Workshops 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
All times are listed in Eastern Standard Time (ET). Once logged onto the event platform, Juno, times will reflect the time zone that you are currently located in.
Family Systems Theory and Anxiety: Systemic Diagnosis and Intervention
Jacob Priest, PhD
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders in the United States, yet treatments for them are not effective for many. Family systems theory can reconceptualize our understanding of anxiety disorders and help us intervene more effectively. This presentation applies family systems theory to anxiety disorders and demonstrates how to systemically diagnosis and intervene to better treat anxiety disorders
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to apply family systems theory to anxiety disorders.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to systemically diagnosis anxiety in individuals, couples, and families.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to intervene to systemically treat anxiety disorders.
Coming Home: Family Adjustment after Incarceration
Amy Morgan, PhD
Given the unprecedented numbers of individuals returning to life outside prison, practitioners must have knowledge and skills to provide effective family therapy. With a focus on addressing disruptions in relationships and family reorganization, this presentation will provide attendees with advanced training on the clinical issues, as well as best treatment practices, in helping families navigate post-incarceration family reentry.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to describe the common experiences and clinical features of families experiencing a parent returning home following incarceration.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to describe the best treatment practices and interventions for families navigating post-incarceration community and family reentry.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to integrate trauma-informed family therapy interventions to address ambiguous loss and family reorganization.
Intersecting Spirituality and the Practice of Marriage and Family Therapy
Christopher M. Habben, PhD
Spirituality is a meaningful aspect of the human experience and instrumental for many in coping with the challenges of the human experience. However, spirituality is not often addressed in clinical training programs. This presentation will begin with an introduction to the nature of spirituality as something related to but distinct from organized religion. This discussion will be followed by a review of research related to the efficacy spirituality has had in health and mental health. The primary section of the presentation will endeavor to utilize current models of systemic therapy to engage and integrate the concept of spirituality. The final section will be a presentation of how genuine dialogue on spirituality could potentially be a model for conversation on other matters of social difference. This will end with an invitation to consider the Spirituality Interest Network.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to recognize differences between Spirituality and Religion.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to recognize the contribution of spirituality to effectively cope with the human condition.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to consider means to integrate spirituality into clinical practice.
THE R-MODEL: An Integrative and Flexible Approach to Help Couples with Special Needs Children Navigate the Unique Challenges that Naturally Occur and Develop Over Time
Brad Lee, LMFT
Do you have clients that have a special needs child? Do you consider the impact that a special needs child has on marriage and family relationships? More than 18 million families have a special needs child impacting the marital/family system in great and small ways. The divorce rate among those with a special needs child is estimated as high as 70-80%. The R-Model can invigorate your approach to helping these families that so often struggle in silence and often do not know where to turn for help and support. Don’t miss the opportunity to put this multi-functional therapeutic tool in your kit bag.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to define the Special Needs Marriage and the unique features that present in therapy.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to employ a treatment plan in order to effectively and adaptively provide effective therapy utilizing the concepts and interventions from the R-Model.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to broaden my scope of practice and understanding further fostering awareness and inclusivity to this unique population of marriages and families in our communities.
The Attitudes of Arab American Muslims toward Mental Health Services
Muslims American are a growing distinctive subgroup of the U.S. population with inadequate studies of their wellbeing and health (Maslim & Bjorck, 2009). The mixture and distinctiveness of the Muslim Americans’ population is considered a great challenge to researchers who purse to study how Muslims embrace the American norms and values (Bagasra & Mackinem, 2019). Minorities are less likely to seek formal mental health services, detailed research on the Arab American Muslims’ population is missing.. Numerous obstacles impede the utilization of mental health services. (Park et al., 2013). Nonetheless, the level to which each of these factors influences the decision to seek help from mental health professionals is vague between Muslim Arab Americans (Park et al., 2013). The insufficient studies that have been done with the Arab American population showed that mental health services are underutilized (Hamid & Furnham, 2013).
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to understand the effect of acculturation, religion, and cultural beliefs on whether an individual exhibits positive or negative attitudes toward mental health.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to to predict if religion would have positive or negative attitudes toward mental health.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to to understand the attitudes and behavior of such minority groups toward mental health services.
Understanding the Dynamics of Black Mothers and Daughters
Brittney Scott, MA
The mother daughter relationship is one that changes over the lifespan and can appear to be complicated. It can be difficult to understand the dynamics that cause the relationship to struggle. When working with and discussing Black mothers and daughters, there needs to be an understanding of the impact that slavery, pain, and fear has had, and still does have, on this relationship.
