WTF: Essential Grounding and Debriefing Tools for Front Line Workers

Become more centered among the chaos

In the course of their work, many helping professionals are regularly exposed to difficult and sometimes traumatic material: anyone working in the criminal justice system, victim services, front line workers, those who work with forensic evidence and child exploitation, first responders, mental health crisis teams, homeless shelter staff and many others.

When there is a lot of exposure the risk for secondary trauma and compassion fatigue are high. How do we remain healthy and balanced while doing this challenging work? We need tools in our toolbox, skills that we can use before, during and after the difficult event has taken place. New research on grounding techniques and trauma reduction skills are showing promising results in helping to reduce secondary traumatic stress in trauma-exposed professionals.

This October, we are delighted to bring to you a brand new workshop designed by our very own Diana Tikasz, MSW, RSW. Diana has worked for many years in high stress, high trauma-exposed work settings and brings to this training her vast experience as a front line worker and supervisor, as well as the newest findings on the neuroscience of trauma exposure management.

WTF isn’t a swear word! It refers to the Window of Tolerance Framework. The WTF is our optimal zone – the place where we do our best work, when we are feeling calm yet energized, healthy and creative. Stressors and triggers can bring us out of that zone into high stress and reactivity, or into numbness and avoidance.

The techniques offered in this workshop will encompass the whole self as we can often retreat and get stuck in our heads. An emphasis will be on learning and incorporating strategies that change the way we work as opposed to using all our personal time to replenish what our work takes out of us.

This session will provide skills to help move yourself out of states of reactivity or avoidance and into the place of possibility to become more centered among the chaos. This is a crucial skill for front-line workers and others working with forensic evidence, investigations, court, witnesses and victims, and those working with individuals who have experienced difficult and traumatic experiences.

Those who would benefit are any folks in a helping profession that feel they are often overly stressed or hijacked by emotion, or those who are no longer enjoying their work and wondering whether they need to make a career change. Helpers who wish to learn specific skills that they can utilize to protect themselves in difficult situations whether it is working with those challenging clients, sitting in a difficult team meeting or interacting with a colleague who pushes your buttons. It is also for those who find that at times their personal lives are creating the WTF moments, which makes it extremely difficult to be present at work.

Diana: “I often say that helping work is even more difficult when the professional is going through their own personal stresses. We will focus on providing a framework and resources to help us navigate the storm. This workshop is especially for those who are feeling completely detached from what they are doing, feeling as though they are just “going through the motions” or counting down the days to retirement.”

Please consider joining us at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, Ontario on October 20, 2016 or bring this training to your team!

For more information and to register, click HERE.




Fall 2014 Workshop for Managers: Guide to Stress, Burnout and Trauma in the Workplace

Growing Volume of Work…More Complex Cases…

Shrinking Budgets…Overwhelmed and Stressed-Out Staff…

What can you do, as a manager?

overworked businessman

Develop strategies to address STRESS and TRAUMA in your workforce

Join us for 2 days of hands-on, concrete tools for Managers working in High Stress, Trauma-Exposed settings 

An intensive 2-day program with Dr Patricia Fisher, R.Psych., L.Psych. Canada’s leading expert in trauma-exposed environments.

September 23-24, 2014

9:00am-4:30pm (registration 8:30am)

Royal Botanical Gardens, 680 Plains Road West, Burlington, Ontario.

**Spaces limited to 25 participants – register early**

Click here for more information


Click here to download Flyer


Brought to you by Compassion Fatigue Solutions

Upcoming events of interest

Public Service Announcements: From time to time, we post events that are occurring in the community that we think may be of interest to our readers. We are not affiliated with these events, but post them as a public service.

Dr Allan Wade: Drops of Longing – An introduction to response-based practice in context

Dr Wade has a fascinating perspective on our use of language as it relates to resistance, violence and trauma and ways to integrate this into our work with clients. Two great days of learning.

February 26-27, 2014

Hincks-Dellcrest Institute, Toronto, On.

