Workshops & Courses

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Online:  October 25 - November 21, 2021


Pre-requisite: Forensic Social Work 1


About the Instructor

Shawna Paris-Hoyte, QC, MSW, RSW, PhD (stdt) is a private practice clinical and forensic social worker, an educator and a practicing lawyer. As a clinical and forensic social worker, Shawna specializes in mental health and addictions. As a lawyer for twenty-five years, her areas of practice are child welfare law, family law, human rights, youth justice, criminal justice, corrections law, administrative law and community social justice. Shawna teaches clinical law to third-year law students and social work to students at the BSW and MSW levels.

Shawna's work as an inter-professional and multi-disciplinary practitioner and consultant makes her a sought-after speaker in law and social work practice in Canada. She also conducts workshops and has presented on aspects of forensic social work in the United States. Shawna is committed to developing the intersection of law and social work (forensic social work) as a sub-specialty of social work practice in Canada. In 2016, Shawna founded the National Institute of Forensic Social Work ( which focuses on social/legal professional development for practitioners in Canada.

Workshop Summary

Social work practitioners are employed in workplaces that require familiarity with and knowledge of a variety of legal concepts. When working in the justice system, social workers must have the “hands-on” essential skills to be confident and effective practitioners to meet social work standards and ethical obligations of the social work profession. Many of the services that hire social workers in beginner generalist or specialist forensic positions in the justice system offer in-house training specific to the worker’s tasks in the workplace. Professional development intersectional training in essential practice skills for forensic social work (social-legal skills) is limited or non-existent in Canada at this time, yet exists as a vibrant area of practice in other countries. Many schools of social work education in Canada offer academic courses that are evidence and theory based in law and social work. There are no independent professional development programs that offer “hands-on” skills training that is focused on the intersection of law and social work practice (forensic social work) and the development of forensic social work as a sub-specialty of practice outside of the workshops and courses offered through Dalhousie University School of Social Work Continuing Education and the National Institute of Forensic Social Work.  

With this emerging field of practice and the demand for access to justice, social workers are taking on new roles in the justice system. The current trend in the practice of law in Canada is to resolve legal matters utilizing less adversarial methods such as settlement conferences, mediation, parenting co-ordination and restorative approaches. We are seeing an increase in the emergence of specialty courts, yet the demand and need for adversarial processes continues to increase especially in child protection, criminal law, youth justice, adult criminal law, corrections law and human rights. Social workers are usually front and center in the justice processes.  As such, in fulfilling the duties of a forensic social worker in areas such as child protection, private practice social work, probation services, corrections, or at forensic hospitals, it is imperative that social workers have an understanding of the processes of the court, and the tools used by lawyers, crowns and judges and an understanding of collaborative law practice.  Having the essential skills and knowledge of legal practice and procedures will align the work of a forensic social worker with that of the legal practitioner, the courts and the justice system.

Forensic social work practice is dynamic, demanding and an evolving sub-specialty in Canada. This engaging and interactive four-week workshop in essential skills for forensic social work practice has lecture and “hands on” skills-based components that will increase your practice skills when engaged with the legal system. The workshop is designed to develop the learner’s confidence, knowledge of legal processes, courtroom skills, writing and drafting skills of court documents, critical thinking skills and use of contemporary approaches that are grounded in core competencies for social workers such as anti-oppressive practice, cultural competence and humility, trauma informed, and professional ethical commitment. Through introductory level interactive exercises, critical reflections, thought-provoking case studies, and skills building exercises such as affidavit writing, forensic interviewing from a cultural lens, submission of expert evidence and testifying in court, you will learn to improve your forensic skills and increase your awareness of the law. Learners will gain skills that are realistic and best practice based.

The combination of theory and practice was super. ~ course participant

Target Audience

If your work is related to the justice system or you are new to social work practice and have an interest in attaining the skills and knowledge to work as a generalist in forensic social work, then this is a “must have” workshop for you.

