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Level 2: The Role of Physiotherapy in the Treatment of Anyone Experiencing Pelvic Pain Through a Trauma Informed Lens: Live-Online – July 2021

July 16, 2021 - July 18, 2021
Registration Information
  • Register before
    June 4th, 2021
    for early bird pricing

  • Regular Course Price:
    after June 4th, 2021

Level 3A Instructor:


Carolyn Vandyken, BHSc (PT), Registered Physiotherapist, graduated from McMaster University in 1986 with a degree in Physiotherapy and has practiced in a wide variety of clinical settings, focusing primarily on orthopedics. She has been a MacKenzie credentialed physiotherapist since 1999 and has been a member of the Canadian College of Medical Acupuncture since 2002. Her clinical focus changed to Pelvic Health and Incontinence in 2001. Carolyn was the co-founder of Pelvic Health Solutions, a Canadian-based post-graduate teaching company.

Carolyn presents extensively internationally on pelvic health and central sensitization.  She has published numerous framework articles on integrating central pain mechanisms into clinical practice, a pain education book, and several chapters in textbooks on pelvic pain and central sensitization.  She is actively involved in research with Dr. Sinead Dufour at McMaster University and has published several studies on the connection between low back pain and pelvic floor dysfunction. Carolyn won the distinguished Education Award from the Ontario Physiotherapy Association in 2015.

She co-owns a clinical practice in Huntsville, PhysioWorks Muskoka along with her daughter and physiotherapist, Brittany Vandyken.

Please note:

To register for this course, please download the following registration forms in pdf format and email it to info@pelvichealthsolutions.ca or fax it to 888-653-4533

download the PDF
Level 2 July 2021

The lecture component will be conducted as a live-online course July 16-17, 2021 from 10:30am-6:30pm ET (Toronto). You will be able to ask questions or just sit back and listen. All pre-recorded labs will be played.

In-Person Labs — to be completed in-person on July 18, 2021 at various set locations: Vaughan, ON / Perth, ON / Calgary, AB / Abbotsford, BC / Winnipeg, MB. Attendance of both sessions (lecture and practical) is mandatory. The lab date could change as we continue to monitor the COVID-19 impact on a daily basis. We will follow any guidance provided by the respective health authorities and will notify of any changes.


Course Description:

Many people experience pelvic pain and dysfunction which severely affects their quality of life. Topics covered on this course include (but are not limited to) the evaluation and hands-on treatment for the following conditions that contribute to pelvic pain: vulvodynia, vestibulodynia, persistent genital arousal disorder (PGAD), clitoral phimosis, dyspareunia, vaginismus, lichens sclerosis (LS), genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM), pudendal neuralgia (PN), bladder pain syndrome (BPS), interstitial cystitis (IC), chronic non-bacterial prostatitis, chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS), dysmenorrhea, endometriosis and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Physiotherapists will learn how the recognize the pathophysiology, signs and symptoms that lead to these impairments, the functional limitations and disabilities they cause, outcome measures that can be used in the clinic and treatment interventions. This course is designed to teach physiotherapists how to evaluate the pelvic floor by learning specific examination and treatments for these conditions. This is a lecture-format and lab-based course (total of 3 days). Support documents, including assessment forms and patient handouts are included in the course cost.

Included in the cost of this course is access to a 1-day recorded course that focuses on understanding the impact of trauma on physical and emotional health and the barriers trauma may present to patient’s experiences in healthcare, particularly pelvic floor physiotherapy. Over the duration of the course, we will explore the two most common types of trauma impacting pelvic health – childhood sexual abuse and birth trauma. We will explore how physiotherapists can apply a trauma informed lens to their pelvic practice resulting in greater awareness, understanding and sensitivity for patients identifying as survivors of trauma. Through this increased sensitivity physiotherapists will better support their patients and in turn observe higher levels of trust, adherence and cooperation from their client base.

Through completion of this course, participants will:

  • Understand the conditions/definitions of vulvodynia, vestibulodynia, persistent genital arousal disorder, clitoral phimosis, dyspareunia, vaginismus, lichens sclerosis, genitourinary syndrome of menopause, pudendal neuralgia, bladder pain syndrome, interstitial cystitis, chronic non-bacterial prostatitis, chronic pelvic pain syndrome, dysmenorrhea, endometriosis and irritable bowel syndrome
  • Understand the common symptoms, impairments, functional limitations and disabilities associated in anyone experiencing pelvic pain
  • Review the literature supporting the role of physiotherapy in the treatment of pelvic pain conditions
  • Review pelvic floor anatomy, particularly with regards to various pelvic pain conditions
  • Improve palpation skills, vaginally and rectally, of the specific pelvic floor muscles in all three layers
  • Perform internal and external, vaginal and rectal myofascial and soft tissue treatment techniques specific to pelvic pain conditions
  • Describe specific client related education and behavioural instruction related to pelvic pain conditions
  • Understand and develop an appropriate treatment plan which includes a home exercise program for pelvic pain
  • Recognize the importance of a multidisciplinary approach
  • We wiIl integrate concepts learned during case studies

