Happy New Year!


Everyone at PSR/RPS Canada is wishing you the very best for 2019!

We have some amazing things in store for this coming year. One of them is an online community of practice for members.

We thought we’d take a minute and share some wishes for you from PSR/RPS Canada board members and contractors.


Vicky Huehn–Kingston, ON (PSR Canada CEO)

I live in Kingston Ontario where I spent over 33 years working for people with a mental illness and/or addiction as the senior leader in a community agency.  After 'retiring' a few years ago, I dedicated most of my volunteer time to PSR RPS Canada as CEO because I believe in the power of hope, respect and dignity for everyone.  I believe that PSR RPS Canada is the leader in Canada for education on how to implement recovery that is truly individually focused and driven.  

My priorities in life include my two daughters, their husbands, my three grandchildren (#4 due in early May) and my dear friends and other family members. There is nothing more important than the trust and love that fills my life because of them! 

I am looking forward to 2019 with enthusiasm as I dealt with cancer and the treatment regimes which accompanied them in 2018.  Here is a picture of me with my oldest daughter after she ran her half-marathon a few weeks ago in Ottawa and I was able to go and cheer her on.  How blessed am I!

Vicky is on the right.

Vicky is on the right.

Susan Boyce–Vancouver , BC (PSR/RPS Vice President and PSR BC Secretary)


My favourite thing to do during the holidays is at 3-4a.m. on Christmas morning, my younger sister will wake me up just has she has done every year since we were tots.  We will sneak into the living room to see what Santa brought. 

Next we will drink tea in the dark and giggle until everyone else in the house wakes up.  Then it’s Mimosa’s and eggs benny with my famous homemade hollandaise.  This is my favourite holiday tradition! 

I am grateful for the health and happiness of my friends and family this past year.  I look forward to working on great new educational projects with PSR/RPS Canada in 2019.  Happy New Year everyone from Vancouver and Ottawa!



Heather Boyce–Okanagan, BC (PSR/RPS Canada Treasurer and PSR BC Board Member)


Life in the Okanagan BC is peaceful and exciting. Time to view the orchards and vineyards; tai chi by the lake and many ski days on mountain slopes; sharing here a picture from the orchard behind my home.

I enjoy making beeswax candles and creating a centrepiece with fresh boughs of juniper, yew, fir and pine collected in my garden. I give these to friends each year as a message of love and peace. Wishing you a peaceful and joyous New Year!



Sue Carr–Barrie, ON (PSR/RPS Canada Registrar)

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There are so many things I am grateful for in the past year. This year has been a year of many transitions and firsts for me personally and professionally.

In particular I am grateful I am able to provide support to individuals in their professional development, gaining their CPRRP, and taking the time to reflect on the competencies at a personal level. We always have more to learn an areas to improve.

On a more personal note, I am grateful for friends and family who have  supported me through work related transitions (outside my role with PSR  Canada). These transition provided increased flexibility to spend more  time with my 2 horses and 3 cats. I appreciate their ability to keep me grounded, and focused.

Happy holidays and all the best for an amazing 2019!


James Price–Dauphin, MB (PSR/RPS Canada Board President)


My favourite holiday tradition is delivering food to those who are alone. It brings me joy and hope to see smiling faces that are validated and filled with happiness. In so many ways,  my participants give so much more to me than I offer to them. We are all just walking each other back home to Our Creator. 

I am grateful that I am loved even in times of feeling unworthy. My hope for PSR Canada for 2019 is that each and everyone feels welcomed; engaged and empowered; and that validation and unconditional positive regard becomes the way of our journey for each and everyone! I start to heal when I am heard. Let the trumpets of PSR sound aloud!


Hazel Meredith–Victoria, BC (PSR/RPS Canada Board Member)


This holiday season, I was enjoying baking with my family.  Children add that special something...Especially “Smarties” on baking :). I’m hoping that this upcoming year will be extra kind to all of you.

And I hope that more people with mental health concerns can gain increased access to quality recovery-oriented services with PSR evidence based practices as championed by PSR/RPS Canada. Will you be achieving the CPRRP designation this year? Check it out on our website. Let’s champion recovery. 


Jean Laforge–Windsor, ON (PSR/RPS Canada Board Member)


My favourite family holiday tradition is serving Christmas Dinner Newfoundland Style which my children and grandchildren love and now help me to prepare as they would like to continue the tradition. Having two grandsons 19 and 22 years old in the kitchen helping because they want to learn how it is done was amazing and the highlight of my Christmas.

I am grateful for the love and good health of my family and friends and holding fond memories of family members and dear friends who passed away this year and recognizing how wonderful it was to be a part of their lives even if their time was cut short.

