Conference Workshops

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

200 Cutting Edge LGBTQ Research and Practice: Informed Therapy

Kristen Benson, Sheila Addison, Lindsay Edwards, Erica Hartwell, Katie Heiden-Rootes, Ashley Walsdorf

This workshop will feature a panel of researchers and clinicians who will present their original research and clinical projects highlighting work with LGBTQ populations. Participants will learn about best practices for working with sexual orientation and gender identity in relational therapy. Panelists will discuss LGBTQ couples, transgender children, religion, and concerns regarding heteronormativity and stigma.


201 The Therapeutic Pyramid: A Common Factors Meta-Model

Stephen Fife, Jason Whiting, Sean Davis, Kay Bradford

This workshop presents a meta-model of psychotherapy that illustrates the relationship between three common factors: models/techniques, the therapeutic alliance, and the therapist’s “way of being.” Participants will learn how apply the model in order to strengthen their relationships with clients and improve therapy outcomes. Clinical, research, and training implications of the therapeutic pyramid model will also be discussed.


202 Structural Family Therapy Approach with Family Impacted by Drug Use

Tracey Duncan

Families are the hidden victims of drug addiction suffered by a family member. The drug addiction becomes the central organizing principle of the family system, controlling and dictating family members’ assigned family rules and roles. This presentation provides an understanding of the impact of drug addiction and Strategic Family Therapy approach interventions.


203 Giving a Voice to Non-Diagnosed Siblings Living with Autism

Rachael Dansby, Brie Turns, Jeffrey Crane

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 the key therapeutic competencies for working with a neuro-typical sibling of a child with autism, by applying systemic interventions to dynamics within the sibling and parent-non-diagnosed sibling subsystem.


204 Barriers to MFT: Doing Therapy with Latino Families in South Florida

Michael Alicea

The Latino population of South Florida (Puerto Ricans and Cuban populations especially) face a plethora of mental health issues. This unique population faces higher rates of anxiety, depression, and acculturative stress. The purpose of this presentation was to present and identify barriers and perceptions Latinos have with Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) services.


205 Treating Families With Disabilities at Midlife and Beyond

Joseph Wetchler

Families of adult children with severe disabilities face different issues than those with younger children. This workshop will prepare participants to understand these issues and prepare them to better serve these families. Discussion will stem from the presenter’s clinical practice and his own life as a midlife parent of an adult child with profound disabilities.


206 Medical Family Therapy in Primary Care: Research Updates

Jennifer Hodgson, Angela Lamson

Increasing numbers of family therapists are securing positions in primary care settings as integrated behavioral healthcare leaders, clinicians, and researchers. This presentation will highlight current trends in primary care involving family-centered models, integrated behavioral healthcare research, opportunities for clinical and research initiatives, and a blueprint for getting your professional foot in the primary care door.


207 Refugee Responsive Mental Health Series

Charity Somo, Denise Lewis, Savannah Spivey, Desiree Seponski

Refugees have often survived devestating circumstances such was war and crimes against hunamity. Consequently they are vulnerable to numerous mental health issues. When mental health treatment is delivered during the first three years following relocation, refugees can show meaningful recovery. This workshop will present the implementation of a series applied to address the mental health needs of recent refugees.


208 Development of IPV Service Protocols in MFT Training Clinics

Sudha Sankar, Marsha Carolan, Rocio Escobar-Chew, Nicole Monta, Adrian Blow

This workshop presentation will address the process of development and implementation of IPV services protocols for MFT training clinics. The presentation will discuss models, design, resources, and strategies and training for graduate student therapists to capably provide these services. Workshop will provide helpful guidelines for best practices based in current research.


209 Suicide Risk Assessment in Family Therapy

Guy Diamond, Jody Russon, Maliha Ibrahim

After presenting data on prevalence and risk factors for youth suicide in the general population and with racial and sexual minority groups, we review suicide risk assessment and safety planning procedures. Audience members will practice these skills during the workshop. We will discuss how to engage and motivate parents to take youth to the emergency room or outpatient services.


