Workshops

Thursday, June 25 from 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm ET


An Integrative Model of Affair Recovery

Tina Timm, PhD
Adrian Blow, PhD

Infidelity is one of the most difficult presenting issues in couple therapy because of the emotional intensity, the complicated systemic issues, and the lack of evidence-based treatments on which to rely. There is evidence that infidelity has a significant attachment basis, and certainly can be conceptualized as an attachment injury in relationships. The presenters will describe a relational approach to treatment based in post-traumatic growth theory and attachment theory, showing how couples can grow stronger after the experience. The emphasis will be upon providing clinicians with key principles that are necessary for working with these couples and will integrate the latest research on mindfulness and self-compassion to help rebuild trust, foster secure attachment, and restore a connecting sexual relationship.

Introducing the Relationship Rebalancing Model and its Application for Psychotherapy in Nature

Lauren G. Kahn, MSW

The presenter will introduce a novel approach she has developed for relational repair. Influenced by evidence based models including The Gottman Method, Emotionally Focused Therapy and Mindfulness, Relationship Rebalancing provides a framework for guiding clients through difficult conversations and interactions and helps lead them to feeling more connected and compassionate rather than falling into defeat and despair. After introducing the model she will show how therapists can apply the framework to structure sessions in outdoor settings.



Global Mental Health: Shared Values and Initiatives with Family Therapists

Paul Springer, PhD
Richard Bischoff, PhD


Global mental health (GMH) focuses on initiatives in low and middle income countries (LMICs).Current initiatives in LMICs and obstacles including resource limitations, stigma, and access will be described. Opportunities for family therapists to implement GMH skills, both domestically and internationally, will be emphasized.

In the Absence of Family: Lives Shaped by Loss

Alice Lynn, MA


In "Living Through Loss", Hooyman and Kramer wrote, "Some losses are so profound and life changing that the grief never completely ends, with its intensity, acuteness, and form ebbing and flowing over time. I n such instances, 'getting over it' may not be possible. once we have lost, we always live to varying degrees in the presence of grief." This workshop will provide an in-depth exploration of the lasting effects of the incalculable loss of family on the individual. Research on the changing American family, where increasingly more individuals will be without family sometime in their lives, will be interwoven with life-affirming stories and inquiry into how one survives and overcomes the presence of absence. Participants will be able to identify ways of working with their clients, bringing a newfound depth of understanding, exposing emotions that have been kept hidden and never addressed.

Thursday, June 25 from 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm ET

Third Order Ethics: Sociocultural Attunement in Everyday Practice

Teresa McDowell, EdD

This workshop is designed for advanced family therapists to explore issues of equity and ethics in everyday practice. Participants will be invited to consider how third-order thinking challenges what we consider ethical by exploring the nuances of power inherent in meaning making from a socioculturally attuned perspective. It can be challenging to facilitate meaningful conversations that promote cultural equity across diverse social locations related to race, gender, sexual orientation, social class, and abilities. Third-order thinking brings the ethics of everyday clinical decisions to the forefront by identifying the impact of societal systems, culture, and power on our ethical positioning, which inherently guides our clinical practice. This presentation will center sociocultural attunement as foundational to ethical practice and offer ANVIET (i.e., attune, name, value, interrupt, envision, transform) guidelines for equity-based ethical practice.


Bridging Rural Health Care Systems for Trans and/or Nonbinary Clients

Natalia Holubec, MA

Presenter’s clinical knowledge will be used to: 1) discuss unique factors impeding rural Trans and Non-binary populations from accessing an integrative system of care  2) educate on ways to address impediments through an intersectional, anti-oppressive framework by offering tools to bridge gaps and build continuous systems care within community.  Discussion and questions encouraged. Handout and provider vetting questionnaire offered.


The Neurobiology of Trauma

Megan Miranda, PhD

This session will provide an overview of brain development, brain functions and the impact of trauma on brain development and functioning. Attendees will learn effective therapeutic interventions based on neurobiological aspects of trauma.  Best practices for incorporating psychoeducation with a multitude of presenting client concerns, ie trauma, parenting, communication difficulties, infidelity, conflict management, and anxiety among others will be provided.

