What makes Shalem unique in the mental health world is our intentional desire to develop and support a new, different relationship between communities and professional mental health services. Neither communities nor professionals on their own can meet the significant mental health needs they encounter. But together perhaps they can. Each area of our work can be described as a demonstration project in a different relationship between these two sectors.
Shalem’s work has mushroomed because this thesis is proving to be very fertile.
In fact, the growth has been so dramatic that the Board of Directors has understood the need to capture what we are learning under a “Shalem Centre of Excellence and Learning”—to make sure that the lessons learned truly have an impact on clients and can serve to influence the field of mental health towards improved practice. And to use that learning as a viable foundation from which to develop even better ministry directions for Shalem.
We seek to generate a deeper understanding of “anthropology” as generated by our work: understandings of human relationship and development in relation to our Creator. Using social media, professional journal publication, and other forms of Knowledge Exchange, the Centre provides a platform for seeking to influence practice directions in the field of mental health from a faith base.
The Shalem Centre of Excellence and Learning is our platform for workshops and training, communication, learning and dialogue and suggesting new opportunities to serve.
The Centre operates under the direction of Shalem’s Executive Director.
Our Newsletters contain many articles about timely topics of interest.
Shalem Psychotherapist, Stephen Doucet Campbell, was a guest on the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada podcast in May 2020. This podcast addressed the topic of emotional health as we live and work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can listen the podcast titled “Feeling a little off at home these days” here.
Executive Director Mark Vander Vennen published the cover-article in the September, 2017 issue of the Banner, the publication of the Christian Reformed Church of North America. The article is called “The Emotional Lives of Men”.
Anne Martin, Shalem’s Director of Restorative Practice Services, has published an article about FaithCARE in the newsletter of the Canadian Council on Justice and Corrections, entitled “FaithCARE: Building faithful community through restorative practice”.
Interested is a small group resource for your church on understanding mental illness? Check out the excellent Let’s Talk Study Guide, co-written by former Shalem staff member (now retired) June Zwier.
Coming soon: Jennifer Bowen and Anne Martin are co-authoring an article called “A Dynamic Blended Family: When Restorative Practice Marries Family Therapy”, based on Shalem’s Restorative Family work. The article coincides with a presentation by Jennifer and Anne under the same title at the 2018 conference “Leading and Sustaining Change” sponsored by the International Institute for Restorative Practices, in Toronto.
Congregational Assistance Plan (CAP)
The Centre’s CAP Research and Evaluation Group consists of Dr. Rick Csiernik, Ken Van Wyk (the originator of the CAP concept), Marg Smit-Vandezande, Director of CAP Services, and Mark Vander Vennen, Executive Director of Shalem.
The group has generated five professional journal publications about CAP, with two more in preparation:
- Why We Pay Outsiders to Counsel our Congregation Members: investigating the motivation for funding a congregational assistance plan: Journal of Religion & Spirituality in Social Work: Social Thought
- A Tale of Two Churches: The Development of a Congregational Assistance Program, Journal of Spirituality in Mental Health.
- Bringing EAP to Faith Communities: Genesis of a Canadian Congregational Assistance Plan, Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health.
- The Congregational Assistance Program: Bringing Occupational Assistance to Faith Communities. (Csiernik, R. (2014). Workplace Wellness: Issues and Responses. Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press.)
- “Perceptions of Congregational Assistance Plan Counselors” Social Work & Christianity, Vol. 44, No. 4 (2017), 23–3, Journal of the North American Association of Christians in Social Work.
Shalem’s Executive Director Mark Vander Vennen has published a chapter on Restorative Justice that explores the linkage between Shalem’s attachment work and restorative practice work. The chapter, entitled “Towards a Relational Theory of Restorative Justice”, appears in Restorative Theory in Practice: Insights Into What Works and Why, ed. Belinda Hopkins (London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2015).
Our colleague in restorative justice Judah Oudshoorn is the lead author of a significant book, The Little Book of Restorative Justice for Sexual Abuse: Hope through Trauma. Judah and his author colleagues profile Shalem’s FaithCARE program as their prime example of a community-based restorative response to the issue of sexual abuse.
Shalem’s WrapAround program was given two years of grants by the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health to develop, as part of the WrapAround Research and Evaluation Network, a robust evaluation regime for our WrapAround work. That development was completed in 2011, and a positive outcome study of the effectiveness of Shalem’s WrapAround program was published. Written by Lauren Wallace, Andrew Debicki, Mark Vander Vennen and Elske de Visch Eybergen, the essay, called “Canadian WrapAround: A Case Study of A Volunteer-Driven, Community-Based Approach for Families, Children, and Youth with Complex Needs in Hamilton, Ontario”, was published in the Journal of Relational Child and Youth Care Practice, Volume 27, Number 4, Winter 2014.
Articles & Publications
“Feeling a little off at home these days “, EFC Podcast, 2020
“The Emotional Lives of Men”, The Banner, 2017
“5 Means I Love You”, a picture book for children written by Shalem’s Anne Martin, about early childhood trauma and attachment
“FaithCARE: Building Faithful Community through Restorative Practice”, SAGE, 2015
“Let’s Talk Study Guide” , Mental Health Ministries
“Attachment: Cradle to Grave”, a DVD of Shalem’s two-day attachment conference in 2014.
“A Tale of Two Churches: The Development of a Congregational Assistance Program” Journal of Spirituality in Mental Health, 2013 Bringing EAP to Faith Communities: Genesis of a Canadian Congregational Assistance Plan, Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health, 2013
“The Congregational Assistance Program: Bringing Occupational Assistance to Faith Communities.” (Csiernik, R. (2014). Workplace Wellness: Issues and Responses. Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press.)
“Perceptions of Congregational Assistance Plan Counselors” Social Work & Christianity, Vol. 44, No. 4 (2017), 23–3, Journal of the North American Association of Christians in Social Work.
“Towards a Relational Theory of Restorative Justice”, Restorative Theory in Practice: Insights into What Works and Why, 2015.
“The Little Book of Restorative Justice for Sexual Abuse: Hope through Trauma“. Oudshoorn, J., 2015.
“Canadian WrapAround: A Case Study of a Volunteer-Driven, Community Based Approach for Families, Children and Youth with Complex Needs in Hamilton, Ontario” Journal of Relational Child and Youth Care Practice, 2014