210 Building Pathways of Success for Latinas in MFT Training

Laura Ganci, Shelley Green

This workshop will describe a recently conducted original study that was designed to explore the lived experience of Latinas training in MFT. Participants will learn about the wide range of complex, rich, and sometimes challenging experiences of Latinas as they aim to succeed in academia, how gender and the Latino culture play a role, and implications for training.


211 Treating the Traumatized Child: A Family Systems Approach

Scott Sells

Traditional trauma informed practice often involves only the child and fails to expand the lens to the immediate and extended family. An evidence-based model known as Parenting with Love and Limits- Family Systems Trauma (PLL-FST) researched step-by-step methods to heal trauma with the youth and their family. This workshop will provide an overview of the model with videos and outcomes.


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

300 Keynote Follow-up: Insider Witness Practices: The Performative Turn in Narrative Therapy

David Epston, Thomas Stone Carlson

Insider Witness Practices represents a reimagined approach to narrative therapy that draws upon theory and practices of performance studies to dramatically transform clients’ experiences of their life stories. This presentation will provide an overview of this practice and use transcripts and video examples ti highlight its transformational effect on the lives of therapists and clients alike.


301 Difficult Dialogues: Broaching Identity & Culture in Session

Sheila Addison

As MFTs seek to address the needs of diverse and under-served populations, skills for facilitating “difficult dialogues” about identity and culture become increasingly critical. Framed in terms of “cultural humility,” a non-expert alternative to “cultural competence,” this presentation will demonstrate how to sensitively and directly broach cultural issues in order to deepen the therapeutic relationship and support the change process.


302 Assessing and Treating Shame in Couple and Family Therapy

Norman Epstein, Mariana Falconier

Shame is a powerful aversive emotion associated with self-condemnation and adversely affecting individuals’ well-being. It commonly occurs in couple and family relationships and therapy, sometimes inadvertently but at other times induced by members intentionally. This workshop will describe and demonstrate assessment and treatment with couples and families experiencing shame. Specific assessment and treatment methods will be demonstrated.


303 Has Minority Become A Risk Factor? Steps to Empowering Black Male Youth

Danielle Moye

Recently, in an era of Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown, African American families have begun questioning levels of equality within their communities. Naturally, the target on male youth has raised awareness from both cultural and systemic perspectives. For mental health professionals, sensitivity to these disparities may increase effectiveness of treatment. What efforts can be made to decrease barriers towards success?


304 When Milton Erickson Met John Weakland and Jay Haley: A Mentoring Story

Wendel Ray, Michael Rankin, Dale Bertram

The teaching, supervision and mentoring relationship between Milton Erickson, father of modern hypnosis and John Weakland and Jay Haley, two pioneers of family theory and therapy will be described. Special emphasis will be on learnable skills relevant to developing effective mentoring relationships. Differences between mentoring, supervision, and teaching, will be explored with emphasis on the connection between these interrelated relationships.


305 Demystifying Writing for Publication in MFT

Fred Piercy

This workshop is intended for those who wish to be successful in writing for publication in the field of marriage and family therapy. We will demystify the publication process as well as the thinking and skills necessary for participants to be successful, published authors of scholarly MFT articles.


306 Advancing Accountability in MFT: A Hackathon

William Northey, Benjamin Caldwell, Thomas Sexton, Diane Gehart

In this workshop participants will be challenged to brainstorm creative and effective ways (i.e., “hack”) to address critical issues facing MFTs related to training and practice in accountability-driven environments and how to best differentiate MFTs from other mental health professionals based on our unique values. Participants will join subgroups lead by thought leaders to consider these contemporary challenges. #MFThack


307 Attachment-Based Family Therapy: Navigating Relational Reframes

Guy Diamond, Jody Russon

Attachment-Based Family Therapy facilitates conversations about core attachment ruptures that inhibit parent-child trust. This workshop will provide an overview of the model, but will focus on clinical skills specific to the relational reframe. These skills help therapists focus the session on interpersonal relationship enhancement rather than symptom management. Videos, rating scales and small group discussions will be used.