This session is the second in a three-part series on Mother-Daughter Attachment Dynamics. In this session I will discuss how fear is used as a protective measure and how poverty can impact the relationship. I will also discuss ‘secret keeping’ in Black families, how it affects emotional support, and what black daughters need.
I will explain how Mother-Daughter History Mapping brings understanding to the generational cycle and helps mother-daughter clients see the dynamics that have been passed down. This exercise highlights the need for ‘respect’ in the black community and how it hinders relationship growth when the daughter becomes an adult.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to understand the underlying dynamics between Black mothers and daughters.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to understand how fear-based parenting decreases emotional support.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to identify the obstacles in the relationship between Black mothers and daughters.
Teen Family Prevention and Intervention for Eating Disorders
Deanna Linville, PhD
Jackie Cowell, MS
Jill Torres, MS
In this session, the presenters will provide information on the key biopsychosocial influences on the development of eating disorders and how Marriage and Family Therapists can help teen families to prevent and support recovery from eating disorders. Presenters will discuss how to respond to risk factors, such as body image dissatisfaction and promote protective factors, such as body acceptance. Research findings from the Family Body Project study, which examined the preliminary effectiveness of a family eating disorder prevention intervention will be shared. There will be an emphasis in this session on how family therapists can implement strategies in their work with teen families experiencing the broad spectrum of the emergence of disordered eating patterns through teens in recovery from an eating disorder.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to identify 3 risk factors and 3 protective factors for eating disorders within the family system.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to name and implement 3 family-based prevention and intervention strategies that target disordered eating, body dissatisfaction, and promote body acceptance in teens.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to understand the role that eating disorders play in families and the role of family in eating disorder recovery.
Learning Labs 2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
Creating Safe and Accessible Therapy Services for Disabled Clients: Mindful Strategies to Open our Doors to the Disabled Community
Manasi Shankar, MS
This session will include a presentation on disabled people’s experiences of psychotherapy and peer-reviewed research that supports these claims. It will also address the impact of the reduced accessibility to therapy on the quality of life of disabled people. The presentation will precede an interactive discussion on practical strategies to enhance effective clinical services for the disabled community.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to learn about the impact of reduced access to therapy services, on disabled people and their families.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to discuss applicable strategies that can enhance my practice and make it more inclusive.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to adapt these strategies to serve disabled clients in a safer and more effective way as a result of this discussion.
Four Innovative Practices to Quickly Down Regulate Intense Emotions: Using Neuro-affective Studies to Help Clients Regain Emotional Balance
Marie-Nathalie Beaudoin, PhD
Most of the people seeking our help wish to stop the destructive influence of intense anxiety, anger or depression, which biologically highjack their experience and constructive problem solving. Intentions alone are often not enough for sustainable change to occur and many clients find themselves unable to manage intense embodied reactions. This session will describe concrete practices which facilitate these embodied transitions to preferred affective states and empower our clients to have more intentional control over their emotions. Four innovative practices to quickly down regulate emotions are demonstrated with clinical examples of application in therapeutic practice. Inspired by Interpersonal neurobiology and neuro-affective studies, these ideas can be helpful in a variety of settings and with a wide range of people of all ages.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to understand which areas of the brain and body are typically involved in intense emotions.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to help clients down regulate some of their intense emotions.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to better facilitate transitions from clients’ intense reactive experiences to intentionally embodying and sustaining the person their prefer to be.
Cultivating Systemic Resilience
Christie Eppler, PhD
On May 18, 2021, zandashé l’orelia brown tweeted, “I dream of never being called resilient again in my life. I’m exhausted by strength. I want support. I want softness. I want ease. I want to be amongst kin. Not patted on the back for how well I take a hit. Or for how many.” The concept of resilience has been redefined by popular culture from its roots as strength-based functioning and relational support to toughness, solo endurance, and a pick-yourself-up attitude. Taking a bubble bath or connecting with nature, according to a dominant narrative, nurtures resilience. There are, however, other factors that contribute to resilience. Research-based resilience models emphasize the importance of at least one significant and supportive relationship. Individual strengths and self-care are important, but systemic resilience emphasizes life-giving connections, community strengths, and coping with and overcoming adversity across multiple spheres. Practices related to systemic resilience include collective coping, adaptability, sharing visions for growth, and communicating effectively. Clinicians who foster resilience assist clients in resolving presenting problems and thriving. Understanding systemic resilience can assist therapists in conceptualizing cases, planning treatment, and developing supportive therapeutic relationships.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to define systemic resilience.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to identify two concepts from family therapy models that support cultivating systemic resilience.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to apply one technique that will help clients amplify their systemic resilience.
