches to healing trauma. Join us in learning proven, effective, concrete tools to help kids, teens and adults heal from trauma. Strengthen your repertoire of tools for creating safety and rapport with children, teens and adults who have experienced trauma and learn new integrative techniques to promote embodied awareness. This year we will have a special focus on the impacts of the pandemic, embodied practices to promote wellness and heal the body, mind and brain. As wth past events, this will be an experiential conference with a blend of theory, research and science and embodied and applied practice.

This comprehensive conference will cover the following topics:

Conference Workshop Overview:

      •  Day 1 ~ April 12 AM
        Eric Pepper – Reduce Zoom Fatigue and Optimize Health: From Tech Stress to TechHealth
      •  Day 1 – April 12 PM
        Jamie McHugh – Inhabiting Ourselves: Embodying Mindfulness and Somatic Self-Care
      •  Day 2 ~ April 13
      •  Day 3 – April 14
        Ilene Serlin, Ph.D, BC-DMT ~ Trauma-Informed Dance Movement Therapy
      •  Day 4 – April 15
        Jack Ernst, MSW RSW ~ Finding Your Routes of Safety
      •  Day 5 – April 16
        Cherie Spehar ~ Writing the Way Through: An Immersive Journal Therapy Experience for Working Through Trauma

This training will be held live online.


Psychology Month Profile: Karen Cohen

Dr. Karen CohenDr. Karen Cohen
The CPA has been adjusting, like everyone else, to working from home and embracing the new normal. Our work has been guided by our CEO, Dr. Karen Cohen.

About Karen Cohen

CPA’s Communications Specialist, Eric Bollman talks to CPA’s CEO, Karen Cohen

“The tail of COVID is going to be a long one. It’s going to be psychosocial, and financial. Long after we get vaccines, long after we achieve population immunity, we’re still going to be addressing the psychosocial and financial impacts of living through a pandemic this long.”

Shortly after the NBA announced the suspension of their season on March 11, 2020, there was an all-staff meeting at the CPA head office in downtown Ottawa. The realization was dawning on everyone, and fast, that we were about to enter a different world – both in terms of our own work lives, and in terms of the role of psychology in the world at large.

We knew things were changing – if the NBA could shut down, the rest of the world was not far behind. We knew we’d all be sent home, and we spent that meeting discussing how that would work. Who needed a laptop? Who needed a refresher on Microsoft Teams, having slept through the training session less than a week before? What we did not know was that this would be the last time we saw each other in person for more than a year.

Our CEO, Dr. Karen Cohen, does not follow basketball. For her, the realization was more incremental. But she reached it at the same time, if not a little before, the rest of us. She made the decision to shut down the office and send everybody home.

“We were trying to make the decision that not only would best take care of our workplace, but that would make us a good corporate citizen. It was clear that if the world was going to be successful in managing the pandemic, we had to put in a community effort. “

As the world changed, and the CPA started working from our homes across Ottawa and connecting with people across the country, we realized that psychology was going to have an outsized role to play in helping people and communities manage the pandemic. CPA wanted to help in that effort.  Dr. Cohen credits the staff at the CPA for making this transition work, almost seamlessly.

“Everything CPA has been able to contribute to managing the pandemic is to the credit of the association’s leadership, its membership and its staff. From the outset, our goal was to listen and respond to what people needed; what staff needed to work efficiently from home, what individuals and families needed to support each other, what members needed to face disruptions in their work, and what decision-makers needed to develop policies to help communities.

At first though, those lockdowns were not extended – we truly thought we’d be back at work in a few weeks, maybe a couple of months. Karen and the rest of the management team made sure to check in, and to cover their bases early on.

“One of the things we did at the outset was to survey staff – asking what’s keeping you up at night? How can we make things better? What are you most concerned about? And not just to ask the questions but to try to do something about them. We developed policies and made decisions that considered the things staff were worried about and responded to what they needed.  We realized that psychology had some tools and suggestions to help them cope so we developed a webinar for staff on coping and resilience.  We also reached out to staff one on one and really tried to hear them so we could help make things easier for them.”

