Shalem’s work, in all of its aspects—psychotherapy, Restorative Practice, WrapAround, the Congregational Assistance Plan, and RE-create—is rooted in the dynamics of “attachment”—another word for relationship. Shalem seeks to be a leader in the field of mental health in the area of attachment. One of the two pillars of Shalem’s current Strategic Plan is “Influence.” That means we seek to “influence” ourselves and the broad field of mental health towards improved practice under the banner of our “Shalem Centre of Excellence and Learning in Community-Based Mental Health.” For us, improved practice is rooted in modes of treatment or intervention based on attachment.
Towards that end, a number of years ago Shalem launched a “Signature Series” of professional conferences in attachment. The series is designed to bring in leaders in the field to help mental health professionals of all kinds deepen our understanding and practice. Each year from 2007 through 2010 Shalem sponsored day-long trainings in Hamilton by Dr. Dan Hughes, one of the world’s leading experts in working with children and youth who have serious attachment disorders (due to early trauma or neglect) and their caregivers.
In 2014 we convened a two-day conference called “Attachment: Cradle to Grave,” featuring both Dr. Dan Hughes and Dr. Sue Johnson, one of the world’s leading couples therapists and the creator of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy. 180 people—psychotherapists, foster parents, adoptive parents and social workers—attended that conference. A 6 DVD training video was created out of those two days. In 2016 we again convened a two-day conference, this time featuring Dr. Sue Johnson and Dr. Janina Fisher, an expert in the neurobiology of trauma and attachment. 280 people attended those two days.
I am pleased to announce our next “Signature Series” attachment conference. On May 26, 2020, at Liuna Station in downtown Hamilton, we will hold a one-day conference entitled “Attachment, Trauma and Psychotherapy” led by world-renowned expert Dr. Dan Siegel. Dr. Siegel is the leader of the fast-growing field called “inter-personal neurobiology”—all about the science of connection and the brain-based dynamics of human relationship. Dr. Siegel brings an extraordinary breadth of knowledge in neuroscience, trauma and psychotherapy. He is an innovator in leveraging the most recent breakthroughs in neuroscience for use in the psychotherapy session. He is the author of numerous books, including Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain, Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology, The Whole-Brain Child and The Mindful Brain. He is also a gifted and clear presenter.
As with our previous two Signature Series conferences, Dr. Jean Clinton, one of Canada’s most respected child psychiatrists, will again help us as an audience interact with Dr. Siegel at the conference. Dr. Clinton has recently honoured Shalem with a breathtaking gift: she has donated her library to Shalem.
Everyone is welcome to this rare and extraordinary learning opportunity. It will be a significant event in the mental health field in Ontario in 2020. Registration details, including cost and online registration, can be found on here. As always, we offer a registration fee discount to our Congregational Assistance Plan psychotherapist providers. Mark the date in your calendars now: May 26, 2020.
At Shalem, we are blessed to be able to offer training events of this calibre to the larger mental health community as part of our “Signature Series.” Thank you for your support of Shalem that helps make this possible! And please celebrate this beautiful opportunity with us.
Mark Vander Vennen, MA, M.Ed, R.S.W., is Executive Director of the Shalem Mental Health Network