Simple Registration

Starts:  Jun 7, 2024 08:00 AM (ET)
Ends:  Jun 8, 2024 05:00 PM (ET)
Where:   Embassy Suites Downtown Greenville Riverplace, 250 Riverplace, Greenville, SC, 29601, US


Register as guest

When & Where

Embassy Suites Downtown Greenville Riverplace
250 Riverplace
Greenville, SC 29601

Jun 7 - 8, (ET)


Dr. Karen Gail Lewis, social worker and marriage and family therapist for over 50 years, is author of numerous books and professional articles on marriage, gender communication, single women, and adult siblings. Her newest book is Sibling Therapy: The Ghosts from Childhood That Haunt Your Clients’ Love and Work. For years she has presented nationally and internationally. 

Family therapists may see the entire nuclear family, a subset of the family, or even one individual. Regardless who is in the office, when working from a systemic perspective, it is crucial to see the larger picture. Yet a larger picture often overlooked in helping your clients is the adult siblings. 

As an MFT, of course if siblings contact you, you’d see them. However, my experience over the past 51 years has brought me to seeing sibling issues when I see an individual or couple – who never mention a brother or sister. This has led to me to having identified some specific issues in thinking about siblings that go beyond systems theory.

The workshop will use the Early Reader characters, Dick and Jane, to help see how the early childhood relationship shapes adults’ love and work.

 If you think about it, young siblings are each other’s first peer/love relationship. That is why I call this a “first marriage,” particularly if they are relatively close in age. That’s because, during this time, they learn (or don’t learn) to start, resolve, and avoid fights; to compete, save face, negotiate; to go back and forth between loving and fighting; to know when to exert power and when to withdraw or rely on other skills such as humor, manipulation, blackmail, tattling, silence. All skills necessary to navigate in adult loving relationships.

 Thus, as adults, through “sibling transference,” your clients may recreate their early relationships, falling back on what they learned when younger and what is familiar. This can impact not just their marriage (or love relationship), but also their friendships, their work relationships, as well as raising their children.

This workshop presents four key concepts of sibling therapy: frozen images, crystallized roles, unhealthy loyalty, and sibling transference. It also explores how brothers and sisters have two sets of siblings: The first are the original, flesh and blood siblings who age and change over the years. The second are the imbedded perceptions, feelings, and resentments from childhood that, like ghosts, are invisible and never age - even as the original siblings. This two-day workshop will focus first on helping therapists recognize a sibling connection to their clients’ presenting problems (whether individual, couples, even whole family), looking for multigenerational sibling patterns, then on understanding how to help the clients see the connection themselves. The second part will be looking at how to work with sibling sets – whether the client invites the siblings or whether siblings seek help themselves.

Included in the training will be these topics:

• Did you marry your sibling?

• What is different in a sibling session than with any other session? 

• Varying roles of therapist

• How deal with siblings’ verbal anger/outrage/shouting

• How to run intensive weekend retreats

• Therapists’ feelings (countertransference) 

• Clinical tools

• Helpful skills for providing sibling therapy

This workshop is very interactive, with role plays, small group discussions, and plenty of time to practice all aspects of these topics


registration type
    South Carolina Students

    South Carolina Members

    AAMFT Students

    AAMFT Members




Contact Information

Samantha Rousey

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations to any paid event and any subsequent request for refund must be made in writing no later than 15 days prior to the start of the event. Upon cancellation you have the right to request that your fee (in full) be held (for up to one year) and used toward another event registration from this same AAMFT Network. If you prefer a refund, cancellations made more than 45 days before the event will receive a 75% refund. Cancellations made between 44 and 15 days before the event will receive a 50% refund. No refunds will be offered within 14 days of the event.

To request a refund, please contact your program leadership directly.