Ethical Implications and Legal Issues Related to Telehealth
Tatiana Melendez-Rhodes, PhD
James Punelli, II, JD
This session will focus on clinical applications of advertising, boundary, and telehealth issues as covered in AAMFT's Code of Ethics with specific emphasis on limitations and potential violations. Technology today has profoundly changed the delivery of therapy to clients. This session will discuss the legal and ethical issues in the advancements of technology as it relates to advertisements, boundary issues, and telehealth.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to identify limitations and potential violations in the use of telehealth.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to describe ethical and legal issues related to boundaries while using telehealth.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to recognize strategies to prevent ethical issues related to advertisement.
This Time is the Right Time for MFTs to Engage Their Leadership Superpowers
Kelly M. Roberts, PhD
The U.S. trend in leadership models and literature has been steadily heading toward the "interpersonal exchange" for years. Organizations like Global Leadership and speakers like Brene Brown are now answering questions having nothing to do with productivity metrics and everything to do with building culture. As a systemic family therapist, you may be especially equipped to provide leadership yourself, or to advise leadership within corporate or professional contexts. This workshop will identify leadership literature trends, overview ageless concepts and those that quickly fade, then talk specifically to the profession of family therapy and its role within leadership circles. The latter portion will be used to interact with the audience through current leadership scenarios and the application of MFT skill sets.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to survey U.S. leadership model evolution across history.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to examine contemporary cutting edge leadership models and identify key elements related to the MFT skill set.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to apply MFT skill sets to real-world leadership scenarios and discuss the benefits of these approaches.
Using the Body to Regulate Emotion: Perspectives from DBT
Suzette Bray, LMFT
Clients (and therapists!) often experience emotions that are sudden and overwhelming. Being able to use the body to reduce vulnerability to emotion, increase ability to recognize and anticipate emotional responses and regulate emotional response is vital to not being swept away by strong emotions. This workshop will provide therapists with tools to teach their clients to use both in and out of session and be effective in their daily lives
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to name three skills to quickly reduce emotional intensity.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to identify the role of self-care practices in reducing emotional vulnerability.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to identify body postures that can assist clients in regulating emotions.
Working Systemically with Children and Families in Foster Care
On average, 7,700 children enter the foster care system everyday due to neglect and/or abuse. Domestic violence, sexual abuse and drug use are the leading indicators of neglect and/or abuse for investigators. Systemic clinicians have an opportunity to expand their client base with adequate education and training. Attendance at this session will provide a starting point for therapists interested in meeting the needs of this at risk population.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to identify assessment tools for use with foster children and their families.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to give examples of treatment approaches for use with foster children and their families.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to point out benefits of working with children and families in foster care.
Systemic Therapy Approaches for Helping Neurodivergent Families
Deanna Linville, PhD
Emily Johnson, LMFT
Jennifer Ludwig, MS
This session will focus on understanding the unique challenges and relational patterns that neurodivergent families often face. Often the focus of interventions and the research is on how to support one neurodivergent child in a family; this session will provide information and then facilitate discussion that is focused on how family relationships and functioning can be impacted when more than one family member experiences one or more conditions such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and Dyslexia. Clinical strategies for helping neurodivergent families (i.e., neurofeedback) will be shared through collaborative discussion with participants.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to understand some of the unique challenges and relational patterns that neurodivergent families face.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to identify clinical strategies for working with the unique challenges faced by neurodivergent families.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to understand the role that neurofeedback can play in helping neurodivergent find more biopsychosocial wellness.
Workshops 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Inviting Responsibility: Standing Up Against Violence in Relationships
John M. Robbins, PhD
Heather J. Ambrose, PhD
Christie Jenkins, PhD
Many treatment protocols for violent behaviors in couples is to first focus on individual work, where the perpetrator of violence pressed to be accountable for their behaviors. Yet many times, treatment that focuses on accountability limits the client’s space to internalize and argue for his/her own preferred self. By using education and pushing the perpetrator of violence to “fess up” to their behavior, the therapist takes responsibility for the client’s moral development. Additionally, this individual focus does not allow for the couple to stand-up against violence together, thus starting a process of building a relationship that does not accept violence to be a part of it. This workshop focuses on an approach to treatment of violent, out of control behavior, by highlighting the individual’s honorable self and the couple’s moral development. The presenters will introduce participants to themes that serve as entry points to critical, moral discussions. The presenters will speak to a process of creating invitations to responsibility for couple’s to discover their honorable selves and establish moral rules for their relationship, eliminating violence.
