Shifting Directions & Paradigms: Psychology in Action as a Decolonizing and Empowering Force

A Pre-convention workshop/mini-conference at the 2019 Canadian Psychological Association’s Annual Convention in Halifax, Nova Scotia

May 30, 2019 - Full Day

Continuing Education Credits: 6

Target Audience: Graduate students, practitioners, researchers, clinicians, teachers/professors, and inter-sectional CPA members.

We are preparing an innovative way to learn, think, and feel about our work by curating a unique format that awakens our potential to transform ourselves, our work, and our world. This day-long pre-conference workshop invites artistic and scholarly work to inspire us to know and think differently about psychology. Together we will explore how we can transform psychology into a deeply responsive anti-colonizing force. We will problematize psychology's colonial white supremacist processes for normalizing western versions of humanity; entrenching racist, sexist, elitist practices as core epistemology which are then reified in research, therapy and the classroom. Research, classrooms, and therapy can become powerful media to challenge a psychological status quo of colonized knowledge - resisting rather than upholding the erasure of experiences of Black and Indigenous peoples, and People of Colour (BIPOC) and LGBTQ2S+ people. Creating transformative and empowering conditions in every realm of practice and being is essential for de-colonizing psychology. Rather than looking at the 'margins' in an attempt to shift the focus we examine how the center cannot hold and perhaps was never there except in the stories we used to create a discipline in the first place. In this workshop we will collaboratively and creatively explore how to humbly commit to listening for directions from our communities, to honour their perspectives of truth, and to be able to hear what matters to them. Through relationships with our communities, we can de-colonize our research, training, and therapeutic processes.  Four CPA sections are curating the workshop and mini-conference: Indigenous Peoples’ Psychology, Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Issues Section, Counselling Psychology, Section for Women and Psychology


Registration for the 1 day pre-conference includes lunch and 6 CE credits. To register, click the button below. If you also plan to attend the full CPA Convention you can receive a 10% discount on the Convention registration when you also register for a workshop. The 10% rebate will be provided after the convention. Participants who are NOT attending CPA are still more than welcome.

The pre-conference workshop registration fee is $225 for students and $300 for non-student members. Non-members can find the appropriate registration rates at the link below.


Advancing Diversity and Decolonization in Psychology: A Conversation Among Sections.
Moderated by Dr. Colleen MacQuarrie, Chair - Section on Women in Psychology

Dr. Jeffrey Ansloos, Chair, Indigenous Peoples’ Psychology
Dr. Karen L. Blair, Chair, Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity
Dr. Anusha Kassan, Chair, Counselling Psychology
Dr. Sobia Ali-Faisal, Section on Women and Psychology


Keynote Address: Dr. Sharalyn Jordan
Assistant Professor, Equity Studies, Faculty of Education - Simon Fraser University

Dr. Jordan is a scholar-practitioner and educator in Counselling Psychology who focuses on mental health and social justice. Dr. Jordan’s research focuses on the implications of homophobic and transphobic stigma, trauma and intersectional oppression and, in particular, she has examined these topics within the framework of LGBTQ refugee protection, settlement and mental health.

Research Talks

Jann Tomaro
Network Model of Care for Sexual and Gender Diverse Clients

Heather MacArthur
The Effect of Misgendering on Body Dissatisfaction and Disordered Eating in Transgender Individuals

Anita Shaw
Decolonizing Psychology: The role of epistemic modesty in university classrooms

Bidushy Sadika
Intersectional Microaggressions and Social Support of LGBTQ Persons of Colour: A Systematic Review of the Canadian-Based Empirical Literature

Jann Tomaro
Experiences of Canadian Student Sex Workers


Practicing Strategies: Interactive Forum Theatre

Through collaborative and interactive processes we use Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed (1985) forum theatre to provide an opportunity to make concrete connections between individual difficulties and larger, social forces that create oppressive experiences. Participants will acquire dialogical tools to challenge oppressions on personal, interpersonal, and systemic levels. In this dynamic session we will work together to animate issues and to create potential solution scenarios.  Using a dialogical process of action, rehearsal, and reflection which parallels liberation psychology’s concept of the conscientization cycle, we animate, formulate, and practice actions to address situations of oppression. Workshop participants are invited to develop an awareness of the problem, determine and practice actions to be taken to address the problem, and reflect on the possible outcome of the actions.

Organizing Committee
Karen L. Blair - Chair, Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Issues Section
Colleen MacQuarrie - Past Chair, Section on Women and Psychology
Jessica McCutcheon - Section on Women and Psychology
Anusha Kassan - Chair, Counselling Psychology Section
Jeffrey Ansloos - Chair, Indigenous Peoples’ Psychology Section
Sobia Ali-Faisal - Section on Women and Psychology
Janelle Kwee - Chair, Section on Women and Psychology
Rhea Ashley Hoskin - Secretary, Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Section