Building a Knowledge Base - Level 1

Mental Health Interpreter Workshop

CDEAF Mental Health Interpreter Workshop is a three day knowledge based training opportunity. This workshop provides foundational knowledge for working in a mental health setting within a multi-disciplinary team.  Information presented is rooted in the theoretical framework of Intersectionality Theory. By understanding the uniqueness of the consumers we serve as well as our own strengths and weaknesses as professionals we are able to reach a sweet spot in therapy creating better outcomes for Deaf patients.

Topics include

  • presentation of mental illness in the general population
  • presentation of mental illness in the Deaf population
  • basic therapeutic interventions
  • secondary trauma
  • developing professional boundaries and creating a safe working space
  • unique challenges to therapy in some deaf patients 
  • mentoring and supervision
  • an introduction to psychopharmacology

This is a knowledge based program. ASL skill will not be assessed. Participants who complete this program will be awarded a certificate of attendance. 

In June 2015, we hosted our first 3-day Mental Health Interpreting Workshop.  The MHIW was a huge success and we plan to offer it every second year following the LEADs conference.

The next MHIW will be offered in 2017 and we will offer Level 1 and also offer an advanced Level 2.  Please check back for more details.

The 2015 Level 1 MHIW included the presentations below followed by significant discussion, sharing and networking:


Friday June 12



Group Building/ Coffee and Muffins

Dr. Cathy Chovaz & Ms. Judith Thomas


Mental Health Interpreting as a Practice Profession

This session will re-frame interpreting as a practice profession with expectations and obligations.

Ms. Judith Thomas





Mental Health Providers, Settings and Interpreters

This session will describe the roles of the various mental health professionals within the context of interpreter challenges.

Dr. Jamie MacDougall


Introduction to Psychopharmacology

Mr. Rob Campbell





Dsyfluency and Alinguistic Features

This session will describe the different types of language dysfluency experienced by Deaf individuals and the implications this has for mental health clinicians in terms of intake, assessments, and treatment and for interpreters.

Mr. Marc Gervais

Connect Counsellor, CHS

2:45 – 3:00



3:00- 4:00

Understanding Therapeutic Paradigms

This session will describe the fundamentals of various therapeutic paradigms including the general principles of commonly used therapeutic strategies and indications for their use. 

Ms. Gayle Goldstein M.A.

4:00 – 5:00

Interpreter Chat Group

Ms. Adele Routliff & Ms. Lorna Schuster


Saturday June 13


8:30 – 9:00

Coffee & Muffins



Introduction to Psychopathology

This session will address psychopathology in Deaf individuals including prevalence, etiologies, and clinical presentations.

Dr. Cathy Chovaz





Differences Working with Deaf Individuals

This session will address the challenges facing both interpreters and Deaf patients within general mental health settings as well as forensic settings.  Topics will include forensic issues and challenges including “fitness to stand trial”. 

Dr. Jamie MacDougall





Deaf Patients

This session will focus on the challenges involved working with Deaf persons who come from other countries and may not know ASL or LSQ and may not have attended school.

Dr. Jamie MacDougall


Universal Precautions

This session will focus on the precautions necessary for the interpreter to ensure safe and healthy work conditions.

Ms. Judith Thomas & Ms. Jessica Bouffard

3:15 – 3:30




Vicarious Trauma

This session will describe vicarious trauma and the implications for interpreters.

Dr. Jonathan Chapman


Interpreter Chat Group

Ms. Rosalie Vissers  & Ms. Angela Core


Sunday June 14


8:30 – 9:00

Coffee and muffins



Deaf Interpreters

This session will describe the role of the Deaf interpreter within mental health settings.

Mr. Tim Mallach




10:30 -12:00

Role of the Interpreter

This session will discuss the possibility of an increased role for the interpreter as a key component of the mental health team including ethical challenges, boundaries and some proposed solutions.

Dr. Jamie MacDougall

12:00 – 1:00

Pizza Lunch



Supervision and Mentoring

This session will discuss options and suggestions for supervision and mentoring for interpreters.

Ms. Angela Core


All Interpreter Panel



Wrap Up

Ms. Judith Thomas & Dr. Cathy Chovaz