Jump to Main Content
Decrease font size Reset font size Increase font size
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto Home| OISE| U of T| Quercus| Site Map | Contact Us | Accessibility | Feeling Distressed?
INSPIRING EDUCATION | oise.utoronto.ca
Centre for Diversity in Counselling and Psychotherapy
Go to selected destination



The 7th Critical Multicultural Counselling & Psychotherapy Conference:



Integrating Asian Healing Traditions into Mental Health Care


June 1st & 2nd, 2012


Click Here to Download Conference Poster

CDCP Conference 2012, Integrating Asian Healing Traditions

Conference Coordinators: Rameet Singh and Na Zhu, email: cdcp.oise@utoronto.ca




We invite you to submit an abstract for a paper, poster or workshop session (150 to 250 words). Click here for "Call for Proposal" poster.

Conference themes include:

  • Traditional Eastern healers and healing practices (e.g. Acupuncture, Qigong, Meditation, Mindfulness, Yoga, Morita Therapy, Ayurveda, Unani and more).
  •  Religious, spiritual, and cultural approaches.
  •  Traditional healing and its contemporary formulation.
  • Integrating traditional Eastern healing practices into counselling and psychotherapy.


Descriptions of Presentations:

Paper Session: 20 to 30 minute paper presentation.

Poster Session: a poster display with the opportunity for informal discussions among presenters and participants. Posters will remain on display throughout the conference. 

Workshop: 90 to 120 minute experiential workshop of a traditional healing modality within a mental health context.


Submission Procedures

Please download Proposal Submission Form for more information. Fill out and email to cdcp.oise@utoronto.ca 

  Deadline for Submission is: March 14, 2012







Charles ChenKeynote Address: Morita-Informed Healing: Achieve Serenity with Anxiety

Dr.Charles Chen, Ph.D, Professor at OISE, University of Toronto, Canada Research Chair In Life Career Development





In our experiences as professional helpers, we constantly find ourselves engaged in aiding our clients to tackle anxiety feelings in various aspects of their lives, i.e., personal, social, and vocational alike. To do so is of pivotal importance because emotional arousal or inconvenient feelings in kind can significantly undermine clients’ capacity and potential to perform tasks of living in a more constructive manner. Traditional therapeutic and counselling models in the West, such as cognitive and/or behavioral interventions, certainly have their rationale and merit in helping individuals decrease the level of anxiety, aiming at a more desirable outcome of eliminating the symptom all together.


In contrast, this address intends to introduce the Morita Therapy principle(s) as an alternative helping approach that is deeply tooted in the Eastern worldview, differing substantially from most therapeutic philosophies and practices in the West. The address begins with a background overview of Morita therapy and its main therapeutic framework. It then provides a brief rationale for connecting Morita therapy to the Western counselling and psychotherapy realm. Finally, it draws particular attention to Morita concepts in relation to social anxiety, demonstrating how to utilize Morita-informed healing principles and strategies to help clients live a more constructive life. For more info on Charles Chen see website: http://aecp.oise.utoronto.ca/main/faculty/chen.html   


Click Here for Dr. Charles Chen Bio and workshop abstract





Ana Bodnar

 Keynote Address: Buddhist Psychology and Mindfulness and its Application to Psychotherapy.   

Dr. Ana Bodnar, Clinical Psychologist, Professor at OISE, University of Toronto, Meditation and Yoga Teacher. 

The wisdom and specific practices of Buddhist Psychology are having a growing  impact on  Western psychology. Mindfulness-based therapies have been developed for a wide variety of mental health problems, such as stress, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addictions and many other life and clinical problems. Mindfulness meditation also enhances therapist presence with the client and  supports therapist self-care and development. This presentation will  highlight some major principles and practices of Buddhist psychology and mindfulness and its applications to psychotherapy. Elements of Yoga Psychology will also be discussed. For more information on Ana Bodnar visit her website: www.anabodnar.com  