Writing Stories as a Means of Introducing Change in Systemic Therapy

Marilena Karamatsouki, MA

In an era of social change, the therapeutic relationship undergoes changes as well. Most clinicians consider the relationship between client and therapist a collaborative encounter. In this context, the use of storytelling and writing stories in regards to the therapeutic relationship opens up different possibilities in the therapy room. In my work, I use stories to capture the vivid experience of the psychotherapy process. In these stories, the focus is on the relational conversation between my client and myself. In this way, story writing gives me and my client new awareness about therapy..

Friday, June 26 from 10:00 am - 11:00 am ET


Training the Skilled International Family Therapist

Laurie Charles, PhD
Saliha Bava, PhD

Global mental health initiatives are quite declarative in their assertion that systemic, family‐based mental health and psychosocial support contributes to a population’s well‐being. As a movement and contemporary practice, global mental health is particularly focused on bridging gaps in the field of mental health, whether across high‐income countries (HICs) or low‐ and middle‐income countries (LMICs). The expansive reach of global mental health continues with the inclusion of mental health in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2016—the UN goals by which global agreements gear their metrics for development. However, in this entirety of literature, critical thinking, implementation, and analysis, systemic family therapy (SFT) as a profession has been noticeably quiet. Yet, the history of systemic family therapy, its robust reflexivity and adaptive methods, and the ecological mindset so consistent with many other concepts in global mental health, makes it a perfect complement. This workshop will illustrate methods to advance seasoned and emerging practitioners' skills in working effectively on the international plane, specifically in global mental health. Training family therapists to meet the demands of this fascinating, challenging, and complex area of work requires proactive teaching, training and development that goes beyond culture and nation, with a multidimensional understanding of social justice. It requires collaboration, knowledge transfer, and humility--and it is in that spirit with which the presenter will approach this workshop.


Falling Out of Romantic Love: A Roadmap for Clinicians

Crystal Hemesath, PhD

The lack of loving feelings has been listed as the highest-ranked problem presented in couple’s therapy, based on the combination of how frequently the problem is presented, how difficult the problem is to treat, and how damaging the problem is to relationships. This session will cover the importance of romantic love in long-term dating and marital relationships and how and why individuals fall out of romantic love. The presenter will provide context, terminology, and insight as to why more isn't known about the topic. A new conceptual framework will be provided to attendees as well as innovative assessment and treatment recommendations for this critical, yet understudied topic. This material is a clinical toolbox must have!

An Evolving Model of Knowledge Transfer: Social Workers Learning Multiple Family Therapy through Clinical Research

YIU Yan-yee (Cindy), MS
TAM Tsz-lun (Alan), MA
XIA Li-Li (Lily)

New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association and The Chinese University of Hong Kong collaborated to apply multiple family therapy in helping families of parents with major depression, developing a clinically unique and socially relevant model with treatment efficacy.Agency social workers were also transformed with paradigm shift on mental health issues.

One Heart, Two Homes:Resources for Working with Single & Step Parents

Tammy Daughtry, MMFT

Jay Daughtry, MMFT

Explore co-parenting after divorce, with never married parents and with step parents in a comprehensive look at the "One Heart, Two Homes" digital curriculum. Insights will be given on how to do co-parent counseling, how to create education classes to satisfy the divorcing parent mandated classes in your area and how to run groups on the co-parenting topic.

Friday, June 26 from 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm ET


Treatnet Family – United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC) Evidence-Informed Family Therapy for Adolescents with Drug Use Disorders in Low Income Countries

Fred Piercy, PhD
Anja Busse, MA

We summarize and reflect on the development, content, cultural sensitivity, current status, and future directions of Treatnet Family, a capacity building package including elements of family therapy developed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) thanks to the support of Japan. Treatnet Family integrates common elements of evidence-based family therapies for adolescent substance use disorders and makes it available in the public domain to low- and middle-income countries.

TeleMental Health

Richard Bischoff, PhD
Paul Springer, PhD

Telemental health has become a popular medium for providing mental health care with research showing it is effective and beneficial to reach underserved populations. This workshop will present a collaborative-care, telemental health model, developed and applied in an MFT program with great success in reaching rural underserved communities.


