Intensives 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Please be aware that the schedule reflects the Eastern Time Zone. Be sure to mark your schedules according to your time zone. During our live event, the event platform, Juno, will automatically adjust to reflect session times in your time zone.
High Conflict Caregivers: How to Turn Toxic Conflict into Nurturance
Steven Simms, PhD
MFTs working with symptomatic children trapped between high conflict caregivers must confidently address three therapeutic challenges. One, discover with the family links between presenting symptoms, biased perceptions, and neglected, deteriorating child-caregiver relationships. Two, earn hope-based professional credibility to secure caregiver participation in family therapy. Three, intentionally disrupt inevitable resumptions of the conflict-ridden family-based pattern. A videotaped case illustrates the approach.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to illustrate how severe symptoms and biased perceptions connect with disruptions in child-caregiver attachment.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to identify how validating the truth of each caregiver’s distress and generating hope/positive expectations underlies an effective push for change.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to explain how to use a systemic response to disrupt the inevitable resumption of the conflict-ridden family-based pattern.
LGBTQ Divorce: Unique Challenges
Linda Hershman, LMFT
Currently, almost 30 countries and territories worldwide have legalized same-sex marriage, mostly in Western Europe and the Americas. Several South American countries, Australia, Taiwan and New Zealand in the Asia-Pacific region, and South Africa also allow gays and lesbians to marry.
Along with the right to marry comes the inevitability of divorce.
LGBT couples worldwide are divorcing at rates comparable to their heterosexual counterparts, where same-sex marriage is legal. After fighting for years for the right to marry, many experience a sense of failure for letting down their community.
Same-sex marriage is perceived as a civil rights issue, rather than as a system for financial protection. Yet, the court system is designed primarily to support a traditional model of marriage, in which finances generally are treated as a unit, reflecting the division of labor for the good of the family. The system is designed and administered primarily by cisgender, heteronormative attorneys and judges. LGBT marriage does not necessarily fit into this model.
This workshop will explore the differing marriage models of LGBT couples that render divorce laws inappropriate and often inequitable. We will look at the reasons why lesbians divorce at rates more than twice as high as those of gay men. Consideration is given to the unique challenges faced by LGBT individuals from marginalized communities when they divorce.
When LGBT clients seek counseling, particularly those from the BIPOC community, they are unlikely to see a therapist who looks like them, and who shares their experience. Clinicians will be provided with tools for becoming more culturally-competent providers.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to explain why LGBT divorce does not necessarily fit into the cisgender, heteronormative model of the court system.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to cite at least three reasons lesbians divorce at higher rates than gay men.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to explain at least three systemic issues for therapists who are working with divorcing LGBT couples.
Couplehood in Close Quarters: Impact of COVID on couples
Mudita Rastogi, PhD
Neil Venketramen, LMFT
Samuel Allen, PhD
During the COVID-19 pandemic, couples had to re-learn how to negotiate their relationships in the context of safety concerns, loss, anxiety, persistent ambiguity, and uncertainty, and being in close physical contact without much reprieve for months on end. These realities required couples and individuals to establish a new normal surrounding intimacy, childcare, eldercare, family relationships, work-life balance, boundaries, and division of labor, among many other aspects of family life.
The impact of these transitions was moderated by couples’ intersectional social locations, including, but not limited to, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, access to physical and mental health services, geography, and family needs.
This presentation adopts a lifespan approach to address key challenges faced by couples in various stages of their relationship, ranging from singles to couples with young children, couples navigating blended families, same-sex couples, immigrant couples, people contemplating separation or recently separated, and those who experienced high conflict even prior to the onset of the pandemic. Using case examples, the presentation will highlight clinical tips, and key takeaways to help clinicians work more effectively with couples in the context of a global pandemic.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to understand how couples in different states of the lifecycle negotiated their relationships in the context of ambiguity and losses experienced during the pandemic.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to recognize the impact of couples’ intersectional locations on intimacy, childcare, eldercare, work, and division of labor during COVID.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to take away clinical tips to work more effectively with couples in the context of a global pandemic.
Understanding the Mother-Daughter Attachment Puzzle
Rosjke Hasseldine, MS
The mother-daughter relationship is largely regarded as one of the most complicated relationships. Fellow therapists often comment that they feel confused and deskilled when trying to understand why their client is furious at their mother or why a mother-daughter couple keeps arguing over seemingly minor incidents. The reason why so many colleagues admit to feeling confused and deskilled is because the attachment dynamics between mothers and daughters are not taught in counseling and marriage and family training programs. Many of the models and theories taught in counseling and marriage and family training programs have been created by men, which unsurprisingly means that mothers and daughters are often viewed from a male perspective.