The 1-day trauma video is recommended to be watched before the course.  This section of the course will discuss/include:

  • Why is a trauma informed lens important for healthcare providers?
  • Defining childhood sexual abuse and/or sexual assault
  • How to recognize trauma: Signs and Symptoms
  • Neurobiology of Trauma: How is the brain and emotional functioning affected?
  • How does childhood sexual abuse or sexual assault shape or redefine a patient’s identity, sense of self, and body image?
  • Defining birth trauma
  • How does birth trauma affect pelvic floor recovery?
  • Birth Trauma vs. Post-Partum Mood Disorders: Similarities and Differences
  • Disclosures of Trauma: Appropriate and Inappropriate Responses by Healthcare Workers
  • Coping Techniques for patients

Prerequisites: Level 1 (or equivalent to be approved by PHS – please email info@pelvichealthsolutions.ca for approval)

Audience: This course is open to physiotherapists, physiotherapy students, naturopathic doctors, registered nurses, midwives and medical doctors. Labs include internal palpation.


Live-Online Lecture – Day 1 – 10:30am – 6:30pm ET / Day 2 -10:30am-5:30pm ET (Toronto)

In-Person Labs – to be completed in-person on July 18, 2021 at various set locations (Vaughan, ON / Perth, ON / Calgary, AB / Abbotsford, BC / Winnipeg, MB). Attendance of both sessions (lecture and practical) is mandatory. The lab date could change as we continue to monitor the COVID-19 impact on a daily basis. We will follow any guidance provided by the respective health authorities and will notify of any changes.

Please Note: This course is both lecture format and practical labs with vaginal and rectal palpation


We highly recommend taking the level 3A course. If registering for the level 2/3A bundle, when completing your registration form, you will need to mark the level 3 date you are registering for from the following options: *Discount is only valid at time of registration.*

Level 3A June/July 2021

Level 3A October 2021

Level 3A: Biopsychosocial Reframed: Live-Online

Course Description:

Do you get frustrated with your persistent pain patients who don’t respond to your biomechanical approach? Transitioning to a biopsychosocial framework has been a challenge for many clinicians despite the competency of our biomechanical training. When patients have a sensitive nervous system, measuring psychosocial distress as objectively as we measure range of motion, muscle strength, proprioception and joint mobility is important when profiling their sensitive nervous system.

This course will teach you how to reframe your persistent pain patients by treating the “whole person” using a psychologically informed framework.

The use of distress questionnaires (SAD CLLIFSS) and skills training for the psychosocial components is lacking in many physiotherapy-based training programs.

This course teaches you how to use distress questionnaires to assess the drivers of central sensitization. Clinicians need to do better than simply prescribe yoga and meditation to their patients with a sensitive nervous system. Explore the strong evidence behind matching evidence-informed treatment techniques such as pain education, yoga, qi gong, meditation, sensory-motor retraining, expressive writing exercises and cardiovascular exercise to each patient’s “driver” of their sensitive nervous system in order to improve patient outcomes. Barrier-breaking strategies of integrating psychologically informed practices into our treatment approach for persistent pain is a key competency of the modern, evidence-informed clinician.

Upon completion of this course, participants will learn:

  • To move beyond “talking” about a biopsychosocial model of care to truly incorporating this model into your practice.
  • To define central sensitization and how to measure the characteristics of central sensitization in your clinical practice.
  • To understand a clinical framework for treating persistent pain that expands on your current biomechanical skills (from new grad to seasoned clinician).
  • How to assess various drivers of a sensitized nervous system and to “match” evidence-informed psychosocial skills to these drivers.
  • Novel movement exercises including six qi gong routines for the upper body, lower body, breathing and pelvic organs to help to address sensory-motor changes as well as generalized tension.

This is a lecture-format and lab-based course. Included in the cost of the course are handouts and resources for each of the techniques learned. The audiovisual resources presented during this course for meditation, progressive relaxation exercises and qi gong will be made available as free downloads but can also be purchased through Embodia Academy for easier patient prescription.

Audience: This course is open to all healthcare professionals.