My wishes for PSR Canada for the upcoming year are that the principles and values of PSR Canada will continue to be developed and used both nationally and provincially in the best interest of all the people we serve.  This would mean many more certifications and education for people working in health and mental health.  It would be great to see more people become interested in this wonderful endeavour.


Ann Marie MacIntire (PSR/RPS Canada Board Member)


It has been exciting for me to meet people from all across Canada and watch the development and uptake of the guiding principles and competencies of PSR Canada over the last year and the work on creating space for PWLE (People With Lived Experience) opportunities for voices to be heard and experience valued as PSR/RPS Canada has been working on with initiatives like Pathway 4. 

It is inspirational to know that more and more people are becoming aware of the CPRRP across Canada, and PSR/RPS Canada is influencing quality in mental health services . 

I hope for PSR Canada is that it continues being part of of the cutting edge advancements with things like more education and online trainings with ease of access.  I wish for more  connections throughout many provinces in Canada that PSR/RPS competencies can be learned about grown and implemented nationwide. Recovery concepts are powerful, and my hope is that more of Canada will jump on board and support the advancements of such evidence based and evidence informed concepts.

Look forward to connecting with others and expanding PSR/RPS Canada in such exciting Recovery work in 2019.


Jenn Cusick–Abbotsford, BC (PSR/RPS Canada Communications)


I’m grateful for many things in 2018. A highlight from the year was adopting a lovely, gentle Siamese kitten, who has now become a full-on family member. I got to visit Manitoba (and sit by the gorgeous lake in this picture) to lead a WRAP facilitator training for PSR Manitoba. I also had the opportunity to give a keynote address for a conference in Sacramento for Mental Health America.

I am very grateful for the work I get to do with PSR Canada. The mission is one that I can fully get behind. I love sharing the message of recovery! This work has personally transformed my life in every way possible!

In 2019 I am excited to support the new community of practice we are developing for PSR Canada.

I believe that we each have so much to contribute to this mission. Connecting through intentional communication is a way to create an intimate community of champions within Canada. I’m excited to see PSR Canada grow. Happy New Year!

PSR/RPS Canada’s other board members also send you their well wishes!

Dorothy Edem (Secretary)–Nova Scotia

Dr. Pierre Beausjour–Quebec

Laurence Caron (Association Quebec Réadaptation Psychosociale), Quebec

Dr. Regina Casey–British Columbia

John Higenbottam–British Columbia

Katherine Stewart–Ontario


Tis The Season for a Little Extra TLC


Sugar cookies with sprinkles, hot chocolate, egg nog, Christmas trees, shopping, family gatherings, parties…this can be the season filled with a little extra sweetness.

However as practitioners, we know that this can be a difficult, painful season for many people to get through. This season can hold an extra dose of loneliness for those who are struggling.

The holidays might be hard for you too. You might be dealing with your own struggles, plus the added to-do list that comes with the holidays, can just put us over the edge of what we feel like we can handle.

There are a few simple practices that we can do for ourselves during the holidays that can support us to reframe our thinkings, and practice mindful awareness.

We have created 8 cards anyone can us who might be struggling with overwhelm or loneliness during this busy season.


Upcoming AGM & Board of Directors Slate

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To PSRRPS Members:
Re: Board of Directors Slate

The PSRRPS Canada Nominating Committee is pleased to present Membership with the following Slate of Nominees for 2018-2020 Directors. 

The PSRRPS Board of Directors have approved the slate and will be officially presented at the 2018 Annual General Meeting at noon on October 30th, 2018 in New Westminster during the PSR British Columbia & PSR Canada Conference.Register for the conference HERE. 

As a member you are welcome to attend the AGM!


NameRegion of RepresentationTerm: 2018-2020

Returning Directors  

John Higenbottam BC 2018-2020

Ann Marie McIntyre MB 2018-2020

Katherine Stewart ON 2018-2020

Jean Laforge ON 2018-2020

New Directors  

Susan Boyce BC 2018-2020

James C (Jim) Price MB 2018-2020

Heather Boyes BC 2018-2020

Other Board of Directors:

  • Hazel Meredith - BC–2017-2019

  • Regina Casey – BC – 2017-2019

  • Pierre Beausejour – QC – 2017-2019

  • Dorothy Edem – NS – 2017-2019

  • Laurence/Rosalie – AQRP rep QC

Respectfully Submitted by the Nomination Committee
2018 Nomination Committee members are: Dorothy Edem and John Higenbottam

Mental Illness Awareness Week October 2018

Mental Illness Awareness Week was celebrated by PSR RPS Canada by participating in Parliament Hill activities. 