This presentation is the first in a three-part series on Mother-Daughter Attachment Dynamics. I will present on “Understanding the Mother-Daughter Attachment Puzzle”, presenting my lifelong learning and research on the mother-daughter relationship. Second, Brittney Scott, a member of the Mother-Daughter Coaching International Teaching Faculty will present on “Understanding the Dynamics of Black Mothers and Daughters”, and third, Hilary M., also a member of the Mother-Daughter Coaching International Teaching Faculty will present on “Rewriting the Mother and Teen Daughter Story”.
In this first session, I reveal that the mother-daughter relationship isn’t as complicated as is commonly believed. I outline how the Mother-Daughter Attachment® Model (MDAM) helps mental health professionals dig below the conflict between mothers and daughters and uncover the underlying reasons for why they argue, misunderstand each other, and emotionally disconnect. Using case studies, I will share how I work with mothers and daughters, and how the socio-cultural environment mothers and daughters live and relate in reveals clues as to why they are struggling to listen to each other and feel emotionally connected.
I will explain the Mother-Daughter History Mapping exercise, the main diagnostic exercise of the MDAM, showing how it provides a roadmap to understanding the attachment dynamics between mothers and daughters, and how mothers and daughters can heal their conflict and facilitate a closer emotional bond.
The mother-daughter relationship tells the story of women’s emotional reality. It reveals the emotional and relational impact of women’s generational experience with patriarchy, particularly emotional silencing, emotional neglect, inequality, racism, and violence. This key female relationship reveals how trauma and internalized sexism harms a mother’s and daughter’s relationship with themselves and each other, and how this harm is passed down from mother to daughter.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to understand the underlying attachment dynamics between mothers and daughters.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to understand the basic premises of the Mother-Daughter Attachment® Model.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to identify systemic beliefs that harm the mother-daughter relationship.
One Heart, Two Homes: Working with Parents and Children Impacted by Divorce
Tammy Daughtry, MMFT
In this workshop attendees will learn how to help clients with the following challenges and receive PDF handouts to share with families on the following topics:
- Co-Parenting: communication, sharing time and making decisions between divided parents.
- Competing Attachments: when love and support of someone challenges our loyalty to another person that we love and support as well (children & adults experience this)
- Hand-Offs: a child's physical and emotional experience when transitioning between homes.
- Co-Parent Meetings: compartmentalized communication, pre-planned meetings, utilizing co-parent apps to increase effective communication and reduce conflict and confusion.
- Five Categories of Co-parenting: looking at the research, what the five categories are and how they impact children raised in divided families.
- Six Risks for Kids of Divorce: explore the specific risks, how to counteract those risks and what are the therapeutic tasks associated with each of the six risks.
- Individual sessions, groups and seminars: many examples of practical implementation will be shared with the attendees as well as how to monetize resources while working with single and step parents and children
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to describe the Five Co-parent Categories as discussed by Dr. Constance Ahrons.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to define the components of a healthy hand-off between co-parents.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to explain the Six Risks for Children of Divorced and discuss at least two antidotes for each risk.
We are in this Together: Helping Families Navigate our Contemporary (and Complex) Healthcare Systems
Tai Mendenhall, PhD
Good C/MFT therapy is more than straightforward efforts to improve communication skills, manage finances better, or reclaim a couple’s “spark” after years of childrearing. When devastating health diagnoses (e.g., cancer), complex mental illnesses (e.g., bipolar disorder, schizophrenia), and/or addiction (e.g., substance use disorders, compulsive self-injury) impact families, therapists are well-positioned to offer support that extends beyond the walls of their private practices. In this presentation, baseline “levels” (primary, secondary, tertiary) and theoretically-conceptualized “worlds” (clinical, operational, financial) of healthcare will be described, alongside empirically-supported manners in which we can help clients / patients navigate their journey(s) through them. Interdisciplinary and collaborative strategies will be outlined as easily-adapted by clinicians positioned across a variety of care environments. Illustrative vignettes, resources, and supplemental materials will be shared.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to articulate the different missions of – and common providers (disciplines) working within – primary-, secondary-, and tertiary- “levels” of health care.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to describe the manners that clinical-, operational-, and financial- “worlds” of health care work collaboratively with – and sometimes against – each other
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to outline empirically-supported ways that therapists can help couples navigate healthcare systems as they cope with complex and difficult clinical presentations.
