Huronia Highlands Branch

Huronia Highlands Branch includes Barrie, Orillia, Muskoka, Parry Sound, Orangeville, Bradford, Minden, and Haliburton.

Upcoming Events

Huronia Highlands Branch is hosting the upcoming workshop: 

The ACT Approach: 2 Day Intensive Acceptance & Commitment Therapy Workshop

Dates: September 25 - September 26, 2019
Time: 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM each day
Location: Holiday Inn, 20 Fairview Rd., Barrie, ON L4N 4P3 (OASW has obtained a special room rate at the Holiday Inn. Please email for details).
RSVP here.

This highly practical workshop will allow you the opportunity to discover the ACT model and learn ACT skills/techniques. Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) offers new ways to achieve positive therapeutic outcomes with long-lasting effects using acceptance and mindfulness processes with a commitment to behavior change all done in a way that empowers individuals to take on an active and assertive role in their healing.

This workshop shows videos of the presenter working with real clients who are suffering in stuck situations with practical interventions that are immediately effective.

For more information about Timothy Gordon and his work visit

Using DBT to Treat Emotion Dysregulation in Clients: Part (2) Deux

Date: October 22, 2019
Time: 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Location: Wasaga Beach Recplex, 1724 Mosley Street, Wasaga Beach, ON L9Z 1Z7
Speaker: Sheri Van Dijk MSW RSW

Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) is a treatment originally designed to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD). In recent years it has been increasingly used to treat many other disorders because of its usefulness in treating clients unable to manage emotions. Following an introduction to DBT theory, Sheri Van Dijk will discuss how DBT can be applied to working with clients facing a broad range of conditions such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder, in which emotion dysregulation plays a key role.

Sheri will provide an introduction to the four modules of DBT skills (Core Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness); and will demonstrate how to format individual sessions to provide the structure your dysregulated clients need. In addition, Sheri will introduce some DBT strategies to help foster the therapeutic relationship, maximize therapeutic gains, and reduce the likelihood of therapist burnout.

By the end of this one-day presentation, participants will learn:

  • How, when, and why to use validation
  • A little more on Behaviour Theory
  • More skills to teach to reduce the impact of emotion dysregulation, including more Core Mindfulness and Emotion Regulation skills, and Crisis Survival & Interpersonal Effectiveness skills
  • More dialectical strategies to help clients get unstuck and move toward healing
  • More ways of reducing feelings of burnout and ineffectiveness as clinicians

Sheri Van Dijk MSW RSW is a well known mental health professional with advanced degrees from York University and the University of Toronto and over 15 years experience as a psychotherapist, and international speaker. Sheri has written a number of books, including Calming the Emotional Storm and Don't Let Your Emotions Run Your LIfe For Teens, and regularly conducts training sessions for fellow professionals in this field. With extensive experience in and knowledge of Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, and Mindfulness Practice, Sheri has 14 years of experience working in an outpatient mental health clinic at Southlake Regional Health Centre, and now works full-time at her private practice in Newmarket, Ontario. Sheri is also an OASW member living in Huronia Highlands.

Past Branch Activities:

On Saturday, November 24, 2018, Huronia Highlands Branch held their Annual General Meeting and Special Workshop on Indigenous Peoples" World-Views, the Great Struggle, and Moving Forward.
Cyndy Baskin of Lakehead University - Orillia Campus, and author of Strong Helpers' Teaching presented this workshop for social workers, counselors, therapists and others in the helping professions practical skills, tools, and strategies to better serve Indigenous clients. 

On Friday, October 26, 2018, the Integrative Stress Management Program offered a workshop on Mindfulness and Compassion: Strengthening Resilience with Advanced Mindfulness Practice.
Presenters included Dr. Gerald Levine, Liz Levine, BSW, & Tanya Armstrong, RYI.
The format was a blend of evidence-based mindfulness, mindful self-compassion teaching, and direct experience with mindful practices, including meditation, gentle therapeutic movement, and live therapeutic music. This workshop focused on both personal and professional development. 

On Tuesday, May 30, 2017, Huronia Highlands offered an 
Interactive Training on Trans & Gender-Diverse Mental Health Care.
Presenters included Jordan Zaitzow, MSW, RSW who spoke about gender diversity & Lindsay Elin, MSW, RSW, who focused on attachment-informed counselling with trans youth/young adults and their families. 

Huronia Highlands Branch offered a number of events for Social Work Week: 

"Everything You Need to Know to Keep the CRA Happy: A Workshop for Self-Employed Social Workers, Therapist, Councellors and Consultants". 
On Tuesday, March 7, 2017, Allen Lloyd, tax expert, shared his experience and wisdom with us, with a specific focus on those of us who are self-employed.

On Wednesday, March 8, 2017, Keynote Speaker, Katie Traill, spoke on the"Experiences Working with Transgender Rights and Issues"

On Thursday, March 9, 2017, the The Laurentian University Social Work Association hosted another Social Work Week Community Night where Motivational Guest Speaker Kaitlynn Rice-Kavanagh & Student Speakers from the Georgian Pride & First Nation Student Experience spoke.

Beyond Words: Stories in the Sand
If you missed this great presentation by Kelly Smith, RSW, about Sand Tray Therapy on November 25, 2015, sponsored by Huronia Highlands Branch at Lakehead University in Orillia, you can now see it here. An excellent resource for team meetings or professional development.