Therapeutic Approaches for Working with Families with Chronic Illness

When:  Sep 18, 2020 from 08:30 AM to 01:00 PM (ET)
4 CEU Workshop

This 4-hour workshop will provide participants with knowledge and skills to enhance their work with families dealing with chronic illness. This learning activity will include a combination of didactic presentations and experiential exercises focused on self-of-the-therapist attitudes and skill building regarding health and illness. The intended audience is marriage and family therapists (MFTs) and other mental health professionals interested in learning more about how to work with clients and families adjusting to or living with chronic illness. The workshop will be divided into the following modules:

  1. Brief overview of families and chronic illness in the United States
    1. Trends in models of care
      1. Patient- and Family-Centered Care
      2. Integrated care/collaborative care/medical family therapy
        1. Overview of medical family therapy competencies
  2. Illness matters: Clinical consideration for type of illness (i.e., acute, chronic, terminal)
  3. Evolving role of family caregivers in health care system
    1. Caregiver experiences with health care
    2. Assessing health and well-being of caregivers
    3. Caregivers as partners in care


  1. Experiential exercise: participants will be guided to reflect on their family of origin’s experience with health and illness (Can we ask them to bring a basic genogram to the workshop?)
  2. Working with families (Show video clip from film for case example)
    1. Biopsychosocial assessment of clients and families
    2. Introduction to medical family therapy principles and practices
      1. Family history of illness and meaning
      2. Structural FT considerations: changing rules and roles
      3. Facilitating expression of emotion
      4. Facilitating communication
      5. Changing coping styles
      6. Psychoeducation and support
      7. Agency and communion

    Presenter: Carol Podgorski, Ph.D., LMFT

    Dr. Carol Podgorski completed her doctoral degree in sociology and has master’s degrees in Public Health and Marriage and Family Therapy. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry where she also holds the following leadership positions Director of the Finger Lakes Center of Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease; Clinic Director of the UR Memory Care Program; Associate Director of the URMC’s Office for Aging Research and Health Services; Director of Alzheimer’s Disease Programs for the UR Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program; and Co-Director of the URMC’s Family Therapy Training Program. Her academic interests include family therapy in dementia, medical family therapy approaches to caregiving, and development of family systems-oriented models of patient- and family-centered dementia care. She currently serves on the Medical/Scientific Advisory Committee of the Rochester/Finger Lakes Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, the Monroe County Council for Elders, the Monroe Community Hospital Foundation Board, and as the Legislative Chair of the New York Marriage and Family Therapy Network.

    Carol is licensed in the state of New York and holds three graduate degrees from the University of Rochester:
    1. MPH in Public Health, 1985
    2. PhD in Sociology, 1990
    3. MS in Marriage & Family Therapy, 2005

    Pricing Information

    Registration Price
    New Hampshire Network Students $30.00
    New Hampshire Network Members $60.00
    AAMFT Students $30.00
    AAMFT Members $70.00
    Non-Members $80.00
    Non-member Student (contact network) $30.00
    Volunteer $20.00
    Presenter Waived
    Board Members Waived