Main Stage

*Times listed are in CT

Rock 'n Roll Heals: Storytelling, Songwriting and the Self

4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Storytelling and songwriting are more than entertainment; they are a source of connection, healing and understanding. Singer-songwriter Mary McBride’s Home Tour, hailed by The Washington Post as "extraordinary" and by The Wall Street Journal as "a way of highlighting how communities can be nurtured, whether by sharing shelter, stories or live music,” brings live concerts and the curative power of music to thousands of people living in “non-traditional” homes - those who are most in need of live music, but least able to access it. In this event, McBride will examine how the Home Tour model can be utilized in traditional therapeutic settings as a tool for self-actualization and personal transformation. 


Mary McBride

Mary McBride has released four albums, written dozens of songs, and performed with her band in more than 35 countries in the most unlikely places. She founded The Forum for Cultural Engagement (FCE), The Home Tour, and most recently, Lead Out Louisiana, a songwriting and documentary series produced with inmates in correctional facilities in Louisiana. Mary has served as a Cultural Envoy for the U.S. Department of State under four Secretaries of State and is a sought-after speaker on cultural exchange, the importance of engaging isolated communities, and the healing power of music. Her work has been featured on CNN, PBS and MSNBC, and in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, American Songwriter, and The Washington Post. In her free time and on the road, Mary enjoys running, tennis and obsessive Scrabble. 


The Violence Project

9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Frustrated by reactionary policy conversations that never seemed to convert to meaningful action, special investigator and psychologist Jill Peterson and sociologist James Densley built the Violence Project, the first comprehensive database of mass shooters. Using data from groundbreaking research, Dr. Jillian Peterson and Dr. James Densley will chart new pathways to holistic violence prevention that addresses the root causes of violence. The audience will hear first-person accounts from the perpetrators themselves and will leave the session with tangible skills and data-driven solutions including crisis intervention, de-escalation, suicide prevention, crisis response teams, and trauma-informed institutions.


Jillian Peterson, PhD

Dr. Jillian Peterson is a Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Hamline University. Jill launched her career as a special investigator in New York City, researching the psycho-social life histories of men facing the death penalty. Jill has led large-scale research studies on mental illness and crime, school shooting prevention, and mass violence, which have received national media attention. She is a sought-after national trainer and speaker on issues related to mental illness and violence, trauma, forensic psychology, and mass violence. Jill earned her Doctorate in psychology and social behavior from the University of California, Irvine. She is trained in restorative justice, violence mediation, crisis intervention, de-escalation, and suicide prevention. 



James Densley, PhD

Born and raised in England, Dr. James Densley is a Professor of Criminal Justice at Metropolitan State University, part of the Minnesota State system. James first moved to the United States to teach special education in the New York City public schools. After earning his Doctorate in sociology from the University of Oxford, he quickly established himself as one of the world’s leading experts on street gangs and serious youth violence, including cyber violence. James’ work has attracted global media attention. He has been an invited or plenary speaker on three continents. James is the author of seven books, 50 peer-reviewed articles in leading social science journals, and over 70 book chapters, essays, and other non-refereed works. 


Love Your Neighbor Community Talk

10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. 

The Love Your Neighbor foundation was born out of a family tragedy: on November 27, 2018, Nadia Sanchez’s mother was murdered during the commission of a carjacking in front of Nadia’s home in Gentilly. Nadia’s husband Kristian suffered a traumatic brain injury while attempting to stop the crime; her mother died on her way to the hospital. In the wake of this tragedy, Nadia and her family underwent intensive therapy to process their experiences. During her long road of recovery, it became clear to Nadia and her family that they were not the only individuals who had fallen victim to the vicious cycle of trauma present in New Orleans.

Learning of the trauma the three defendants in her mother’s murder trial endured, without proper mitigation, compelled Nadia to launch Love Your Neighbor NOLA. Comparing and contrasting their stories of being raised in single parent homes or transitioned from foster home to foster home, to her own, of being estranged from her biological father and raised in a home familiar with domestic violence, she began to wonder if a solution to the cycle of violence began in the home. She came to realize there are violence-ridden communities where trauma begets trauma, a cycle caused by a lack of access to resources, such as mental health care, and support systems.

Bearing these observations in mind, Love Your Neighbor NOLA was created to be a refuge and resource for parents and children alike. In this session you will learn how Nadia and her family are helping by offering services, resources and compassion to their local community.

Love Your Neighbor Community Outreach - OFF SITE

1:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. 

Join your colleagues, AAMFT staff and Love Your Neighbor at their facility to work on various projects to help the community. Tasks range from using your organization skills to sort donations, overseeing the child activity area and talking with community members on topics such as tips for healthy communication in relationship, healthy boundaries and why systemic family therapy can help!

Love Your Neighbor: Outreach Reports

4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. 

Coming back together after working alongside Love Your Neighbor, we’ll gather in small groups to debrief and discuss the part each of you played. Focus will be on the different aspects of the project – from what works well to where improvements might be made to better help the community. You’ll also brainstorm ways in which similar outreach can be done in your own communities.


MFTs Today and Tomorrow

3:15 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. 

In late 2022, AAMFT released its MFT Industry Workforce Study designed to uncover shifts in the field following the COVID-19 pandemic and what these might mean for the future of the profession. Join us as we examine the findings, identify the unique challenges and opportunities facing MFTs in the coming years, and what AAMFT has planned to support those. 


Amanda Darnley

Amanda joined the AAMFT staff in 2013. With a background in marketing, communications, business process, and program development, Amanda is responsible for strategic planning efforts within AAMFT. She has over 20 years of experience in association management, nonprofit marketing communications, program and service development, and strategic planning. Amanda has won numerous awards throughout her career including a Silver Inkwell for the logo and branding guidelines for the National Museum of the United States Army.

While out of the office, Amanda enjoys cheering on numerous sports teams, running, traveling, and spending time with her husband and son.



Roger Smith

Roger joined AAMFT in 2005. He serves as chief legal counsel for AAMFT and supervises its ethical code compliance and legal risk management programs.  He provides assistance to AAMFT Divisions concerning state advocacy initiatives (such as obtaining Medicaid recognition for MFTs or updating state MFT licensure laws) as well as initiatives to encourage private payers to recognize MFTs. Roger also serves as AAMFT’s representative to the Alliance of Military and Veteran Family Behavioral Health Providers and to the American Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Partners Group.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University, Roger earned his law degree from the Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis.  Prior to joining AAMFT, Roger served as a Deputy Attorney General in the Office of the Indiana Attorney General.