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«A Message from the Conference Chair A warm welcome to the Meaning Conference 2010! It has been ten years since our first International Meaning ...»

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Ⓟ Alex Kwee, PsyD Assistant Professor, MA in Counselling Psychology Program Trinity Western University Making meaning from disability and chronic pain: Challenges and opportunities during occupational rehabilitation Recognizing that existential issues—questions of identity, meaning and purpose —often emerge following workplace injury, serious illness, or the development of a chronic pain condition, this session examines the challenges and opportunities in addressing these issues when the mandate of the third party payor (e.g., WorkSafeBC or a disability management company) is strictly return-to-work. The particular challenges identified are brief treatment course, expected use of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), treatment focused on “compensable injuries” and return-to-work, and third party involvement in treatment. At the same time, it is not unusual for disability clients who have experienced a permanently life changing condition to raise questions of an “ultimate” nature. As such, psychotherapy with disability clients can take an existential or even spiritual shape that does not fit conveniently within the dictated parameters of return-towork treatment. This raises a conflict of interest between fulfilling the mandate of the third party payor, and helping the client to explore the existential questions that s/he raises as a matter of a personal treatment priority.

Presented by a rehabilitation psychologist who works with provincial and private disability management systems, this session shows how one may accommodate exploration of life meaning and purpose within a CBT framework—even one with an ostensibly narrow return-to-work focus. Specifically, it is argued that the empirically-based modalities of Motivational Interviewing (MI) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) have great potential for anchoring return-towork treatment to client centered questions of overarching meaning frequently Thursday, August 5, 2010 provoked by disability. The session will discuss the central tenets of these interventions, their relationship to modern CBT, strategies for incorporation into occupational rehabilitation, as well as their limitations. Case examples will also be provided.

Ⓟ Jennifer Falkoski, MA Doctoral Candidate, University of the Rockies The Effect of Burnout, Employee Engagement and Coping as it Applies to Creating a Resilient Culture in High-Risk Occupations This mixed methods study explores the relationships between workplace burnout, employee engagement and type of coping in high risk occupations, namely the medical and mental heath fields. In addition, this study examines the concepts of workplace motivators as they apply to job categories within the health and human services industry overall. The workplace motivators included for analysis in this study are: achievement, recognition and reward, nature of the work itself, responsibility, advancement, growth, company policy and administration, relationship with supervisor, salary, relationship(s) with peers, relationship(s) with subordinates, status and security/safety. These factors were obtained from Frederick Herzberg’s article (2002) titled, One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees.

Burnout, employee engagement and coping are assessed via quantitative assessments, specifically, the Maslach Burnout Inventory – Human Services Survey, the Q12 Survey and the COPE Dispositional Inventory respectively.

Workplace motivators are assessed through qualitative inquiry via the demographic survey, which asks participants to rank their top six preferred workplace motivators.

In addition, this study aims to integrate information gleaned from the data collection on burnout, type of coping, employee engagement, and workplace motivators and then extrapolate this information into a resilient culture alignment model. More specifically, this study will address what an organization can do to align its systems to inherently reinforce protective factors and utilize appropriate workplace motivators in order to reduce burnout, increase employee engagement and hone adaptive coping skills in employees, thereby fostering the development of resiliency. Fostering autonomous resiliency at a micro level, in employees, should extent to the macro level, the organizational system, therefore providing the foundation for a resilient culture. It is important to note that organizations are dynamic and so the analysis of how to align organizational systems and reinforce protective factors is always in flux as well.

Thursday, August 5, 2010 ⓌTeresa Steinfort, MA, CCC Behavioral Management Consultant, High Prairie School Division, Northern Alberta Community Art in the Service of Work Resilience and Well-being Metaphorically, community art strengthens the immune system of the community to prevent the escalation of crisis, chaos and conflicts (Knill, 2005). In this handson workshop using creative writing, drawing, improvisation, sound and movement, participants will use a low skill/high sensitivity method to co-create artistic projects that mobilize creative skills, imagination and resourcefulness in relationship to work resilience and well-being. Formal art training is not necessary.

ⓌDenise Hall, MA Private Practice Fostering Compassion Satisfaction in the Workplace As a trainer in the field of Social Services and a practitioner I have developed a strong interest in healthy work environments. My MA thesis was focused on Compassion Fatigue, a combination of burnout and secondary traumatic stress. I am focusing my training and workshops in this area to assist counsellors, child care workers, vocational consultants, health care professionals and others to become more resilient to the stresses of today's workplaces. The goal is to develop higher Compassion Satisfaction and reduce Compassion Fatigue.





The helping professions in the 21st Century are developing awareness that counselors and caregivers in a variety of settings are influenced strongly by the affects of working and caring for highly distressed or traumatized clients (Figley 2002). Rothschild (2006) in her book Help for the Helper calls upon recent brain research and outlines the neurophysiology of secondary traumatic stress and burnout. This fascinating material is helpful in developing strategies to counteract the intensity of helping relationships.

Many workplaces are feeling the strain of diminishing funds and an a "doing more with less" environment. In order to be fully present, empathetic and effective therapeutically it is important to be completely aware of the influence of the work on one’s self and counseling practice and develop strategies that support Compassion Satisfaction. Experience indicates that workplaces either do not have the resources and/or awareness to provide the support needed for their staff to mitigate the impact of working with traumatized and distressed individuals. Another frustration is working within systems that are, more often Thursday, August 5, 2010 then not, inadequate in their response to the needs of vulnerable individuals.