As a member of the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH), PSR RPS Canada representative Vicky Huehn joined her colleagues in visiting senators and members of parliament to provide information on mental health issues and the priorities of the national group.   

These priorities are:

  1. Mental Health Parity (funding for mental health should be on par with physical health)

  2. Increased funding equals increased access

  3. Emphasis on team-based services

For more information on the CAMIMH work, go to CAMIMH website

Vicky had meetings with Senators Dan Christmas and Dave Richards as well as Member of Parliament, Marilyn Gladu from Sarnia-Lambton.   

She also met with two staffers from the office of Francesco Sorbara M.P.  He strongly supports CAMIMH and continues to be a champion for us.

Later in the afternoon of October 2nd, the Speaker of the House Geoff Regan, hosted a reception for all members of parliament and senators as well as members of CAMIMH to acknowledge the importance of the Mental Illness Awareness Week. 

PSR RPS Canada focuses on excellence in training but we know that we need to continue to work with our national partners to advance funding for mental illness and addictions.   

This participation in MIAW events on Parliament Hill is a critical element in the national work to support recovery-oriented practices in mental health and addictions.

Greg Kyllo -  Canadian Mental Health Association   Marilyn Gladu  M.P. Sarnia-Lambton   Vicky Huehn -  PSR RPS Canada   Kim Hollihan -  Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association

Greg Kyllo - Canadian Mental Health Association

Marilyn Gladu M.P. Sarnia-Lambton

Vicky Huehn - PSR RPS Canada

Kim Hollihan - Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association

Kim Hollihan -  Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association   Senator Dan Christmas  Vicky Huehn -  PSR RPS Canada

Kim Hollihan - Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association

Senator Dan Christmas

Vicky Huehn - PSR RPS Canada

BCSS Victoria Invites You to the:


Victoria, BC


Friday, October 26, 2018

Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort and Spa, 100 Harbour Road, Victoria, BC

A one-day symposium of Psychiatrists, General Practitioners, Mental Health Care Workers, Students, Family Members and People with Lived Experience.

Overall Learning Objectives:

Consider the relationship between substance use and schizophrenia

Define the causes of relapse in schizophrenia

Describe the challenges and enablers in recovery

Plenary Speaker Learning Objectives:  

Dr. Bill Honer: Relapse Prevention in Schizophrenia and Advancements

  • Describe key assessments for schizophrenia and related disorders according to Canadian Practice Guidelines

  • Provide new evidence from a randomized clinical trial on the duration of treatment in first episode psychosis

  • Evaluate the importance of relapse prevention after the first episode of psychosis

Dr. Katherine Aitchison: Cannabis and Psychosis

  • Specify by how much cannabis increases the risk of becoming psychotic

  • Name risk factors for psychosis after cannabis consumption

  • Identify a gene associated with psychosis after cannabis consumption

 Dr. Ian Dawe: Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery: Engaging  

  • Review the evidence that contributes to social isolation of people with schizophrenia, psychosis and related mental health.

  • Describe interventions that show success in countering isolation

  • Identify the barriers and enablers to engagement


Healthcare Professionals $125.00
Family Members $  50.00
Persons with lived experience/Students $  30.00

What Does Person-Centered Really Mean?

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One July 27th, PSR Advanced Practice had the opportunity to have writer and speaker, Todd Leader speak about this topic. He had some great things to say about this topic. 

His main message is that it's "Not about us." It's about the people we serve. So does the way we run our programs and organizations meet the needs of the staff, or the people served? He gave us some great thoughts to reflect and chew on.

Check out the webinar here. 

Consider Joining the PSR/RPS Board of Directors!

The PSR/RPS Canada is issuing a call for applications to the Board of Directors.  

Are you interested in leading and championing in the movement that is providing education on HOW to implement recovery-oriented practices? 


This is an exciting time for PSR RPS Canada as the tools of PSR are clearly the key to recovery-oriented practices. 

Board members are involved in making a difference in their communities by linking education to the real work that people do in their day-to-day practice.  Board members must be an individual member or part of an organizational membership of PSR RPS Canada.

If you are interested in applying to the Board of Directors, please complete the the application form. Please note that application to become a board member, requires PSR/RPS membership. Click to learn more about membership


Please send your completed application to:

Dr. John Higenbottam – Chairperson   johnhige@telus.net

Copy to Vhuehn@psrrpscanada.ca


All interested members are encouraged to submit their application.  People from Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Eastern Canada as well as individuals who have expertise in finance and marketing are most welcome.  Come and join our team of people who are passionate, enthusiastic and like to have fun!

