The National University System Repository exists to increase public access to research and other materials created by students and faculty of the affiliate institutions of National University System. Most items in the repository are open access, freely available to everyone.

Recent Submissions

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    Playful Pathways to Inner Peace: How Can School Counsellors Utilize Play, Somatic Therapies, and Nervous System Psychoeducation to Support School-Aged Children with Anxiety?
    (2024-07-05) Metcalfe, Allegra
    Anxiety is one of the most prevalent mental health concerns among Canadian children. Anxiety can adversely affect the well-being, education, and health of elementary school students. This capstone examines the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of pediatric anxiety. The literature review examines research on anxiety, child-centered play therapy, and somatic interventions based on polyvagal theory. Research on children and youth is more limited than in adult populations; however, a new understanding of neuroscience and polyvagal theory shows promise for the reduction of anxiety using both play and somatic techniques. Counsellors who can implement safe and connected groups that target anxiety using child-centered play therapy, nervous system psychoeducation, and somatic techniques can help students reduce and cope with anxiety. As educators, supporting students’ mental health must be a priority. Group therapy is a low-barrier intervention that supports the largest number of students within the school day.
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    ‘We Move Together’: Bringing Disability Justice to Counselling Practice for the Benefit of All Clients
    (2024-06-17) Hutcheon, Lea
    There is little attention paid to the topic of disability in counselling and psychology, whether it is in relation to the experience of disabled people themselves in counselling sessions, or to developing disability competencies as practitioners. As a result of this, ableism, sanism, and neurotypical bias remain largely unaddressed in the counselling field. The aim of this capstone is to investigate the ways that Disability Justice can be brought to counselling - as both a framework and a way of working - in order to support disabled, Mad, and neurodivergent clients, as well as all clients. Themes identified in the literature include: clients' experiences in counselling (highlighting the reality of concurrent harm and benefit in the counselling room); therapy effectiveness (revealing an emphasis on CBT therapies and evidence of its efficacy - with adaptations - as well as evidence for the use of other therapies, and the need for further study); and the creative possibilities of integrating Disability Justice into practice. I propose that Disability Justice can assist us in examining ourselves and our frameworks more clearly; understanding our disabled, Mad, neurodivergent clients in context; attending to the therapeutic relationship; and building a repertoire of culturally-responsive, accessible clinical interventions of benefit to all clients.
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    Scroll to Cope – The Relationship Between Problematic Social Media Use and Emotion Regulation
    (2024-06-22) Li, Tina (QiTong)
    As social media becomes increasingly embedded in our daily lives, it raises critical questions about its impact on mental health and well-being, particularly among adolescents and young adults who the most active users are. This capstone explores the psychological, physiological, and neurological effects of prolonged social media use, emphasizing the appeal and risks of short-form content and the relationship between problematic social media use and emotion regulation. By examining the neurobiological processes and utilizing the polyvagal theory framework, the paper elucidates how chronic social media use affects emotion regulation abilities. The capstone also reviews current interventions, focusing on acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), mindfulness, and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), proposing tangible strategies to improve emotion regulation and alleviate symptoms of problematic social media use. Through comprehensive research, this study aims to increase awareness of social media's impact and provide actionable strategies for both individuals and mental health professionals to foster adaptive emotion regulation skills and reduce the negative effects of social media on mental health.
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    The Role of Self-Compassion in Trauma Recovery for Children and Youth who have Experienced Adversity
    (2024-05) Silva, Josy
    There is a global recognition about the urgent need for effective, evidence-based programs to prevent and address childhood adversity. Self-compassion has been regarded as a critical protective factor and promoter of well-being for children and youth grappling with trauma. It stands as a powerful mechanism, shown to reduce anxiety, depression, self-injurious behaviours, suicide attempts, shame, self-criticism, while also fostering resilience, emotional regulation, and well-being in children and youth with a history of trauma. Despite the recognized benefits of cultivating self-compassion early in life, there is a notable lack of research and dedicated programs tailored for children and youth. This capstone project aims to address this gap by deepening the understanding of self-compassion as a pivotal tool for supporting young individuals navigating adversity and trauma. It emphasizes the crucial role of self-compassion as a potent healing medium for trauma survivors and underscores the nuanced approach required for its effective application. Ultimately, this capstone seeks to equip mental health professionals with a deeper understanding of self-compassion as an evidence-based, trauma-informed, and anti-oppressive strategy. It aims to help professionals support children and youth in navigating their experiences with trauma and promote their overall well-being.
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    Police, RCMP, and PTSD: Integrating the Before Operational Stress (BOS) Program into Detachments
    (2024-06-08) Peterson, Katelyn
    First responders, including police and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) are frequently exposed to potentially traumatic events. Additional stressors and risk factors for PTSD include moral injuries, moral distress, operational and organizational stressors, working alone, and the stigma of mental health and setting boundaries. Recent studies and statistical findings have found concerning numbers regarding mental health disorders among members. Furthermore, there is limited research on prevention programs and the treatment of PTSD in the police and RCMP population specifically. The BOS program was recently created, helping members receive psychoeducation, establish connections, and have greater access to mental health support. This capstone describes trauma and PTSD, followed by an exploration of police workplace experiences, job stressors, risk factors, and the prevalence of mental health disorders. Treatment options will be generally explored, followed by a description of the BOS program, including recommendations for further additions.

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