We then thought that the survey and webinar might be helpful to the staff of other of CPA’s not for profit association partners and we delivered them to about a dozen of them. The survey enabled leaders to better understand the needs of their workplaces and psychology had some tools and suggestions to help workers cope.   Something that was created internally, for the use of our own staff, ended up being of value to other organizations and an unforeseen contribution our team has been able to make.

While we didn’t know how long the pandemic would last, or what the long-term effects would be, the one group we knew for sure would be affected long-term were frontline health care workers. We were already seeing reports from Italy and Spain of overflowing hospitals, a health care system in crisis, and doctors and nurses overcome with exhaustion and despair. So what could we do?

The first major effort of the CPA during the pandemic was to ask our practitioner members if they would be willing to offer their services to frontline healthcare workers, on an urgent basis, as they faced the stressors of delivering health care services during a pandemic. It seemed essential that the people who were out there fighting against this scourge of a virus had every support possible as they took care of everyone else and, because of their work, faced heightened risk of contracting the virus and bringing it home to their families.

“Hundreds of psychologists came together to do that.  It was good for CPA, it was good for psychology, and most importantly, it has been good for the health providers psychologists helped.

From there, it was a question of developing and delivering information, and getting as much of it out to members, decision-makers and Canadians as possible. Psychologists across Canada answered the call to help create more than a dozen COVID-specific fact sheets for students, psychologists, faculty, people working from home and more. Our team developed webinars, started a podcast, and undertook the herculean effort of moving the CPA annual convention online with just a few months notice.

The CPA team has been collaborating with innumerable other organizations and agencies, commissioning surveys and public opinion polls, and advocating for mental health to be front and centre in every governmental pandemic-related decision and policy across Canada. The work is ongoing, and it is not likely to stop any time soon.

“We know that rates of anxiety, depression and substance use have gone up as people cope with this prolonged chronic stressor. We can see the impact managing the pandemic has had on our work, relationships, and wellbeing.  Maybe the pandemic has shown us that a pandemic takes as much of a psychological toll on our lives as a biological one.  Maybe the pandemic has shown us that managing a critical health event successfully is as much about psychological and social factors as it is about the biological ones. Maybe, governments, workplaces, and insurers will fully realize that mental health matters and that it is time that making investments in mental health care matters too.”

Psychology Month Profile: Dr. Jenn, Dr. Laila, Dr. Mary and the Coping Toolbox podcast

Dr. Jenn Vriend, Dr. Laila Din Osmun, and Dr. Mary Simmering McDonald Dr. Jenn, Dr. Laila, and Dr. Mary
Friends since they did an internship together at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, child psychologists Dr. Laila Din Osmun, Dr. Mary Simmering McDonald, and Dr. Jenn Vriend are trying to reach as many kids and parents as they can during the pandemic with the Coping Toolbox podcast.

About Dr. Jenn, Dr. Laila, Dr. Mary and the Coping Toolbox podcast

Laila Din Osmun, Jenn Vriend, and Mary Simmering McDonald

Everyone is swamped. Kids, learning virtually for the past year and dealing with constant uncertainty. Parents, looking after those kids and trying to work remotely or cope with being out of work. Psychologists, whose services are more in demand than ever but who don’t have any spots available for new clients.
Dr. Laila Din Osmun
Dr. Laila Din Osmun is a parent and a psychologist, dealing with two young children learning from home and an increasing demand for her professional services. She started spending time with her two children, aged five and seven, throughout the week and moved her practice to the weekends. She found she was turning people away because she just didn’t have the availability to see the number of people seeking services. And so she did something that may seem illogical – she added a whole other project to her workload.

In conversation with her friends Dr. Jenn Vriend and Dr. Mary Simmering McDonald, Dr. Din Osmun found that they were experiencing the same thing. The three had become friends during an internship at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), and now all three were child psychologists in private practice in Ottawa. None of them could keep up with the demand.
Dr. Mary Simmering McDonald
How do you get essential information to as many people as possible as quickly as possible? Nothing can replace one-on-one therapy, but there was clearly a void as the supply was not coming close to matching the demand. Dr. Din Osmun proposed a podcast. Coping techniques for kids, delivered one episode at a time, coupled with discussions of the issues facing families during the pandemic and some personal stories about spending time at home with their own children.

