Friday Workshops

Friday Workshops: Topical Interest Network Tracks

Friday's workshops are hosted by leaders of AAMFT's Topical Interest Networks. Click on the second tab to see sessions sorted by track.

1:00 - 2:00 PM EDT


Family Therapists in Healthcare:

Assessing MFTs' Perceptions of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities

Dorcas Matowe, PhD

Kara Erolin, PhD

More than thirty years after the first report on minority health, minority populations continue to experience higher rates of disease, morbidity, and mortality. Factors contributing to these health disparities include discrimination, health care bias, lack of multiculturally competent care, insufficient health insurance, and patient mistrust. Participants will learn how their perceptions, education, training, and knowledge of health disparities influence practice.


Systemic Therapy Across the Lifespan:

Experiential Family Therapy Across the Life Cycle

Amanda Szarzynski, PhD

Jennifer Moore, MAMFT

The session will review the foundational concepts of Experiential Family Therapy as pioneered by Carl Whitaker and Virginia Satir and apply this model to trending issues in major phases of the life cycle (e.g. children, adolescents, adults, and older adults). An Experiential case conceptualization and intervention application for each life cycle phase will be presented.


Margins to Center: Cultural Connections among C/MFTs:

Racial Socialization in Black Families and Clinical Implications

Leslie Anderson, PhD

Margaret Caughy, ScD

Margaret Owen, PhD

Racial socialization in Black American families can lead to significant positive outcomes in children. There are implications for how MFTs working with Black families can utilize racial socialization to support them in their work with these families. This session will highlight the findings of a qualitative exploration of this process and key factors that can be critical to therapy.


Couples and Intimate Relationships:

Childhood Trauma, Addiction and Couple Relationship

Bonnie Lee, PhD

Participants will learn to help couples process traumatic childhood experiences, addiction and couple communication using the four-dimensional framework of Congruence Couple Therapy. This new evidence-based model showed superior clinical outcomes compared to individually-focused treatments. Video clips, role-plays and demonstrations will bring the interventions to life. Clients and clinicians highlight why this model is so important in addiction and trauma work.


Family Therapists in Schools:

Connecting the School-Based Family Therapy Dots: Tracing the Growth of Systemic Family Therapy in American Schools

Kathleen Laundy, PsyD

Erin Cushing, MA

Wade H. Fuqua, PhD

Laura Wallace, PhD

Eileen Klima, MA

This presentation traces the history of our Topical Interest Network (TIN) over the past two years.  It outlines how MFTs are connecting with school-based practice through state certification, private contracts, and community partnerships across America.  It tracks the growth of our Family Therapy in Schools TIN through bimonthly Zoom workshops, a Spotlight Newsletter, and our online email forum for members to communicate with each other.  Our aim is to showcase and connect with our growing membership in the US, Canada, and the world. The session includes a PowerPoint summary by our leadership team that we recently presented at the international Oxford Symposium for School-Based Family Counseling.


Queer and Trans Advocacy:

Bisexual Couples: Clinical Implications from a Study on Binegativity

Mary R. Nedela, MS

April Few-Demo, PhD

Erika L. Grafsky, PhD

This presentation will explore an emerging process model derived from a qualitative study investigating the impact of attitudes regarding bisexuality on relationship satisfaction among female same-gender couples with at least one bisexual partner. The presenters will explain the model and potential applications to male same-gender couples. Clinical implications will be given to assist therapists in working with bisexual couples.


MFTs Working with Trauma Interest Network:

Relational Factors and IPV Perpetration among Chinese College Women

Jingshuai Du,

Sandra Stith, PhD

Jared Durtschi, PhD

Chelsea Spencer, PhD

This session will present  how relationship factors, including anger management, communication problems, relationship conflict, and relationship distress are linked with female physical and psychological IPV perpetration among Chinese college women. It will challenge participants' traditional gendered view about IPV in China and pay more attention to female perpetration of IPV in China.

Telehealth and Technology

Advanced Issues in Telemental Health

Jaclyn Cravens, PhD

Aaron Norton, PhD

Shelley Smith, MA

Jen Labanowski, MS

This workshop will address advanced issues in the practice of teletherapy. Participants will learn about adapting their theory of therapy for teletherapy, de-escalation of conflict during teletherapy sessions, and addressing issues related to intimate partner violence.


2:15 - 3:15 PM EDT


Queer and Trans Advocacy:

Rock n Roll, Gender Conformity, and Suicide

Justin S. Romney, MS

Lindsey Hawkins, MS

Kristy Soloski, PhD

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death across all age groups (WHO, 2017), more specifically, suicidality among Transgender, Trans, or gender non-conforming (TGNC) youth are more than 3.6 times more likely to report suicidal ideation and 3.2 times more likely to attempt suicide (Reisner et al., 2015). In an effort to address this gap in the literature, the presenter will provide awareness and contextual understanding on how increasing family support can reduce suicidal ideation among TGNC youth and how MFTs can best treat TGNC youth who report suicidal ideation.


Family Therapists in Schools:

MFTs Working Collaboratively in Schools for Social Justice

Kathleen Laundy, PsyD

Mike Rankin, MA

Anne Rambo, PhD

This presentation will address how MFTs are joining with parents, students, teachers and administrators in several systemic levels of schools to address the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, increase awareness of elements that perpetuate systemic racism, and support student achievement and resiliency.  It will highlight MFT leadership from several states who illustrate the timeliness and effectiveness of school mental health teams who are equipped to support many systemic layers of school health.


MFTs Working with Trauma:

Seeking Help Online: Decisions and Questions After Sexual Assault

Abigail Sagers

Jordan Gibby

Jason Whiting, PhD

Presenters will discuss research analyzing online help-seeking behaviors (specifically on Reddit), including identifying what survivors choose to disclose and what questions and help they seek from an online community. This information is intended to help clinicians better comprehend the experience of sexual assault survivors, and their common needs, questions, and struggles post-victimization, as disclosed online.


Telehealth and Technology:

Expanding your Practice by Using the Latest Technology

Kathleene Derrig-Palumbo, PhD

Online Therapy is an effective medium that pushes the envelope for therapeutic interventions with a variety of clients, especially people unwilling or unable to receive traditional, face-to-face therapy. Enhance your practice by incorporating technology to expand your client base and provide your clients more options. Technology is an effective medium for using systemic based family therapy approaches and interventions with a broad spectrum of clients. Learn how to effectively add technology to your practice.


Couples and Intimate Relationships: 

Common Factors of Couple Recovery from Problematic Pornography Use

Travis Spencer, MS

Alex Theobald, LMFTA

Ryan Seedall, PhD

Research regarding the treatment of problematic pornography use has been relatively limited. The present study utilized a phenomenological approach by interviewing 11 couples. This session will highlight five overarching themes: catalysts for recovery, foundation of support, the work of recovery, developing healing perspectives, and avoiding impediments/hindrances.  It will also highlight systemic elements of recovery and important therapeutic implications.

Systemic Therapy Across the Lifespan: 

Ecological Relationships: Moving from You and Me to Us

Terry Real

New insights from Interpersonal Neurobiology teach us that the ideal of free-standing individualism is a myth. Our brains are social. This talk offers therapists practical steps to help clients transform the way they live -  from the culture of dominance to the richness of interdependence, from adversarial  self-interest to collaborative systemic wisdom.

Margins to Center: Cultural Connections Among C/MFTs: 

The Systemic Impact of Gentrification on Mental Health

Sandra Espinoza, PsyD

Iman Dadras, PhD

Courtney Rago, BA

Caitlin Artiaga, BA

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2009), gentrification is not only a housing and economic issue, but also a health issue. As many clinicians practice in urban areas, it is important to consider the context of a client’s life and how their basic needs, such as housing, are impacted by social phenomena including gentrification. When viewing clients through a systemic lens, clinicians are encouraged to consider the effects macro-systems have on their well-being. The aim of this presentation is to train clinicians to identify mental health symptoms (i.e.: trauma, stress) resulting from gentrification as well as how to conceptualize treatment from a systemic framework.


3:30 - 4:30 PM EDT


Telehealth and Technology:

Minimum Standards for Systemic Therapy Applications

Richard Long, PhD

Katherine Hertlein, PhD

Aaron Cohn, PhD

Micah Berryhill, PhD

This session will present the conclusions of the Systemic Family Therapy Applications Workgroup. Findings highlight what is meant by systemic applications, the needs for guidance around there use, the minimum application standards, ways applications can be integrated into the tasks of a marriage and family therapist. The presenters will provide vignettes for using applications and  measuring client outcomes.


Queer and Trans Advocacy:

Helping Family Therapists work Ethically with LGBTQ Clients

Christi McGeorge, PhD

Katelyn Coburn, MS

Hoa Nguyen, PhD

This workshop will explore important ethical challenges for working with LGBTQ clients and will connect each of these ethical injustices and considerations to specific standards within the AAMFT Code of Ethics. To contextualize these ethical challenges, we will present governmental laws and policies that have both restricted LGBTQ civil rights as well as granted basic civil rights and protections.


Family Therapists in Healthcare:

Ethical Considerations in Healthcare Collaborations

Angela Hiefner,

Marriage and Family Therapists are increasingly working in healthcare settings and engaging in collaborations with healthcare providers. Within these collaborations, clinicians from multiple disciplines work together to serve the needs of an individual, couple, or family. However, each discipline has a distinct set of ethical guidelines, which can create challenges as multidisciplinary teams navigate patient care. This presentation will explore the unique ethical considerations for MFTs working in these settings. Discipline-specific ethical guidelines and case examples will be used to explore issues of informed consent, confidentiality, dual relationships, and scope of practice to support MFTs in navigating these issues within interdisciplinary collaborations.


Family Therapists in Schools:

Questions, Answers and Discussion about the Health and Culture Dilemmas We Face in Education Today

Kathleen Laundy, PsyD

Erin Cushing, MA

Wade H. Fuqua, PhD

Mike Rankin, MA

Eileen Klima, MA

This live session will address the questions, dilemmas, and opportunities we currently face about the coronavirus and social justice in schools as MFTs.  We will summarize several topics we have discussed in TIN webinars that we recorded this year (setting up programs, working systemically with families with cultural and health needs, establishing community partnerships, etc.).  Our Family Therapy in Schools Leadership Team will head this presentation for MFTs across the country.


Couples and Intimate Relationships:

 Couple Therapy Models in the Golden Age: An Analysis of Claims

Nathan Hardy, PhD

Adam Fisher, PhD

This forum will provide an overview of six popular models of couple therapy. Through presentation, handouts, and discussion, this session will explore the “claims” of each model. Participants will learn how to navigate controversies behind the models, politics of model-promotion, and model-based trainings. Finally, participants will learn a pioneering approach to weaving the models together into an integrative systemic framework.


MFTs Working with Trauma:

Trauma and Exposure to Violence Among At-Risk Youth

Tatjana M. Farley, MA

Lenore M. McWey, PhD

The discussion will review the linkages between violence, trauma, and internalizing and externalizing symptoms and test the extent to which gender and ethnicity moderated those associations. It will highlight important moderating effects and discuss finding from a complex trauma perspective and emphasize how the implications of this study can inform future clinical practice and research.


Systemic Therapy Across the Lifespan:

Relationship Rebalancing:  A New Tool for Relational Repair

Lauren G. Kahn, MSW

Looking for new ways to see relationship challenges and help clients address them in more conscious, less reactive ways?  Relationship Rebalancing gives therapists and clients a useful, easy tool to teach and learn, that sticks.  It is a template you will take with you and be able to present to clients immediately and use consistently and effectively in your practice.

Margins to Center: Cultural Connections Among C/MFTs: 

Religious Beliefs: Their impact on sexually abused Latinas

Julian F. Crespo, MS

This session will feature a critical discussion on the need to consider social location and cultural humility in the therapy room, specifically when working with Latinas who experienced sexual violence.  Clinical strategies in working with Latina will be offered.  Participants will be encouraged to share their own experiences, and questions.