Help your team work purposefully and professionally with a diverse range of clients

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On the water in the Broughton Archipelago, developing mental health activities with the team at Farewell Harbour Lodge. Photo credit Tim McGrady.

I provide clinical consulting and clinical supervision for a wide range of organizations working in mental health, addictions, and trauma. I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor and the Clinical Supervisor for BCs largest licensed program focused on psychological trauma, addictions, homelessness, and related challenges. I was the keynote speaker at the 2019 AGM of the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors. I have worked with hundreds of organizations and thousands of clients over more than 30 years of professional practice.

I focus particularly on the interconnectedness of childhood trauma, youth vulnerability, and adult mental illness and addictions. The common thread in much of my work is trauma, an area of practice in which I have done extensive research and practice. I was the only speaker from western Canada invited to present at Health Canadas Inaugural Federal Conference on PTSD, in 2019.

Additionally I provide consulting in educational innovation and development at many of BCs educational institutions — public and private, secondary and post-secondary — and I am a well-known speaker at events focused on student development and well-being. I am the recipient of the 2019 Distinguished Georgian Award, from St. Georges School, for my long-term contribution to, and advocacy for, mental health and wellness for youth in British Columbia. I am also winner of the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors Communications Award for my work in mental health education for the general public.

As a clinician, I have worked extensively with vulnerable populations: Indigenous groups (many in BC, including Canadas largest First Nations community), homeless communities, refugees, vulnerable youth, gang-entrenched youth, international students and families, survivors of terrorism and war, and many others. I am a core member of BCs new First Responder mental health training program, co-developer of a new psychotherapeutic model for working with trauma and loss, and founder of the IDEA program at KPU, which was designed to address the mental health and well-being needs of post-secondary students (and for which I won the KPU Dean of Arts award for Excellence in Teaching).

I am the author or co-author of five books focused on mental health and a finalist for the Governor Generals Award (Canada's highest literary award) for my book on cultivating wellness through creativity. My most recent writing on mental health promotion and facilitation in the post-secondary environment will be published in 2020.

Testimonials

Ross has made such a positive impact on my life and on those of my peers. He has helped us realize that we are able of creating and walking our own paths. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

Abbey Ratcliff, former student

At the risk of being overly-dramatic, what I experienced was something near an epiphany. I learned that I enjoy not only the process of creating something that is my own but the finished product as well. These feelings are the beginnings of pride, which I don't feel I have truly had with my work for many years. I can truly say that I have delved deeper into myself, learning about what and who I really am. It is this that I find truly valuable.

Workshop Participant

I have gained so much. A simple little project turned into something wonderful. I built new relationships that I didn't know existed.

Workshop Participant

The amount of personal growth I have experienced in these classes has been extremely positive and I cannot express my gratitude enough. If it was not for these classes and the projects and assignments that we had to do I would not have been able to reconnect with the creative part of myself that I have somehow managed to lose track of over the last many years.

Former Student

I honestly feel that learning happens when there is a lighter atmosphere with a sense of freedom. This has been a wonderful experience and I am glad I had the chance to do this. I realized a lot about myself and changed my way of thinking. I will take many aspects of this experience with me in my future endeavours.

Workshop Participant

This without a doubt the most enlightening class that I have ever taken. Never before have I seen a class that facilitates you diving into yourself to discover and understand your own creative process in a way that relates to you. It's truly been an incredible experience that I will never forget.

Former Student

This course moved me to my core.

Former Student

Thank you for a wonderful semester. I have fundamentally renewed how I operate. I’ve sought to add and welcome creativity to my life… The culmination of applying these tools and projects is that I am happier and more efficient, and have maintained my motivation to keep moving through it all. Also, being in the circle re-conceptualized my ideas of instruction and the classroom. I plan on becoming a teacher, and reflecting on this semester, my consciousness is now awakened to the way that traditional education and its content is formatted, constrained and determined through the physical arrangement of a classroom. Further, my eyes are now incredibly open to how children interact with their traumas. I will carry these lessons forward.

Former Student

Thank you so much for such an inspiring, motivating and fabulous year of self-discovery. I will never forget your class; it will always have a place in my heart. I have learned so much about myself and your class has taught me skills that no other class could have taught me. You are simply an amazing instructor and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving students a place for self-expression.

Former Student

I just wanted to thank you for helping me discover who I am and allowing me to feel comfortable enough to share my thoughts and feelings in class. I have taken three of your classes now and I have to say that these classes have changed the way I view myself and the world and have helped me gain a greater appreciation about life. Please continue to do what you are doing: helping students become better people!