The CopingToolbox: A Child Psych Podcast was born. The first episode was published February 17th, discussing specific coping strategies (setting boundaries, practicing gratitude) for children and parents during COVID.
Dr. Jenn Vriend
“Everybody’s feeling overwhelmed right now, myself included. My friends, my clients – it’s a really difficult time. One of the things I’ve been practicing is just allowing myself to feel some of those feelings. Sometimes we feel sad and we don’t want to, or we feel anxiety and we don’t want to. But it’s a really difficult time and we’re going through a lot, and I think it’s really important that we allow ourselves to feel that feeling for a little while.”
Jenn Vriend, The Coping Toolbox Episode One

Future episodes will deal with subjects like depression, as the three friends try to bring more services to more people through a new and interesting platform. On the podcast, they refer to themselves as ‘Dr. Laila’, and ‘Dr. Jenn’, and ‘Dr. Mary’. To an outsider, this might remind people of the ‘Dr. Bobby’ episode of Friends (okay it’s me – I’m the outsider who was reminded of that episode) but it also creates a friendly and welcoming atmosphere should kids be listening with their parents. This was clearly an intentional choice, as was the use of the word ‘toolbox’. Says Dr. Laila,

“We called it The Coping Toolbox because we wanted to provide tools for coping. Not getting into too much detail, and we wanted it to be useful. At the end of every podcast we give three coping skills that we review for the people listening.”

In episode one, those skills are; take a few minutes and breathe, modeling positive behaviours for your kids, and being kind to ourselves. On the podcast, Dr. Jenn says;

“We’re modeling positive behaviours, but we’re not doing it perfectly. So we can take a deep breath, do our best to model those positive behaviours, for ourselves as well as our kids, and then just be gentle and kind to ourselves knowing that we’re doing the best we can given the situation.”

All three Coping Toolbox podcast co-hosts know about doing their best given the situation. They all have young children at home, and each of them brings a different perspective. While Dr. Din Osmun has set aside a large portion of her work to take care of the kids while her husband works a demanding job, Dr. Simmering McDonald, a mom of 3- and 5-year-old boys, is balancing her clinical practice with her husband’s long work days, limited childcare, and weekly appointments regarding the health needs of family members.

In The Coping Toolbox Episode One, Dr. Simmering McDonald notes, “it’s important to consider our own well-being and our own mental health. This is necessary for our own functioning but also for the functioning of our kids and our families.” Dr. Vriend speaks about grief, something many people are experiencing with COVID-19. She separated from her son’s father a few years ago, then sadly he passed away in the summer of 2020. “I’ve had to learn not just single parenting but lone parenting, where you’re it – you’re kind of the everything. I think that perspective, during the pandemic, is going to be interesting to discuss. I remember at one point feeling like ‘I’m my son’s entire world’. I’m his teacher, and I’m his coach, and I’m his mom, and I’m his dad, and it felt very overwhelming. It can add a different perspective because there are a lot of people who discuss both parents, and when you’re a single parent it can hurt a little bit and I think the pandemic has created a whole other layer for single parents and for lone parents.”

In professional practice, divulging personal details is not something psychologists do. But in the context of a podcast, doing so can help the narrative hit home – a narrative that, in the case of The Coping Toolbox, is warm, friendly, expert-driven and truly helpful for many who can’t access that help in other ways at the moment. Dr. Din Osmun says,

“It’s been a crazy time, and we just can’t meet the demands right now. It was getting really frustrating, and the three of us kept talking in group conversations – how can we help? We’re so limited in what we can do. We had the idea of creating a podcast, but we knew nothing about podcasting. The three of us are clinicians in private practice, we have no expertise in podcasting whatsoever. It was a huge learning curve, but we figured this IS something we can do to help people because it’s something the three of us can do from home. We felt like this was a way to help more people in a shorter period of time.”

Laila has taken the lead on the podcast, including taking on hosting duties and – the most painstaking and time-consuming job of all – the editing after the fact. It will all be worthwhile if enough people listen and take away something helpful they did not already know.

You can find The Coping Toolbox: A Child Psych Podcast on Apple Podcasts. https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/the-coping-toolbox-a-child-psych-podcast/id1553993639

Black History Month: Charles Henry Turner

Charles Henry Turner photo from biography.com
Charles Henry Turner was a zoologist, one of the first 3 Black men to earn a PhD from Chicago University. Despite being denied access to laboratories, research libraries, and more, his extensive research was part of a movement that became the field of comparative psychology.

