Professional Workshops

Professional Workshops

Sand Story Psychology Services is pleased to offer training opportunities for conferences, in-house training, professional development days, and stand alone workshops. The following is a list of some specific training opportunities that are available from Dr. Deborah Bell. Each training opportunity is intended to support professionals in building on their knowledge about mental health in the early years, as well as adding to their existing skill-set in terms of supporting young children and adolescents who struggle with mental health issues. Professionals that would benefit from these training seminars include anyone working with children and adolescents (consultants, childcare providers, teachers, therapists, and others). A variety of presentation tools are used to make each seminar easy to follow, enjoyable, and ultimately informative, including lecture type speaking, interactive exercises, discussion, Q&A periods, and video clips of relevant material.

While this listing of opportunities provides a sense of the topics we typically present on, it is by no means exhaustive. We have presented on many other topics in the past and we are happy to work with individual groups in tailoring learning curriculum to your specific needs. Some examples of other topics that have been proposed in recent months include how to talk with and support parents around the sensitive topic of mental health, and strategies for advocating for young children struggling with mental health challenges.

In addition, we are pleased to be able to a wide range of courses developed by Gordon Neufeld which are excellent for care providers and teachers, as well as parents. Please see the Parenting Courses section of this website for further descriptions of these courses.

For additional information about training opportunities or to discuss seminar fees, please contact us at:

Sand Story Psychology Services
Phone: 604-568-8108
Email: info@sandstory.ca

Speaker Series of the Caregiver Support Program of PCRS

April 21, 2016: Cultural Connections: First Nations Perspective of Attachment

The implementation of residential schools for aboriginal children tore young ones away from their culture, their roots, and most importantly, their primary attachments. This loss has had a ripple effect on aboriginal child development for generations. Those effects are still felt today. More and more research is revealing the importance of healthy attachments in optimizing children’s development and buffering them in the current “age of information” where the emphasis is on attaching through technology. A review of traditional aboriginal approaches to parenting reveals strong reflections of attachment theory. This workshop will highlight the importance of reconnecting with the traditional parenting philosophies that support healthy attachments, and discuss the challenges of parenting from the cultural void left by residential schools. This is an introductory level workshop intended to raise awareness of the unique challenges facing aboriginal parents and to further a narrative of cultural relevance.

May 19, 2016: Circle of Security Parenting: Where is your child on the circle?

Circle of Security Parenting is an evidence-based parenting program imbedded in attachment theory. The Circle of Security provides parents and caregivers with an easy to understand model of attachment that can be implemented right away to understand and respond to children’s cues. This presentation will provide a simple overview of the Circle and how parents and caregivers can use it to support the healthy development and secure attachments of children.

June 09, 2016: Pulling it all together: Q & A with Dr. Bell

This is an opportunity to come back together and share your experiences in applying what you have been learning in the Speaker Series, to ask questions, and share successes. Not every attempt or every technique we use as caregivers is going to work right away, or even have the response we expected. Every child is unique, and sometimes we can hit a roadblock. This workshop provides you with the chance to talk through what you experienced and perhaps find a different path through to a child’s heart.

Participants are encouraged to submit their questions ahead of time (By June 7, 2016), but all questions and experiences are welcome. Please send questions directly to Dr. Bell at Deborah@sandstory.ca

Past Sand Story Offerings:

The Heartbreak Kid: Parenting after Trauma

The experience of trauma in early childhood can have devastating and pervasive impact on healthy development. Types of trauma include physical, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse; as well as divorce, death, or an acute accident. However the trauma occurred, children that have experienced trauma require special support from their caregivers. Provided with developmentally sensitive contexts, traumatized children show tremendous capacity for resilience. This workshop is directed towards any foster parent, caregiver, educator, or other front line worker who works with children that have experienced trauma. A brief overview of the effect of trauma on the brain and the importance of attachment will be provided, along with strategies that promote healing of the child. Many of the strategies presented are applicable across the many different contexts that we work with children. A working knowledge of attachment theory is recommended.

