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Mike Sornberger

Associate Program Director of MC Program (Calgary)

As an Associate Program Director with the Masters of Counselling Program for CityU’s Calgary Campus, I oversee the Comprehensive Examinations and the Capstone Research Project. As such, I work closely with our instructors and students to ensure that graduates of our program meet the highest standards of clinical expertise and clinical research literacy. I have taught with I have been teaching since 2010 across a wide variety of subjects related to Education and Psychology. I integrate the classroom and the professional practice fields on an ongoing basis, providing ongoing clinical consultation to local non-profits and supervision for provisional psychologists.

Research

My active involvement in conducting research focused primarily on maladaptive coping strategies among adolescents and young adults. In 2010, I completed my Masters degree with a thesis on Non-Suicidal Self-Injury (NSSI), and in 2015, I defended my Ph.D. Dissertation on Pathological Video Game Use. For my doctoral research, I held a Doctoral Fellowship through Social Sciences and Humanities Research Canada, and in 2013-14 I was awarded the WOLFE Fellowship in Scientific and Technological Literacy through McGill University’s Faculty of Education.

Publications

Academic Publications

  • Sornberger, M. J., Heath, N. L., Toste, J. R., & Smith, N. G. (2013). Non-suicidal self-injury, coping strategies, and sexual orientation. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 69(6), 571-583. doi:10.1002/jclp.21947 
  • Cornish, K. M., Sornberger, M. J., Dupasquier, M., & Wilding, J. (2012). Assessment of intellectual functioning in children and adolescents with differing neurodevelopmental disorders. In A. Majnemer (Ed.), Clinical and research measures for children with developmental disability: Framed by the ICF-CY. MacKeith Press. 
  • Lewis, S. P., Heath, N. L., Sornberger, M. J., & Arbuthnott, A. (2012). Helpful or harmful? An examination of viewers’ responses to non-suicidal self-injury videos on YouTube. Journal of Adolescent Health, 51(4), 380-385. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.01.013 
  • Sornberger, M. J., Heath, N. L., Toste, J. R., & McLouth, R. (2012). Non-suicidal self-injury and gender: Patterns of prevalence, methods, and locations among adolescents. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/j.1943-278X.2012.0088.x 
  • Noble, R. N., Sornberger, M. J., Toste, J. R., Heath, N. L., & McLouth, R. (2012). Safety first: The role of trust and school safety in non-suicidal self-injury. McGill Journal of Education/Revue des Sciences de L’éducation de McGill, 46(3), 423-442. Retrieved from http://mje.mcgill.ca 
  • Heath, N. L., Toste, J. R., Sornberger, M. J., & Wagner, C. (2011). Teachers’ perceptions of non-suicidal self-injury in the schools. School Mental Health, 3(1), 35-43. doi:10.1007/s12310-010-9043-4 

