Working with Syrian Refugees

Working with Syrian Refugee Families

Cameray Child and Family Services has had the privilege to collaborate with the New Westminster School District and New Westminster Child and Youth Mental Health to create a program for working with refugee families from Syria.  This was all made possible because United Way of Lower Mainland has dedicated funding for helping Syrian refugee families settle in the Lower Mainland.  Through this funding our organizations were able to put together a training led by Dr. Sarina Kot for over 50 New Westminster school staff and service providers to learn how to recognize settlement issues versus symptoms of trauma.
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Benefits of Group Therapy

Have you ever felt alone in your struggle?  Do you feel like no one understands?  Cameray Child and Family Services is here to help by offering a variety of services including group therapy.  Group therapy may be a way for you to connect with others while getting the support and information you need to face difficult situations.  According to PsychCentral here are 5 Benefits of Group Therapy:


  1. Group therapy helps you realize you’re not alone.


According to Irvin D. Yalom, M.D., in The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy, “Many patients enter therapy with the disquieting thought that they are unique in their wretchedness, that they alone have certain frightening or unacceptable problems, thoughts, impulses and fantasies.”


While it’s true that each of us is unique and may have unique circumstances, none of us is alone in our struggles.


For instance, for years, Yalom has asked members of a process group to anonymously write down the one thing they wouldn’t share in the group. Members included medical students, psychiatric residents, nurses, psychiatric technicians and Peace Corps volunteers.


The secrets were “startlingly similar,” he writes. Several themes emerged: People believed they were inadequate and incompetent. They felt alienated and worried they couldn’t care for or love another person. And the third category included some kind of sexual secret.


As Ali Miller, MFT, said, group therapy reduces isolation and alienation. It increases the sense that “we’re all in this together,” and normalizes suffering, she said.


  1. Group therapy facilitates giving and receiving support.


One misconception about group therapy is that members take turns receiving individual therapy from the therapist while others observe, Miller said.


However, as she clarified, members are actually encouraged to turn to each other for support, feedback and connection, instead of getting all of that from the clinician.


Miller shared this example: One member feels isolated and lonely, and doesn’t know how to make friends. The group supports her by listening when she talks and engaging with her the entire session, which by itself decreases her sense of isolation. The members also share their own experiences. And they share how they’ve navigated loneliness or overcome isolation, “offering hope, inspiration, encouragement, and sometimes suggestions.”


  1. Group therapy helps you find your “voice.”


Miller defined voice as “becoming aware of your own feelings and needs and expressing them.” In her groups, she strongly encourages members to notice how they’re feeling throughout the session and to talk about it.


“Many people don’t know how they are feeling when they are interacting with other people, because it can be challenging to be self-connected when connecting with others. This is one of the things I focus on most in my groups.”


  1. Group therapy helps you relate to others (and yourself) in healthier ways.


Often people don’t understand why their relationships aren’t working, said Judye Hess, Ph.D, who has taught Group Dynamics at the California Institute for Integral Studies in San Francisco. “In the safe atmosphere of group therapy, members can get honest feedback from others who care about them to one degree or another.”


For instance, according to Hess, members might say: “I would like to get closer to you, but you always seem to keep me at a distance,” “It bugs me that you are always the one to break the silence” and “When you are sharing something, I get impatient, because it takes so long for you to get to the point.”


Groups provide the opportunity to see just how people relate to others in the moment, and how they relate to themselves, Miller said.


  1. Group therapy provides a safety net.


In Miller’s groups, called “Authentic Connection,” members struggle with being authentic and speaking up for themselves in their lives. They practice these skills in the group, and as they do, their confidence for practicing them outside the group grows.


They’re also able to carry the groups’ support with them between sessions, making it easier to take risks, she said. “[I]f you know you can report back to a group of people who care about you and will listen to your experience, you tend to feel braver. Knowing someone will catch you if you fall emboldens you to leap. The group becomes the net.”


In addition to strengthening your relationship skills, reducing isolation and finding your voice, group therapy also is especially valuable for individuals dealing with depression, social anxiety and life transitions, Miller said.


Cameray Child and Family Services continues to offer a range of group therapy through our Parent Support Program (PSP) and Counselling Program.  PSP provides group support to parents of children under 5, and releases there calendar of groups on a monthly basis.  For October 2016 calendar please click here.


