The “Compassion Fatigue” Conference will be hold on June 15-16 2011 in Kingston (Canada). As mentioned on

Conference Program in detail: Day One – June 15, 2011
Morning Keynote Speaker:
Laura Van Dernoot Lipsky, author of “Trauma Stewardship”

Laura van Dernoot Lipsky is an internationally known trauma worker who has been engaged in this work for 24 years. She has worked locally, nationally and internationally and has been involved in some of the USA’s largest disasters and community crises. Her work has included front-line work with homelessness, domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, the sex trade, natural disasters, environmental destruction, and other acute trauma.

She is known as a pioneer in the field of trauma exposure and its toll on those working in trauma related fields. For over a decade she has been a constantly sought after key-note speaker and workshop leader on her theory of trauma stewardship.

Trauma stewardship explores how humans are impacted by exposure to the suffering, hardship, crisis and trauma of humans, other living beings, and the planet itself. This impact is held within a larger context of systematic oppression and liberation theory and is addressed from an individual, organizational, systemic and societal based model.


Afternoon Sessions: Dr Pat Fisher and Dr Jack Truten

The Critical Role of Compassion Fatigue in Organizational Health

Patricia Fisher, Ph.D., R.Psych, L.Psych., Fisher and Associates Solutions

Dr. Patricia Fisher is a clinical and consulting psychologist who has specialized in the field of workplace traumatic and systemic stress over the past 25 years. She has authored 6 texts and numbers of research papers on the subject, and is a frequent presenter at international conferences and professional meetings. Active as a clinician, researcher, and consultant, her work also includes program design and evaluation, curriculum development and training, policy development and organizational planning. Dr. Fisher’s work has focused on the needs of public service personnel in high risk areas such as human and social services, law enforcement, corrections, emergency services, and health care. More recently, the scope of application has increased to include a wide range of high stress private and public sector workplaces.

Narrative Medicine Groups for Professionalism Enhancement and Stress/Burnout/Compassion Fatigue Reduction

Jack Truten, Ph.D

Jack Truten has always been interested in the many intersections of narrative and medicine. After his early RN career in his native Scotland, he secured an MA in English at the University of Edinburgh before moving to the United States to take up graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a Ph.D. in English in 1993. Dr. Truten began his professorial career at Swarthmore College teaching scientific writing before taking up a position in the English Department at Lafayette College for sixteen years where latterly, he developed successful interdisciplinary seminars in Literature and Medicine and in Death and Dying. For 2005-2006, he accepted the Anderson Fellowship in Clinical Ethics and Medical Humanities at the Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, PA where his particular interests and initiatives were in Faculty Development and in ‘Narrative Pediatrics,’ with a special focus on the alleviation of stress and burnout in ICU clinicians routinely exposed to traumatized patients and families. More recently, he has undertaken foundational and advanced training in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University and in Balint Group Leadership: he lives in Wynnewood, PA and is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Humanities Department at Penn State College of Medicine where he teaches classes in Literature and Medicine and in Ethics and Professionalism. In 2007, he assumed the Chairmanship of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia’s Section on Medicine and the Arts. Currently, Dr. Truten is Director of Professionalism Education at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, training faculty and leading resident and fellow seminars in ‘Narrative Professionalism.’

Conference Program in Detail: Day Two – June 16, 2011
Morning Keynote:
When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress
with Dr Gabor Maté, physician, author, public speaker

Based on the book When The Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress, a best-selling book that has been translated into more than ten languages on five continents.

Stress is ubiquitous these days — it plays a role in the workplace, in the home, and virtually everywhere that people interact. It can take a heavy toll unless it is recognized and managed effectively and insightfully.

Western medicine, in theory and practice, tends to treat mind and body as separate entities. This separation, which has always gone against ancient human wisdom, has now been demonstrated by modern science to be not only artificial, but false. The brain and body systems that process emotions are intimately connected with the hormonal apparatus, the nervous system, and in particular the immune system. Emotional stress, especially of the hidden kind that people are not aware of, undermines immunity, disrupts the body’s physiological milieu and can prepare the ground for disease. There is strong evidence to suggest that in nearly all chronic conditions, from cancer, ALS, or multiple sclerosis to autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease or Alzheimer’s, hidden stress is a major predisposing factor. In an important sense, disease in an individual can be seen as the “end point” of a multigenerational emotional process. If properly understood, these conditions can provide important openings for compassion and self-awareness, which in turn are major tools in recovery and healing.

