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2016 Northwest Peer Support Conference Session Descriptions

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

1:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Peer Support Team Building 101
Nancy Bohl-Penrod
Peer support provides a way for employees and their family members to confidentially talk about personal and professional problems with specially trained co-workers who understand and want to help. This class is designed to raise awareness -- and emphasize the importance of providing a peer-support program for organizations. This class will describe the selection process and identify the benefits of having a peer-support program. In addition, participants will learn what is involved in being a peer supporter -- as well as recognize the importance of peer-support team wellness.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

7:30 a.m.
Registration Open

8:00 – 8:30 a.m.
Opening Ceremonies and Welcome

8:30 – 9:30 a.m.
Life and Career Changing On Duty Injury -- The Invaluable Role of Peer Support
Paul Meyer

9:30 – 9:45 a.m.
Break/Visit Silent Auction

9:45 – 11:15 a.m.
Break-Out Session #1
How the Support from Peers Helped Us
Paul and Mary Meyer
After suffering a career- and life-changing injury, peer support came at a time when Paul and Mary Meyer didn’t know they would need it so much -- at a time when the change in their lives was nothing that they could have ever imagined. In this session, the Meyers discuss the strategies and efforts that worked, what's still working, what didn’t work, and how that support is continuing to work today -- helping them to enjoy life to its fullest. Paul and Mary will also talk about the challenges they faced in the beginning, and how Peer Support helped mitigate some of those hurdles -- as well as the significant impact that continued and lasting support has had. This will be an interactive session to capitalize on the vast experiences that have worked and even the ones that haven’t, using those as an opportunity to improve and create the most effective response.

Break-out Session #2
Exposure to Traumatic Incidents
Nancy Bohl-Penrod
This class was designed to help protect public safety personnel who are, or who may be, exposed to potentially traumatic incidents. This class will go over the causes and consequences of vicarious traumatization and the impact of stress. Different kinds of stress will be discussed -- as well as the link stress shares with burnout and compassion fatigue. Participants will be provided with the tools necessary to build upon their own resiliency in order to combat the negative effects of these conditions, particularly when exposed to traumatic incidents.

11:15 – 11:30 a.m.
Break/Visit Silent Auction

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Emergency Responders Alcohol and Drug Recovery Panel
Facilitated by Deputy Karen Moss

12:30 – 1:30 p.m.

Creating Life Balance
Mike Vermace and Trey Doty
In this presentation, Vermace and Doty will discuss how to restore personal and professional life balance. They will demonstrate that life is more than a schedule and deeper than "what you do for a living" and "how you live your life."

1:30 – 2:45 p.m.
Understanding Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Self-destructive Behavior
Ronnie Hirsh, Ph.D., and Rachelle Katz, Ed.D.
In this workshop, Hirsh and Katz will help peer supporters understand the disease of alcoholism and substance abuse in general, and for emergency responders in particular. They will review some of the most recent research reflecting best practices in treatment of substance abuse and self-harm. Through the use of roleplay, the peer supporter will develop increased confidence in working with issues surrounding alcohol and substance abuse.
Session goals include:

  1. Helping peer supporters recognize alcohol/substance related problems.
  2. Understanding the link between stress, substance abuse and self-destructive behaviors.
  3. Increasing the ability of peer supporters to deal with alcoholic denial.
  4. Helping peer supporters understand 12-step programs.
  5. Helping peer supporters understand the process of detox and rehabilitation.
  6. Helping peer supporters apply their knowledge to facilitate referral to appropriate caregivers.

2:45 – 3:00 p.m.
Break/Visit Silent Auction

3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Understanding Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Self-destructive Behavior (Continued)
Ronnie Hirsh, Ph.D., and Rachelle Katz, Ed.D.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

8:00 – 8:30 a.m.

8:30 – 9:45 a.m.
Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
Dr. Robert E. Douglas, Jr.
Officer mental health is an issue of officer safety as we enter the 21st century of law enforcement in our country. According to a Justice Department study conducted in 2012 on police-related suicides nationwide, it found that for every one line-of-duty death, two police officers commit suicide. From body armor and seatbelt-use policies to self-defense, we can all list a variety of measures available to ensure our officers’ physical safety. But what are we doing to actively promote their mental emotional health? This training on mental health/suicide prevention will focus on three primary areas;
  1. Raising awareness regarding suicide and mental health issues in law enforcement and more toward a culture of support and understanding,
  2. Identifying and evaluating existing resources, best practices and training related to suicide prevention, intervention and response programs, and
  3. Creating a strategic plan to guide police chiefs in taking proactive measures to mitigate the risk of suicide and openly address officer mental health as a core element of officer safety.

