Conference Workshops

Please indicate workshop preferences during the registration process. For more information on CE credits, click here.

200 Series Descriptions: Friday, September 4, 8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

200 - When an Eating Disorder Comes to Dinner: Assessment, Intervention, and Treatment

Krista Crotty, Jillian Lampert

This session will teach marriage and family therapists how to screen/assess, educate, and treat families who have a family member diagnosed with an eating disorder. Clinicians will understand how the eating disorder alters the family system, what road blocks often occur at all stages of treatment, how to support and encourage the individual with the eating disorder while focusing on the family system as client. Lastly and most importantly, clinicians will walk away with knowledge they can implement with their clients when they return home.

201 - Systemic Science: MFT's Innovation in Healthcare and Training

David Ivey, Jared Durtschi, Kristy Soloski, Angela Lamson, Andrea Wittenborn, Jose Ruben Parra-Cardona

While the need for systemic scholarship is highly evident for the proliferation of the field, MFT investigators have in general experienced only limited success in terms of federal funding and effect on healthcare and practice policy. This presentation will overview  factors shaping the current climate for systemic science and will offer recommendations for the training and support of systemic investigators.

202 - Applying Harm Reduction to Couple and Family Therapy

Demetrius Marcoulides, Jennifer Young

Harm reduction is a client-guided, practical, and flexible framework that therapists can apply to families dealing with drug use. This non-judgmental approach is an alternative to traditional AA/NA models and helps family members collaborate on goal setting while creating buy-in and engagement in therapeutic processes. This workshop will define harm reduction, apply it to MFT, and introduce techniques for practice.

203 - Treating Anxiety: Partnering with Primary Care Physicians

Shelby Riley

Anxiety is fast becoming the most common presenting problem bringing clients into therapy. This workshop will teach an effective brief model of treating anxiety and guide participants in partnering with clients’ primary care physicians to improve client outcome results as well as build solid referral sources for the therapy practice.

204 - When the Bully is Your Brother or Sister: Sibling Violence

John Caffaro

This workshop will describe an integrative, evidence-based approach for conducting assessment and intervention with children and families where sibling trauma has occurred. Case examples and quantitative research results will be included to illustrate fundamentals of treating victims of sibling aggression and violence and their families.

205 - Ethics in a Modern World: Thinking Beyond the Code

Coreen Haym, Gary Alexander

This highly active, experiential workshop will address challenging, modern ethical dilemmas representative of an evolving culture and current diverse experiences. Ethical considerations will be applied to unique vignettes addressing issues such as gender, adolescent sexuality, undocumented clients, technology, and polyamory. Self-of-the-Therapist considerations and the role of fear will be explored in the context of best practices related to ethical decision-making.

206 - Experientially Exploring the Intersections of Resiliency and Spirituality

Christie Eppler, Jacqueline Williams-Reade

Client relationships with spiritual systems such as God/Source/Divine, rituals, and faith communities are important elements in a client’s resilience. We will explore experientially the intersection of resiliency and spirituality. Activities will guide participants to gain useful skills needed to conduct respectful spiritual, resilient explorations with clients.

207 - Enhancing Therapist Common Factors in MFT Practice

Eli Karam, Adrian Blow, Sean Davis

This workshop will focus on the principles and ideas behind infusing a common factors approach into the traditional practice of MFT. Participants will learn how to enhance important therapist factors from a common factors lens, while using models and theories that are already familiar in their everyday practice.

208 - Working with Clients through the Bariatric Surgery Process

Darren Moore

This workshop will educate MFTs regarding working with Bariatric Patients through the Weight loss Surgery Process. It will include a discussion of couple dynamics post-operatively as well as the difficulties that patients face making the transition after surgical intervention. Implications for current clinicians and student-therapists in MFT training programs, is provided.

209 - Intellectual Disabilities: A Workshop for Clinicians

Nicole Springer, Briana Nelson Goff

Working with parents and families who are adjusting to having a child with an intellectual disability is a unique area for clinicians. The workshop will describe key resilience factors in families who have successfully navigated this life transition and provide important information and resources for clinicians working with families who may be beginning their journey.

