Breakout sessions


Breakout Session a options

Breakout Session A1 - Being You

Eileen Bona M.Ed., R. Psych

Eileen Bona is a registered psychologist who has been working with people of all ages with complex needs for more than 20 years. A great deal of her work has been assisting people who have experienced trauma to find pathways to healing and to successfully return to functional living. Eileen is the founder and executive director of the Dreamcatcher Nature Assisted Therapy program which consists of partnering rescued animals with people in need of a non-threatening and effective approach to learning about themselves and regaining their balance. Eileen designed and taught the first animal assisted therapy course at a Canadian English-speaking Lakeland College and has now partnered with them to offer a full certificate in this medium.

About the Speaker

About the Session

 The session will highlight the research, benefits and intricacies of how

working in the mediums of animals in a natural setting allows people to

see themselves as they are, build awareness of their strengths, recognize

their triggers and patterns and build their resilience through the unconditional

acceptance and genuine feedback of sentient beings. Eileen’s team of

psychologists and social workers work in a variety of therapeutic mediums to assist people including nature, play, sandtray, art, music, EMDR and animal assisted therapy. How these mediums impact healing will be discussed in detail through research and clinical case examples.

Breakout Session A2 - 

Symbols of Resilience - Making Your Mask

Deborah Watson B.Ed, MPS-AT, CCC

Resilience is more than just a good idea.  The most important thing we can do is

put the concepts and paradigms we learn at conferences into action in our own

lives, to inspire those whose lives we touch and make the world both a stronger and

gentler place.


To that end, come do some hands-on exploring about resilience through the expressive arts.  No artistic talent needed – just a willingness  to (as Ms. Frizzle says) “take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!”  But not TOO messy – we are professionals, after all!

About the Session

About the Speaker

Deborah is a mom of three adults, an opener of far too many tabs on her computer, and a reader of All The Books

She became interested in mental health as part of her plot for world domination / goal to change the world for the better. She has been a counsellor at SAFFRON since 2011.

She has had to become trained in art therapy, play therapy, sand play, EMDR, Mindful Self-Compassion, Somatic Experiencing, Clinical Hypnosis and many other modalities to effectively address trauma and other aspects of mental health.

She takes a creative, aware, light-hearted approach to life as well as to therapy. Her Facebook page, Artful Mindful Playful, is a gallery of informative, uplifting, fun, and thought-provoking memes and articles on ways to both heal and become more mentally and emotionally resilient. 

She collects words and ideas. Her favourite word at the moment is chiaroscuro - the play between light and shadow.

She can sing "I am a Child of God" in Hebrew and "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" in Japanese.

She believes in empathy over blame, chocolate over vanilla, and kindness above all else.

She would like to be a famous author when she grows up.


Breakout Session B options

Breakout Session B1 Compassion to Action: Creating Resilience Through Trauma Informed Practices

Line Marie Perron B.A.  M.Sc., CWT

In order to decrease instances of intensive intervention and create a more

strength-based approach we need to first implement preventative and

responsive strategies in our interactions with vulnerable and marginalized

individuals. Research has shown that supportive relationship-based

interventions can decrease recidivism and increase social connections that lead to

long term positive change.  This presentation will focus on how understanding the roots of vulnerability and the neurological impact of trauma and adversity can promote increased positive interactions and decrease vicarious trauma on the professional. We will explore some of the intentional shifts in practice professionals can apply to create more trauma informed environments and nurture resiliency, not only with their clients but also within themselves. 

About the Session

About the Speaker

Line Perron is the founder and Director of Imagine Institute for Learning, a not for profit capacity building agency dedicated to the professional development of professionals who work with children, youth and marginalized populations.  Perron received her degree in psychology and sociology and her master's in Family Ecology and Practice from the University of Alberta, and then pursued an Indigenous Early Childhood Development Leadership Management certification from the University of Victoria. She is a certified Community and Workplace Traumatologist and has worked with a variety of agencies and organizations across the country to  promote trauma informed practices in various settings.   

Breakout Session B2 - Resilience in Working with New Immigrant Populations

Yvonne Chiu and Kreisha Oro from

Multicultural Health Brokers Workers' Cooperative

The Multicultural Health Brokers Workers' Cooperative (MCHB) provides full-cycle and multi-level holistic supports to newcomer, immigrant and refugee families in the Edmonton area. In primary contract partnerships with AHS, ECFS and EPSB, the MCHB has been successful in reducing the uptake of Child Welfare Cases by 70% in 2019. How do they do it? Join us for this Break Out Session to learn about our Models of Practice through an Intercultural Lens. Learn how we support our families and ourselves to move from Trauma to Resilience through our Cultural Brokering Approach, Contextual Layers Assessment, Integrated Holistic Program Delivery, and the application of a Trauma and Resilience-Informed Approach to Mental Health and Psychosocial Practice with Refugee Communities (ADAPT model).  This session includes a 55 minute presentation, and a 15 minute Question and Answer Period.

About the Session

About the Speakers

Yvonne Chiu - BSc, Hon Doctorate Degree in Law is a Founder and Executive Director of the MCHB Workers' Cooperative.  She has evolved and mentored the Cultural Brokering approach as a practice over the past 25 years to some now 100+ MCHB Cultural Brokers. Together with many long-standing colleagues at the MCHB, Yvonne has contributed substantive insights and recommendations to countless Research Publications and Educational, Organizational and Regulatory Projects in the areas of early childhood development, social work, mental health, primary health care and child intervention.  She is a Visionary, a Collaborative Leader, and one of the most modest yet influential people you will ever meet.

Kreisha Oro - MA, CitBaP, CBRE is as an Intercultural Educator, Researcher and Community Based Business Relationship Consultant. She was the Program Coordinator and Social Enterprise Developer for the MCHB Intercultural Competency Training Program (ICTP) over the last 3 years, and is Lead Facilitator for the MCHB Foundations for Intercultural Practice. Grounding her extensive academic and professional background into her Immigrant, Canadian and Blackfoot/First Nations immersive life experience, Kreisha seeks to weave indigenous and conventional systems together in more equitable, prosperous, dignified and mutually supportive ways for all our relations.

Phone: (780) 449-0900

Fax: (780)-416-2393

110, 222 Athabascan Ave, Sherwood Park, AB T8A 4C9, Canada

©2020 by Saffron Centre Ltd.