This workshop is geared towards those who have an interest in developing a sub-specialty hands-on skill set in forensic social work.  The workshop is ideal for the generalist social work practitioner who is familiar with common legal concepts that impact social work and human service practice in the justice system. Ideally the learner in this workshop will have taken Level-1 training in Foundational Law for Social Work and Human Service Practice which is the prerequisite for this course (Forensic Social Work 1). A waiver of the prerequisite will be considered for those who have taken Social Work and the Law, SLWK 3200 at Dalhousie University School of Social Work with Ms. Paris-Hoyte.

The social work practitioners most likely to benefit from this workshop are private practice clinicians, legal system navigators, litigation support social workers, court social workers, family court assessors, parenting coordinators, hospital clinical social workers, those in corrections law, child protection services, psychiatric social work practice, mental health, youth justice, adult justice, those who do community practice with grassroots organizations and those with a general interest in forensic social work practice. 

Learning Goals & Objectives

The focus of this workshop is specific to the practice of social work in the justice system. It is a skills based interactive online workshop. As participants/learners you be introduced to the basics of forensic social work practice from a skills-based social-legal lens in keeping with the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. You will rely on your theoretical training in social work from previous academic studies and continuing education training in forensic social work practice.  As a learner you will increase your knowledge and develop essential skills for forensic social work practice based on 4 weekly 4-hour modules that include:

  1. Core Competencies for Forensic Social Work Practice focuses on building forensic skills and enhancing knowledge for workshop learners regarding cultural competence and humility, critical thinking, unconscious bias, anti-oppressive, trauma informed forensic interviewing, working with diverse populations in legal systems.
  2. Tools for the Court focuses on creating awareness and competence and developing skills in the drafting of court documents such as affidavits, custody and parenting assessments, cultural plans, Voice of the Child Reports, and the organization and readiness of the “business record”, to name a few.
  3. You the Expert will guide the learner to develop the skills and knowledge for forensic social work practice in the courts by providing information and instruction specific to courtroom etiquette, presenting expert reports, testifying in court, advocacy and other core skills.
  4. Collaborative Inter-Professional Practice will consider best practice models used in collaborative social-legal settings and other common inter-professional work places. An emphasis will be placed on standards of practice, codes of ethics and liability issues that may arise for both professions in shared workplaces to address possible conflicts such as competing ethics. Information will be shared specific to career opportunities in forensic social work practice and available resources.

At the end of the 4-week workshop you will have increased your understanding, working knowledge and legal drafting skills as a beginner generalist or specialist forensic social worker practitioner. Overall, you will have gained new skills and knowledge that enhances your confidence, competence and prepares you for new opportunities to the benefit of your career, your clients and your employer(s).

I enjoyed the opportunity to write the PSR/Workplan. It is not something I have ever done but it is great to have the exercise. ~ course participant


This workshop is comprised of 4 weekly modules. Each module requires approximately 4 hours of online work. Participants are required to complete all 4 modules and pass a short quiz at the end of each module or complete a skill building exercise.    

Speed of learning and ease with technology will affect the time it takes to complete the course exercises. Basic technical and computer skills are required to watch online videos, post questions and comments, and navigate the website.

Loved that it was well organized and easy to navigate. ~ course participant

There are no scheduled lecture times. The course site is available 24/7.

This course requires approximately 4 hours of online study time per week for a total of 16 continuing education credit hours.

Enrolment is limited to maximum of 35 participants.


Regular Registration (paid after September 13, 2021)


Registration Policies





The Heart of Helping: Understanding Vicarious Trauma & Compassion Fatigue

Online: November 1 - 28, 2021


About the Instructor

Lynda Monk is a Registered Social Worker and a Certified Life Coach with over 20 years experience teaching in the areas of burnout prevention, vicarious trauma, change management, stress management, work-life balance, resilience, self-care and therapeutic journaling for wellness for helping professionals, healers and change agents. Lynda has worked with hundreds of individual clients and supported many client organizations within the social and human services, healthcare, government and non-profit sector in various jurisdictions in Canada.

She is the co-author of Writing Alone Together: Journaling in a Circle of Women for Creativity, Compassion and Connection, as well as co-editor of the forthcoming book, Transformational Journaling for Coaches, Counsellors and Clients: A Complete Guide to the Benefits of Personal Writing (Routledge, 2021).  You can learn more about Lynda’s work at and

Workshop Summary

Vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue are common occupational hazards for social workers, counsellors, healthcare professionals, educators, and others in high-care fields.  During the COVID-19 global pandemic, front line workers and healthcare professionals are at higher risk for burnout and other mental health challenges due to the complexities of providing care during this challenging time.