210 - Working with Sexual Desire Problems in LGBT Couples

Daniel Alonzo

Sexual desire problems continue to be one of the most common reasons for couples to seek treatment, and this is no exception for couples on the LGBTQ spectrum.  Unfortunately, many treatment models ignore factors that are specific to LGBTQ relationships.  This highly experiential and interactive workshop will expand narratives so that relational therapists can enhance sexual desire in LGBTQ couples.

211 - Ethics and Supervisee Technology Usage

Kevin Allemagne, Katherine Hertlein

The use of social media is increasing at an exponential rate. As a result, supervisors in MFT programs and clinical facilities have to address appropriate and professional use of technology and social media throughout the course of training. The presentation will present strategies for supervisors to educate their students on managing social media and identify relevant ethical codes to be considered on how to best manage the issues associated with effective practice.

212 - Heading for a Crisis? Narrative Therapy as an Intervention

Maria Bermudez, Bertranna Abrams, Lorien Jordan, Morgan Stinson

Traditionally, Narrative Therapy has been used with clients with a myriad of presenting problems. Yet, there are less therapeutic modalities to draw from when clients are in active crisis. We specifically present an integrated crisis intervention model and outline how Narrative approaches can help clients move from a state of immobility to a state of psychological flexibility and stability. 

300 Series Descriptions: Friday, September 4, 2:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.


300 - Engaging the System: Strategies to Build Systemic Rapport

Susan Perkins, Carissa D'Aniello, Valerie Glass

Rapport is essential for effective MFT, but therapists may struggle to juggle rapport with couples and families. The presenters provide an evidence-based model for conceptualizing, developing, and assessing systemic rapport.  Participants will learn creative strategies for systemic rapport building, including metaphors, stories, art, and activities.  Practitioners, educators, and supervisors will gain specific tools for building rapport with couples and families. 

301 - Sex, Intimacy and Globalization: Ideas for Family Therapy

Emily Halverson, Caitlin Hancock, Jason Platt

The world is becoming a smaller and more intimate place. Linked to globalization, people are living outside their nations of origin and cross-national relationships are increasingly common. Participants in this presentation will learn about how factors such as culture shock, language barriers and conflicting national values can influence sexual and intimate relationships as well as therapeutic ideas for intervening. 

302 - Doing Well While Doing Good: What You Can Do with a MFT Degree

Anne Rambo, Tommie Boyd, Martha Marquez

The master's degree in marriage and family therapy is a highly marketable degree in a variety of settings, yet recent graduates are at times unaware of their options. Participants will learn the results of a nationwide survey of MFT graduates and hear about a wide range of of employment possibilities. The presenters will discuss career tracks, pros and cons of each, and how to access opportunities nationwide. 

303 -  LGBTQ Youth in the Foster Care System

Jory Catalpa, Ashley Landers

LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in the child welfare system. This workshop illuminates the complex experiences of LGBTQ youth in foster care. Common misconceptions about LGBTQ youth and implications for MFTs working with LGBTQ youth and their families will be explored. The experiences of LGBTQ youth in foster care and current research literature can offer guidance to MFTs. 

304 - Permanent Change in Habitual Patterns (PCHP): Evidence Based Therapy

Margaret Keiley

Permanent Change in Habitual Patterns (PCHP) focuses on permanently changing the habitual attachment and arousal patterns that keep clients  (individuals, couples, families) locked into dysfunctional interactional cycles. This session will describe the theoretical basis and illustrate the interactional means by which PCHP assesses, intervenes, interrupts, and alters habitual interactions. Roleplay of participants' difficult cases to illustrate how PCHP works to effectively change cycles and behaviors. 

305 - 1 Family & 1 Couple:  Advocating  for LMFTs in Primary Care

Joanna Stratton, Katherine Buck

MFTs possess unique skills in the use of systems based therapy and possess tacit understanding of the interaction between the family and medical environments. It is these skills which make MFTs invaluable players in the primary care setting. This workshop will highlight how to advocate for LMFTs to be hired and compensated within integrated healthcare settings. 

306 - Preparing for Late Life: Conversations, Planning, and Next Steps

Kendra O'Hora, Rosemary Blieszner, Karen Roberto

Families with older members face both challenges and opportunities in managing aging-related changes. Using research on family responses to early memory loss, this workshop provides evidence-based recommendations for clinical and educational interventions aimed at helping families appreciate contributions of old members to family well-being and enhancing family coping with memory-related stressors, especially with regard to planning for future care needs. 

