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Diana Coholic

Diana Coholic

Full Professor, School of Social Work
School of Social Work
Faculty of Education and Health


Diana obtained her Ph.D. at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and her M.S.W. degree at the University of Toronto. Diana is a practicing clinical social worker with 25+ years of experience, and she has been involved with the local chapter of the Ontario Association of Social Workers since 2005. At Laurentian University (LU), she is a core member of the research group ECHO - Evaluating Children's Health Outcomes. She is also the SSHRC Leader for LU. For almost six years, Diana was the Academic Director for the Northern Ontario Region of the YouthREX project that has a mission to make "research evidence and evaluation accessible and relevant to Ontario’s youth sector through knowledge mobilization, capacity building and evaluation leadership." 

Diana's research investigates the effectiveness of arts-based mindfulness group work for the improvement of wellbeing and resilience particularly in marginalized children and youth. The 12-week arts-based mindfulness group program that she and her team developed is called Holistic Arts-Based Program (HAP). HAP helps youth improve their mood and self-esteem, and develop better coping skills and relationships through the enjoyable experience of creative group work. A session by session ouline of HAP can be found here: Facilitating Mindfulness: A Guide for Human Service Professionals. More information (including videos & webinars) can be found on her research website: 

Starting in 2022, she and her team are studying the benefits of HAP within school systems in cooperation with school boards across northeastern Ontario and beyond. The goal of this 3-year project is to study the benefits of HAP at school for young people, and also how teachers, school-based helping professionals, and caregivers experience learning about and/or facilitating the program. The team’s objectives are to:  

  1. teach young people mindfulness skills & concepts that could lead to improved resilience including abilities to focus, cope, and engage in effective relationships;  

  2. train teachers, social workers, early childhood educators and other school-based personnel in arts-based mindfulness methods, which may impact the resilience of school systems;

  3. investigate the delivery processes and outcomes of different formats of HAP (traditional 12-week program, whole class format, imbedded in the curriculum); and, 

  4. educate parents/guardians in arts-based mindfulness methods, which may reinforce the students’ learning and improve family systems. 

As of February 2022, HAP is being facilitated in elementary and high school classrooms within four school boards: Rainbow District School Board, Sudbury Catholic District School Board; Conseil scolaire public du Nord-Est de l’Ontario and Conseil scolaire catholique du Nouvel-Ontario.


  • Ph.D., University of New South Wales
  • M.S.W., University of Toronto
  • B.A., University of Guelph

On The Web

Article in The Conversation, January 12, 2020: Visual Arts Helps Marginalized Youth Learn Mindfulness and Self-Compassion

Research Website


Diana's current research investigates the effectiveness of arts-based/mindfulness-based group work. Her research interests include group work, holistic practices, and strengths-based approaches.  Diana has supervised graduate students in the areas of mindfulness, arts-based group work, Aboriginal girls and resilience, various social work practices, vicarious trauma, gender, and mental health.


  • Faculty of Health Excellence in Research Award (2018-2019)


  • Coholic, D. with MacEwan, L. (2022). Social Group Work: A Strengths-Based Approach. Northrose Educational Resources. 

  • Coholic, D., Schwabe, N., & Lander, K. (2020). A scoping review of arts-based mindfulness interventions for children and youth. Child & Adolescent Social Work Journal,  (Open Access)

  • Coholic, D. (2019). Facilitating Mindfulness: A Guide for Human Service Professionals. Whitby, ON: Northrose Educational Resources.  See: 

  • Coholic, D., Dano, K., Sindori, S., & Eys, M. (Feb 4, 2019). Group work in mindfulness-based interventions with youth: A scoping review [Special issue]. Social Work with Groups.

  • Coholic, D., Schinke, R., Oghene, O., Dano, K., Jago, M., McAlister, H., & Grynspan, P. (Feb 12, 2019). Arts-based interventions for youth with mental health challenges. Journal of Social Work.

  • Coholic, D., Eys, M., McAlister, H., Sugeng, S., & Smith, D. (2018). A mixed method pilot study exploring the benefits of an arts-based mindfulness group intervention with adults experiencing anxiety and depression. Social Work in Mental Health, 16 (5), 556-572doi: 10.1080/15332985.2018.1449774