For information click here

Natalie Zlodre, MSW, RSW: Level 1 Certificate in Trauma Counselling for Front-Line Workers

Toronto: March-April 2014

Montreal: May 2014

Toronto: June 2014

Click here for more information

Leading Edge Seminars Spring 2014 Series: Toronto – Click here for more information

Dr John Briere: New Developments in the Treatment of Complex Trauma

Many of you know that I am a huge fan of Dr John Briere’s work on Trauma Treatment. His workshops are extremely informative and he’s a riveting presenter.

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Highland Country Club, London, On.

More information visit or call 226-268-230

How will you navigate the changing landscape of your work?

Has your work changed?

Is there more stress and uncertainty in your job than there used to be?

 Road Ahead Unclear copy

57% of Canadians report high levels of stress

 1/3 Canadians put work first and let it interfere with family

(Duxbury & Higgins, 2012)


In 1991, according to the Duxbury study on work-life balance, 46% of Canadians reported being satisfied with life. In 2012, it has plummeted to 23%. As many of you know first-hand, the recent economic downturn has led to significant budgetary compressions in the public purse. As a result, many of us working in the helping fields and in the civil service have experienced massive changes: layoffs, reorganizations, job abolitions, changes in mandate, elevated conflict and a lot of uncertainty and fear of what is yet to come. Over the past ten years, I have crisscrossed the country many times to offer compassion fatigue training in nearly every province and territory. During my workshops, I get to meet with public sector employees, health care workers and other helping professionals as well as with management and human resources. Lately, I have been hearing the same words from nearly everyone I meet:  “change”,  “stress”, “conflict”, “uncertainty” and “overload”.

Is this true for you as well?

Read More

June 12-13, 2012 Compassion Fatigue Conference

Focusing on Organizational Health and Hands-on Wellness Strategies


Full Program now available!

Here is the amazing lineup for the June 12-13, 2012 Compassion Fatigue Conference which will be held in Kingston, Ontario. I am thrilled to be able to bring together such a talented and diverse group of presenters. Take a look below – your biggest challenge will be deciding which workshops to attend! Please don’t delay in signing up, though – last year, this was a sold out event. Click here for registration information.

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Workshop with Dr Allan Wade April 24-25th, 2012

Public Service Announcement: 

National Victims of Crime Awareness Week 2012

“Moving Forward” Witnessing Victims’ Resistance to Violence with Dr Allan Wade, Ph.D.

April 24-25th, Roblin, On.

Cost: $55.00 per person (lunch included)


2 day workshop in Response Based Training: This workshop will present current research on violence, trauma, language and social responses in cases of violence. Participants will learn gentle, straightforward and effective interviewing skills for honouring victims’ responses and resistance to violence, identifying offenders’ pre-existing ability to act respectfully, and promoting positive social responses.

Included in the two days are 2 Keynote Speakers:

Tuesday April 24th: Donna French – Personal Story
Wednesday April 25th: Yvonne Harvey – “Stop Blaming the Victim” – The Impact of Murder on the Family Unit
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m
Location: Roblin Wesleyn Church
3100 County Rd 41
Roblin, Ontario
Sponsors: Lennox & Addington Domestic Violence Community Coordinating Committee & Policy Centre for Victim Issues- Department of Justice Canada
For more information contact: Trish Reid @ 613-354-8937 x 117

Compassion Fatigue Workshop coming to Halifax

Walking the Walk: Creative tools for transforming compassion fatigue with Françoise Mathieu, February 23, 2012 9:00-4:00. The Westin, downtown Halifax.

If you are a Halifax resident, please consider coming to this one day compassion fatigue workshop. This event is being sponsored by Connections Halifax.Early bird rate $120.00 (before Feb 14) and regular rate $150.00 To download a registration form, please click here. 

Walking the Walk Workshop coming to Montreal and Toronto in 2012

With Françoise Mathieu

Sponsored by the Hincks Dellcrest Centre

Montreal, February 7th 2012, McGill Faculty Club and Conference Centre, 3450 McTavish Street, Montreal.

February 5, 2012 update: please note the Montreal Workshop scheduled for Feb 7th has been postponed to the Fall. The date will be set shortly

Toronto, March 29, 2012, Oakham House, Ryerson University. 63 Gould Street, Toronto.

Click here to register