307 - Suicide Bereavement: What Helps and What Hurts?

Quintin Hunt, Katherine Hertlein

Suicide is one of the most painful experiences any family may encounter; having lost a family member to suicide also makes a person more likely to die by suicide. We will explore the experiences of suicide survivors with abstract and concrete examples of things that help survivors cope and things that have been barriers to healing. 

308 - Becoming a Systemic Digital Therapist: Using BITs in MFT

Morgan Stinson, Deepu George, Andrea Meyer

With recent technological advances, clinicians are challenged to learn behavioral intervention technologies (BITs) in order to promote positive change for clients. In this workshop, clinicians are introduced to BITs through clinical case studies and experiential activities. By utilizing BITs in systemic practice, MFTs can enhance therapeutic outcomes by implementing interventions outside of the therapy room. 

309 - Finding Voice and Flourishing as Beginning MFTs

Dana Stone, Jessica ChenFeng

This workshop will engage current students and interns in supportive discussions about integrating self and identity in the self-of-the-therapist journey from student to licensed clinician. This workshop will give voice to the challenges and difficult encounters related to statuses including race, ethnicity, and gender, etc. student-trainee-supervisee have with peers, faculty, supervisors, and clients on their journey to becoming an MFT. 

310 - Assessing Couples with the New Relationship Evaluation

Jeffry Larson, Lori Schade

The new on-line Relationship Evaluation will be described and its use in couple therapy demonstrated. By reviewing  couples' unique RELATE profiles before the first therapy session, clinicians can develop a customized treatment plan and engage couples in treatment much quicker than using traditional methods. A description of RELATE and how to use it in therapy will be demonstrated. 

311 -  Treating Families of Children with Developmental Disabilities

Jeffrey Jackson

Parents of children with developmental disabilities report needing more attuned and effective family therapy services. This workshop will prepare participants to better serve families of children with severe developmental disabilities by understanding common stressors these families tend to face and using ambiguous loss as a treatment framework. 

312 -  Integrate your MFT Skills into an Evidenced Based-Practice!

Olga Hervis, Silvia Kaminsky

Participants will learn how to integrate Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT®) skills to decrease negativity and increase bonding in families. BSFT is an evidence-based practice found to be effective in treating behavior problem syndromes in both agency and home-based trials. BSFT®’s innovative systemic diagnostic framework and restructuring interventions will be presented via family session videos and interactive group exercises.


400 Series Descriptions: Saturday, September 5, 8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

400 - Best Practices in Technology Assisted Distance Supervision

AnnaLynn Schooley, Roxanne Bamond

The latest revision of the AAMFT Code of Ethics mandate that clinical supervisors will need training and experience to utilize distance based supervision.  Through live demonstrations this workshop will present the most current and advanced practices in Technology Assisted Distance Supervision to best serve the professional needs of supervisors and supervisees. 

401 - MFTs Changing the World One Community at a Time

Paul Springer, Richard Bischoff, Nathan Taylor

Mental health conditions continue to be a leading cause of disability worldwide. Through this workshop, we will discuss how international engagement around mental health care disparities and a global perspective help in the development of local solutions and how local successes prepare participants for impacts on a global scale. This workshop will describe a model for reducing mental health care disparities and improving outcomes around the world one community at a time. 

402 - MFT and MedFT in Preschools: Applications and Interventions

Elizabeth Palmer, Keeley Pratt

Quality preschools serve as a protective factor for children living in poverty. This workshop will discuss programming that addresses the biopsychosocial needs of families with a preschool child. Play therapy applications and interventions will be provided for use with young children. An exemplar of one lab-based preschool that utilizes MFT and MedFT with families living in poverty will be described. 

403 - Competencies in Family Therapy with Transgender Clients

Heather Ambrose, Hollie Hancock

The transgender population has largely been ignored by clinical research. Individuals are identifying as transgendered at younger ages, therefore therapists must become aware of clinical competencies needed to assist these individuals and their families in the transition process. Participants will learn competencies needed for therapists working with transgender clients and their families, and best practices associated with positive transitions. 

404 - Discovering Prevention within Treatment and Intervention

Lindsey Weiler, Jamie West

Most clients seek help from therapy and community programs for existing problems. As trained therapists, we intervene and alleviate distress. Therefore, prevention paradigms in treatment seem counterintuitive. Research on individual, familial, and intergenerational problems, however, validates the need for prevention efforts facilitated by systemically-trained therapists. Participants will learn to integrate prevention strategies inside and out of the therapy room.