Click here for Dr. Bodnar's bio and workshop abstract





Dr. Gielen

Keynote Address: Healers and Counsellors On the Roof of the World

Dr. Uwe P. Gielen Ph.D, Saint Francis College

My presentation compares traditional healers and “counselors” practicing in Upper Ladakh with counselors and psychotherapists trained in western scientific approaches. Upper Ladakh is a predominately Tibetan—Buddhist region situated in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The healers include highly trained abbots (Rinpoche) and other monks of the local monasteries, Tibetan medical doctors (Amchi), astrologers (Ӧnpo or Tsipa), modern allopathic doctors, and shamans or “oracles” (Lha-pa/Lha-mo). The Lha-pa/Lha-mo are expected to heal medical illnesses of humans and animals, exorcise ghosts and malevolent spirits, and find lost objects.


A comparison with psychotherapists and mental health counselors in modern societies suggests that the traditional healers in Ladakh fulfill many of the same functions as modern therapists. Although Ladakhi belief systems about treatment and healing diverge sharply from those taught in modern psychology and psychiatry, similar psychosocial processes underly the counseling activities of Ladakhi and western counselors and healers. The processes include the suggestive power of explicit and implicit social expectations, creating situations conducive to confession, catharsis, and abreaction; the counselor—healer’s marshaling of social and emotional support systems for the client; reinforcing the client’s quest for a more cohesive identity; and placing the client’s distress within a comprehensive system of symbolic interpretation thereby reducing feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. However, counseling and healing in the Ladakhi context tend to be more spiritually oriented, ritualistic, public, and collectivistic than the more secular and individualistic forms of counseling and psychotherapy predominating in the West.

Click here for Dr. Gielen Bio and  detailed keynote address abstract






Roxana pic

Keynote Address: Troubling the Mental & Physical Health Binary: Observations from Traditional Chinese Medicine & Qi Gong

Keynote Workshop: Qi Gong, Experiential Workshop

Dr. Roxana Ng, Ph.D. OISE, University of Toronto

There is a tendency, in biomedical science, to view the body as composed of distinct and separate parts. This tendency extends to healthcare delivery, where diseases are seen to arise, either from the physical body (which comprises the majority of diseases and treatments in healthcare delivery), or from “the mind” (equated with mental illness). The latter gives rise to psychology and psychiatry as specializations in the healthcare system. This binary has a long philosophical root, dating to Descartes’ theorization of “I think, therefore I am”, which privileges the intellect (simplistically equated with the mind) over the body. Applied to medicine, when a disease cannot be pinned down to an observable, known physical source, it is seen to be psychological in nature and originates in “the mind”. This understanding, in turn, has led to the segregation of “mental illness” as a distinct disease that requires specialized expertise and treatments. My presentation disrupts this notion of the body-mind binary. I put “the mind” in quotation marks to refer to the commonly-held western conception that the mind is equated with the brain and refers to a psychological state of affair separate from other parts of the body. Turning to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and its accompanying modality of Qi Gong, I discuss the inseparability of body and mind in TCM theory and practice. I provide a brief discussion of how TCM conceptualizes the body that does not produce the body-mind binary. Specifically, I use Qi Gong, one of the accompanying treatment modalities of TCM, to illustrate this conceptualization. In addition to a theoretical discussion, I demonstrate this conceptualization through the practice of Qi Gong, and call upon the audience to participate in some simple Qi Gong exercises. I conclude by discussing how Qi Gong may be utilize in mental healthcare delivery.

See website for Dr. Roxana Ng Bio, http://aecp.oise.utoronto.ca/main/faculty/ng.html




Dr. Varghese

Keynote Address: Indigenous Healing Knowledge and Practices in Karnataka, India.


Dr. (Fr.) Varghese K.J, Christ University, Bangalore, India.




