Dr. Michael Ungar, RSW


Closing Keynote:

"Helping Those Who Help Nurture and Maintain Resilience" 


OASW Social Work Provincial Conference - Saturday November 15, 2014

Sustaining our resilience as social workers can be a challenge during times of change. Based on Dr. Ungar's research around the world and his clinical practice, this presentation will explore how those who help others can avoid burnout and maintain their own career and life resilience when stressors pile up at home and on the job. 

Seven factors that make us more resilient as adults will be discussed, along with practical tips for coping successfully in culturally and contextually relevant ways. 

Dr. Ungar will discuss: (1) the value of the many different relationships we need to cope well; (2) strategies to maintain a powerful identity during employment disruptions; (3) ways to experience personal control when life spirals into chaos; (4) the need to advocate for fair treatment; (5) why it is important to anticipate change to ensure our basic needs get met; (6) ways we can sustain a sense of belonging and spirituality during periods of stress; and (7) the importance of celebrating our cultural roots and community's traditions. 

Using the concepts of navigation and negotiation that are key to understanding resilience in complex, changing environments, participants will have an opportunity to reflect on their own resilience in life, as well as times at work and at home where they had the resources they needed to succeed. Finally, Dr. Ungar will talk about "vicarious resilience" - the positive impact we experience as social workers when we nurture resilience in others. 

Keynote Speaker Biography 

Dr. Michael Ungar has practiced for over 25 years as a social worker and marriage and family therapist with children and families in child welfare, mental health, educational and correctional settings. Now a Professor of Social Work at Dalhousie University, he directs the Resilience Research Centre and leads an international team of researchers that spans more than a dozen countries on six continents. This research is focused on resilience among children, youth and families and how they together survive adversity in culturally diverse ways. 

Dr. Ungar is the author of more than 125 articles and book chapters and 14 books, including his most recent I Still Love You: Nine Things Troubled Kids Need from Their Parents (for caregivers and educators), and Working with Children and Youth with Complex Needs: 20 Skills to Build Resilience (a manual for mental health professionals). His blog, Nurturing Resilience, can be read on Psychology Today's website. His work has been featured in numerous magazines and newspapers, and he regularly appears on radio and television. In the past ten years, he has delivered keynote addresses at conferences across North America and around the world, and still maintains a small family therapy practice.