405 - Core Competencies of Technology for Couple and Family Therapists

Katherine Hertlein, Markie Blumer

As technology use increases in couple and family life, there have been no competencies developed thus far related to couple/family use of technology. The purpose of this workshop is to review the state of research related to technology in clinical practice to inform the development of core competencies for technology, and present the core competencies related to technology. The connection from the findings of these studies to the development of competencies will be presented in theory,research and practice. 

406 - Enhancing MFT Training and Practice using Clinical Feedback Systems

Thomas Sexton, William Northey, Elaine Willerton, Brandon Lyons

In this interactive and technology-focused workshop participants will see how a Clinical Feedback (CFS) System is used in varied MFT contexts. A live interactive demonstration of a CFS  being used in COAMFTE training programs and in clinical demonstration projects will be highlighted for its utility in training, improvement of clinical outcomes, and research in developing Practice-based Evidence. 

407 - Families Living with ASD: Integrating MFT in Systems of Care

Brie Turns, Nicole Springer

Families living with Autism typically seek services focusing on treatment for the diagnosed child, leaving the remaining family members to manage interpersonal struggles without sufficient support. This workshop will highlight key therapeutic competencies for working with the family, by applying systemic interventions to dynamics these families often face, and direct clinicians on how to collaborate with other systems of care. 

408 - The Cost of Caring: Trauma and Grief in Clinicians

Kami Gallus, Jessica High, Briana Nelson Goff

This workshop will focus on helping clinicians recognize and manage symptoms of secondary trauma, compassion fatigue, and grief they may be experiencing in working with clients who have suffered extensive trauma or loss. The workshop will include discussion regarding common experiences of clinicians working with traumatized or grief-affected systems, as well as implications for approaches to reduce impairment in clinicians. 

409 - Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy with a Bipolar Partner

Regina Bordieri, Sesen Negash

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness causing unusually intense and dramatic shifts in mood and energy.  Few systemic interventions exist for the treatment of bipolar disorder, despite its effect on family members.  This presentation will identify the unique needs of couples coping with bipolar disorder and propose a modified version of Emotionally Focused Therapy for working with these couples. 

410 - Therapy with Chinese Couples and Families

Norman Epstein, Jennifer Young, Le Zheng, HaeDong Kim

This workshop will describe cultural adaptations needed to apply Western-derived MFT models with Chinese families sensitively and effectively, both in China and the U.S. Considerations of cultural values and traditions, family structure and roles, communication styles, expectations of therapy, and effects of the educational system and economic development on family functioning in China will be described. 

411 - Couples’ Experiences of Military Deployment

Adrian Blow, Lisa Gorman, Angela Huebner

This presentation will focus on the experiences of couples through a military deployment and reintegration after they return home.  Drawing from in-depth qualitative interviews of military couples, the presenters will describe in detail the stories of deployment reported by these couples and the relevance of these stories for prevention and intervention efforts conducted by therapists who work with these couples. 

412 - Silent Death of Sexual Intimacy: Confronting Cultural Bias about Aging and Sexuality

Andrea Farnham, Denise Lewis

This workshop will demonstrate and discuss myths and stigma about older adult sexuality and sexual intimacy as confronted though the experience of the presenters as a therapist and researcher. Particular focus will be on existing stigma and myths about older adult sexuality in family therapy and the process of confronting biases as a therapist and researcher highlighting the culturally embedded ageism.


500 Series Descriptions: Saturday, September 5, 2:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.

500 - Overcoming Bias: A Framework for Work with Sex Offenders

Megan Oed, Lorien Jordan, Desiree Seponski

This presentation will discuss current research findings on public and professional attitudes towards sex offenders and how bias and stereotyping impact treatment and rates of recidivism. Participants will be invited to examine their own biases and stigma in working with and treating sex offenders.  Presenters will provide a framework for how to begin assessing for and responding to sex offenders. 

501 - Neither Here Nor There: Working with Transnational Immigrant Families in Marriage and Family Therapy

Bertranna Abrams, Jessica Chou, Andrea Farnham, Maria Bermudez

This presentation will provide insight into experiences of immigrant families living transnationally. Therapeutic considerations for immigrants living in the United States who are experiencing ambiguity of acculturation processes will be considered. 