The slate of nominees will be presented to the general membership prior to the Annual General Meeting. 

The Directors elected will have a 2-year term – 2018 – 2020.

The Strength of a National Community


Article written by: Jenn Cusick

A couple months ago I met a former colleague for lunch at a local coffee shop.

As we were munching our delicious quiches and sipping coffee, I mentioned that I was now doing some work with PSR Canada. 

She told me a story about something amazingly life-changing that happened for her involving PSR Canada many years ago. When she was finished, I exclaimed "can I share your story on the website!?" 

Her story inspired me to think about the role PSR/RPS Canada has in linking organizations with PSR Champions nationally. 

Of course she said "yes" that I could share her story, so here it goes...

Jennifer Gagne was living in Ontario. She was working for an organization that provided recovery services for people struggling with mental health issues. She discovered PSR and the significant impact the Principles and Values have on creating recovery-oriented services.

So she went all in.  

She got her CPRP certification through the US (today you don't have to go through the US, because PSR Canada now offers a Canadian version, the CPRRP–Certified Psychosocial Rehabilitation Recovery Practitioner certification), and started volunteering with PSR Canada. She collected articles from organizations across Canada and put them together in a newsletter. 

In the fall of 2005, an article was submitted for the newsletter by an organization in BC.

Peter Andres (who was the Regional Manager for Communitas Supportive Care Services at that time), wrote about their Peer Support and WRAP programs. The program was one of the first to embed formal Peer and WRAP services into mental health services in their area. The programs were having significant growth and impact. 

The way he described the services intrigued Jennifer, so she looked up the organization's website. 

She was so impressed with the recovery services they were providing, that she filled out an online job application. (The organization was a big supporter of PSR/RPS Canada, so the connection with PSR was significant.) 

Following a video conference interview, Jennifer was hired! In June of 2006, she moved to BC and started her new job... and she has been there ever since.

Jennifer actually took over the job I was doing after I left to have my youngest child. I was managing the Peer & WRAP programs there, and was so happy to pass the torch to Jennifer when I left. 

That brings us to today. PSR/RPS Canada sees our role as connecting organizations and PSR Practitioners together. 

Canada is a huge country, but one of the amazing things about modern technology is that we have the ability to feel like an intimate community despite the grand size of our country. That is our goal! 

Currently we have a roster of CPRRP Practitioners.

We also have our Organizational Members listed on our website. 

We have some other ideas on how we can facilitate connections like the one Jennifer shared with me. 

  • We would like to accept & publish articles from outstanding agencies practicing PSR and recovery-oriented service. We will work with you to create and publish an article. We would love to hear the ways you are integrating the PSR Principles and Values into your work. We would like you to share some tips so that others can learn from your experience. 
  • We would like to publish articles from PSR practitioners who are championing the work of PSR. Stories of success are so inspiring, and we would love to publish them here. 
  • We want to create a very basic job bank. This would be a place where PSR Organizational Members can post job vacancies. For organizations who are looking for PSR Champions, this would be invaluable. 

If you wish to submit an article, please click the button below for more information. 

If you are with an organization interesting in the possibility of posting on a future job board, please send us an email. 

A Focus on Strengths

by: Jenn Cusick

Principles and Values #4

The World We Live In

When we really think about it, the culture we live in is very focused on deficits and problems. From a very early age we become keenly aware of our personal issues, flaws and problems. What is getting in the way of me being the best I can be? Why am I not living to my full potential? How can I fix this vexing problem within me? I need to lose a few pounds, then I’ll feel good about myself.


Even our organizations tend to take a problem-solving approach to change. What's wrong? What are the stumbling blocks that are keeping us from reaching our full potential? How do we fix this issue?


There is definitely a time and a place for a problem-solving approach. However, we need to keep in mind that generally this mindset keeps us stuck in a deficit-focused, glass half-empty paradigm.

In other words problem–solving keeps us tied to the problem.


This paradigm is so prevalent in our society today, that it is very easy to get caught up in it. Shifting our perspective to one that aligns with a strength’s approach can feel like swimming upstream.


I would venture to say at all of us in the PSR field know about the strength-based approach. Yet it can be easy to slip into a deficit–based mindset with the people we support.


People are coming to us for service because they have a problem. We are in the roles we are, because we are educated to provide support to others. So how do we approach our important recovery-oriented service with a strength-based approach, and shift away from focusing on deficits and problems? That almost seems like a contradiction to the way the system is set up...doesn’t it? When we apply overall cultural context, the strength’s approach, (and essentially PSR) is very counter culture.


