2024 Annual Conference

Session Information

A Systemic Approach to Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders

Allison O'Brien, LMFT, PMH-C 

Therapy for clients experiencing infertility, loss, birth trauma, postpartum depression, and other perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) is nuanced and requires a systemic approach. Looking at culture, attachment, support, boundaries, self-advocacy, and medical systems, as everything from trying to conceive to raising an infant requires interactions between many individuals and systems. We will discuss important considerations and strategies for helping clients heal and grow in the perinatal period of life. 

Nurturing Resilient Family Structures: Exploring the Impact of Early Childhood Therapy on Family Dynamics

Michelle Martincek, LMFT 

Join us for an engaging exploration into the profound impact of early childhood therapy on family dynamics. This session invites you to delve into a multifaceted discussion that will deepen your understanding of crucial aspects in the field, including the positive impact of Early Childhood Therapy, the evolving connection between child and caregiver, emotional regulation within the family structure, building relationships based on trust and safety, and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and brain development. 
Prepare to leave this session equipped with a deeper understanding of the critical role early childhood therapy plays in shaping resilient family structures. Whether you're a seasoned therapist or just beginning your journey, this session promises to provide valuable insights and actionable strategies to enrich your practice.

A Comprehensive Look at the Impacts and Implications of Substance Use on Adult Individuals and their Families

Dr. Sandra Bruno, MS, DMIN, LMFT, AADC 

Substance use has a profound impact on individuals and families. Whether this impact is the result of a substance use disorder or a prescribed medication, those affected are left to comprehend and cope with lives connected to substance use. All aspects of family life are affected, such as marital and family dynamics, often leaving families to face complex challenges of addiction and overdose deaths. The fundamentals of family life systems may be challenging for both fledgling and seasoned therapists. Military and veteran populations are at a higher risk of substance use and abuse due to the unique culture associated with military life and the results of PTSD. This course will focus on common illicit and licit drugs used by the American adult population and specific demographics surveyed. The presentation will highlight the opioid epidemic, fentanyl use, and other drugs associated with addiction. An additional focus is on the seriousness and prevalence of Alcohol use and its impact on American society, including binge drinking, alcohol addiction, preventable death, and social and health issues. An essential piece in need of reviewing is the diagnosis of the disease, along with co-occurring disorders prevalent in the therapy arena. This presentation will emphasize clinical determinations, assessment for substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders, the development of treatment plans with goals and methods used with evidenced-based therapeutic approaches and relevant ethical standards.

Identity and Belonging: Family Therapy for Attachment Injuries Across the Life Span

Dr. Suzanne Hanna, Ph.D., LMFT

This workshop is a map to transform woundedness into healing. As mental health treatment continues with increased demand, much of the need stems from traumas that may involve relationships, such as parent, sibling, peer or religious abuse. During the life span, there may be couple, divorce, military, medical, cultural and racial trauma. All these at any age may involve near death sensations that disrupt adult functioning. Diagnostic categories have failed to capture and define the complexity of these experiences, but neuroscientists have shed convincing light on a number of conditions that can be understood and treated successfully from an integrative holistic perspective. These developments fit perfectly with the unique systemic and ecological perspectives of MFTs. They also add important justification for why interpersonal interventions should become a standard part of trauma care. When adult functioning is seen through the lens of accumulated trauma, treatment can move from a disease and illness model to that of wound care. The wounds of identity and belonging are imprinted in the body. In medicine, wound healing is much different than disease management and the steps to successful care illustrate how different approaches can liberate the wounded.

Second Annual New Professional Presentation: Seven Principles for Making Relationships Work - Based on the internationally acclaimed research of Drs. John and Julie Gottman

Magdaline Braxton, LMFTA 

In this presentation, participants will learn three primary premises for making relationships work: enhanced friendship within the relationship, ability to manage conflict within the relationship, develop shared meaning. As a bonus, clinicians will find that the premise of the Gottman Method is: relational, practical, diverse, ease in application.

New Wine in Old Wineskins: Breathing Life Into That Old Support Group Experience 

Steve Sweatt, LMFT, LPC-S, M.Ed, M.Div 

This session will provide clinical instruction concerning facilitation of grief support groups which promote conversational depth and bonding.