Academic Conference Presentations

  • Mills, D. J., Heath, N. L., Sornberger, M. J., & Shapiro, A. J. (2014, June). Gender differences in the relationship between measures of video game use and self-perception. Poster session accepted for presentation at the annual convention of the Canadian Psychological Association, CPA, Vancouver, BC. 
  • Sornberger, M. J., Joly, M., Heath, N. L., & Lewis, S. P. (2012, June). What hath research wrought: Evaluating knowledge transfer of NSSI via online media. In A. Emery (Chair), New millennium media and non-suicidal self-injury: Implications for mental health professionals. Symposium accepted for presentation at the annual meeting of the Canadian Psychological Association, CPA, Halifax, NS. 
  • Kapchinsky, S., Sornberger, M., Syncox, D., & Winer, L. (2012, June). Addressing the complexity of academic integrity. Paper submitted for presentation at the annual meeting of the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, STLHE, Montreal, QC. 
  • Lafferty, E., Sornberger, M., Syncox, D., & Winer, L. (2012, June). The benefits of a graduate professional development program for the university community. Paper submitted for presentation at the annual meeting of the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, STLHE, Montreal, QC. 
  • Sornberger, M. J., Heath, N. L., & Lewis, S. P. (2011, June). The digital butterfly effect: Knowledge transfer and NSSI research. In S. P. Lewis & N. L. Heath (Chairs), NSSI on YouTube: New insights and future directions. Symposium presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for the Study of Self-Injury, ISSS, New York, NY. 
  • Sornberger, M. J., Toste, J. R., Heath, N. L., & McLouth, R. (2011, June). NSSI and gender: An analysis of prevalence, methods and locations among adolescents and young adults. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for the Study of Self-Injury, ISSS, New York, NY. 
  • Duggan, J. M., Sornberger, M. J., Toste, J. R., & Heath, N. L. (2011, June). Examining the influence of body regard on indices of non-suicidal self-injury severity. Poster accepted for presentation at the annual meeting of the Canadian Psychological Association, CPA, Toronto, ON. 
  • Heath, N. L., Sornberger, M. J., Duggan, J. M., Noble, R. N. (2010, June). Nonsuicidal Self-injury on YouTube: An examination of character videos. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for the Study of Self-Injury, ISSS, Chicago, IL. 
  • Sornberger, M. J., & Heath, N. L. (2010, June). Stress and the city: A comparison of stress and coping between two different urban universitiesIn O. Heath (Chair), Stress and coping in first year university undergraduates. Symposium presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Psychological Association, CPA, Winnipeg, MB. 
  • Duggan, J. M., Ormond, E. A., Sornberger, M. J., Toste, J. R., & Heath, N. L. (2010, June). Examining the role of body perception in non-suicidal self-injury. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Psychological Association, CPA, Winnipeg, MB. 
  • MacPhee, S.-D., Christie, M., Sornberger, M. J., Toste, J. R., & Heath, N. L. (2010, June). Comparison of self-perceptions in children and adolescents with and without ADHD. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Psychological Association, CPA, Winnipeg, MB. 
  • Sornberger, M. J., Noble, R. N., Heath, N. L., & McLouth, R. (2010, May). Scars, drugs, and alcohol: Non-suicidal self-injury and substance use among adolescents. Poster presented at the American Psychological Society annual convention, APS, Boston, MA. 
  • Noble, R. N., Sornberger, M. J., Toste, J. R., & Heath, N. L. (2010, May). The Relationship Between Non-Suicidal Self-Injury and Perceived School Safety. Paper presented at the Canadian Society for the Study of Education annual conference, CSSE, Montreal, QC. 
  • Sornberger, M. J., Noble, R. N., Toste, J. R., & Heath, N. L. (2010, March). The Importance of School Safety for Youth who Engage in Non-Suicidal Self-Injury. Paper presented at the annual Education Graduate Students’ Society conference, EGSS, Montreal, QC.
  • Sornberger, M. J., Toste, J. R., & Heath, N. L. (2010, March). Non-suicidal self-injury, coping strategies, and sexual orientation. Poster presented at the National Association of School Psychologists annual convention, NASP, Chicago, IL. 
  • Sornberger, M. J., Toste, J. R., Heath, N. L., & Grouzet, F. (2009, November). College students’ coping behaviors: A multidimensional representation of non-suicidal self-injury. Poster presented at the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies annual convention, ABCT, New York, NY. 
  • Sornberger, M. J. , Toste, J. R., Heath, N. L., & Ross, S. (2009, August). Comparing American and Canadian school counselors’ responses to non-suicidal self-injury. Poster session presented at the American Psychological Association annual convention, APA, Toronto, ON. 
  • Toste, J. R., Heath, N. L., Sornberger, M., & McLouth, R. (2009, August). Analysis of gender differences in non-suicidal self-injury among adolescents. In J. Green & M. Addis (Chairs), Non-suicidal self-injury in college and high school-aged males. Symposium presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, APA, Toronto, ON.
  • Toste, J. R., Heath, N. L., Sornberger, M., & McLouth, R. (2009, June). Self-injury with and without suicidal ideation: Analysis of characteristics that differentiate groups of adolescents. Poster session presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for the Study of Self-Injury, ISSS, Stony Brook, NY. 
  • Beettam, E. L., Sornberger, M. J., & Heath, N. L. (2009, June). A twenty-year frequency analysis of research and print media coverage of non-suicidal self-injury. Poster session presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Psychological Association, CPA, Montreal, QC. 
  • Toste, J. R., Sornberger, M., & Heath, N. L. (2009, June). How classroom working alliance contributes to the school satisfaction for students with and without learning disabilities. Poster session presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Psychological Association, CPA, Montreal, QC. 
  • Sornberger, M. J. , Toste, J. R., & Heath, N. L. (2009, March). Gender differences and similarities in adolescent non-suicidal self-injury. Paper presented at the annual Education Graduate Students’ Society conference, EGSS, Montreal, QC. 
Teaching

The philosophy that underlies my teaching can be best summarized in one sentence that combines three pillars: Good communication fosters learner-centred mastery.

Teaching and learning are, ultimately, highly specialized forms of communication. Students come to the classroom because they want to gain new information, skills, and understanding. The only way they can leave the classroom having successfully done so is if communication has been efficient, effective, thorough and meaningful. In my opinion, this applies both to communication during and between lectures. I endeavor to use multiple media and varied instructional techniques in order to engage learners of varying communication styles. I include videos, encourage group discussions, and have brought in guest lecturers. Through these approaches, I do my best to bring a diversity of voices and bacgkrounds into the class environment.

My learning activities are often designed with flexibility in mind, and with an eye for universal design. I encourage students to make me aware of any difficulties they are having accessing the material, as well as their preferences for format, medium, and approach. I try to offer options when I can in terms of how learners can demonstrate their understanding of the information, and I do my best to be adaptable to various issues as they arise. This does not mean a reduction in expectation or standards – rather, I do what I can to facilitate and foster various learners to have an equal chance at success, regardless of their style, approach, or specific interest in the subject matter. 

Finally, my teaching philosophy is built on the mastery model. I believe that students learn best when they are encouraged to truly master the material at hand. In the past, I have employed various strategies to encourage this, including providing significant amounts of feedback on submitted assignments, so that students can truly learn the most they can from their work. 

I am passionate about teaching because it is an integral step in the cycle of improving self and improving the field. Through my teaching, I have learned and continue to learn more about the field to which I have dedicated my career. I learn not only from keeping up to date on the latest research and interventions in the field of psychology, but through the engaging, challenging, and meaningful interactions that I have with my students both individually and as a group. That learning only improves my ability to work as a psychologist and provide services to my clients. 

Courses
  • Assessment in Counselling Psychology (CPC 556)
  • Brief Therapy Models (CPC 513)
  • Child and Adolescent Therapy (CPC 600)
  • Counselling Psychology Research Project (CPC 695)
  • Counselling Psychology Theory (CPC 526)
  • Ethics and Law (CPC 510)
  • Group Counselling (CPC 527)
  • Practicum I (CPC 654)
  • Practicum II (CPC 655)
  • Psychopathology and Psychopharmacology (CPC 524)

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