Intensives 1:45 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
Improving Desire in Long Term Relationships
Angela Skurtu, LMFT
Improving Desire in Long Term Relationships: This is the ever long quest of couples who have been together for many years. How does one maintain desire for the long haul. For most couples, there is a honeymoon period at the beginning of the relationship that lasts from 6 months to 2 years. After this point, desire and intimacy become an effort. In this training, I provide strategies for couples to maintain long term desire. I also offer some adult sex education that many Marriage Therapists need to know to be more helpful for their clients.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to identify 2-3 strategies couples can use to improve their desire.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to understand differences between spontaneous and responsive desire types.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to recognize barriers to desire that couples and individuals face in day to day life.
Bipolar Disorder Therapy in a Three-Phase Approach
Michael Pipich, LMFT
For people living with bipolar disorder, it takes an average of ten years from their first mood episode to the time bipolar disorder is finally discovered and treated. Typically, people with bipolar will have suffered through years of substance abuse, broken relationships, or self-destructive acts. This session will present methods to better identify bipolar disorder and build a comprehensive therapy plan using a Three-Phase Approach, from pre-stabilization, through stabilization, to post-stabilization.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to understand the genetic, neurological foundations of bipolar disorder.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to learn how bipolar disorder is a distinct but often misdiagnosed lifelong condition.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to develop a therapy plan through learning the Three-Phase Approach with the common symptoms and feature in each phase.
Attachment-Based Family Therapy for Adolescents with Internalizing Distress
Guy Diamond, PhD
ABFT is a manualized, empirically supported family therapy designed to target family and individual processes associated with adolescent depression and suicide. Tested with diverse families, including low-income and minority families, ABFT is a trust- based, emotion-focused, process-oriented brief therapy. The model is organized by five treatment tasks that provide directionality. Participants will learn how this model helps families repair interpersonal ruptures that have damaged trust and rebuild emotionally protective, secure parent–child relationships.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to discuss the theoretical foundation of ABFT.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to discuss the importance of each of the five treatment tasks.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to describe how to organize therapy around interpersonal growth rather than behavioral management.
A Developmental Supervision Approach To Equipping Trainees for Online and Office Based Therapy
Dale Bertram, PhD
This workshop focuses on a developmental approach to supervision, as supervisees are prepared to work in a rapidly changing context in which it is essential they are able to provide therapeutic services in traditional office based ways and through teletherapy. Participants will learn how to assess the developmental needs of supervisees as they develop their skill in working with clients in an online and office based environment. This developmental approach takes in account the needs of supervisees from their first class in a program that leads to licensure, to graduation from that program, and then through licensure supervision.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to assess the strengths/resources/competencies/strengths of my supervisees from a developmental perspective
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to intervene in stuck places in supervision to help the supervisee move toward independent practice.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to utilize Janusian thinking to help prepare supervisees to work in a variety of contexts.
Stronger Together: Supporting Generation Z College Students through Relational-Cultural Theory
Ramya Avadhanam, PhD
Taylor Sweet, MA
Generation Z college students present with specific values, learning styles, and interpersonal needs. In the last 12-24 months, they have endured sociocultural stressors of COVID-19, racial injustice, and a contentious presidential election. This presentation examines this and how college counselors' use of relational-cultural interventions can lead to collective healing.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to apply RCT interventions to promote college student mental health recovery following multiple pandemics (e.g., COVID-19, racial injustices, climate change, election process).
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to analyze how characteristics of Generation Z students apply to concepts of RCT that reflect social equity.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to practice use of relational-cultural tenets as a collaborative intervention in working alongside Gen Z college students.
Moral Injury: Systemic Betrayal and Systemic Implications
Natalie Richardson, PhD
Angela Lamson, PhD
Experiences of military service have long been connected to issues of internal conflict, feelings of guilt, and ongoing distress. The last five years have uncovered the absence of a research-informed definition of moral injury - a concept that appears to capture an injury within Service members and Veterans (SMVs), rooted in experiences of betrayal, shame, and guilt, that is distinct from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries. A consensus on what moral injury entails is limited, likely resulting in this injury being masked by a diagnosis of PTSD or other traumatic stress disorders, risking experiences of unresolved guilt and shame going unacknowledged and untreated.
