When we come to work with any practitioner of healing or change work, we want to know that we will be held in trust-worthiness. A part of that is having a clear sense of the practitioner’s training, experience, and lineages. That said, I stand strongly against the colonial notion of credentialism – the idea that there is only one “respectable” way to learn and gather knowledge, or that state-sanctioned professionals are the only “real” healers.
Having been trained in both university and less formal settings of every shade, I can confidently state I have learned far more of value from dedicated teachers working outside of the institution than within it. Any practitioner’s skill can be measured more by their life experience than the pieces of paper they’ve accrued. At the same time, in a world where most people’s traditions of mentorship and apprenticeship have been disrupted, you may find it important to review some of my education history below.
I also want to foreground that I benefit from a significant amount of institutional access and privilege that has allowed me to engage in a lifelong pursuit of education.
A note on my academic training – I spent over seven years training in social work and clinical mental health at McGill University, and practiced for almost four years as a clinical social worker in the public sector with a focus on trauma, sexuality and gender, and family systems. Though these experiences do of course inform my coaching and consulting work, particularly in regards to the neuroscience of trauma and my interpersonal skills, it is important to note that I do not provide social work services or psychotherapy treatment as a part of my coaching, consulting or conflict resolution services. I don’t use the title “social worker” because I’m not currently registered with a social work College or licensing board.
Bachelor of Social Work, McGill University
Master of Social Work, McGill University
Master of Science in Couple & Family Therapy, McGill University
Conflict Management & Resolution
I am registered under my legal name, Briar Rose Thom, as a Full Member of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario (ADRIO) and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Canada (ADRIC). I combine my somatic and psychological skills with my conflict resolution training to form a uniquely relational model of service. I’m currently developing my own theory and practical methodology called Loving Justice.
Conflict Management Certificate, University of Waterloo (in progress), completed courses include:
Understanding Conflict Foundations with Betty Pries
Understanding Conflict Advanced with Betty Pries
Conflict Coaching with Betty Pries
Dispute Resolution 1: Fundamentals with Agree Inc
Dispute Resolution 2: Mediation with Agree Inc (the completion of Dispute Resolution 1 & 2 qualify me as a practicing mediator)
Organizational Conflict Approaches with Agree Inc
Transformative Mediation Certificate with Community Justice Initiatives
Facilitated Dialogues Certificate with Community Justice Initiatives (this certificate training focused on facilitating dialogue between people who have experienced sexual harm and those who have caused or been complicit in sexual harm)
Mindfulness Conflict Resolution Courses:
Mindfulness for Reconciliation and Conflict Management, University of Toronto (this training was a foundational course in Thich Nat Hanh’s Beginning Anew practice, as well as related Applied Mindfulness practices)
Peacemaking Circle Keeper Training with Pamela Taylor, PhD and Stephanie Santos, PhD, The Circle Works
Level 1: Basics of Peacemaking Circles Training
Level 2: Fundamentals of Peacemaking Circle Facilitator Training
Embodiment & Somatics
Somatics and embodiment, the practice of engaging in a conscious relationship with the innate wisdom of the body, forms the basis of my practice and my lens on interpersonal work. I see the alignment of internal values with external action and experience as a key aspect of embodiment work. As a somatic practitioner, I have specific training in coaching, working with the breath, and sexuality and consensual touch. My biggest influences in somatics come from my work with the Institute for the Study of Somatic Sex Education, at which I currently serve as the BIPOC Faculty Liaison.
Transformational Embodiment Coach Certification with Natalie MacNeil (in progress)
Somatic Sex Education Core Courses 1-3
Numa Somatics and Numa Breathwork 500 hour training with Trevor Yelich (in progress)
Breathwork Healer 100 hour Training with Pranayama Sadhana
Buteyko Breathing Practitioner Certificate with Buteyko Clinic International (in progress)
YogaBody Breath Coach Certificate with Lucas Rockwood
Movement for Trauma Levels 1 & 2 with Jane Clapp (I’ve also co-taught some of this course with Jane)
Somatic Movement & Restorative Yoga 40 hour training with Kim McBean
Yoga Nidra 40 hour training with Taryn Diamond
100 hour Meditation Teacher Training with Hoame Studio
200 hour Meditation Teacher Training with Yoga & Meditation Centre Calgary
Somatic Experiencing Beginner 1 & 2 with Linda Stelte (I hope to finish my SE training someday, but I’m not actively pursuing it right now)
My experience with hands-on bodywork is another aspect of my work that distinguishes it from talk-based approaches and clinical mental health. Though bodywork with me is currently not possible due to pandemic safety considerations, it remains a core part of my perspective when practicing somatics.
Thai Massage Practitioner Certification with Thai Massage Toronto (100 hour certification plus several additional levels)
Sexological Bodywork techniques as a part of Somatic Sex Education training
Myofascial Release and Massage Techniques with Ailsa Keppie, SSE
Lomi Lomi Level 1 with Lotus Palm Montreal