Dr. Maté’s presentation includes research findings, compelling and poignant anecdotes from his own extensive experience in family practice and palliative care, and illuminating biographies of famous people such as athlete Lance Armstrong, the late comedienne Gilda Radner, or famed baseball legend Lou Gehrig.

Dr Maté is also the author of the best-selling books Scattered Minds: A New Look at the Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction, co-author of Hold On To Your Kids: Parenting and The Peer Problem. He is an expert on behavioural and learning problems, addictions, attention deficit disorder and the role of stress in health and illness.

Gabor Maté is nationally known and has been frequently interviewed on CBC and other Canadian networks.

Afternoon Sessions

First Session

Yoga For You: Simple Techniques for Practicing Self-Care (and for Client Populations)

with Yael Calhoun, MA, MS, RTY and Elizabeth Finlinson, L.C.S.W.

This presentation addresses two issues: stress management and self-care for both the helping professional and the client. The session will include information on the science of yoga, using yoga for self-care, ideas on responsible client referrals and resources, and some simple yoga stretches and breathing exercises. The purpose is:

1. To provide tools to help helping professionals be emotionally present and available to provide compassionate care to each new client, including using yoga tools to address issues of secondary trauma. In addition, yoga provides an effective tool to make the transition between clients. By learning to more effectively decrease personal stress and to focus and clear the mind in the short time between seeing new clients, the clinician maintains personal health, thus being more effective and emotionally available.

2. To give clinicians another tool to facilitate healing and personal growth with their various client populations. Simple yoga stress management and breathing techniques can easily be applied to social work services offered in community, administrative, private, hospital, office, and educational settings.

Yael Calhoun, MA, MS, RTY

Yael Calhoun is an author and educator with over 30 years of experience. She is the Executive Director and cofounder of GreenTREE Yoga, a nonprofit founded to bring the benefits of yoga to people of all ages and abilities in a variety of settings, including schools, shelters, addiction recovery programs, community programs, senior centers and prisons. Yael’s education includes a B.A. from Brown University, as well as a Master’s Degree in Education from SCSY and a Master’s Degree in Natural Resource Science from the University of Rhode Island. She is a certified yoga instructor through Yoga Alliance. Yael is also the author of over a dozen books and the creator of numerous CDs, DVDs and books/manuals on yoga, including Yoga for Caregivers, CD/DVD.

Elizabeth Finlinson, L.C.S.W.

Elizabeth Finlinson is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has a B.S. and an M.S.W. from the University of Utah. Her experience includes work as a school therapist and as a private practitioner specializing in children and families. In addition, she does professional development trainings for social workers and other clinicians. She is an advocate of self-care for caregivers and is experienced in grief and loss counseling. Elizabeth helped develop the Yoga for Caregivers DVD/CD. She is also involved in developing Compassion Fatigue/Caregiver Programs for GreenTREE Yoga and is a founding Board member of the nonprofit.

Second Session

Solutions for Compassion Fatigue: Where are we headed?

With Françoise Mathieu, M.Ed. CCC. Compassion Fatigue Specialist

Françoise is a certified mental health counsellor and compassion fatigue specialist. She is the director of WHP-Workshops for the Helping Professions and the organiser of this conference.

Françoise is considered to be one of the leaders in Compassion Fatigue and Vicarious Trauma education in Canada. Since 2001, Françoise has given hundreds of seminars on CF/VT and related topics to thousands of helping professionals in the fields of health care, trauma services, education, addiction services, prisons, law enforcement, foster parents and community mental health.

Françoise is the author of The Compassion Fatigue Workbook and The Compassion Fatigue Train the Trainer Workbook.

Françoise’s clinical experience stems from many years working as a crisis counsellor and therapist in various community mental health environments such as hospital, university counselling service as well as working with military personnel and their families. During the past few years, Françoise has dedicated most of her time to developing Compassion Fatigue resources for helping professionals. Françoise’s positive outlook and commitment are hallmarks of her work.

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