Dr. Turner was a civil rights advocate in St. Louis, publishing papers on the subject beginning in 1897. He suggested education as the best means of combatting racism, and believed in what would now be called a ‘comparative psychology’ approach.

About Charles Henry Turner

Charles Henry Turner was a zoologist, one of the first 3 Black men to earn a PhD from Chicago University. He became the first person to determine insects can distinguish pitch. He also determined that social insects, like cockroaches, can learn by trial and error.

Despite an impressive academic record, Dr. Turner was unable to find work at major American universities. He published dozens of papers, including three in the journal 'Science', while working as a high school science teacher in St. Louis.

Despite being denied access to laboratories, research libraries, and more, his extensive research was part of a movement that became the field of comparative psychology.

Dr. Turner was a civil rights advocate in St. Louis, publishing papers on the subject beginning in 1897. He suggested education as the best means of combatting racism, and believed in what would now be called a 'comparative psychology' approach. He retired from teaching in 1922, and died at the age of 56 on Valentine's Day in 1923.

Photo: biography.com

Psychology Month Profile: Penny Corkum

Penny CorkumPenny Corkum
Dr. Penny Corkum studies sleep and children, and created Better Nights Better Days, a cross-Canada trial that improved sleep for both kids and parents before the pandemic. In the last year, Dr. Corkum and her team went back to those families to see how they were doing during COVID. Their launch of a revamped Better Nights Better Days for the pandemic era is imminent.

About Penny Corkum

Penny Corkum

“When we launched our survey study asking parents during the pandemic how their child’s sleep was impacting them, what really came up was that it’s the whole family and not just the child. So we not only had to help the child sleep better but also give strategies for the parent to sleep better. So we added that into the intervention as well.”

It probably goes without saying that sleep is incredibly important for children. Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep can have a big impact on a child, in terms of daytime functioning. They’re not able to focus or learn as well, and it might result in behavioural problems. Dr. Penny Corkum has been studying sleep in children for a long time. In the last decade, her sleep studies have taken the form of connecting parents and families with the interventions they now know work for children and sleep. Part of this is an e-health program, online tools that parents can access when they need them.

Between 2016 and 2018 Dr. Corkum and her team ran a cross-Canada trial called Better Nights, Better Days, to see if this program was effective. It was, and the program resulted in improved sleep, improved daytime functioning, and even parents were less tired during the day as a result. Then the pandemic hit, and it became a constantly evolving crisis – lockdown for a while, then lockdown lifted. School online from home then back to in-person classroom learning. Right away, sleep patterns were disrupted for both children and adults around the world.

The team went back to the families who had participated in the original Better Nights, Better Days trial, to see how they were doing during the pandemic.

“It seemed like a good place to start because we already knew about their sleep, and we knew that they had learned a lot of strategies to help their child sleep. We were curious – were they still using these strategies? There was some research coming out at the time that suggested families were actually having better sleep, since they didn’t have to get up at a certain time. But that’s not what we found. A small portion of our families were doing better, but about 40% of the children and 60% of the parents were sleeping worse than they were before the pandemic.”

A lot of this was happening because of disruptions in routine and structure. We sleep best when we have consistency in our days – a regular bedtime, a regular time to wake up, a standard time for supper. All of this was being upended by a constantly evolving pandemic and the restrictions that went along with it. Two of the biggest factors were anxiety as a result of worry about the pandemic, and screen time. Kids were using screens a lot more while locked down at home which was disrupting their sleep in a big way.

With new data collected from the Better Nights, Better Days cohort, Dr. Corkum and her team could move forward. Almost all the parents said they were still using the interventions they had used for sleep pre-pandemic. 95% of them said that they thought other families should have access to these strategies during the pandemic. Based on this, the Better Nights, Better Days team was able to get some funding to launch an intervention for all families during the pandemic.

That new program launches Very soon – hopefully very early in March. It is free for families to use, intended for parents of children ages 1-10 who are struggling with falling asleep and staying asleep. There have been slight modifications, now that Dr. Corkum and her team have information about the pandemic and how it impacts sleep. They’ve also added to the intervention some information about parents’ sleep, and how to help parents sleep better. Sleep is essential for the whole family!