A Story of Connectedness: Reflections of Attachment in Traditional Aboriginal Approaches to Parenting

The implementation of residential schools for aboriginal children tore young ones away from their culture, their roots, and most importantly, their primary attachments. This loss has had a ripple effect on aboriginal child development for generations. Those effects are still felt today. More and more research is revealing the importance of healthy attachments in optimizing children’s development and buffering them in the current “age of information” where the emphasis is on attaching through technology. A review of traditional aboriginal approaches to parenting reveals strong reflections of attachment theory. This workshop will highlight the importance of reconnecting with the traditional parenting philosophies that support healthy attachments, discuss the challenges of parenting from the cultural void left by residential schools, and address how traditional aboriginal approaches to parenting can support the unique challenges of parenting in a technological society. This is an introductory level workshop intended to raise awareness of the unique challenges facing aboriginal parents and to further a narrative of cultural relevance.

Past Sand Story Offerings

Entering the World of the Child: Understanding Attachment

This workshop is directed towards caregivers and parents who want a deeper understanding of children, how they think, and what makes them feel connected and thus, content. Workshop participants will learn about the theory of attachment and its developmental progression, why attachment is important, and how to support healthy attachments. Warning signs of a breach in the attachment relationship will be explored, as well as how to nurture a deeper and more fulfilling attachment with a child that benefits both child and caregiver. This is a pivotal piece of raising children or caring for children that can help care providers and educators feel more confident and settled in their caregiving roles.

Entering the World of the Child: The Importance of Play

This workshop is directed towards any professionals who work with young children and interact with them during play. This may include Childcare Providers; Early Childhood Educators; etc. Workshop participants will learn about the developmental progression of play, why play is important, and how to support healthy play. The way children play can also be an early indicator of problems in a young person’s life. Early warning signs that may indicate the need for a referral will be reviewed. Participants will have a chance to experience some play exercises, so come prepared for fun!

Beyond Time Out: Parenting through Connection

In today’s parenting world it can be easy to get lost in the “age of reason.” Parents find themselves endlessly trying to reason with children who are too young to care the reasons. This is a frustrating endeavour: the parent gets pulled into pulled into the power struggle of reason and experiencing non-compliance in their child. Parenting through connection brings parents back to the heart of parenting– the love and connection, or attachment, that exits between parent and child. This workshop discusses how to hold your child close while re-directing and side stepping the power struggles; and how to parent with sensitivity to developmental age and stage. This workshop is also applicable to those in in caregiving roles.

Beyond Time Out: Nurturing responses to behavioural challenges

In today’s parenting world, it can be easy to get lost in the “age of reason.” Parents and caregivers find themselves endlessly trying to reason with children who are too young to care about the reasons. This is a frustrating endeavor: The parents or caregiver gets pulled into the power struggle of reasoning, and they experience non-compliance in the child. Popular parenting sources recommend time-outs, but for many it does not seem to be working.

Parenting through connection brings parents and caregivers back to the heart of caring for a child—the love and connection, or attachment, that exists between parent and child. This workshop discusses how to hold a child close while re-directing and side-stepping the power struggles; and how to care for a child, with sensitivity to developmental age and stage. The importance of this approach goes beyond the emotional health of the child, but also has a real and direct impact on the brain and optimizes a child’s developmental momentum. This workshop is applicable to both parents and those in caregiver roles

What to do with Worry Worms: Recognizing Anxiety in Children

Anxiety is the most common mental health diagnosis in children with 20% of children in BC ending up diagnosed with some kind of anxiety disorder. Typically we can recognize early signs of anxiety in young children that go above and beyond shyness or temperament. However, sometimes these Worry Worms can wriggle in when you least expect it or they can suddenly grow bigger so that they begin to get in the child’s way where they did not before. This workshop teaches parents and/or caregivers about anxiety: the symptoms, where it comes from and how to support children showing the early signs of anxiety.