There has hardly been any attempt to document the epistemology of comprehensive indigenous healing knowledge in the past. The  present  paper focuses on the  documented corpus of  indigenous knowledge on healing and practices in the state of Karnataka ,situated in the southern part of India characterized by  diverse cultural  customs and traditions and culturally rich  in its  healing traditions, religious cults and  cult forms. The study captures the typical cases of healing practices and aspects related   to   mental health in Karnataka, based on a descriptive study, by employing a case study approach. The cases are documented as practices, methods employed and beliefs related to   such interventions of healing practices of mental health. With the revival of interest in indigenous practices, the paper is an   investigation into the origins, contextual influences, other ethnic, cultural and regional factors related to indigenous healing knowledge and practices. The results of the  investigations  further  explores  the conceptual  structure of the healing  practices, efficacy of the healers, the  relevance of implications to  support  the reexamination of traditional healing as an alternative approach to mental health along with Psychotherapy and Counselling.


 Click here for Dr.Varghese bio and keynote address abstract









Keynote Address: Cultures of Healing 

Dr. Ted Lo

















Dr. Ted Lo (Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto)


Click here for Dr. Ted Lo bio and keynote abstract

Dr. Mami Ishii 

 Dr. Mami Ishii (Naturopathic Doctor, Board-Certified Music Therapist, Reiki Master)

Click here for Dr. Ishii bio and keynote abstract

 The nature is healing is socially constructed, and defined by its cultural context. Comparisons of the differences and commonalities between traditional healing and contemporary counselling practice will be explored. Practices along several broad themes will be discussed with examples. These might indicate potential trends for the future of the mental health delivery system if we are to learn from our traditions.







Dr. Waseem

Keynote Address: Mindfulness and Meditation, Integrating what? New Lamps for Old: Or why there're no more heroes (and heroines) anymore! 

Dr. Waseem Alladin, PsyD, Honorary Lecturer in Clinical Psychology, University of Leicester, UK/Head of Psychology, Autism Care, UK. Editor in Chief, Counselling Psychology Quarterly


This presentation comments and commends some of the many excellent presenta tions at this conference. But it then goes on to ask whatever has happened to the critical part in the conference title? Don't get me wrong, I have been practising mindfulness for as long as I can remember having a mind! As for meditation I have been thinking about it for a long long time! Seriously, I support both mindfulness and meditation. But when was the last time you read a critique of either? Nothing is all good or all bad. This presentation hopes to provide that balance. The laudable aim to integrate traditional healing with psychotherapy seems alive and well in Canada but I fear in UK and Europe it is more disintegration than integration. It is argued that practice-based evidence needs to challenge crude evidence based medicine and its toolbox, meta-analysis. Even the imminent DSM V revision by professionals has been accused of having interests in big Pharma and pressing for the creation of new disorders for children for which drug therapy is the treatment of choice. Some suggestions are outlined for debate.

For more info on Dr. Waseem Alladin please visit website: http://www.calmersolutionsforliving.com/about-us/  

Click here for Dr. Waseem Alladin bio and keynote abstract





Dr. Ismat NathaniKeynote Workshop: Integrating Ayurvedic Practices into Counselling and Psychotherapy: An Ancient Indian Approach to Holistic Health Care  

Dr. Ismat Nathani, Doctorate of Natural Medicine (Canada), Director of the Centre for Ayurveda & Indian Systems of Healing Educational & S.E.L.F Wellness Centre.

Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicine (TIM) remains the most ancient yet living traditions. The word Ayurveda means “wisdom of life” and all aspects of life from nature, environment, food, housing, occupation, relationships are considered important in maintain optimal health and wellbeing.

Mind is an integral part of Ayurvedic medicinal system and need to be addressed at each and every part of physical/mental state. Without taking into consideration this mind factor any disease cannot be managed properly. Therefore Psychology is an integral part of practice of ayurvedic and vice versa.

There has been increased global interest in traditional medicines including Ayurveda & Yoga mainly due to its philosophical understanding in the developments of human body and its ecological applications in treating dis-eases.