Dr. Corkum also runs a diagnostic clinic in Truro, Nova Scotia that brings together pediatricians, school psychologists, health psychologists and others to do differential diagnostics for kids who have fairly complex presentations and need a comprehensive assessment. Well, she normally does. But in the past year the doors have remained closed because they just can’t have all those people together in one room. It’s disappointing for Dr. Corkum and her team, who likely won’t be able to re-open until next year. Therapy can be done virtually, diagnostic assessments not so much.

Dr. Corkum says she misses working at Dalhousie and seeing her students, staff and colleagues but doesn’t miss the walk! Her parking spot is far from the office that carrying a bag, and papers, and a laptop through deep snow or a blizzard makes the walk to work something of a nightmare and a serious workout, every winter. She’s still getting the walk and the workout in – but walking a big dog three times a day is a much more pleasant experience.

Fresh air, exercise, and sleep are three of the things that can make life during the pandemic a more pleasant experience. And with the launch of Better Nights, Better Days which has been modified for the COVID-19 context, Dr. Corkum is making at least one of those things easier and more accessible as of today. You can sign up for the Better Nights, Better Days during COVID-19 study here:

 

https://betternightsbetterdays.ca/covid-19

Standing Committee Releases 2021 Pre-Budget Recommendations (February 2021)

As part of the federal government’s pre-budget consultation process of which CPA contributed to, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance released its report. Importantly, two of its top five recommendations focused on investing in a long-term mental health COVID-19 recovery plan for all Canadians, and targeted investments that will improve access to primary care, mental health supports and virtual care. It also included a recommendation to provide a one-time 25% increase in funding to the Tri-Councils for research restart and recovery. Hopefully all three will be reflected in the 2021 federal budget.


Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau and Premier Legault (February 2021)

Given that Prime Minister Trudeau recently signalled the federal government’s willingness to discuss increasing its share of health funding to the provinces and territories, the CPA wrote to the Prime Minister and Premier urging them to increase their investments in mental health services and treatments.

CAMIMIH Letter to Prime Minister and Premiers


Psychology Month Profile: Natalie Rosen

Natalie RosenNatalie Rosen
At Dalhousie University, Dr. Natalie Rosen studies sexual health in the context of couples. Many people thought there would be a baby boom during the pandemic – Dr. Rosen explains why this hasn’t happened.

About Natalie Rosen

Natalie Rosen

Where are all the babies? When the COVID-19 pandemic started creating lockdowns in March of 2020, the memes were everywhere. The generation that was sure to come from the pandemic baby boom was being given all kinds of names – Coronials! Baby Zoomers! We were all looking forward to making lame jokes in 2033 about these children entering their Quaranteens.

It made some sense that we would think that way – hey, we’re stuck at home with nothing else to do, we’ll probably all bake more cheesecake, learn a new instrument, and make a bunch of babies. But the boom never came. In fact, Canada’s birth rate in 2020 declined by 0.73% from 2019 – continuing a steady trend downward that continues into 2021 (we are projected to decline by 0.74% this year). So what gives?

Dr. Natalie Rosen specializes in couples and sex. Dr. Rosen is a clinical psychologist and an associate professor in the departments of Psychology and Neuroscience, and Obstetrics and Gynecology at Dalhousie University. She and her team are currently in the middle of several longitudinal studies with couples, some of which began before the pandemic. They’re hoping that they get some good data at the end of the studies that can shed light on the impacts of pandemic-related stress on sexual health, particularly for vulnerable groups like new parents. In the meantime, she’s looking at other studies that are just now starting to release data.

“A study published last Spring in the States looked at the impact of COVID on people’s sex lives. What they found was that just over 40% of people said their sex lives had taken a hit and were declining. Just over 40% said it was about the same, and then there was a minority of about 13% who reported that their sex lives had actually improved during the pandemic. I think it’s fair to extrapolate to some extent to Canadians, which means a big chunk of us are experiencing a declines in their sex lives.”

So what happened? Why aren’t people having sex more than ever? Where are all the babies we were promised in the memes? Dr. Rosen says we probably should have known this would be the case.