502 - The Effective Use of Social Media in Private Practice

Jennifer Sneeden

Social Media has important implications for therapists in private practice. Used effectively, it can be a powerful practice-building and marketing tool. Used ineffectively, it can create ethical and legal quandaries. This workshop will help therapists effectively navigate the complexity of social media in private practice. Participants will be able to take the informaiton they learn and determine whether social media is appropriate for their practices. Each major social media network will be presented. 

503 - Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples with Depression

Ting Liu, Andrea Wittenborn

Research findings support the use of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT) for couples struggling with depression and relationship problems. In this workshop, we will review the existing literature on comorbid depression and relationship discord, and provide clinical strategies and interventions for using EFT to treat depression and relationship disputes. Video segments from real sessions will be shown to demonstrate interventions. 

504 - A Contextual Therapy Framework for Family Health

Alexandra Schmidt, Scott Sibley

This workshop will provide practical skills for using a contextual therapy framework with clients facing physical health concerns. Presenters will illustrate the relationship between key contextual constructs (i.e. trust, loyalty, and the balance of giving and taking) and health-related challenges. Participants will practice formulating therapeutic questions and engage in experiential activities to address individual and relational experiences of illness. 

505 - Metaphoric Expansion of the Scaling Question Training

Lori Pantaleao, Ronald Chenail

In this workshop participants will learn a novel approach for delivering scaling questions in Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) – the metaphorically enhanced scaling question (MESQ) system. MESQ was developed to help SFBT practitioners better craft scaling questions within the focus of their clients by using client-inspired metaphors to construct scaling questions more personal to clients and their stories. 

506 - Technology: Ethical Challenges for Today’s Supervisor

Karin Jordan

This workshop will focus on the ethical challenges supervisors encounter with clients and therapists, in training and those working toward licensure, while using technology to enhance service accessibility/delivery. Ethical decision making in an era of high-tech will be addressed.

507 - Working on What Works: School-based Systemic Change

Amber Vennum, Lee Shilts, Nicole Bird, Micha Berryhill, Charity Clifford, Prerana Dharnidharka

States are increasingly approving MFTs as mental health providers in schools, providing MFTs the unique opportunity to further support families by extending our systemic lens. This workshop will engage participants in a solution-focused systemic intervention to improve school climate called WOWW. Through experiential learning techniques, participants will actively learn how to empower teachers, students, and families through solution-focused coaching.

508 - How Technology will Radically Change Family Therapy’s Future

Benjamin Caldwell

Online service delivery is already impacting the field of family therapy, but has only made small inroads compared to what’s ahead. New technology is poised to revolutionize training, licensure, and research as well. This workshop will describe developing technologies and their potential impacts (positive and negative), with an emphasis on needed policy changes to keep MFTs on the cutting edge. 

509 - Clinician Directed, Solution-Focused Supervision

Christopher K. Belous, Darren Moore

This workshop will provide attendees with the information needed to assume a clinician directed, solution-focused (CDSF) approach in clinical supervision of Couple and Family Therapists. CDSF Supervision pulls heavily from constructivist, post-modern theories of collaboration. Through experiential learning exercises, discussion and real-life clinical examples, attendees will gain first-hand experience and knowledge with CDSF. 

510 - Self-of-the-Spiritual-Therapist Among Sexual Topics

Brie Turns, David Ivey, Cody Heath, Denise Nicholas-Williams, Jenna Chang

Spiritual therapists experience unique opportunities and challenges while discussing sexual topics with clients. This workshop will provide therapists the opportunity to learn how to differentiate their personal beliefs aside from their client’s beliefs while dealing with challenging issues that arise during therapy by provide clinicians with a model for self-of-the-therapist work while conducting sex therapy. 

511 - Demystifying Writing for Publication in MFT - CANCELLED

512 - Mindfulness and Self-care: Not Just for Clients

Kevin C. Garrett, David Robinson, Adam Jones

Competing demands on MFTs can take a significant toll. This toll can manifest in the form of burnout. Participants in this dynamic workshop will learn about current self-care literature, signs of burnout, and systemic effects this has on professional relationships. Attendees will discuss how they do or will implement self-care strategies in their personal and professional lives.

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