The Counselling Program currently offers Connect Parent Group and psychoeducational groups for pre-teen and teen survivors of sexual abuse.  If you are interested in hearing more information about our groups please contact your counsellor or make a referral.

The Burnaby Early Childhood Development Table Book of the Month: Swimmy

 Cameray and

The Burnaby Early Childhood Development Table

Book of the Month: Swimmy

swimmySwimmy is a children’s book written by Leo Lionni about a lone black fish named Swimmy who finds new sea creature friends after his school of red fish friends is eaten by a big, scary tuna fish. This story fits with September’s theme of friendship because Swimmy’s journey is about finding new friends when old ones are gone. It’s not that Swimmy isn’t liked – Swimmy’s friends are swallowed! But the resilient black fish manages to find new underwater buddies after searching the sea alone. With these new fish, Swimmy devises a plan to all swim together like one big fish, with Swimmy acting as the “eye”. They succeed in scaring away the big tuna.Continue reading

CONNECT Parent Groups

The connect groups provide parents with a supportive environment in which to learn about attachment and how it impacts a parent’s relationship with their children. The group runs for a 9 week period. Various attachment principals are taught throughout the 9 weeks.

The following group is scheduled at Cameray:Continue reading

The Burnaby Early Childhood Development Table Book of the Month: Llama Llama Misses Mama

 Cameray and

The Burnaby Early Childhood Development Table

Book of the Month: Jared’s Cool Out Space

llama llama misses mamaLlama Llama Misses Mama, written and illustrated by Anna Dewdney, follows a llama who is anxious about his first day of school. The story has cute pictures and instead of kids going to a regular ‘human’ school, the story has llama students and a zebra teacher. This book has been recommended for kids aged 2 and up. Llama Llama and his mama get ready for school, but when they arrive and he has to say goodbye, he becomes sad and nervous. Llama Llama doesn’t know anybody at llama school and misses his mama. The zebra teacher and other llamas invite him to play some games and try the slide, which makes him feel better. At the end, Llama Llama realizes he not only loves his mama, but school, too!Continue reading

The Burnaby Early Childhood Development Table Book of the Month: On Meadowview Street

 Cameray and

The Burnaby Early Childhood Development Table

Book of the Month: On Meadowview Street

on meadowview streetOn Meadowview Street is a children’s book written by Henry Cole. This book is about a family who moves to a new suburban home on Meadowview Street, except that there are no meadows to be found. One day, daughter Caroline sees a flower pop up in the grass, so she decides to build a “wildflower reserve” around it. Soon, more flowers and insects appear and the reserve grows bigger. Caroline’s parents put their lawnmower up for sale, plant a tree, and even build a mini pond in their yard. By the end of the story, neighbours on Meadowview Street follow suit and soon enough, the whole street lives up to its name.Continue reading

Hats Off Day

Cameray at Hats Off Day – June 4, 2016

Cameray Child and Family Services had the Picture clipping 2opportunity to participate in Hats Off Day on June 4, for our second year.  Thank you to our generous hosts, TD Bank on Hastings and Madison.  We had a great day promoting the agency’s program and chatting with people.  We also sold popcorn and cold water – which was very popular on such a hot sunny day!  Thank you to our volunteer popcorn sales team – Donovan, Ethan, Angelo and Ian.  They did a great job! Looking forward to going back next year!

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The Burnaby Early Childhood Development Table Book of the Month: Mama Is It Summer Yet?

 Cameray and

The Burnaby Early Childhood Development Table

Book of the Month: Mama Is It Summer Yet?

mama is it summer yetMama, Is It Summer Yet? is a children’s book about the anticipation of summertime, written and illustrated by Nikki McClure. The story follows a mother and her son, who asks many times if it’s summer yet. The boy asks this each passing day as leaves return to the trees, flowers start to blossom, and the cold of winter fades away. In anticipation of summertime, the boy and his mother build a fort and start planting seeds in their garden. When summer finally arrives, the pair sit under a tree on a sunny day and eat some fruit. The story ends here, with summer arriving as a kind of reward for the boy’s patience and anticipation.Continue reading