Consulting Projects
Addictions Workshops for Schools
I facilitate workshops, in schools, on the interconnected themes of technology, addictions, mental health, parenting, mentorship, and personal development.

I facilitate workshops, in schools, on the interconnected themes of technology, addictions, mental health, parenting, mentorship, and personal development. The challenges faced by parents, educators, and students are complex, difficult, and often experienced as a relentless and turbulent wave crashing across our social landscape. It's tough to know what to do, how to respond, how to find a useful path forward. Because of the depth and diversity of these challenges, the presentations increasingly involve three different workshops: one for parents, one for teachers, and one for students. The basic framework typically involves a full day of activity, with teacher and student sessions in the morning and afternoon followed by an evening workshop for parents and community members. This format works well for stimulating discussion and action for all three groups. Naturally, the themes for each group are similar, but my approach to each session is somewhat different. Here's how it normally looks:

Parent Presentations

This presentation explores the emerging cultures of technology and their impact on childhood development, family life, and education. Technology is now an essential feature of the landscape of childhood and adolescence. Gaming, social networking, texting, and other digital tools now provide the central means by which children and adolescents manage the challenges of their development. Issues such as anxiety, depression, isolation, anger, and addiction are increasingly finding niches in the online worlds. Parents, educators, counsellors, and all those who work with children must be able to respond to this groundswell of change with new skills and strategies. This presentation provides a summary of those skills and strategies along with a suite of simple, practical tools that can assist parents in navigating – and helping kids navigate – the complexities of the digital landscape.

Teacher Presentations

The landscape of education has changed more rapidly in the past decade than in the previous hundred years. Cultural, economic,technological and social changes challenge educators with increasingly complex issues, themes, and opportunities. In this new environment – where the only certainty is that things evolve rapidly – how do we preserve and nurture essential and foundational values such as mentorship, community, and leadership? How do we help kids deal with the ever-increasing risks they face from addictions, mental health challenges,bullying, and technology? How do we help guide them through this complex landscape?

In this workshop we will explore opportunities for responding to the needs of young learners in new ways. We will build the core skills of understanding and dealing with addictions (to technology and substances), developing useful and practical programs for kids to navigate the challenges of mental health,and helping families (and the school) to work together with purpose and clarity.

If we are to deal with the contemporary themes of addictions and mental health, we must join the conversation, engage with the turbulence, and be willing to evolve as circumstances evolve around us. This workshop explores how to do this.

Student Presentations

Addiction is the most common and the most misunderstood challenge we face. Most of us find addictions somewhere close by: in our families, in our peers, sometimes in ourselves. Addictions are everywhere. And yet, it’s tough to know what addiction really is: a habit, a means of coping, a way of just having fun? And at what point does having fun become something else: something darker and much more difficult? Despite the mysteries and complexities of addiction, we do know quite a bit about how it starts: in adolescence, typically, with a series of situations and events that tend to lead people toward addictive behavior. And we also know a great deal about how to stop addictions: through education, healthy relationships, mentorship, and meaningful experiences.

In this workshop we discuss the matter of addiction: what it is, how to understand it, how it is connected to mental health, and how to deal with it. We talk about different kinds of addictions: drugs and alcohol, technology addictions, addictions to risk and recklessness. We explore the skills and knowledge required to be safe and self-aware, and we explore new developments in addictions and mental health research. This is an open forum for discussion, debate, and learning.