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David Pitonyak Oct 1st in Vancouver – Supporting a Person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

August 1, 2010

Spectrum’s 101 Friends Personal Support Networks project is excited to once again host David Pitonyak this year, talking more deeply about a topic that he touched on last year that was of interest to many participants in one of our most successful events.  

Supporting a Person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

This day-long workshop examines the impact of trauma in the lives of people who experience disabilities.  Many experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of early loss of family (institutionalization), medical procedures, treatment procedures, sexual and physical abuse.  This workshop explores strategies for helping people to heal, even in the aftermath of extraordinary suffering.

Friday, 9 – 4:30, Oct 1st, 2010

Vancouver Unitarian Church at 949 West 49th Avenue

$100.00 including lunch.    To register, email or 604-323-1433 or online at



  David Pitonyak is interested in positive approaches to difficult behaviours. He believes that difficult behaviours are “messages” which can tell us important things about a person and his or her surroundings. Understanding the “meaning” of an individual’s difficult behaviours is the first step in supporting the person (and the person’s supporters) to change.

 David also believes (to paraphrase Jean Clark), that a “person’s needs are best met by people whose needs are met.” Supporting a person with difficult behaviours begins with an honest assessment of the needs of the person’s supporters. Creating more responsive human services is possible only when we take responsibility for problems of the workplace culture. A healthy organization is an organization that invites all of its members to take an active role in decision-making, provides support to each member as defined by the member, and evaluates its success by the degree to which it lives up to its promises.

David has consulted with families and professionals throughout the United States, Canada, England, the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the Netherlands. He lives in Blacksburg, Virginia with his wife Cyndi . They have two sons, Joe and Sam.

Objectives of this training day:

–      The symptoms of PTSD, its causes and its incidence in the lives of people who experience disabilities

–      Strategies for understanding common triggers for unpleasant memories

–      Strategies for supporting people along 7 critical areas, including health and well-being, relationships, joy, power, and the development of skills to gain mastery over symptoms

–      The nature of vicarious traumatisation and what caregivers can do to prevent it

To learn more about David’s work at Imagine check out his site:

About Spectrum’s Personal Support Networks Project, 101 Friends: Beginning 3 years ago with a small six month CLBC grant and a vision of supporting folks with disabilities to expand and deepen their connections in their communities, we’ve become increasingly passionate about the potential of those we support to not only join more fully in their communities, but provide leadership and enrichment.   We’ve facilitated groups from Nashville TN to Ft St John, meeting staff, self-advocates and families.
“The function of freedom is to free someone else.”  Toni Morrison
Visit our website  Sign up for and/or contribute to our provincial e-newsletter! If you’d like to host a workshop for a community group, agency or self-advocates’ group, contact us at
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