background & education

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.

Academic Background

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.

My degrees:
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 Qualified Mediator with 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 completed 2021, 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)
Peacemaking Circles Training with Tahnahga Yako, Kay Pranis, and Jennifer Ball
Effective Communication with Mark Weber

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

Deep Democracy Facilitation & Conflict Resolution
CoResolve 1: Introduction to Deep Democracy with Aslam Bulbulia and Sera Thompson (Lewis Deep Democracy is framework of group facilitation tools based on Jungian Process Work as well as other modalities. Deep Democracy is often used to explore polarities or conflicts within groups)
Lewis Deep Democracy Level 2 with Sera Thompson
Lewis Deep Democracy Level 3 with Sera Thompson and Camille Dumond
Waterline Guide Training with Sera Thompson and Camille Dumond (in progress, Waterline Guide training is a deep dive into using the process work-based tools of Deep Democracy to do one-on-one process coaching)

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 Adjunct Faculty.

Transformational Embodiment Coach Certification with Natalie MacNeil and Lorraine Hamilton, Coaching Evolved – a comprehensive, International Coach-Federation accredited life coach training program with additional certifications in Breathwork, NLP, and Emotional Freedom Technique. Upon completion of this program, I become a Certified Professional Life Coach.

Somatic Sex Education Certificate – I completed a 2 year certification program in Somatic Sex Education with the Institute for the Study of Somatic Sex Education. This comprehensive program comprised 5 core courses, 4 electives, and a supervised practicum. I also co-teach the SSE program as Adjunct Faculty at the Institute.

Other Trainings:
Intimacy Educator Training with Caffyn Jesse
Like a Pro Wheel of Consent Training with Betty Martin
Numa Somatics and Numa Breathwork 500 hour training with Trevor Yelich (in progress, the program has been discontinued)
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)


Trancework or hypnotherapy is a mind-body approach in which the practitioner guides the client into a relaxed yet concentrated state of consciousness where deeper creativity, insight, and awareness can be accessed. Hypnotherapy is a powerful pathway to stronger connection with the self. Contrary to popular media portrayals, hypnosis cannot be used for “mind control” or to force someone to do something they do not want. Rather, entering the state of hypnosis and engaging in hynotherapeutic change depends upon the willingness of the client.

Hypnotherapy Certification with The Horizon Center School of Hypnotherapy, year-long 160 hour course in basic and advanced hypnotherapy techniques to address a wide range of emotional and behavioral goals including live instruction and supervised practicum. Taught by Linda Campbell and completed in 2022

Clinical Hypnotherapy Certification with the Association of Registered Clinical Hypnotherapists (ARCH), in progress, a year-long program comprising a total of 1000 hours of instruction and practicum

Body Poem Certification, Sea School of Embodiment with Katie Sarra (the developer of Body Poem) and Julian Marcus. Body Poem is an elegant somatic modality that blends Focusing, Dream Form from Playback Theatre, and Clean Language to explore the felt sense of the body in a natural trance state

Applied Theatre

Applied Theatre is the use of techniques drawn from the theatrical creation process and theatre performance for the purposes of individual and social development. There are many forms of applied theatre, many of which can be used as drama therapy, social change theatre, or both. Famous forms of applied theatre include Psychodrama, Playback Theatre, and Theatre of the Oppressed. My very first facilitation techniques training was a a Theatre of the Oppressed workshop I attended at the age of 17, and theatre remains close to my heart as a method of social change.

Psychodramatic Bodywork Level One with Susan Aaron – Psychodramatic Bodywork combines the perspective of somatics and cathartic release with Jacob Moreno’s psychodrama and sociodrama. I attended the Level One training with innovator Susan Aaron in Toronto in 2023.

Theatre for Living Level One with David Diamond – Theatre for Living is a social development process that has been developed by trainer and practitioner David Diamond from Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed. Theatre for Living draws from the same vast methodology of Theatre of the Oppressed, including group-building games, Image Theatre, Forum Theatre, and other techniques; however, Theatre for Living invites us to explore the perspective of “the oppressor” as well as “the oppressed” in order to break down binaries and pursue deeper understanding. I attended this training in Summer 2023


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

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