This workshop focuses on the presenter’s unique approach to working with violent couples. Combining the ideas of Alan Jenkins work with violent and aggressive men, William Madsen’s ideas of the “appreciative ally,” and Brene Brown’s ideas of vulnerability being the birthplace of courage, the presenters offer specific ways of opening space for member of a couple to begin identifying their honorable selves. Madsen suggests that therapists should position themselves as an appreciative ally, standing in solidarity with clients, supporting them in developing preferred lives, while also holding a bottom line. Thus, through a curious and respectful foundation, the presenters will walk participants through the process of how to invite justice into a relationship, while forming questions that allow individuals and couples to argue for accountability in their behaviors and highlight their preferred personal moral structure.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to enter into conversations that invite responsibility toward violent behavior, rather than impose responsibility.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to delineate the impact of violence on each member of a couple.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to conceptualize a process for inviting couple’s to stand up against and protest violence in their relationship.
Playing A Dangerous Game: Working with High Conflict Caregivers and Maintaining a Child-Focused Center
Zack Elisio, LMFT
This presentation will focus on caregivers who are engaged in constant arguing, disagreements, and fighting. Often, both caregivers and children suffer. Caregivers are challenged with crafting a nurturing environment ripe with attachment, self-regulation, structure, and a healthy co-caregiver alliance. These elements are diminished when constant conflict is at the heart of the family. Children are faced with the dangerous game their caregivers are playing. Therapists are tasked with blocking old patterns that escalate elements leading to conflict and promoting child-centered goals that support family functioning.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to conceptualize how conflict in the caregiving system impacts family functioning.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to execute a systems-oriented technique to promote the parental subsystem.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to respond to conflictual caregivers by blocking old maladaptive patterns, and collaboratively crafting new helpful patterns.
Neurocriminology: An Introduction for Marriage and Family Therapists
Jerrod Brown, PhD
Neurocriminology is at the nexus of neuroscience and criminology and is focused on understanding the biological bases of criminal and violent behavior. Common methodologies used in this field of research includes brain imaging, psychophysiology, behavioral genetics, and other innovative approaches. Findings from this emerging area of research have the potential to inform the development and administration of treatments (e.g., medication, neurofeedback, and brain surgery) that decrease the risk of future crime and violence. Nonetheless, there remains a strong need for sophisticated research that examines the effectiveness of such treatments along with their potential for iatrogenic or harmful effects. Intended for professionals working in mental health settings, this training introduces attendees to the field of neurocriminology and its potential implications for the treatment of criminal justice-involved individuals. Related topics discussed during the course of this training include prenatal drug and alcohol exposure, nutritional deficiencies, environmental toxins, hormones, neurotransmitters, adverse childhood experiences, birth complications, cognitive and developmental dysfunction, and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis dysfunction among others. Empirically-based research findings will be highlighted throughout this training.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to define neurocriminology and other related subfields.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to understand how neurocriminology can inform interventions that may reduce crime and violence.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to understand the implications of neurocriminology for the field of marriage and family therapy.
Bringing a Systemic Lens to Psychiatry: Family Therapy in Postgraduate Medical Education
Kenneth W. Phelps, PhD
While the field of psychiatry has become increasingly focused on the biomarkers of mental illness and various psychopharmacologic interventions, educational milestones within postgraduate residency programs still require competencies in an array of psychotherapies. Unfortunately, some residency programs rely on non-systemically trained clinicians to deliver their therapeutic curriculum. Many times this is due to minimal awareness of couple and family therapists within the community and/or lack of MFTs approaching psychiatric programs to serve as an ambassador for our profession and ideals. The need for systemically minded educators provides fertile ground for MFTs to enter these contexts. This presentation will overview required milestones for psychiatric providers, as well as typical rotations for physicians during their postgraduate education. Details of how family therapists can be integrated into programs’ curriculum through didactics, observational assessments, and shared patients in a split therapy model will be overviewed. Lastly, a clinical research program entitled the Six Es Model of Medication Management that was published by the presenter and colleagues in Academic Psychiatry will be outlined.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to describe the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) milestones, including psychotherapy requirements.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to discuss MFTs potential contribution to postgraduate medical education for our psychiatric colleagues.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to create a robust and evidence-informed curriculum for systemic skills applicable to medical providers.
