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Integrating South Asian Healing Traditions into Counselling, Psychology and Psychotherapy


Also sponsored by:  New College, University of Toronto; SithCP3; The Collaborative for South Asian Mental Health  (CAMH); and the Office of the Associate Dean, Research, International & Innovation, OISE, University of Toronto

Friday, 5th May and Saturday, 6th May 2017

10$ Registration Fee.   Space is limited.   Registration is now CLOSED.

Eurocentric psychology and psychotherapy research repeatedly cites the concurrent use of  traditional and cultural healing methods such as religion and spirituality, mind-body therapies and Ayurvedic treatments. However, there has been little focus on the integration of these practices with counselling, psychology and psychotherapy. South Asians are the largest visible minority group in Canada and it is therefore important for service providers, clinicians, academics and decision makers to better understand how these culturally relevant practices relate to holistic health and wellbeing. It is through this understanding that mental health service providers will be better able to provide South Asian service users (and others) with an integrated and aligned approach to recovery. Presenters from India, USA and Canada will spend the day in dialogue about traditional practices as utilized in South Asian and the process of transference to the North American context. They will describe evidence and provide rich narratives that highlight the South Asian experience of traditional methods of healing.

See the Speaker Biographies from Christ University, Bangalore, India.


To view the program for this Symposium, please click here.

Friday, 5th May 2017

3.00 – 3.15        Welcome and Introduction
3.15- 4.15          Panel Keynote Presentation 1:  Mindfulness in Counselling and Psychotherapy

Personal Observations from the Trenches on the Present Use of Mindfulness in Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dr. Ellen Katz (University of Toronto)

Shenpa Work: Mindfulness, Empathy, and Embodied Experience in the Client Therapist Dyad
Dr. Gordon Dalziel (University of Toronto)

Mindfulness Meditations and Contemplations across the Globe
Dr. David Paul Smith (Saybrook University, California)

Chair: Dr. Gursharan Virdee (Centre for Addictions and Mental Health)

4.30 - 5.15      Small group discussion (conference participants divided in to 3 groups)  

5.15 – 5.30     Plenary

Saturday, 6th May 2017

9.00 – 9.15     Registration/Coffee

9.15 - 9.30      Welcome address by Dr. Earl Woodruff (Chair, Applied Psychology and
                        Human Development, OISE)

9.30 - 10.30    Keynote Presentation 2: South Asian Healing

Divinity and healing in the tradition of shamanic practices in South India
Dr. Baiju Gopal (Christ University, Bangalore)

Rumi, Sufism and Healing in South Asia
Dr. Dinesh Sharma (SUNY, Bimghamton, NY)

Chair: Dr. Roy Moodley (University of Toronto)

10.30 -11.30   Keynote Presentation 3: Religion, Spirituality, and Healing

South Asian Healing in the Diaspora
Dr. Abrahim Khan (University of Toronto)

The Role of Imams in Healing
Dr. Saadia Akram (Psychologist in Private Practice, Brampton)

Chair:  Dr. Tony Toneatto (University of Toronto)

11.30 – 12.30     Global Mental Health Challenge    

Developing Wisdom to Protect and Promote Global Mental Health
Dr. Michel Ferrari  & Chandi Fernando (University of Toronto)

Some Undercurrents in Global Mental Health
Dr. Ted Lo (Psychiatrist, Toronto)

Chair: Dr. David Smith (Saybrook University, California)

12.30 – 1.30       Light lunch provided   (POSTER presentations)

1.30 – 2.30         Keynote Presentation 4: Experiences of Clients  using South Asian    
                           Traditional Healing

Sharing Experiences of Caregiver Mental Health and Spiritual Supports
Renu Duggal (Friends of The Collaborative for South Asian Mental Health)

Therapists (mis)understanding of Client Experiences of Traditional Healers and Healing
Dr. Shafik Sunderani (Guelph -Humber University)

Breast Cancer  Survivorship: The Experience of Naturopathy
Rekha Ahuja (Christ University, Bangalore)

Chair: Sireesha Bobbili (Centre for Addictions and Mental Health)

2.30 – 4.00       Keynote Presentation 5:  Integrating Traditional Healing into Counselling, 
                         Psychology and Psychotherapy

Issues and Challenges in Integrating Traditional Healing into Counseling Psychology Training in India
Dr. Elizabeth Thomas (Christ University, Bangalore)

Integrating Buddhism and Mindfulness into Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dr. Tony Toneatto (University of Toronto)

Recommended Religio-Cultural Healing Practices for Counselling and Psychotherapy with Punjabi Sikhs
Dr. Robinder (Rob) P. Bedi (University of British Columbia)

Integrating South Asian (Indian) Traditional Healing Methods and Spirituality into Couples and Family Therapy
Dr. Tony Sam George (Christ University, Bangalore)

Chair: Dr. Anusha Kassan (University of Calgary)

4.00 - 4.30         Plenary & Conclusion

For PAPER presentations (May 5th parallel papers session 4.30pm); and POSTER presentations (May 6th 12.30pm), contact Huma Shireen. Email: huma.syeda@utoronto.ca