I feel like I have a clearer understanding of vicarious trauma, chronic fatigue, and burnout as well as my where I am at with own self-care, my responsibility and my organization's responsibility. This course was wonderful. ~ course participant

This 4-week online course is designed to teach those in the helping, human service and healthcare professions about these work-related risks that can result from the very nature of the work itself.  You will gain a deeper understanding of vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue: what they are, how they manifest and how to prevent and/or intervene with the negative effects that can flow from the heart of helping.  Discover how to balance caring for yourself while caring for others, in order to stay healthy while you make a difference.

It was a fantastic reminder of the importance of self care… Even completing the course was a form of self care." ~ course participant

You will have the opportunity to learn, reflect and connect with others in a caring, dynamic and respectful online learning environment.  This course uses transformative learning principles and combines video teaching, engaging reading assignments, and reflective learning activities such as journaling exercises, guided meditation, coaching tools and assessments to support participants to deepen their learning, enhance resiliency and forward their action specific to replenishing from within and reducing the risk of vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue in order to thrive personally and professionally.

Amazing feedback! I learned so much from the question and answer action happening in the discussion boards. The instructors replied promptly and with insightful responses to questions." ~ course participant

Course Overview

Week 1:  The Occupational Hazards within Helping Professions

    Getting started, introductions and course learning objectives

    COVID-19 Global Pandemic – what does it mean for helpers and healers?

    Definitions, descriptions and distinctions of the relevant occupational hazards: job stress, burnout, primary trauma, vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue

    Motivation for entering the field/anticipated results and impact

Week 2: Risk Factors, Warning Signs and Symptoms of Vicarious Trauma (VT) and Compassion Fatigue (CF)

    Nature of the work and risk for vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue

    Risk and resiliency factors for VT and CF

    Signs and symptoms of VT and CF


    Relax and renew:  techniques for grounding and replenishing

Week 3:  Self-Care and Wellness for Helping Professionals | Walk the Talk Inspiration

    What is self-care, really?

    Assess your current self-care in for key dimensions of wellness – emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual with a Whole Person Self-Care Assessment

    Addressing and transforming vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue

    Walk the Talk inspiration

Week 4:  Wellness and Resiliency in Caregiving Organizations | Self-Care to WE Care | Gifts, Joys and Hope in Practice

Vicarious trauma, burnout and compassion fatigue are not just concerns for individuals.  The impact of these costs of caring are also high in organizations in terms of lost productivity, absenteeism, employee turnover and conflict in the workplace.  Workplace wellness strategies can help to mitigate these risks and they are proven to offer both employees and employers greater productivity, enhanced engagement, less stress, increased quality of work, as well as contributing to a positive overall workplace culture where helping professionals can DO and BE their best.

    Explore the key factors for wellness in caregiving organizations

    Shifting from self-care to WE care

    Taking stock and taking action

    Time for you – comfort and renewal

    Gifts, joys and hope in practice – connect with a deeper sense of meaning and purpose in within helping work

Today, I focus on a simple truth:  To be kind to another, I need to be kind to myself." ~ Gail Straub


This workshop is comprised of 4 weekly modules. Each module requires approximately 3 hours of online work.  

Speed of learning and ease with technology will affect the time it takes to complete the course exercises. Basic technical and computer skills are required to watch online videos, post questions and comments, and navigate the website. While many or all course components may work on most mobile devices, we cannot guarantee our courses will be compatible with all mobile devices. Therefore, we recommend you have access to a computer (Mac or Windows) during this course.

I thoroughly enjoyed this course. There was something for everyone, taking into consideration the various ways people learn. The tools provided are ones I can use again..." ~ course participant

There are no scheduled lecture times. The course site is available 24/7.

This course requires approximately 3 hours of online study time per week for a total of 12 continuing education credit hours.

Early Registration (paid on or before September 24, 2021)

Regular Registration (paid after September 24, 2021)


Registration Policies