Diversity Made Simple: A Shame-Free Approach to Reducing Unintentional Cultural Offenses
Lambers Fisher, Jr., MDiv
Unintentional cultural offenses and misunderstandings often contribute to disconnected personal and professional relationships. Unfortunately, helping professionals often feel paralyzed by the fear that we don’t know enough about other cultures to try to effectively support those different than themselves. Lambers' Diversity Made Simple training will help reduce those fears by providing an attainable goal for increasing cultural competence, as well as reducing the negative impact of unavoidable cultural misunderstandings on professional rapport and effectiveness. This positive and encouraging, relationship-focused training will provide practical language and strategies that can help reduce tensions and perceived barriers, and help strengthen cross-cultural relationships.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to broaden their professional perspective on what diversity includes and its potential impact on building and maintaining rapport with clients.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to identify strategies for increasing professional cultural self-awareness to assist in helping increase client cultural self-awareness.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to demonstrate the use of clinical strategies for reducing unintentional cultural offenses and repairing professional relationships damaged by cultural offenses.
Counseling Donor Family Members: A Guide for Mental Health Professionals
Wendy Kramer, BA
Donor conception is becoming substantially more common with the exponential advancements being made in the field of reproductive medicine, and with the wider acceptance in recent decades of LGBTQ families, single-parent families, and women in later reproductive years utilizing donor gametes. The accessibility of commercial DNA testing is also helping to expand these families as many people are finding out by surprise that they are part of a sometimes quite large donor family. Given the greatly increased probability of encountering a client connected to a donor family in their practices across settings, clinicians must be well-informed about all perspectives in order to best serve people in the donor family constellation. Families formed and connected via donor gametes are unique in many ways, yet they also share the same joys, disappointments, adventures, concerns, stressors, and love that most families do. It’s not uncommon for individuals in donor families to feel a sense of confusion or discomfort about their stories or with their own or their family’s boundaries when it comes to using donor gametes or donating them, or to have issues surrounding disclosure or learning about their own donor conception story. It can sometimes be anxiety-provoking to reach out to one's own or their child’s new genetic relatives. Grappling with the depth and breadth, and the timing and speed with which they explore their own or their child’s origins and expanding families can be challenging, and also deeply profound and rewarding. Clinicians will explore the unique issues that can present for egg and sperm donors, parents of donor-conceived children, and donor-conceived people. They will better understand the reasons donor family members may or may not desire to connect with their own or their child's close genetic relatives. They will be better prepared for many of the issues that donor family members might present with regarding their families of origin and with their new donor family relationships. Regardless of the presenting issues for treatment, for these individuals, the challenges of forming and redefining identity and family as they explore their own or their child’s new biological connections can seem overwhelming and are therefore very likely to surface as a topic of discussion.
- Based on the content of this session, I better understand the unique issues that can present for egg and sperm donors (and their families), parents of donor-conceived children, and donor-conceived people.
- Based on the content of this session, I am now aware that each donor family member is deeply connected to the others and know that better understanding all viewpoints is important for a successful counseling experience.
- Based on the content of this session, I am better prepared for many of the issues that donor family members might present regarding their family of origin and with exploring their new donor family relationships.
Facts and Myths of Online Supervision
Yulia Watters, PhD
Have you been asked to facilitate a supervision session online or create a clinical training supervision asynchronous course? Are you considering expending your supervisor’s skills and availability by providing distance-based supervision? Have you been practicing supervision online since the pandemic but still feel like you have many things to learn to make your supervision more efficient and beneficial to your supervisees? If you answered yes to any of these questions or have any other questions pertaining to online supervision, this session is designed for you. In this workshop you will be provided with specific strategies on how to connect with your supervisees in a distance-based environment, how to optimize your workflow using up to date software and remain complaint with recent telehealth regulations. In addition, you will examine the diverse needs of online supervisees and what specific considerations have to be put in place to assure an inclusive and safe environment for all parties involved.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to Develop better supervisor presence in online.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to Examine recent software to enhance distance-based supervision.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to Address diversity and inclusion considerations specific to asynchronous supervision.