Former Student

Your presence and wisdom are guiding principles that have shaped my life over the last two years. I have never been happier and stress-free. I feel like I have a good sense of who I am as a person cause I have learned so many skills that can help ease stress in life. I seriously could not have learnt that without your classes. You are an inspiration.

Former Student

I discovered my calling, after years of desperate seeking. In this unexpected elective, I found what I was meant to do. It’s worth more than any letter on a transcript, truly. Your classes have changed me and my life and my path.

Former Student

I have found a whole new understanding of who I am and who I want to be.

Workshop Participant

This was a life-changing experience for me. I felt like I was working on my development as a person and not just focusing on hard skills… I would recommend this field school to anyone looking to experience something life-changing and with much personal growth.

Field School Participant

For me, it was an extremely rich experience… I gained creative inspiration that will direct me on multiple levels of my life. I came back with a new drive and broadened perspectives. I came back with a new layer of skin and soul that share the same storytelling nature as the layered trees.

Field School Participant

The field school has reminded me how much I enjoy learning. I have always found that I have had problems connecting to the material in a traditional classroom setting. I have difficulty focusing during lectures, as I know that my style of learning is a kinesthetic one. The student-directed approach to learning is one that really appeals to me as well; I am much more willing to put effort into a project that I devised, or devised within a group, than I am with an assignment that is imposed upon me, or that I do not understand. I feel as though my input is welcomed, and the learning environment is one that is receptive, friendly, and encourages personal growth and development. I love that every student gets a chance to speak… The skills I have developed are skills that I will keep with me, and continue to use, for the rest of my life.

Field School Participant

I tackled my fears while I was there and it has given me a new sense of courage now… I felt that I pushed myself to be brave and not worry about the outcome as much and I always ended up realizing that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I surprised myself with how I reacted emotionally to the situations I was put in. Even though overall I had anxieties there was something internal pushing me to be brave. It was a feeling that I had never experienced before.

Field School Participant

I was much more open than I am used to being. It was not just about facing fear, it was about trusting others. Something I feel I had lost. Now, I want to only associate myself with things I believe in and things I am proud of. I want to see the world… Life is a journey, and I think that mine is finally taking off. I want to have more of these experiences; they are priceless lessons; an entirely different type of education.

Field School Participant

I now know a calm peace within myself like I have never known before. Spending two weeks walking side by side with the group, every day has been the catalyst for this. I realize now that I cannot move forward alone, I must engage and be part of the greater whole in order to realize any true and lasting meaning… We are all connected. I can now feel the connection after living it – it was not there before.

Field School Participant

Ross has stretched and supported me far more than anyone else has in growing into my potential, and I know he has done the same for others. He gave us the opportunity to be, and to see each other, as fully human. What more could we ask for?

Tierney Wisniewski, Research Associate

Ross is one of the most genuinely creative individuals I have had the pleasure of knowing. I would recommend Ross to any organization that wants an exceptional and memorable experience.

Jamie Billingham, BC Nonprofit Housing Association

Ross imparts his wisdom with such ease and playful enthusiasm one is often surprised at just how much skill and knowledge is acquired.

Margo O’Hara, Hope Bridge Services

Ross was a catalyst in my development to reconnect with my passion for leadership. Through his example of consistency, compassion, and intelligence, I felt empowered to take control of my education. I feel inspired by his integrity and his intense love of education, cultural understanding, and knowledge.

Amanda Smith-Weston, former student

Based on conversations I’ve had with many students over the years, I know that I’m not alone in believing that Ross Laird has been one of the most influential people in my life.

Field School Participant

Ross is simultaneously brilliant and humble; forceful and gentle; present and silent. He is a front line educator who is on fire and who has that rare talent for igniting the minds and hearts of every learner and colleague he encounters.

Farhad Dastur, Psychologist

In his classrooms I have observed students, including myself, come out of their shells, contribute with purpose and meaning to class discussion and activities, and have transformative learning experiences.

Lee Beavington, interdisciplinary educator

Ross Laird teaches like no other. He leads by example and is always ready to share his knowledge and wisdom. The enthusiasm that is found in and outside of the classroom with his students is phenomenal.

Field School Participant

Ross’ experiences have given him an abundance of empathy and universal wisdom. His enthusiasm for learning is palpable and invigorating.

Field School Participant

Ross’ teaching has inspired me to do more than I thought possible, to view challenges as opportunities for growth and exploration, and it has utterly changed how I view education.

Former Student

Ross’ welcoming and caring nature helps to foster an environment whereby learners can engage with one another on a more intimate and understanding level. Ross encourages us to push boundaries, to play, to explore, to create, and to reflect.

Braeden Saucy, media artist

I have never had an educator influence me more. I have learned more in my time with Ross than in the rest of my education combined. I am a better student, wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend because of my opportunity to learn from Ross.

Former Student