Manitoba School Counsellors’ Association 

Working with Children and Youth with Complex Needs: Skills to Build Resilience – Dr.Michael Ungar, Ph.D.

Victoria Inn Hotel & Convention Center – 1808 Wellington Avenue


8:30am – Registration

9-3:30 – Keynote presentation

12-1 – Lunch


Michael Ungar, Ph.D.

Michael Ungar, Ph.D.
Canada Research Chair in Child, Family and Community Resilience
Director, Resilience Research Centre
Network Director, Children and Youth in Challenging Contexts Network (A Networks of Centres of Excellence)
AAMFT Clinical Supervisor           
Registered Social Worker

Dr. Michael Ungar is the Canada Research Chair in Child, Family and Community Resilience at Dalhousie University, and among the best known writers and researchers on the topic of resilience in the world. As both a family therapist and professor of Social Work, he has helped to identify the most important factors that influence the resilience of children and adults during periods of transition and stress. He is the author of 14 books that have been translated into five languages, numerous manuals for parents, educators, and employers, as well as more than 150 scientific papers. Dr. Ungar’s immense influence comes from his ability to adapt ideas from his research and clinical practice into best-selling works like Working with Children and Youth with Complex Needs, Too Safe For Their Own Good: How Risk and Responsibility Help Teens Thrive and I Still Love You: Nine Things Troubled Kids Need from their Parents. His blog Nurturing Resilience appears on Psychology Today’s website.

Dr. Ungar is also the founder and Director of the Resilience Research Centre where he coordinates millions of dollars in research in more than a dozen countries. Dr. Ungar regularly provides consultation and training to organizations like the World Bank, UNESCO, and the Red Cross. He is the former Chair of the Nova Scotia Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, executive board member of the American Family Therapy Academy, and a family therapist who works with mental health services for individuals and families at risk. In 2012 Dr. Ungar was the recipient of the Canadian Association of Social Workers National Distinguished Service Award for his outstanding contribution to clinical work with families and communities.

To view a sample of Dr. Ungar’s work, please go to his website

Working with Children and Youth with Complex Needs: Skills to Build Resilience

How do we make children more resilient when they are angry, self-harming, anxious, abusive or delinquent? In this story-filled workshop, Dr. Michael Ungar provides evidence-informed strategies educators and mental health professionals need to help young people of all ages heal, no matter a child’s emotional, psychological or behavioral problems. Based on his clinical practice and research around the world, Dr. Ungar will share what families and professionals have taught him about the building blocks for resilience. With ample case studies and fascinating explanations of research, Dr. Ungar will show why we need to work just as hard changing the environments that surround children as we do changing children themselves. Workshop participants will learn how to facilitate the process of children’s navigations and negotiations for the resources they need to do well in contexts of adversity. These resources include structure and consequences, relationships with adults and peers, a sense of personal self-control, agency and power, experiences of social justice and fair treatment, belonging and purpose, spirituality, and cultural rootedness. While resilience has tended to be understood as isolated factors that produce individual change, Dr. Ungar will focus instead on the complex interactions between factors that make resilience more likely.

Specifically, the learning objectives for this workshop are:

1. To understand how children with complex needs use “problem” behaviours to enhance their resilience and wellbeing when more socially acceptable solutions are not available;
2. To become familiar with skills associated with a social ecological approach to individual and family intervention informed by research on resilience;
3. To discuss the Child and Youth Resilience Measure, an assessment tool that can help caregivers and professionals explore the hidden resilience of children and youth;
4. To learn about nine aspects of resilience necessary for positive development;
5. To develop strategies for working without resistance with hard-to-reach, culturally diverse children, adolescents, and their families;
6. To discuss ways services can be structured for children, youth and families that make resilience more likely to occur.


Register online here: