Thursday Workshops

12:30 - 1:30 PM EDT 


MFTs Doing Good in the World
This fascinating interview series highlights MFTs doing good in our world with their work creating impactful change.

Aligning Advocacy to be within the MFT Scope of Practice

Amy Morgan, PhD

This session will provide participants with opportunities to consider pathways to leadership in the domain of advocacy. There are many common misconceptions of the prototype of the “effective advocate” when, in reality, some of the most impactful advocates don’t even see themselves in that role. This session will provide a forum to explore the wide spectrum of tasks under the umbrella of “advocacy,” address the array of skills central and peripheral to advocacy functions, and reflect on the “self of the advocate” in discerning one's goodness of fit with this role.


MFTs for Systemic Change: A Call to Action

Shacoya Graham, MA

Shacoya Graham believes that trained marriage & family therapists have the answers to healing our country and creating the systemic change that our country desires. We can no longer deny the multitude of social injustices that plague our country. A call to action was initiated to all systemic thinkers to hone into their craft and find ways to use their systems training to transform social injustice on a macro-level. Shacoya creates spaces where systemic thinkers from all over the country can connect, share ideas and resources, and collaborate in the areas of social justice and systemic change. Shacoya challenges all systemic therapists to bring their skills outside of the therapy room and become the change-makers that our country needs.


Mitigating our Risk for Burnout and Compassion Fatigue during COVID-19: The First Responder Toolkit

Tai Mendenhall, PhD

The "First Responder Toolkit" app was developed by an interdisciplinary team to support providers – mental health, biomedical, and others – in tracking and assessing their risk(s) for burnout and compassion fatigue, and to take steps in reducing or mitigating that risk(s). This publicly-available and free-of-charge technology includes self-assessment checklists, self-care tips, and a variety of other resources that are both general (i.e., everyday practice) and specific to our current COVID-19 situation(s). In this interview and Q & A session, one of the app's co-principal investigators will discuss the collaborative manner in which it was developed, how to use it, and future steps in applying and evaluating its effectiveness.


Incarceration and the Family

Eman Tadros, PhD

Eman's research follows the trajectory of incarceration and family systems, incorporating family therapy into incarcerated settings, and showing the potential efficacy of family systems theories within these settings. A series of research and clinical questions have guided her work. In this session, she will discuss understanding the relational struggles experienced by incarcerated individuals and their families and how MFTs can best serve this population. Her research strives to advance what is known about family dynamics and improve clinical treatment with this population.


Black Therapy Fridays: Using Social Media to Enhance Impact & Community Outreach

Lawrence Jackson, PhD

Black Therapy Fridays is a campaign that was created to help those struggling with mental health to receive tools and resources to improve their situations. Similar to Black Friday, which helps companies who are in the “red” return back to the “black”, Black Therapy Fridays utilizes different mechanisms to normalize mental health in our communities. Additionally, Black Therapy Fridays creator “The Black Male Therapist” has found more ways to make an impact in the community by creating a clothing line that further normalizes mental health through the use of fashion. Together, Black Therapy Fridays and the apparel line helps promote mental health awareness, inspires youth through visibility, and empowers others in the community with the use of social media.


Reflections on Supporting Chinese-American Clergy during a Pandemic

Victoria Moon Ling Chiu, LMHC

The COVID-19 global pandemic exposed disparities domestically and abroad while also providing opportunities for mental health practitioners to support clergy, an under-resourced group who are often first responders. Chinese-American clergy were especially vulnerable during this pandemic due to the effects of systemic racism. In this interview, Ms. Chiu reflects on virtual experiences of supporting clergy as both an ethnic minority faith community member as well as a bicultural mental health professional. Drawing from Bronfenbrenner’s ecosystemic model and Boss’ family stress model, she highlights salient issues for mental health professionals to consider in supporting Chinese-American clergy.


MFT Role in Disaster Relief: A Case Study

Kyle Horst, PhD

The following presentation will consider the role MFTs can have in supporting communities during and after a natural disaster. This session will include a case study of the work of MFTs during and after the 2018 Camp Fire in Butte County, California. The presentation will consider how MFTs can serve beyond their typical capacity in order to better meet the needs of communities in distress. Participants will consider ways they can proactively prepare their community's response to a natural disaster, as well as offer resources for further study and training.


It’s Your Circus: Monkey See, Monkey Do Something About It

Sarah Woods, PhD

Dr. Sarah Woods is early in the process of learning to teach, to research, and to use her voice. Applying early-found talents for advocacy to underserved patient populations, vulnerable supervisees, and the profession of family therapy has become a mission, and a hobby. Through trial and error, she has found her way to writing op-eds and learning about the legislative process as a way to advocate, but also as a form of self-care. In this interview, Sarah shares lessons learned, ideas about how to get engaged, and  the benefits of collectively moving upstream to create change and counter burnout.


2:30 PM - 3:30 PM EDT

Sex Therapy Assessment Strategies: Comprehensive and Systemic Tools

Andrew Mercurio, DMin

This session will offer five sex therapy assessment strategies: SEX SCAN - identifying sexual differences, difficulties, and disorders; S.O.U.R.C.E. Model - evaluating specific sexual problems; S.E.C.R.E.T. Model - exploring sexual history; SEXUAL PREFERENCE ZONES - discerning sexual preferences, priorities, and prohibitions; 3-DE GRID -recognizing etiological factors. Contraindications and limitations will be addressed. Interactive Q&A and relevant role-play will be utilized.


Deconstructing Norms & Isms: Therapy with Trans & Nonbinary Clients

Katelyn Coburn, MS

Kay Burningham, MS

Christi McGeorge, PhD

This workshop will present research about mental health challenges for trans and non-binary people resulting from cissexism. Self-of-the-therapist strategies family therapists can use to deconstruct cisnormativity and transnormativity will be presented. Clinical intervention ideas drawing from queer theory and narrative therapy that therapists can use to assist trans and non-binary clients in constructing their preferred gender narratives will be discussed.


BSFT ®: Service Delivery Adaptations for Agencies with EBPs

Silvia Kaminsky, MSEd

Olga Hervis, MSW

This session will provide an overview of the various elements of BSFT ® that constitute the evidence-based clinical skills utilized by the model to work with family systems. The presenters will illustrate the ways that systemic clinicians can adapt their training in agencies so that family therapy can be integrated in their service delivery programs.


The Global Supervisor: Adapting Western Methods for Eastern Contexts

John Miller, PhD

Contemporary family therapy originated in Western cultures, and is now being exported throughout the Eastern world.  What is the appropriate ethos for the application of Western models in non-Western contexts?  How should supervisory methods be adapted to keep up with these changes?  This presentation will discuss these and boarder issues toward a theory of exporting Western modes to non-Western contexts.


Beyond Borders: Reunifying Families in Family Therapy

Ashley Landers, PhD

Jessica Simpson, BS

Noah Gagner, PhD

Brittany Robinson, PhD

In the wake of family separation by immigration, parental incarceration, child maltreatment, foster care, and adoption, this workshop illuminates the complex experiences of reunifying families. Implications for family therapists working with reunifying families will be explored. The experiences of reunifying families, current research, and the application of family therapy models can offer guidance to MFTs to better serve reunifying families.


The Family Body Project: Family-level Prevention of Eating Disorders

Deanna Linville, PhD

Jackie Cowell, MS

Celeste Mena-Morales, MS

Felicia Gutierrez, BS

Developing optimally effective eating disorder prevention programs is a key public health priority. This workshop will describe how an evidence-based adolescent eating disorder prevention program was adapted to involve family members. Participants will learn methods for transforming clinical interventions to target family level change and how clinicians can incorporate effective eating disorder prevention strategies into their clinical work.


Effective Systemic Approaches for Opioid Use Disorders

William Northey, PhD

Catherine Devaney McKay

Opioid Use Disorders (OUD) are complex, multi-causal problems that reverberate through families and communities. Utilizing systemic lens effective interventions that address the interplay of biology, trauma, gender, family dynamics, and systems of care participants will explore effective approaches to helping families navigate the complex process of treatment engagement and recovery.

Taming Buffalo’s: Family Play Therapy for Disruptive Behaviors

Michael Whitehead, PhD

Disruptive Behavior Disorders (ADHD, ODD, CD, ASD, etc.) tend to be the most sought out concerns for families and schools. Treating DBD's is difficult and requires a combination of experience, training, and intuition. The combination of systemic therapy with play therapy techniques helps bridge the gaps that are often present in treating these disorders. Using a theory driven approach, participants will explore how circular causality, triangulation, and paradoxical interdependence reinforce disruptive behaviors. The presenter will demonstrate how child-centered play therapy, filial play therapy, and directed play therapy utilize these systemic principles to create renewed homeostasis for families with a child(ren) who have disruptive behaviors.

3:45 PM - 4:45 PM EDT

Supervision of MFT Trainees Working with Veterans and Their Families

Tatiana Melendez-Rhodes, PhD

Judith Adel, MA

In this workshop, participants will identify most common issues presented in military and veteran families and couples during supervision. Case conceptualization, selection of effective therapeutic models, strategies and methods supervisors can use with their supervisees will be discussed. Supervisor-supervisee relationship and self of the therapist will be examined as supervisees will often work with trauma on a regular basis.


Evolution of Clinical Simulation in Family Therapy Training Programs

Chris Habben, PhD

Sarah Lyon, PhD

This session will introduce participants to the evolutionary efforts made by an MFT program to simulate clinical experience, including initial exposure to mixed-reality simulation.  Participants will learn about applications of mixed-reality simulation beyond student learning, such as assessment of clinical learning, development of a clinical portfolio, use of training for skill remediation, and determination of program readiness for prospective students.


From Darkness to Light: Managing Microaggressions in the Room

Erin Schaefer, MA

Silvia Kaminsky, MSEd

Marvarene Oliver, EdD

In today’s sociopolitical climate, clinicians can be prone to reactivity, making necessary reflectivity/reflexivity difficult. Using vignettes from personal histories, presenters will address examination of personal/contextual privilege in their work with supervisees, students, clients, and colleagues. What is the clinician’s ethical, clinical responsibility, if any, if the client/supervisee makes a bigoted comment in the session about a third party? What if the comment is about a person in the demographic of the clinician, whether or not the client/supervisee is aware of the clinician’s personal background?  To date, the ethical codes of all the mental health disciplines have not addressed this clinical or self-of-the-therapist dilemma head on. The workshop will provide participants with a framework to make ethical, best practice, informed decisions based on the three presenters’ own personal contexts and nearly 100 years of combined professional experience in distinct work settings: private practice, agency, and academia.


Body Dysmorphia: Using Systems Theory to Mend a Broken Image

Heather Morgan-Sowada, PhD

Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a debilitating disorder in which the individual is preoccupied with the idea that aspects of their physical appearance are deformed, defective, or hideous. This presentation will review the current state of literature and identify a new way of conceptualizing BDD through a family systems lens. Specifically, effective ways to treat BDD using SFBT and Attachment Theory.


Family Screen Time: Strategies for Parenting in the Digital Age

Diane Gehart, PhD

Jennifer Pemberton, PhD

Participants will learn about contemporary parenting issues related to screen time, including recent neuroscience, developmental issues, and formal guidelines. Therapists will learn about the current best practices for monitoring children’s digital time based on age, including 0-2, preschool, elementary, and middle/high school.


ACEs in the School: Student, Parent, and Teacher Experiences

Angela Lamson, PhD

Corin Davis, MS

Natalie Richardson, MS

The role of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) has emerged as a pivotal concern in the biological, psychological, and social development of children. Simultaneously integrated care is forging forward as a best practice; rarely is there an opportunity to deliver trauma-informed and resiliency-focused treatment as part of an integrated care model in schools. This presentation introduces one such model.


Intimate Partner Violence: Victim, Perpetrator and the Couple

Gunnur Karakurt, PhD

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a complex problem with multiple layers of heterogeneity. Growing evidence suggests clear distinction between different types of violence. We analyzed data from 1573 individuals via hierarchical clustering to find subgroups of violence. Distinguishing these subgroups is critical to develop a deeper understanding not only to identify the causal features of violence but also to guide the treatment efforts. These distinctions will be particularly beneficial for couple therapy.