Compassion Fatigue: Taking care of me, taking care of you...

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Humber College - Lakeshore Campus

2 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive

Building L

Etobicoke, ON M8V 4B6


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If your compassion does not include yourself it is incomplete.

Jack Kornfield

Bereaved Families of Ontario -Toronto is proud to host a 1-day conference, Saturday, September 30, 2017 - Compassion Fatigue: Taking care of me, taking care of you…

It is unrealistic to believe that we can become so immersed in taking care of others and not be touched by the impact of their suffering. We often forget that we need attention too. Spend a day with us and learn how to maintain resilience and develop resources for self-care.

Compassion fatigue develops when one cares “too much” for another who has shared firsthand traumatic experiences, it is a unique form of burnout, previously linked with nursing professionals, therapists and early responders that have been described as “the cost of caring” for others’ in emotional pain. Cherie Brown Sizemore

Keynote speaker: Bill Sparks

Bill will cover the essential elements of Compassion Fatigue knowledge including definitions and warning signs, specific stressors faced by the agency staff and volunteers, what works to reduce stress, elements of self-care and creating a self-care plan, agency recognition and support and wider professional movements that assist building resilience, vicarious resilience, and treatment and recovery resources available.

In some agencies, there has been an interest in board policy development based on MHCC Psychological Standards in the Workplace and the American CTSN's Secondary Traumatic Stress – Organizational Assessment.

About Bill: William Sparks is a Compassion Fatigue Specialist trained in CF Education & ARP Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. He is a veteran civil society organization leader, skilled in capacity building, retired Executive Director of the John Howard Society of Ontario, current Sessional Instructor in the Humber College Post Graduate Certificate Program, International Project Management and past Program Coordinator for the Management Advisory Service (MAS) and their current Practice Lead in NFP Governance. Bill currently sits on the Board of Directors of Defence for Children International Canada (DCI), and Diyaalo International Nepal. He is a volunteer with the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture.


Most workshops are offered once in the morning and once in the afternoon, unless indicated otherwise - please choose your top 3, you will be placed in the workshops according to space available. You will be able to make your choices when you purchase your ticket.

Workshop 1: Expressive Arts in the pursuit of wellness (morning only)

Facilitator: Lysa Toye

Exhaustion of our caring capacity is a common pitfall of our efforts to care well for others in conditions of intensity over a long period of time. In our professional and private lives, maintaining the capacity to be fully present, responsive, and giving of our own energies requires maintenance and attention to our own experience in the role of caregiver that is often not taught as an explicit skill in training programs.

In this experiential workshop, we will explore the use of the arts to listen to and reconnect with our internal experiences, to practice presence and spontaneity, and identify the gifts of the arts in supporting the maintenance of our sense of vitality and aliveness in our caregiving roles.

Workshop 2: Practical Resources to Soothe and Calm the Body (afternoon only)

Facilitator: Lois Kunkel

Often in our lives, we become preoccupied with caring for others and forget to look after ourselves. Or our work lives are spent caring for people who suffer trauma and without realizing it, we take on this suffering. We may fail to listen to the messages our body is giving us to let us know to slow down, to stop.

This workshop will give focus on resources for listening to our bodies and provide strategies for staying in tune and noticing when we are getting out of tune.

Workshop 3: Compassion Fatigue: Self-Care, Organizational Supports & Resiliency in the workplace

Facilitator: William (Bill) Sparks

This workshop is intended for agency staff, volunteers, and managers.

Every agency worker, volunteer, and manager may experience predictable patterns of frustration, stress, direct and vicarious trauma, and compassion fatigue leading to illness, job turnover, and negative effects on careers and personal life. This workshop explores the often ignored and always present occupational hazard of compassion fatigue in the helping professions, explaining the early signs and symptoms and accompanying illness, trauma, and depression. Participants will learn how to identify risk, increase resilience, initiate self-care plans, find available therapeutic resources, develop appropriate agency care policies, and increase organizational loyalty, and volunteer and career longevity.

Workshop 4: Your Temperament and Compassion Fatigue (Personality Dimensions) 

Facilitator: Larry Konyu

In this interactive session, find out which of the four basic temperament types -- Organized Gold, Resourceful Orange, Authentic Blue, and Inquiring Green can affect the way you cope with stress in your life. You can use this knowledge to better help and understand yourself and the people in your life who are affected by compassion fatigue.

Based on thousands of years of research and hundreds of his own presentations, Larry Konyu is pleased to offer this illuminating, self-discovery experience.

Workshop 5: Mindfulness meditation and Compassion Fatigue

Facilitator: Laval Martin

Mindfulness involves the ability to be present in the moment. However, when overwhelmed by CF it is often difficult to focus on what is occurring right now. Though we may have sufficient resources to cope with whatever challenges we may be facing at the moment it is difficult to access them. Mindfulness can help to both prevent and cope with compassion fatigue. This is a simple (though by no means easy!) skill to cultivate.

In this informal, interactive, and practical workshop, we shall explore what mindfulness is, what are the benefits of mindfulness and practice several mindfulness techniques.

Workshop 6: Visual Journaling - The Sacredness of Spontaneous Imagery

Facilitator: Valerey Lavergne

Carl Jung stated that " We use language to communicate with each other and imagery to communicate with ourselves." Images that live within are keys to our subconscious, a world that is filled with sacred messages that can be of great benefit to our mental health and physical well being. In this workshop, we shall explore our inner imagery and bring them to light through the creative writing and art making process. No writing or artistic talent is needed, only an openness to self-discovery.

Workshop 7: Building Resilience while providing extensive Care Giving

Facilitator: Dianne Mathes

Parenting an adopted, foster or chronically ill child or care taking aging parents can foster deep feelings of love and empathy. However, when care giving is characterized predominantly by dedication with minimal and/or complicated responses over an extended period of time, it can give rise to impulses that are not particularly warm and supportive.

This workshop will help participants normalize their sense of lacking in empathy, understand the onset of compassion fatigue and also offer ways to help them restore and reawaken their sense of caring.

Workshop 8: Creating A Safe Place to Share Stories of Compassion Fatigue

Facilitator: Agnes Struik

Most people who suffer from Compassion Fatigue are people who care deeply about those with whom they work or live. At some point they find themselves tired, lacking patience, empathy and the warmth they once had. As they wonder and struggle with why they are not the loving kind people they used to be shame and guilt often creep in followed by isolation.

The practice of a sharing circle will help participants normalize their experiences of exhaustion and depletion, but also address the feelings of isolation and attend to the needs of inner and outer resources. Handouts will be available so participants can use this method as a way of minimizing compassion fatigue in their workplace and/or home life.

Registration fee: $115.00 including taxes and fees

Location: Humber College, Lakeshore Campus, Building L

Schedule for the day

08:00 AM: Registration starts

08:30 AM: Welcome

09:00 AM: Keynote Speaker

10:30 AM: Networking break (refreshments provided)

10:45 AM Morning Workshops

12:15 PM: Lunch Break

1:30 PM: Afternoon Workshops

3:15 PM: Closing Ceremony

If you have questions please email: conference@bfotoronto.ca

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Date and Time


Humber College - Lakeshore Campus

2 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive

Building L

Etobicoke, ON M8V 4B6


View Map

Refund Policy

Refunds up to 7 days before event

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