Myra Giberovitch, M.S.W., P.S.W. is an educator, author, professional speaker and mentor. She is an expert on the tools and techniques of strength-based practice as it applies to trauma and recovery. She teaches how to integrate strengths-based practice concepts and empowerment strategies to help survivors of mass atrocity crimes recover from their ordeals. Her approach begins by listening to and learning from survivors. Based on her experience and expertise with Holocaust survivors, Myra assists in applying her service models and techniques to survivors of other mass atrocities.
Myra was born in a displaced persons camp in Germany after the war. She is the daughter of Holocaust survivors from the Lodz Ghetto and Auschwitz. They emigrated from Israel to Canada in the early 1950s. Her family settled in Montreal where she grew up. She has three children and five grandchildren.
In the 1980s, she started the first community-based social service program for Holocaust survivors in Canada and subsequently founded Services for Holocaust Survivors at the Cummings Centre in Montreal. She has worked with Holocaust Survivors as a social worker, therapist, group worker, community organizer, and researcher. She believes that services and programs must evolve in response to survivors’ unique and changing needs. Previously, she held lay positions at Canadian Jewish Congress where she chaired the National and Quebec Region Holocaust Remembrance Committees, including the Montreal community’s Holocaust Commemoration Service.
Myra is affiliated with the McGill University School of Social Work as an adjunct professor, sessional and guest lecturer, external field placement supervisor and field liaison. Her classroom topics include: social work practice with older adults; trauma, ageing and resilience; working with Holocaust survivors; and self-care practices that guard against burnout and vicarious trauma.
Her innovative book, Recovering from Genocidal Trauma: An Information and Practice Guide for Working with Holocaust Survivors (University of Toronto Press, 2014), describes a strengths-based practice philosophy that guides the reader in how to understand the survivor experience, develop service models and programs, and employ individual and group interventions to empower survivors as they recover from tragedy and adversity. Her book is essential reading for anyone who studies, interacts, lives or works with survivors of mass atrocity.
She has published articles and is an invited speaker at national and international conferences. She also gives presentations and conducts workshops for healthcare professionals, survivor families, laypersons, and students. She has sensitized thousands of people to the needs of survivors and offers practical responses that focus on resilience, challenges of ageing, and vulnerabilities related to traumatic experiences.
Myra is a licensed social worker with the Quebec order of social workers (OTSTCFQ) and a graduate of McGill University, where she earned B.S.W. (Great Distinction) and M.S.W. (Dean’s Honour List) degrees.
Myra’s been fortunate to find her calling in a social work career she cares deeply about. It fuels her passion and provides her with meaning and purpose. As an educator and mentor, she encourages her students to find their calling, follow their passion and contribute to society. And when they do, in the words of Confucius, “they will never work a day in their lives.”