Huronia Highlands Branch


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

Upcoming Events


Celebrating Joan MacKenzie Davies Retirement

Dear Huronia Highlands members as you may be aware, our beloved CEO, Joan MacKenzie Davies is retiring after serving OASW for 27 years.

Please join us for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres as Joan has graciously agreed to visit our region for one last hoorah!

NEW Date: Tuesday June 4, 2019
Time: 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Location: Michael & Marion's, 89 Bayfield Street, Barrie, ON, L4M 3A7

Register here.

Thanks so much,

Kelly Smith, on behalf of the Huronia Highlands Board 

Huronia Highlands Members we are very excited to be hosting

"Using Dialectical Behavior Therapy to Treat Emotion Dysregulation in Clients"

with Sheri Van Dijk (bio below)

Date: Thursday, May 30, 2019
Time: 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM
Location: Oakview Room, Wasaga Beach Rec Plex, 1724 Mosley St., Wasaga Beach, ON L9Z 1Z7
**(note: new location!)

Workshop Description:
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. 

In this workshop you will learn:
How to teach your clients some of the DBT skills to help them get through crisis situations without making the situation worse and to manage emotions more effectively
How to apply DBT skills to a range of psychiatric illnesses and other problems of daily living (e.g. low self-esteem, difficulties managing anger)
Dialectical strategies to address clients who are “stuck” in therapy, resulting in inertia or unhealthy mechanisms of escape and avoidance, and how these strategies can lead to transformational healing
Tools such as the Tracking Sheet and the Behavioural Analysis to increase structure in sessions and to help clients move toward change
Behaviour Theory techniques to help clients understand what might be maintaining their problem behaviours and to get unstuck from these ingrained patterns
Skills to help you improve your own sense of efficacy in therapy, and reduce the likelihood of therapist burnout

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.   


Register here

Space is limited! 

Hope to see you there, 

Kelly Smith, on behalf of your OASW  Huronia Highlands Board

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.