Tom Walker, MSW, RSW
Tom has over twenty-five years of experience in the field of mental health and addictions within the social service sector and in private practice. His background includes working in front line, management and senior leadership roles. In addition to training with CTRI, Tom is a Human Factors Specialist with Ornge where he provides trauma support and therapeutic interventions for paramedics and staff. His responsibilities with Ornge also include therapeutic interventions, debriefing staff and the development and implementation of a peer support program. Tom believes that real change happens through relationship, authenticity and empowerment. He is a gifted facilitator who integrates real world experiences into practical examples in the workshops he facilitates.
Michelle Gibson, MSW, PhD (Candidate), RSW
Michelle is a PhD Candidate of Social Work and holds a Masters of Social Work degree. She is an experienced practitioner who has practiced in the area of inpatient and outpatient mental health, forensic social work and psycho-social rehabilitation following a motor vehicle accident. Michelle has a private practice where she focuses on mental health and trauma therapy with individuals, and also provides assessments for the provincial children’s lawyer. She believes in the inherent abilities of individuals and communities to heal themselves, and that this healing can be assisted by an empathetic approach and an emphasis on the mind-body connection. When Michelle is not at her practice or facilitating for CTRI, she is an instructor at Western University in family studies and social work. As a facilitator, she is a warm and engaging presenter who uses are examples and strategies that participants can bring directly into their practice.
Jim Cullen, PhD, RSW
Jim has a PhD in Social Work and is a registered social worker in private practice. He has worked in various addiction, mental health and justice organizations throughout Canada in both clinical and management capacities. Most recently Jim was the Clinic Head and Manager for Rainbow Services and the Concurrent Disorder Service at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. He consults and trains frequently for governments and organizations concerning the addiction and mental health system. Jim works from a trauma and attachment informed, harm-reduction model of practice. He is an intuitive trainer, who in addition to providing informative presentations, brings a sense of humor to his trainings.
Julie Zikman Toporoski, MSW, RSW
Julie is a Toronto-based registered social worker with over 20 years of experience providing individual, couple, family and group therapy. Julie holds a Bachelor and Master degree in Social Work and is a Registered Social Worker. Julie’s diverse work experience includes the Sexual Behaviours, Anger Management and Adolescent Forensic clinics at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Julie has a private practice in which she provides individual, couple and family treatment for adults and adolescents struggling with anxiety, school and/or workplace stress, substance abuse, anger management, parenting and relationship conflicts. She believes that every client and client group can achieve their goals within a therapeutic relationship in which rapport and trust are established through authenticity and empathy. Julie is an enthusiastic and dynamic presenter who strives to illustrate concepts with case examples and infuses her presentations with humour where appropriate.
Michelle Bentley, MA, RP, RMFT
Michelle is a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist with a Master’s degree in Counselling and Spirituality and a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Special Education. She draws on her educational background, 15 years of group facilitation, and agency and private practice experience to add a personalized touch to her workshops. Michelle maintains a private practice with individuals, families and children and specializes in mental health, trauma, eating disorders and coping with family changes. She believes that helpers are more effective when they have a non-judgmental perspective and compassionate curiosity for both themselves and their clients. As a facilitator, Michelle brings her knowledge of learning principles to provide an interactive, engaging and participant-centred experience, incorporating practical information attendees can immediately apply to both their personal and professional lives.
Larisa Levalds, MA, RP
Larisa holds her Masters degree in Counselling Psychology and is one of few CACPT Certified Play Therapists in the Greater Toronto Area. She has close to 15 years experience working with children, individuals and families in a therapeutic capacity. In addition to training with CTRI, Larisa has a private practice where she specializes in childhood attachment, trauma and a wide range of behavioural and emotional dysregulation issues. She believes in the natural resiliency of individuals to overcome their stress if they are given the appropriate support and environment in which to do so. As a facilitator, Larisa brings a dynamic, interactive and playful component to her workshops.
Amber McKenzie, M.Sc., C.Psych.
Amber is a Psychologist who has a Master’s degree in Marital and Family Therapy. In clinical practice, she provides treatment to children, adolescents and adults experiencing mental illness or other psychological difficulties (e.g., anxiety, depression, and trauma). In addition, Amber does a great deal of work with couples and families. She has a history in working with adolescent addiction, adolescent homelessness, family addiction problems and parenting capacity. Amber believes in the inherent strengths in her clients and their ability to be an integral part of the healing process. She has seen individuals, couples, families and communities generate insight, find motivation and reconstruct the mind set, coping strategies and ultimately the reality in which they live. As a trainer, Amber draws on her experience and passion for the topics to provide engaging stories that demonstrate concepts and ask thought provoking question to facilitate new learning. She strives to present material in a dynamic way that helps participants sustain attention and remain motivated to learn.
Judah Oudshoorn, MA
Judah is a professor, author and mediator, teaching in the areas of conflict resolution and criminal justice. He holds a Master's degree in Conflict Transformation and is a PhD student in Social Work. Judah has many years of experience supporting victims of serious crime and working with men who have used violence towards partners and children. He believes that violence has a ripple effect, yet kindness makes waves. He has found that appropriate support of people harmed can foster healing, and that appropriate accountability of people who have caused harm can bring about change. Judah is a popular presenter of our Restorative Justice workshops. As a trainer, he is an engaging presenter, who fluidly interacts with learners and fosters critical thinking.
Shawn McLaren, MEd
Shawn holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education and a Master’s degree in Adult Education with a specialization in Corporate Development and Knowledge Management. He has over 20 years of experience in corporate training including facilitation, curriculum development and leading a national training team. Shawn spent 17 years in the banking industry where he was responsible for training related to compliance, sales and leadership development. Currently, in addition to training with CTRI, he is the Director of Operations for St. John Ambulance – Federal District Council. Shawn is a popular presenter of our De-escalating Potentially Violence Situations™ workshop and believes it is vital for individuals and organizations to increase their violence-prevention capabilities. He is an energetic and engaging facilitator who ensures that his participants can apply the content being delivered to their own unique environments.
Hendrike Isert Bender, MSW, RSW
Hendrike is a Registered Social Worker who holds a Master of Social Work degree. She has worked for a community counselling agency for close to 15 years, where she has worked with adolescents and adults addressing mental health, addiction, self-injury and disordered eating with both individuals and groups. Hendrike believes that every person is worthy of love and belonging and that change and transformation are possible in an environment which facilitates vulnerability and authenticity. Her strong clinical background combined with her engaging presentation style creates an informative and challenging learning environment.
Matt Schaaf, B.Ed
Matt is a conflict resolution practitioner and educator. His violence prevention and intervention work has taken him from inner city Winnipeg, Colombia and northern Indigenous communities. In addition to consulting and training with CTRI, he works in the field of human rights and gender-based violence in the post-secondary and non-profit sectors. Matt facilitates CTRI workshops related to restorative justice, bullying and violence-prevention. As a trainer, he combines insightful analysis with a warm sense of humour and a deep appreciation for the experiential knowledge of that participants bring to a workshop.
Patrick has worked in the field of residential group homes and treatment foster care for over 20 years. His educational background is in Psychology and his workplace experiences have helped him develop keen insights into the complexities that surround the potential for violence in the workplace. Patrick believes it is vital for individuals and organizations to increase their violence-prevention capabilities. As a trainer, his use of humour and genuine enthusiasm for teaching creates an excellent learning environment for participants. Patrick is a popular presenter of our De-escalating Potentially Violence Situations™ and Lateral Violence workshops.