The Strengths Model

Charles A. Rapp wrote the book, “The Strengths Model: Case Management with People Suffering from Severe and Persistent Mental Illness” in the 1990s. It continues to be a great resource for the strength-based approach. If you don’t already have it, it’s a great addition to your PSR library.

Rapp’s model is based on six principles.

1. The focus is on individual strengths rather than pathology

Work with clients is based on their interests, aspirations, and strengths. It is not focused on their symptomology, weaknesses and deficits.

2. The community is viewed as an oasis of resources

The community, and one’s environment is a source of strength, and opportunity.

3. Interventions are based on client-self determination

This approach is based on the belief that clients have the right to determine the kind of support they receive. The client is the director of their own care.

4. The case manager–client relationship is primary and essential

A focus on building a cooperative relationship. This often starts with simple getting-to-know-you fun things like playing a game, going for a walk or coffee. The client feels known.

5. Aggressive outreach is the preferred mode of intervention

This often means moving the work outside the office, into the community.

6. People suffering from severe mental illness can continue to learn, grow and change

A shift away from defining people by their illness. Instead seeing them as whole, people, worthy of having hopes, dreams and aspirations. (If you haven’t read Dr. Courteney Harding’s Vermont longitudinal study of people with schizophrenia, check that out here.)


Other Strength-Based Paradigms:

Intentional Peer Support (IPS)

Shery Mead–a leader in the Recovery Movement, created IPS. One of the keystones of IPS is the “Four Tasks of Peer Support.” Task four is Moving Towards–another way of focusing on strengths. We know that moving towards something we want/need is so much more freeing and inspiring than moving away from something that we don’t want. The former feels stifling and overwhelming.


When I managed a program a few years ago, I used to see people’s goal plans come across my desk. Often I saw the goal “decrease isolation” scribbled on people’s recovery plans. Honestly, I can’t think of a more uninspiring goal. First of all it didn’t feel very client-centered. Second, it was born out of a deficit or a problem, and offered no alternative way of being.


What if instead of framing a goal in such a negative way, we support people to explore how they want to feel–discover their desires?

What if we support people as they deepen their self-awareness, while they process their difficult experiences?

What if we focus on shining a light on people’s strengths, gifts, and abilities?


These qualities may have been significantly dimmed through their struggles. People may not even be able to see their own strengths because of the enormous challenges they have had to face. This doesn’t mean they are gone; they are just temporarily hidden from their own view.

Perhaps our role as supporters/practitioners is to support the rediscovery process of the person’s inner expert/teacher, and we do that by shining a light on their strengths.


We know that everyone wants to belong, as we are all wired for community. Where is this person’s community? What does this person want their role to be within their community? Where do they feel a strong sense of belonging? This can be where a peer support worker can come in and provide some extra support. Together they can unearth strengths, hopes and dreams, and explore the community at large to find that place of belonging.


Appreciative Inquiry (AI)

I won’t spend much time on this, but I think it's it’s worth noting, as we speak about strengths. AI is an approach for organizational change that focuses on harnessing the best of what is, instead of taking a problem-solving approach. We can learn a lot about the strength-based approach from AI: both in changing the culture of the mental health and addictions system, and in supporting the people we serve. Appreciative Inquiry isn't proprietary, however David Cooperrider is one of the founders of this school of thought. 


Changing the Way We See

Stephen Covey talks about how the key component for change is shifting the way we see the world. When we think about change we often start with what we DO, but real change comes from shifting the way we SEE.


As Champions of Recovery–What Can We Do?

Heading in to the new year we ask ourselves what we can do to support the shift to a more strength-based system. What can we do to shift our perspective to one that’s grounded even stronger in a strength-based approach? How do we champion that perspective for our own lives, with our colleuges, and those we support? 


Shifting the prevailing paradigm can feel like a mammoth task. We can become discouraged and overwhelmed when we get push-back from others who might not align with the strength-based approach…yet.


Here at PSR/RPS Canada we want you to know that there is a movement of people with the same vision as you. We want to support you and provide both in-person and online environments where you can connect with like-minded people.


If you are interested in becoming a member of PSR/RPS Canada, check out our membership offerings.


If you have any ideas on how PSR/RPS Canada can facilitate more opportunities for you to connect with a PSR Community of Practice–please contact me–Jenn Cusick at jenndawncusick@gmail.com


If you wish to contribute an article for PSR/RPS Canada, please click here. We would love to share your thoughts, ideas or message! 



Rapp, C. A. (1998). The strengths model: case management with people with psychiatric disabilities. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Mead, S. (2005). Intentional Peer Support: An Aternative Approach. West Chesterfield, NH. Self-published. 

Covey, S.R. (1989). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. New York, NY. Fireside.