Practitioners are then left with the feelings of frustration at not being able to help.

“Compassion Fatigue” is an occupational health issue and Clinical supervisors are coming to grips with the impact of the effects on staff and the supports necessary for dealing with it in the workplace. My services are designed to develop awareness of this issue for counselors and their supervisors, and offer strategies to become more effective in their work and develop support structures in the workplace. Healthy workplaces foster happy staff and satisfied clients!

The seminar will also examine the term “compassion fatigue” and the differences between vicarious traumatization, secondary traumatic stress, compassion fatigue, burnout and counter-transference. The material in the presentation is from the presenter’s MA research. The format will be a combination of experiential and didactic approaches.

ⓌDan McKinnon, PhD Registered Psychologist Organizational Consultant Howard J. Parsons Executive Coach Human Resource Consultant

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This presentation will uncover the essential developmental struggles and psycho-social dilemmas that boomers can face as they transition into and through the later stages of life.

By participating in this presentation boomers will learn how to successfully use the tools and techniques of positive psychology to build resiliency, enhance subjective well-being and create a meaningful and meaning-filled life, both at work and at home.

The psychology of human development has been scientifically researched and clinically tested for over a century. Erik Erikson, the world renowned theorist and psychologist, has been widely recognized for identifying eight dynamic stages of human psychosocial development that occur between birth and the end of life. He proposed that at each developmental stage a dilemma or crisis arises that calls forth the innate capacities that a person must then master to satisfactorily resolve their dilemma and thus, progress in their growth and life satisfaction. This presentation will address two of the stages Erickson identified as occurring during middle and late adulthood: Generativity versus Stagnation –“middle adults must learn to concern themselves with the world and the next generation” and Ego Integrity versus Despair - “later adults must learn to be content with the way that they have resolved previous psychosocial issues”.

Thursday, August 5, 2010 By clearly understanding and successfully transitioning within and through these two stages, boomers will acquire the resiliency needed for creating a happier and more meaningful life.

During the previous decade, the acclaimed researcher of “learned helplessness and learned optimism” and previous president of the American Psychological Association Martin Seligman, founded the discipline called Positive Psychology. Positive psychology looks beyond clinically classifying a person’s problems and pathologies and strategically focuses on identifying and building their innate potentialities and signature strengths. It helps create

resiliency and authentic happiness for the individual in three life domains:

the pleasant life, the engaged life and the meaningful life.

This presentation blends the seminal research and theories of Erickson and Seligman into a practical and workable framework for boomers to help them successfully transition life’s stages as well as create a more resilient, happier and meaningful life in the process. By becoming more resilient boomers will increase their motivations, skills and abilities so as to positively adapt and evolve during life’s major transitions.

Some people are born with the psychological temperament that provides them with a greater capability to adapt and survive during challenging situations and transitions. Others seem less capable and are unable to smoothly adapt to their challenges. Using the tools and techniques of positive psychology will help boomers build the resilient capacities they will need as they begin navigating the “blustery waters” and “stormy seas” that can arise during the later stages of the human life cycle.

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ⓌAlex Abdel-Malek, MSW Meaningful Life at Work: What Does it Mean to Matter?

The world of work has been undergoing rapid changes related to the evolution of technology, globalization, changes in the structure of the family, and through a values shift in generational differences.

Employers experience urgency to attract and retain new workers as demographics continually point towards an upcoming trend of mass retirement.

Simultaneously, employees are placing greater value on meaningful work, not just a paycheque and good benefits.

This session focuses on a particular and requisite element of meaningful work: the concept of mattering. What does it mean to matter at work? How is mattering important to us in our lives and in the pursuit of meaningful living at work?

Thursday, August 5, 2010 Participants will learn about research-based models of mattering, including the four-factors of Attention, Importance, Dependence, and Ego-extension (Rosenberg & McCullough(1981), Connolly & Myers (2003)). We will explore the application of these ideas to the psychologically healthy workplace, with consideration to both the employer and employee perspective. A significant focus will be directed to the question: How can employers and employees cultivate a sense of mattering in the realm of work?

The workshop will have an interactive nature, and discussion of participant experiences related to mattering is welcomed. Participants will come away with a mix of useful theory constructs and practical ideas to begin applying in their workplaces.

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This is an open session focusing on issues of workplace spirituality. The presenter will act as a facilitator of an in-depth conversation addressing how different individuals and organizations approach spirituality, in particular contemplative practices in the workplace. Based on her experience, the presenter/facilitator will discuss both the positive and challenging aspects of working at a contemplative university that is undergoing transition. A primary focus of the discussion will be on “work as spiritual practice”. By this the presenter means the following: the ways by which people in the workplace engage in diverse spiritual practices in order to either transform difficulties or to celebrate the joys of collective work life. A particular focus of the discussion will be on contemplative approaches such as meditation, tonglen, reflection, meaningful dialogue, appreciative inquiry and any others brought up by the participants. A series of reflective questions will be provided but participants are welcome to bring their own questions and/or issues related to workplace spirituality in its contemplative and transformative dimensions.

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