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Family Therapy Certificate Program 1

Essential Skills in Family Therapy Certificate Program
The family unit is the primary social organization that is responsible for facilitating human growth. It is within this human relationship context where individuals’ sense of nurturance, security, and learning is flourished or hindered. Family therapy not only offers a therapeutic means to work with families, more importantly it offers an alternate conceptual perspective in understanding the problems of individuals’ behaviours. Family therapy is grounded in principles of systems theory, in which the family unit is viewed as a socio-cultural system. That is, the family must be understood as a whole rather the collection of individuals. The dynamic interactions with the family play a vital role in the psychological functioning of family members. Family therapy focuses on altering recursive patterns of relating and restrictive life stories.

The significance of family and couple work in the practice of psychotherapy has gained substantial recognition in recent years. As family therapy becomes an integral part of clinical practice, it remains important to put emphasis on learning its unique conceptual foundations, as well as developing competency in the application of the therapeutic knowledge and skills.

Essentials of Family Therapy: Basic Concepts and Clinical Applications Part 1:
Date to be determined

This two-day course will provide an overview of the current theories and research, core therapeutic strategies, and the clinical applications of family therapy.

Participants will learn:

  • Current theoretical and empirical understanding of families from a systemic perspective
  • Clinical considerations in the applications of family therapy
  • Family life cycle and developmental challenges
  • Core ingredients in family therapy across therapeutic models
  • Basics of family assessment
  • Core therapeutic skills in family therapy
  • How to structure family therapy sessions: From intake to termination

Other areas to be covered include communication, parenting, family life distress, addiction, domestic violence, and mental health issues in respect to the family development stages, intensity of conflict, and nature of disorders.

The larger context of power, gender, culture, class, and sexual orientation will be considered.  The course is both conceptual and experiential with a strong emphasis in practice. Learning is a collaborative and participatory process. The goal of the course is to foster a safe and stimulating learning environment that welcomes multiple perspectives and experiences.





About the instructor
Dr. Kwan is the Founder and Executive Director of Oshawa Psychological & Counselling Services serving Oshawa and surrounding communities in Durham Region, and of Woodbine Psychological & Counselling Services serving Markham and surrounding communities in York Region. He recently spearheaded the successful launch of the Oshawa Psychotherapy Training Institute (OPTI), a unique training division of Oshawa Psychological & Counselling Services that focuses on providing mental health clinicians with both professional and personal quality learning as well as peer and clinical support.

Dr. Kwan is a registered psychologist in clinical and counselling psychology with children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families as his primary client groups. During more than 20 years of clinical counselling experience, Dr. Kwan has held various clinical positions and leadership roles including Clinical Director of Family Services York Region. Through his private practice, Dr.Kwan provides clinical consultation to practicing mental health clinician and psychologists. Currently, he provides clinical consultation to social workers on the community health team of Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services, Toronto and to the Pathways for Children, Youth and Families of York Region.

Dr. Kwan was first registered as a chartered psychologist with the College of Alberta Psychologists in 1988 and with the College of Psychologists of Ontario in 2003. He is also a registered marriage and family therapist, clinical member and approved supervisor with the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), and a registered sex therapist and approved supervisor with the Board of Examiners in Sex Therapy & Counselling in Ontario (BESTCO). Dr. Kwan received his Ph.D. in Community Psychology from the University of Toronto in 2002. He also completed additional post-doctoral training for his registration in Clinical and Counselling psychology with the College of Psychologists of Ontario. Prior to that, Dr. Kwan completed his M.Ed. in Educational Psychology in Special Education with a minor in Counselling Psychology and his M.Ed. in Educational Foundations in inter-Cultural Education, at the University of Alberta (1986 and 1981, respectively).

Dr. Kwan has worked with clients on issues that include anxiety, depression, trauma, PTSD, ADHD, conduct and school problems, family relationship conflicts, couple relationship difficulties, coping with chronic illness and injuries, domestic violence and child abuse, and sexual dysfunctions. He uses a variety of therapeutic modalities including emotionally-focused therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, structural family therapy, and narrative therapy. Dr. Kwan is fluent in English and Chinese (Cantonese), and can offer services in either language.

In addition, Dr. Kwan has provided extensive clinical training within the academic arena both as a lecturer and clinical supervisor. Dr. Kwan has been a session lecturer, an associate graduate faculty member, and clinical supervisor with both the Counseling Psychology, and School and Clinical Child Psychology programs at OISE, University of Toronto, and an adjunct professor with the Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto. Finally, for two terms he was a part-time faculty member with the School of Kinesiology & Health Science, York University.

Dr. Kwan is also active in community service. He is the volunteer clinical consultant for the peer consultation group, Southeast York Regional Chinese Mental Health Initiative Planning Committee.

Oshawa Psychological & Counselling Services serving Oshawa and surrounding communities in Durham Region including Ajax, Whitby, Brooklin, and Courtice.
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