Carers Affected by Eating Disorders: Support in Eating Disorder Recovery

Karen Carberry, MSc

Veronica Kamerling,

Orri “ Specialist Day Treatment for Eating Disorders is the first intensive day service in the UK. The team developed a unique clinical model for supporting carers through a four-stage process incorporating a comprehensive psycho-educational programme aimed at enhancing carers skills and family relationships.

The Butterfly Effect: Systemic Ethical Decision Making

Heather Katafiasz,
PhD Rikki Patton, PhD


Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) constantly engage in ethical decision-making while working with complicated client systems. Prior scholarship has indicated that MFTs are clearly attuned to the ethical imperative of maintaining ethics at the forefront of their professional practice. However, while there are several ethical decision-making models in the mental health and other health professions, they do not fully address the ethical nuances of MFTs engaging in relational-systemic practice with individual and relational clients. The extant models provide a solid foundation from which MFTs can glean strategies for engaging in ethical decision-making. However, there is a need for an MFT-specific ethical decision-making model that accounts for the complexities associated with relational-systemic practice. Thus, the this presentation will provide a critical review of the literature on ethical decision-making with respect to the MFT field and propose a MFT-specific ethical decision-making model. More specifically, this presentation will provide a definition and overview of ethical decision-making, differentiating practical from specialty ethical decision-making models. Further, this presentation will discuss the unique aspects to the relational-systemic work of MFTs and will propose an ethical decision-making model that more clearly infuses strategies for managing ethical challenges in relational-systemic therapy.

Friday, June 26 from 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm ET


India's Family-Focused Substance Addiction Treatment: Clinical Strategies

Sebastian Perumbilly, PhD
Tony Sam George, PhD

Substance use disorders (SUDs) can potentially devastate patients/clients, their families, communities, and society. This presentation, based on an original study with a qualitative-research design involving substance addiction treatment-professionals (n=20) in India, explores benefits, challenges and clinical strategies related to involving families/relational systems in India's substance addiction treatment programs. The presenters will discuss some innovative ideas that can be used when working with patients/clients struggling with SUDs, and their families.

Family Matters: A Systems View of Substance Use Disorders Treatment

Melody Bacon, PhD
Ronald Bacon, MDiv

The devastation of addiction cuts a wide swath through the lives of those struggling with substance use disorders (SUDs) and those who love them. The dreaded midnight phone call bearing bad news is the ultimate source of countless sleepless nights. And yet, for the most part, families struggling with a loved one with an SUD have been either criticized as the cause, ignored as inconsequential or told that their actions or in actions are making matters worse. While most treatment programs include a family program, this is viewed as ancillary and, at times, non-essential to the treatment of the addict. As the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has advocated in the publication “Substance Abuse Treatment and Family Therapy” (NIH, 2004), it is time to integrate the approach of family therapy with the treatment of SUDs. This workshop will present an integrative approach to treatment. Based on the ideas of Bowen Family Systems therapy and the principles of the 12-step movement, the Family Matters program offers a model that addresses the needs of families struggling with addiction while at the same time creating a relational environment that supports recovery.

Using EFT to Heal the Trauma of Racism in Mixed Race Couples

Scott Woolley, PhD

Participants in this workshop will learn to use Emotionally Focused Therapy to create healing for mixed race couples struggling with the traumas of racism. An EFT session with a mixed-race couple that focuses on racial trauma will be used to illustrate how to uncover the impact of racism and help couples create a safe haven, healing relationship.

Using Role Playing Games (RPG) to Enhance Social Skills

Ginger Rowan, LMFT
Daniel Rowan, MS

Concern raised regarding the impact that gaming has on children, teens and some adults. It can be broadly decried because of alleged addictive or isolating qualities. Considering the popularity of gaming, can some forms of it be beneficial to a specific population? Participants, through gameplay and will learn how role-playing games (RPGs) can be used to work with kids and teens with social differences, addressing the very problems that limit their abilities to work and play with others. Presenters will discuss how players can be made aware of players own strengths and those of others, develop a common strategy, flexibility, accept defeat and working towards group goals Attendees will get a sample page of the mission, a player sheet and the target interventions. Film of an actual game will be shown initially to familiarize attendees with the game.