The purpose of this presentation is to share findings from three distinct scientist-practitioner initiatives focused on moral injury, including: (a) discerning injuries of the mind, brain, body, and soul; (b) identifying definitions for moral injury that are grounded in empirical evidence; and, (c) revealing themes from the voices of Veterans that captured their personal values, beliefs, or morals in relation to their job duties and requirements associated with military service. When asked about times when their values, beliefs, or morals may have been questions or didn’t seem to align with their “duties” of service, SMVs described themes consistent with betrayal, moral ambivalence, soul injuries, and challenges with lack of reconciliation for the things they had endured, witnessed, or learned about.
This presentation will unveil the role of systemic betrayal and how moral injury is revealing itself in contexts beyond the military. Participants will be encouraged to extend their understanding of traumatic stress, beyond diagnostic parameters, to include potential injuries of the soul. This session will incorporate research and clinical implications, as well as systemic considerations, for addressing moral injury when working in military and healthcare settings.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to differentiate between PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and moral injury by identifying unique symptomology for each construct.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to identify the themes that may emerge in sessions that most align with moral injury and understand how to align that with clinical interventions.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to apply the construct of moral injury to various client experiences, including military populations and beyond.
Intensives 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Effective Systemic Approaches to Resolve High Conflict Co-Parenting: Keys to Success
William F. Northey, Jr., PhD
Does the idea of working with conflictual parent’s post-divorce send shivers down your spine? Worse, have you worked with parents who were so venomous and vindictive that you vowed never to work with a family going through divorce again—especially if there were lawyers involved? The parents who cannot co-parent effectively post-divorce often engage in interactions that are hostile, caustic, and potentially damaging to their children, yet they seem unable to get out of their own way. If any group of parents are in desperate need of the skills of an MFT it is these families, yet these are the ones that keep us up at night or worse report us to the licensure board. The key to helping these families are deeply rooted in systemic family therapy and when the appropriate interventions are used reducing conflict and improve collaboration are achievable goals.
In this workshop you will be given the keys to unlock and disrupt the conflictual interaction patterns in which these cantankerous families engage. We will explore the challenges presented in intervening systemically with parents engaged in conflictual and harmful post-divorce interactions and provide successful systemic methods to assisting high conflict couples and provide the keys to help them work collaboratively for the benefit of the children.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to understand the factors that contribute to high conflict co-parenting.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to explain the roles that MFTs can play in assisting in the co-parenting process.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to describe interventions to effectively intervene in high conflict co-parenting relationship.
Online Therapy: Be a Part of the New Frontier
Kat Derrig-Palumbo, PhD
TeleHealth is an effective medium for using systemic based family therapy approaches and interventions with a broad spectrum of clients. Through lecture, demonstrations, interactive activities and case presentations, attendees will learn cutting edge marketing tools and effective systems based Online Family Therapy to legally and ethically better serve the growing population of clients using the Internet.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to discuss Online Therapy trends.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to discuss and apply legal and ethical issues to my Online Practice.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to apply marketing tools to launch and expand my practice.
Bringing the Common Factors to Life: Instilling Hope in Systemic Therapy
Adrian Blow, PhD
Eli Karam, PhD
Systemic therapy works predominantly not because of the unique contributions of any particular model of therapy or unique set of interventions but rather because of a set of common factors or mechanisms of change that cuts across all effective therapies. When speaking broadly, we refer to the following five categories of common factors: 1) client; 2) therapist; 3) therapeutic relationship/alliance; 4) hope/expectancy; and 5) feedback. This presentation builds on this emerging paradigm of why therapy works, with a special emphasis on how common factors may be utilized to increase hope in couple and family therapy. We present practical strategies and exercises to build on your previously existing therapeutic skill set, stoke curiosity for the work, and counter against burnout and frustration. Regardless of your level of experience or preferred theory, this presentation is intended to help you:
- Apply examples and explore how to integrate a common factors perspective around hope into your current theoretical orientation.
- Monitor and get feedback on hope by using both practical techniques and user-friendly resources.
- Renew your motivation, energy, and creativity in your clinical work.