In this workshop participants will be learning and exploring:

  • Ayurvedic Mind-Body Types

  • Mental & Behaviour patterns of each body type

  •  Influential factors in Mental functioning in accordance to Ayurveda

  • Ayurvedic view to the causes of common mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, eating disorder and addictions

  • Importance of Sensory functioning and integration in Mental Health

  •  Integrating traditional Ayurvedic Practices into counselling and psychotherapy


Click here for Dr. Ismat Nathani's bio and detailed workshop abstract




Marco MascarinKeynote Workshop: Mindfulness & Buddhist Principles in Counselling & Psychotherapy

Marco Mascarin, MA, DSD, PhD (candidate). Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto

The Buddhist context out of which Mindfulness arises, presents a process view of personhood, wherein individuals learn to directly experience the fluid nature of emotions, sensations and various mental states. Through Mindfulness practice, one learns to be aware of experience without judgment and to cultivate the qualities of equanimity and compassion towards what arises moment to moment in awareness.
This training is an opportunity to learn the history (ancient and contemporary), concepts, purposes and some of the Mindfulness-based interventions used personally and clinically: seated meditation, body scan, metta, and mindful movements. The emphasis will be on integrating the aforementioned non-judgmental awareness into our personal and professional lives.
Before introducing these practices clinically, it is necessary to have personal experience, over an extended period of time with formal meditation, as such, this training will present the basic skills necessary to commence a daily Mindfulness routine and direct individuals to appropriate resources.


Click here for Marco Mascarin's bio and detailed workshop abstract.




Matthem Remksi

Keynote Workshop: Giving Space, Holding Space: The Elemental Gifts of Yoga Psychology 

Matthew Remski, Registered Yoga Teacher, Yoga Therapist, Ayurvedic Health Educator-Advanced Level 

Every therapeutic intervention in yoga psychology involves the expansion and sculpting of space element. Ethics gives the space of non-reactivity. Posture gives space to the joints and organs. Good breathing gives space for the circulation of vitality, and directly slows down sympathetic responses. Sensory control decompresses nervous overload. And meditation injects space into cognition and internal monologue, so that new choices may emerge, and deeper identities remembered. In this interactive session, we'll explore various psychosomatic practices that will introduce the essentials of yogic worldview and therapeutic approach.

Click here for Matthew Remksi's bio and detailed workshop abstract




Mami Ishii

Keynote Workshop: Sampling of Deliciousness:Naturopathic Integration of Asian Traditional Healing Practices

Mami Ishii, Naturopathic Doctor, Board-Certified Music Therapist, Reiki Master


Are you enjoying the deliciousness in your life? Deliciousness in Japanese means embracing all beauties in everything using all senses. Healing is optimized and health is best maintained when those qualities are in harmony both within and outside of our being. In this workshop, deliciousness is further defined from the perspective of Naturopathic Medicine, an ultimate form of integrative medicine of traditional healing and modern sciences. Participants will be also invited to sample and learn concepts and experiences of deliciousness through the modern formulation of traditional East Asian healing in counseling and psychotherapy.

- Oral & Nutrition: Use of words and food
- Visual: Use of colors and lights
- Kinesthetic : Use of touch and movement
- Olfactory: Use of herbs and incense
- Auditory: Use of sound, instrument, and music

Click here for Dr. Mami Ishii bio and keynote abstract




Master Class: Yoga and Meditation - A Means of Self Empowerment, Healing and Rejuvenation


With Swami Devaprasad

Thursday May 31st, 9:30am - 4:00pm


Swami Devaprasad


This one day workshop on traditional yoga and meditation will be a rich experience for yoga teachers, health professionals and all those who looking to deepen their understanding and experience yoga and meditation- the ancient art and life style.




Yoga means union – union with oneself (body mind and spirit), and with the whole of humanity. This workshop is a time for deepening knowledge of the ancient art of yoga and meditation. This yoga and meditation workshop will help you develop ways to increase your concentration, memory power, positive mood states, build better inter‐personal relationships, improve stamina and resistance against sickness; with the power of yogic healing.