“I think that was wishful thinking. We actually know that for many people, stress and uncertainty puts quite a damper on mood and desire for sex. Of course, there are lots of individual differences, so not everyone is the same, but for many people stress and uncertainty negatively impact sexuality. Also, when you think about all the young families who have had these extended periods of time with their kids at home – not only is that a stressor, but it’s also interfering with opportunities for sex.”

Dr. Rosen’s research focuses on sexual dysfunction from a couples’ perspective. In the past, much of the research has focused on the person with the problem – but of course many sexual problems exist within the context of the couple, and she says that very often the other person in the relationship really wants to be involved and to do something differently in order to help their partner and improve their sex lives. Dr. Rosen’s team is hoping to expand the availability of couple-based, empirically supported, treatments available for sexual dysfunction. They have an upcoming publication reporting on a randomized clinical trial for the results of a novel couple therapy vs. a medical intervention for pain experienced during sex, and they are hoping to do the same with low desire. They’ve just launched a CIHR-funded study into couple therapy when women have low sexual desire.

Dr. Rosen’s clinical work is small. She works with a few couples each week who have sexual problems, such as pain during sex and low desire, and with couples who are going through major life transitions, like becoming new parents. In the beginning of the pandemic she paused her practice because it was impossible to meet in-person, but Halifax is doing well enough that she was able to start seeing couples in person again last Fall. She says that some of the couples she sees have adapted to virtual sessions and now prefer that, so going forward it looks like her clinical practice will be the kind of hybrid model we might expect to see in most clinical settings post-pandemic.

The biggest disruption for Dr. Rosen is likely the lack of travel – in a typical year she’s on a plane every six weeks or so, going to an academic conference, or visiting her family in Ottawa or Toronto. She says that now, she hasn’t seen most of her family in over year outside her husband and two children – but that this slowing down of the pace of life has had its benefits.

“For us it’s been a kind of investment in the nuclear family, spending lots of time just the four of us. And we’ve also had the chance to really explore a lot of the nooks and crannies of Nova Scotia! I also find that it’s forced me to take a step back and evaluate what’s important to me. I can get caught up in the minutia of my work, and particularly early in the pandemic I felt the frustration of trying to find work-life balance with two young kids at home. But you take a deep breath, and you figure out your values - health, family, happiness. I care about my work a lot, but there’s a pandemic, and there are many times when it just can’t be the number one priority!”

People across Canada are re-evaluating their priorities and have been for almost a year now. Like Dr. Rosen and her family, they are finding ways to support one another, to balance work and home life, and to stay as healthy and happy as they can throughout. Dr. Rosen emphasizes that finding ways to prioritize and connect sexually with your partner has many benefits for health and well- being. And that’s a valuable thing to do – just don’t feel like you have to live up to the memes of March!

CPA is honoured to have been recognized by the Scotiabank Transfer Some Good campaign.


The CPA is honoured to have been recognized by the Scotiabank Transfer Some Good campaign. They have made a donation to Strong Minds Strong Kids, Psychology Canada in our name. The CPA’s offering of pro-bono services by psychologists across Canada for frontline healthcare workers is ongoing.

https://www.scotiabank.com/ca/en/commercial-banking/knowledge-centre/article.business-banking.canadian-psychological-association-transfers-some-good.html


Black History Month: Keturah Whitehurst

Keturah Whitehurst. Photo from Kirsten's Psychology Blog
A mentor to countless black psychologists, Keturah Whitehurst’s contributions to psychology extend beyond her own work to the work of her protégés that continues today.

About Keturah Whitehurst

Keturah Whitehurst was the first African-American woman to intern at the Harvard Psychological Clinic, and the first Black psychologist to be licensed in Virginia. She created the first counseling service at Virginia State College.
Keturah Whitehurst. Photo credit: Kirsten's Psychology Blog
She received her Master's from the historically Black research university Howard in the 40s, and a PhD from Radcliffe in the 50s. She was a mentor to many future leaders in Black psychology - notably Aubrey Perry, who was the first Black person to graduate with a PhD in psychology from Florida State.

Dr. Whitehurst died in 2000, at the age of 88.

Photo from Kirsten's Psychology Blog