Dr. Catherine de Boer

Associate Professor

School of Social Work
St. John's College
Room: J-3001
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John's, NL A1C 5S7

Phone: 709-864-2554
Email: cdeboer@mun.ca

Dr. Catherine de Boer has a Bachelor of Social Work from King’s College at the University of Western Ontario, a Master of Arts from the University of Toronto, a Master of Theological Studies, a Master of Social Work and a PhD in Social Work from Laurier University. 

Prior to coming to Memorial, Dr. de Boer taught in the School of Social Work at Renison University College at the University of Waterloo (2005-2008) and also served as their Field Education Coordinator (2007-2008). She was a sessional instructor at the Faculty of Social Work at Laurier University (2003), Faculty of Social Work at the University of Manitoba (2002), and Martin Luther University College at Laurier University (1996). Dr. de Boer has taught courses at all levels of social work education (BSW, MSW and PhD) and has experience teaching in-class, on-line and using blended learning formats. Her teaching is in the area of direct practice (for example interviewing, assessment, working with individuals and families), human development, theory, research design and qualitative methodologies. In addition to her teaching, Catherine is currently the Chair of the MSW Program at Memorial.

Dr. de Boer’s primary research interests are in the areas of identity development and transformation, disengagement studies, social work practice (specifically therapeutic relationships and counselling), and narrative studies, including narrative theory, analysis and therapy. Her doctoral research was a study of the impact of social group disengagement (for example, leaving a religious, cultural, professional, or gender group, and coming out experiences) on one’s sense of self and the associated identity transition processes. Her expertise in identity transitions and disengagement has led to two notable research opportunities. First, in 2013, she was invited to be a co-investigator on a 7-year, multi-million dollar SSHRC Partnership Grant investigating disability policy in Canada as connected to income security and labour-market engagement. Catherine’s interests in this project are specific to the identity transitions associated with shifts in (dis)Ability and labour market engagement. She is part of a Newfoundland cluster of researchers associated with the larger project, who as a team are researching and writing about disability policy as related to occupational stress injuries and chronic physical illnesses. Second, in 2015 Dr. de Boer began researching the identity implications of military to civilian transitions (MCT). She was invited by Veterans Affairs Canada to join a research team, under the direction of Dr. Jim Thompson, to study Veteran identity and well-being in MCT. From September – December 2018, she continued her work on MCT as a Visiting Professor at the Veterans and Families Institute for Military Social Research at Anglia Ruskin University in England.

Dr. de Boer has always valued the strong connections she has with the community. In 2015, using funds awarded from Memorial’s Office of Public Engagement, Dr. de Boer partnered with the St. John’s Status of Women Council in the design, implementation and evaluation of the Right Here, Right Now Drop-In Counselling Program. This program is the only single-session counselling program in Canada that is community-based, and exclusively serves women using a feminist and narrative trauma-informed approach. This highly successful program continues to serve in excess of 450 women each year. In 2018, the program was awarded three years of provincial funding and in 2018, was one of only 120 programs across Canada to receive Bell Let’s Talk funding.

Prior to holding an academic position, Catherine worked as a social worker in the areas of children’s mental health (counselling children and their families), homelessness (community outreach worker and program manager in a shelter for homeless women), and medical social work (discharge planning, ER social work and program evaluation). She is a skilled therapist with experience providing crisis, single-session, brief and long term counselling using narrative, feminist, systems and trauma-informed approaches. Dr. de Boer continues to practice social work through her ongoing involvement with the Right Here, Right Now Drop-in Counselling Program and through her private practice, The Landing, located in downtown St. John’s.

Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications

Thompson, J., Dursun, S., Van Til, L. Heber, A., Kitchen, P., de Boer, C., Black, T., Montelpare, B., Coady, T., Sweet, J., & Pedlar, D. (2019). Group Identity, Difficult Adjustment to Civilian Life and Suicide Ideation in Canadian Armed Forces Veterans: Life after Service Studies 2016. Journal of Military Veteran and Family Health, 4 (3)

Hall, A., Ricciardelli, R., Sitter, K., Simas-Medeiros, D., de Boer, C., & Small, S. (2018). Occupational Stress Injuries in Two Atlantic Provinces: A Policy Analysis. Canadian Public Policy, 44 (4).

Small, S. P., de Boer, C., & Swab, M. (2015). Perceived barriers to and facilitators of labour market engagement for individuals with chronic physical illness – Experience with Disability Policy: A systematic review of qualitative evidence. JBI Database of Systematic Reviews & Implementation Reports.

de Boer, C., Campbell, S., & Hovey, A. (2011). When you come to a fork in the road, take it: Teaching social work practice using blended learning. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 37, (3).

de Boer, C., & Coady, N. (2007). Good helping relationships in child welfare: Learning from stories of success, Child and Family Social Work, 12, 1, 32-42.

de Boer, C., Cameron, G., & Frensch, K. (2007). Siege and response: Reception and benefits of residential children’s mental health services for parents and siblings, Child and Youth Forum, 36, 1, 11-24.

Selected Technical Reports

de Boer, C. (2017). Program Evaluation: Right Here, Right Now Drop-In Counselling Clinic. St. John’s, NL: St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre and School of Social Work, Memorial University.

Thompson, J. M., Lockhart, W., Roach, M.B., Atuel, H., Bélanger, S., Black, T., Cox, D., Cooper, A., de Boer, C., Dentry, S., Hamner, K., Shields, D., Truusa, T.T. (2017). Veterans’ Identities and Well-being in Transition to Civilian Life – A Resource for Policy Analysts, Program Designers, Service Providers and Researchers. Report of the Veterans’ Identities Research Theme Working Group, Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research Forum 2016. Charlottetown PE: Research Directorate, Veterans Affairs Canada. Research Directorate Technical Report.