9:45 – 10:00 a.m.
Break/Visit Silent Auction

10:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
A Career and Life Almost Lost
Dottie Davis, BS
In this session, Davis will walk attendees through the life of an officer living as a victim of domestic violence, the departments' responses, co-workers' attitudes, safety planning, and learning to move forward after the violence.

11:15 – 11:30 a.m.
Break/Visit Silent Auction

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Post-Deployment, Readjustment and Returning Soldiers
In this session, the VA will give an overview of what is PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) and TBI (traumatic brain injury), and familiarize you with the challenges veterans may face in adapting from military environment to an environment back home. They will also highlight strategies to consider with interacting with veterans.

12:30 – 1:15 p.m.

1:15 – 2:45 p.m.
Break-out Session #3
Understanding the Needs of the Victim, the Family and the Agency in OIDV Investigations
Dottie Davis, BS
OIDV investigations are very complicated. These cases are not the same as civilian domestic violence investigations. All involved must understand the dynamics of these cases, and the different needs of the victim, the family and the law enforcement agency. Documentation, liability, resources, and safety planning will be discussed. This session will be repeated from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.

Break-out Session #4
The Real Cause of Divorce and How to Protect Your Marriage
Bob Dorsey
Every human being is hard-wired to connect with another. We all long to feel loved, safe and have the sense that the other “has your back.” In fact, our brains actually demand it! When we don’t feel connected, each of us comes up with strategies to get our partner to respond to us. Typical methods include going quiet and withdrawing or pursuing and trying to fix the problem. These strategies are habitual but ineffective -- causing us to feel distant and misunderstood when really, we just want to feel accepted, close and secure. We feel confused and hopeless -- seeing the other as the source of our pain and, in the end, feeling robbed of the very thing we long for: a partner who is there for you no matter what which leads to loneliness and eventually for too many, divorce.
Research on adult love shows the power of a secure emotional bond is one of the best remedies for managing stress, anxiety, depression and traumatic events. We will focus on the common ways couples get into destructive cycles of pursue/withdraw -- and discover effective tools for creating a lasting bond that meets our fundamental need to feel connected.

Break-out Session #5
The Enemy Within
Dr. Robert E. Douglas, Jr.
In continuation of his plenary, Douglas will go in-depth into understanding why the first-responder demographic is different when it comes to suicide. These officers have placed their lives on the line for others many times and because of the daily stress of their profession and the effect it has on their personal life, they have reached a point where they feel like they can't go on. By their nature and because of their training, police and other emergency responders make instant decisions -- so in an instant, they chose "suicide" as a way out.

2:45 – 3:00 p.m.
Break/Silent Auction Ends

3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Break-out Session #6
Understanding the Needs of the Victim, the Family and the Agency in OIDV Investigations (Repeat)
Dottie Davis, BS

Break-out Session #7
The Real Cause of Divorce and How to Protect Your Marriage (Repeat)
Bob Dorsey

The Enemy Within (Continued)
Dr. Robert E. Douglas, Jr.

Friday, February 12, 2016

8:00 – 8:30 a.m.

8:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Mindfulness & Resiliency: Cultivating the Space to Heal & Thrive
Richard Goerling
Bringing both theoretical and experiential learning methods, this presentation looks at the potential for mindfulness training to transform public safety culture, lessen first responder suffering and provide a foundation for resiliency throughout the arch of the responder’s career. This will introduce training techniques found at the intersection of rich contemplative traditions and contemporary science. Mindfulness coaching will be presented as a tool to enhance tactical performance, improve operational leadership and cultivate space to help others heal and thrive. Specific tools to help peer support personnel hold their own space for resiliency will be discussed and practiced.

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NW PeerCon

Sheriff Craig Roberts

Northwest Peer Support Conference

Conference location:
Abundant Life Church
17241 SE Hemrick Rd.
Damascus, OR 97089

Conference contact:
Julie Collinson
Clackamas County Sheriff's Office
2223 Kaen Road
Oregon City, OR 97045