- Improve your existing clinical skills and personal effectiveness as a couple and family therapist.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to integrate a common factors perspective around hope into your current theoretical orientation.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to monitor and get feedback on hope by using both practical techniques and user-friendly resources.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to highlight my current practice strategies that align with the common factor of hope.
Working Systemically with Parents and Caregivers of Trans, Nonbinary, and/or Gender Expansive Youth
Alex Iantaffi, PhD
This presentation will provide an overview of working systemically with parents and caregivers of trans, nonbinary and/or gender expansive children and young people. This will include an initial brief introduction to the current (version 7) and upcoming (version 8) WPATH Standards of Care, and to dominant treatment protocols for trans, nonbinary, and/or gender expansive children and young people in the US, including providing a definition of gender-affirming care and why it's important to understand this when working with families. We will discuss the issues that parents and caregivers of trans, nonbinary, and/or gender expansive young clients might be facing in the current sociopolitical climate and how to address these ethically, competently and systemically. The role that family therapists might play in the care of these families will be addressed. Participants are encouraged to bring their questions and curiosity. Ethical issues in relation to power and dominant discourses of gender and the historical oppression and marginalization of trans, nonbinary and gender expansive communities will be woven through the presentation and will be addressed from an intersectional perspective.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to understand the span of issues that parents and caregivers of trans, nonbinary, and/or gender expansive youth encounter.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to describe what standards of care, processes and systems are in place in the field of transgender health in relation to children and youth and how these impact families.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to evaluate the role of family therapists in the care of parents and caregivers of trans, nonbinary, and/or gender expansive youth.
Life Threatening Behaviors & Systemic Family Therapy
Jennifer Benjamin, PhD
Pinky Mehta, LMFT
When a youth has active life-threatening behaviors the relational process in family therapy becomes derailed by the need for individual assessment. Using the information gathered from the individual risk assessment, the therapist can reframe and enact a meaningful family experience. This emotional connection is pivotal in creating safety and evoking long term gains in the parent-child relationship and their ability to use the crisis plan to respond to life threatening behaviors.
- Based on the content of this session, I can connect components of life-threatening behavior assessment and relational patterns of rejection occurring because of the caregivers’ anxiety and distress.
- Based on the content of this session, I will observe how reframing life-threatening behaviors as a relational challenge increases emotion regulation.
- Based on the content of this session, I will observe how enacting increases caregivers’ attunement and ability to create emotional safety.
Natural & Experiential Systemic Therapy: A Semi-Structured Approach to Existential Couples Therapy
Bill Forisha, PhD, LP, LMFT
Annie Thiel, PhD, LP, LMFT
Lauri Wood, PhD
The fundamental and explicit aim of Natural and Experiential Systemic Therapy (NEST) is to help clients get more of what they want and less of what they don't want in their intimate relationships. In essence this is accomplished by encouraging them to evaluate their current strategies for managing the universal and unavoidable anxieties that we all feel and helping them to creatively change those strategies as they develop the wisdom and courage to do so. Since familial relationships are embedded in both multigenerational and multilayered cultural contexts, the less visible aim is to help each member get more of what each "really really" wants as they navigate through their differences to discover their similarities. The theory and practice of NEST is based on the integration of two seemingly disparate approaches to systemic therapy. Bowenian Family Therapy and Relational Gestalt Therapy promote the conscious differentiation of a self within the context of multi-systemic levels of interaction. The former, however, advocates for doing so with as little emotional reactivity as possible-so that members may listen more thoughtfully to one another and problem solve in a rational yet empathic manner. In contrast, the latter seeks to intentionally elicit emotional reactivity so that seminal developmental events in the lives of each member, the origins of which often pre-date the current relationship(s), becomes accessible to co-reflection and the co-generation of new meanings. These disparate approaches to similar ends appear to find common ground within Terror Management Theory. TMT supports experientially drawing family members' attention away from the idiosyncratic aspects of their disagreements and towards their transcultural longings for experiencing a balance between individual creativity and emotional security. Case examples will be provided that illustrate the value of increasing relational satisfaction by managing anxiety in progressively creative ways.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to describe the natural and cyclical etiology of creativity, freedom, loneliness, anxiety, implementation of management strategies and types of resolution
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to describe how individual strategies to manage anxiety are offered in each partner's culture and developed in each partner's family of origin—while being constantly challenged by the evolutionary processes of human ecology.
- Based on the content of this session, I am able to identify two specific techniques to decrease manipulative communication and increase the resolution of differences