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Workshops & Training

Cheryl provides professional training and workshops to front line staff, volunteers, peer mentors, educators and leaders, to aid them in their work to support individuals and communities. Topics include: sexual violence response and support, mindfulness and mindfulness meditation, assertiveness and healthy relationships. 


Cheryl brings her depth of experience working with individuals from diverse backgrounds who have experienced trauma and loss to her presentations. Her trauma informed approach addresses the individual and systemic challenges that people who have experienced violence face, and how to others can be a source of support and change.  


Workshops can be adapted or designed to meet the needs of your audience. 


Training Workshops include:


A. Responding to Sexual Violence Disclosures for Front Line Workers


Given the prevalence of sexual violence and the related stigma in our society, many clients who seek assistance have a history of sexual violence or trauma that they have never disclosed. Clients may seek assistance for any number of issues: mental health, addictions, unstable work or income, or precarious housing that may be rooted in their experiences of trauma.


Front line workers may feel ill equipped to deal with disclosures and how to respond, particularly workers with limited time and interactions with a client. Clients with underlying or pre-existing experiences of trauma may also be reluctant to share as they may be uncertain that it is safe to do so.


Participants will learn:


  • The issues to be aware of when a client discloses sexual assault, with particular attention to the impact of the stigma, rape culture, and victim blaming;    

  • The importance of psycho-education in helping survivors to recognize how post traumatic stress responses are adaptive and biologically based;

  • Common themes in Stage 1 counselling such as who to tell, seeking support, whether to report to the police, and addressing health care needs.

  • How to balance, prioritize and manage the immediate stabilization needs of the client with longer term therapeutic needs. 


B. Beyond the Crisis: The everyday experience of survivors with post-traumatic Stress and how you can help.  


Many agencies provide front line response and support through volunteers who are peer supporters or educators.  Volunteers frequently struggle with how to support survivors who are dealing with long-term consequences of trauma. This workshop will empower volunteers to respond compassionately, and with a greater sense of confidence.


Participants will: 


  • Gain a greater understanding of the short and long-term consequences of sexual assault and abuse, and how the legacy of trauma keeps people stuck.

  • Learn different ways to support people who have experienced sexual violence, and understand how the context of victim blaming and rape culture further marginalizes survivors.

  • Discover options to help shift clients into the present moment and a sense of hope, including mindfulness, appreciative inquiry and cognitive strategies.


C. A Day of Mindfulness


Mindfulness, or the capacity to be in the moment, with awareness, is increasingly being recognized as a strategy to manage stress, pain and illness, enhance well-being, and improve concentration.  Mindfulness encompasses many types of practices including meditation, mindful eating, and body practices, while cultivating important qualities such as compassion, gratitude, non-judging and curiosity.


Participants will:


  • Experience a nourishing and rejuvenating Day of Mindfulness, where we will cultivate present moment awareness, self-compassion and gratitude, to assist participants with managing stress and burnout.  

  • Learn a variety of mindfulness practices, have opportunity to reflect on the practices, and discuss how to bring mindfulness into the workplace and daily life.


D. Cultivating Mindfulness for Front Line Workers


In our busy lives and workplaces, we are often not in the present moment. In fact most people spend more time ruminating about the past, and worrying about the future, which robs them of the present moment experience. 


For trauma survivors, this often means an endless reliving of the past, bodies primed to be on alert, unable to be calm, or to think clearly.  For workers, not being in the present moment can lead to increased stress and burnout, whereas being in the present we can more effectively access our energy, skills and clarity of mind.


Not only is the present moment where we can actually live – it is the only place that we can heal. As workers, the present is also where we must meet our clients and ourselves, in a grounded and collaborative process. In mindfulness practices, we must always begin with ourselves, as we cannot teach what we have not experienced. 


This workshop will focus on the experience of  mindfulness, and how front line workers can cultivate more awareness, curiosity, non-judging, and self-compassion for themselves and others. 


Participants will:


  • Understand the impact of trauma on the mind-body, and how mindfulness can reduce stress and improve self-regulation.

  • Learn how cultivating present moment awareness, curiosity, non-judging and self-compassion can promote well-being in our clients, and in ourselves.

  • Be introduced to a variety of experiential practices, have opportunity to reflect on the practices, and discuss how to bring mindfulness into the workplace and daily life.

  • Enhance your ability to better identify signs of vicarious trauma and burnout.

E. Speak Your Mind: Assertiveness for Women (Clients)


In this workshop participants will identify the unique barriers and experiences that women have faced trying to speak up for themselves, and provide an opportunity to learn new skills and strategies for implementing healthy boundaries. Healthy boundaries allow you to be able to choose when to say no, and when to say yes to the things that matter to you in relationships, work and life. 


Participants will:


  • Strengthen your ability to communicate in an effective manner, expressing your thoughts, feelings and opinions in a respectful manner that helps to improve relationships and self-esteem.

  • Identify your own barriers to communication, and understand the consequences of not communicating your boundaries and needs to others.  

  • Have an opportunity to practice assertiveness through experiential exercises. 

  • Create positive affirmations and goals to continue implementing assertiveness into your life. 

Workshops can be tailored to meet the needs of your group.


What participants say about Cheryl:


“Cheryl created a great comprehensive training program for the Crisis Line Volunteers. Cheryl was very easy to work with and really took the time to listen to our needs to ensure the training was exactly what we wanted. I received lots of positive feedback from volunteers who enjoyed the training and have already used some of the practices that were learned. The training was made up of a good mix of content and exercises to keep the attention of everyone. We would love to have her back for our next training.”  — Candice Hodgson, Community Development and Volunteer Coordinator, Durham Rape Crisis Centre 

"Cheryl is a dynamic presenter with a gift for instructing."  — MB 

"I feel that I’ve become a better advocate for survivors of sexual assault." — JG


What the team at Quest gained after a Day of Mindfulness:


  • Reconnection with everyone. The importance of just being.

  • Reminded to add small practice throughout the day – particularly on days that feel overwhelming.

  • Self-reflection, calming aspect of not letting things in life get in the way of coping.

  • It was a nice review of mindfulness and I appreciated doing it as a group. A lovely calm approach, thank you. 

  • Great pace. Lots of time to reflect and spent time with my co-workers. A great day!

  • Enjoyed your overall demeanor and curious gentle approach to teaching the material.



Previous Presentations:


Day of Mindfulness for Staff. (Quest Community Health Centre)


Supporting Survivors of Sexual Assault (Front-line Staff at End Violence Against Women Conference)


Beyond the Crisis: The everyday experience of survivors with Post-traumatic Stress and how you can help (Volunteers, Durham Rape Crisis Centre)


Mindful Mondays (University of Toronto) 


Speak Your Mind: Assertiveness for Women (University of Toronto) 


What is a Healthy Relationship, Anyway? (University of Toronto) 


Violence Response and Prevention. Residence Life Staff Training (University of Toronto)


RISE: Recognize, Intervene, Support, Educate. (Bystander Intervention) Orientation Leader Training (University of Toronto)

Fees for Workshops and Training


Fees are negotiated based on length of workshop, preparation, and travel expenses. Please contact me to discuss what you are looking for.

Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.


Christopher Germer

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