School-Focused Mental Health Conference with Dr. Robert Brooks


Conference - School-Focused Mental Health Conference with Dr. Robert Brooks

From 8:30 am until 4:00 pm

At Best Western Premier Calgary Plaza Hotel & Conference Centre

1316 33 St NE, Calgary, AB T2A 6B6

Jack Hirose and Associates / Phone: 604.924.0296


Dear Colleague,

I was delighted to be asked by Jack to speak on all three days at his “School-Focused Mental Health Conference” being held in Calgary on May 11-13, 2020.  I have always enjoyed presenting at conferences sponsored by Jack.  They are well-organized and I have found the audiences of teachers, school administrators, clinicians, and other professionals to be very welcoming and responsive to the strength-based approach I advocate.

I thought it would be helpful to highlight what I plan to cover during the conference.  I will give a different keynote on each of the three days and repeat the afternoon workshop on each day so that participants will have an opportunity to attend other workshops as well as mine.  My keynote on the first day is titled “Can You Take Care of Students if You Don’t Take Care of Yourself?”  I developed this keynote in response to many teachers, school administrators, and other professionals who described the stress and burnout they experience in their work.  It’s not unusual for professionals in the fields of education, mental health, and health-care to face feelings of stress and even disillusionment.  My goal in this keynote is to outline a framework and realistic strategies for nurturing our own emotional and physical well-being so that we more effective in working with students and can help them to be more engaged and resilient.

My keynote on the second morning, “Raising Resilient Children and Teens in a Stress-Filled World” goes beyond the educational and clinical arenas to address what parents and other caregivers can do in the lives of children to help them to become more self-disciplined, caring, hopeful, and resilient.  I will also describe the importance of (a) accepting our children for who they are and not what we want them to be, (b) appreciating. the unique temperament of each child from birth, (c) being empathic to better understand children, and (d) identifying and reinforcing their strengths or “islands of competence.”

The topic I have chosen for my keynote on the third day, “Developing a Positive Emotional Culture in Our Schools and Workplaces,” has become an area of increasing interest to me, especially in my consultations involving different work environments.  Researchers are studying the significant impact of an organization’s emotional culture (e.g., fear, anger, joy, caring) on those who work within that culture and the individuals they serve (e.g., students, clients, patients).  I will describe the characteristics of a positive emotional culture in which all staff and students/clients feel encouraged, supported, and respected.  While administrators play a large role in creating and maintaining such a culture, I will also emphasize the responsibility that each member of a school/organization has in promoting a positive culture.  Within such a culture staff will be better equipped to reinforce learning, caring, intrinsic motivation, and resilience in students/clients.

My afternoon workshop, “The Power of Positive Emotions: Nurturing Motivation and Resilience in Children and Teens,” will examine several mindset theories, emphasizing those that go beyond “achievement” outcomes and incorporate social-emotional and relationship variables.  I will describe the mindset of adults who are effective in touching both the hearts and minds of children and adolescents.  I will review research that indicates an essential goal when educating and working with youngsters Is to create positive emotions in that particular setting since such emotions serve as the underpinning for brain development, learning, problem-solving, motivation, and resilience.  I will outline a strength-based approach in which each youngster’s strengths or “islands of competence” are identified and reinforced and I will delineate specific strategies for nurturing motivation and resilience in our youth, including those who have experienced trauma.

In conferences such as those sponsored by Jack my wish is for participants to learn new perspectives and practical strategies from my presentations that they can immediately apply in both their personal and professional lives.  In turn, I always find it enriching to learn from the questions and comments of those in attendance.  I hope to meet and interact with you at the conference in Calgary in May.


Robert Brooks, Ph.D.

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