These objectives are met through a thorough training in the physical, psychological and spiritual aspects of Yoga through lectures, and by practicing Pranayamas (Breathing exercises), Asanas (bodily postures that enable better concentration), relaxation methods, concentration techniques, stress management and meditation, under the efficient supervision and individual attention from the master. An essential part of the Yoga practice is mindfulness. In order to attain union and harmony between body, breath and mind the practice of yoga should be done with mindfulness. Thus, mindfulness principles will be integrated throughout our practice of yoga and meditation. Practical sessions are based on the book “Yoga for Wholeness and Wellness" written by Swami Devaprasad.  This workshop offers a unique opportunity to be guided by an experienced yoga master.

Click here for the full day workshop syllabus


Bio: Renowed and published yoga master & instructor Devaprasad Swami (Dev) started his yogic life in 1979. he learned yoga from various gurus (teachers). Having completed his Philosophical studies during 1986-88, he started teaching yoga in various institutions. He completed the four year Theological studies in 1993. He has been teaching yoga and yogic meditation for the last 23 years in various universities, colleges, schools and formation houses throughout India. He has conducted several yoga-training sessions in Germany during 1995 and 1997 and Canada from 1999 to 2005. Click here to continue reading



Conference Fee:


Pre-Conference Fee: $50.00 (includes light refreshments and Coffee/Tea


( We accept Debit, Visa or Master Card. Cash is accepted in person at the following address: UofTtix Box Office, Hart House, 7 Hart House Circle, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3H3) 


 Conference Fee

Earlybird (Deadline May 1st, 2012):           $100 Regular Rate       $50 Student Price

Late Registration (after May 1st, 2012):     $125 Regular Rate       $75 Student Price

Registration fee includes two lunches and coffee/tea and refreshments.  A refund of 80% the registration fee is available until May 12, 2012.

Pre-Conference Fee

Student and Regular Rate: $50.00. Fees include light refreshments and coffee/tea


MAIL-IN REGISTRATION:  has now closed.  Please use the online/phone options below.

ONLINE REGISTRATION, 24-hours-a-day websales on a secure website:  http://uofttix.ca/view.php?id=855 

Please note that online and telephone registration will close Thursday May 31st at 3pm. If you would like to register for the conference thereafter, you can register on site at the conference.

TELEPHONE REGISTRATION, Monday-Friday, 11 a.m - 5 p.m: 416-978-8849 

(We accept Debit, Visa or Master Card. Cash payment is available at the following address in person: U of T tix Box Office, Hart House, 7 Hart House Circle, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont, M5S 3H3)




Conference will be held at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto.

The address is: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, 252 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1V6 CANADA


Underground parking is available at OISE (on the backside of the building, turn onto Prince Arthur Ave). Registration, conference opening and keynote address will take place at the OISE library, which is located on the first floor of the building.  






Program Schedule Day 1 pg 2

Program Schedule Day 1 pg 2

Program Schedule Day 2 pg 1

Program Schedule Day 2 pg 2ACCOMMODATION & TRAVEL

If you are travelling from another province or country and need accommodation, we would like to suggest that you make reservations at the Holiday Inn, 5 minutes walking distance from OISE (where the conference is taking place). There is a courtesy block of rooms until May 1st for a special rate ($129.99/night for one or two people) for guests attending this conference; kindly mention Integrating Asian Healing Traditions Conference or block code AHT. Please book your room as soon as possible as rooms are limited:

    Holiday Inn 280 BLOOR STREET WEST
    Contact: 416-968-0010 or cn312res@whg.com Holiday Inn 280 BLOOR STREET WEST

Other Accommodations

Madison Boutique Hotel:  20 Madison Avenue.
Victoria College University of Toronto

For those travelling with a visa, please contact us if you need a formal letter of invitation from our department. 





Ontario Institute of Studies in Education, University of Toronto



Across Boundaries





Conference Fee:


Pre-Conference Fee: $50.00 (includes light refreshments and Coffee/Tea


( We accept Debit, Visa or Master Card. Cash is accepted in person at the following address: UofTtix Box Office, Hart House, 7 Hart House Circle, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3H3)