308 Couple Signaling and Responding Patterns: An Attachment Perspective

Ryan Seedall, Karen Wampler, Megan Lachmar

Distressed couples often have difficulty signaling their needs clearly and also being attuned to one another. This workshop will highlight the value of an attachment-based perspective on couple interaction involving signaling and responding. The primary goal of this workshop is to provide therapists with both principles and practical strategies for facilitating clear signaling and appropriate responding in couple therapy.


309 The Myth of Maternal Bliss: Understanding Perinatal Mood Disorders

Diana Barnes

Perinatal mood disorders disrupt maternal attachment with serious repercussions for the developing infant. This session explores the psychological gestation of pregnancy as it relates to the new mother's attachment history and the quality of her attachment to her infant, looking at how trauma disrupts attachment. Symptoms, risk factors, and therapeutic models are discussed along with strategies for prevention.


310 Using Creative Clinical Assessments to Promote Social Justice

Christie Eppler, Jeanette Rodriguez

In order to offer culturally competent assessment and treatment, clinicians must include issues of social justice (e.g., historical trauma, race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality, spirituality, and nationality) in assessment. This interactive, experiential workshop will explore the use of adapted qualitative measures to highlight clients’ social locations. Clinicians will learn about and practice using social justice-oriented family assessment tools.


311 Clean, Count, and Check: A Family-Based Approach to OCD

Kenneth Phelps

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental illness where individuals are plagued by intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviors. This presentation will review the role of the family system in remediating challenging symptomatology. A summary of evidence-based treatment for childhood OCD will be provided, as well as application of family therapy concepts to traditional exposure therapy via the 6Es model.


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

400 Integrating an Online Client Feedback System into MFT Programs--STIC

William Pinsof, Douglas Breunlin, Nathan Hardy, Jacob Goldsmith, Jayne Kinsman

The workshop will explore the opportunities and challenges in integrating an online client feedback system, the STIC, into the training and supervision processes within an accredited MFT program over the last ten years. Issues like facilitating the cultural transformation of bringing data into therapy and supervision, evaluation anxiety of students and supervisors, alliance disruption and change resistance will be addressed. 

401 Working with Suicidal Adolescents: Common Factors and Concerns

Quintin Hunt, Laura Frey, Eugene Hall

Adolescent suicidal behavior is influenced by and impacts the entire family system. We will explore evidence from family-based interventions with adolescents that have attempted suicide, experienced suicidal ideation, or engaged in suicidal behavior. Essential information about working with suicidal adolescents and their families will be presented using information collected from interviews with clinicians that specialize in the treatment of suicide.

402 Removing the Mask of Masculinity in Therapy

Jakob Jensen, Daniel Blocker, Andrew Brimhall

Given the critical need for men to demonstrate sensitivity and vulnerability, this workshop will enhance therapists’ understanding of the overwhelming gender stereotypes most men feel they must adopt. Specifically, we will address men’s fears and how clinicians can be effective in helping men feel comfortable sharing vulnerabilities. These strategies will be discussed in both traditional and medical family therapy settings. 

403 Including MFT's in a Multidisciplinary Team in Collaborative Divorce

William Steele, Bart Ferraro, Jessica Gahl, Amy Stewart, Valerie Brennan

Collaborative Divorce is a non-litigated, non-adversarial, process driven approach to divorce. It involves a professional team who are specially trained. The team supports the divorce process by assisting the parties in decisions which will be in the best interest of their family. This will be a panel presentation which will include attorneys, psychologists, financial advisers, and marriage and family therapists. 

404 Working on What Works: School-based Systemic Change

Amber Vennum, Prerana Dharnidharka, Lee Shilts, Chelsey Torgerson, Charity Clifford, Blake Berryhill

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.

405 Eco Model-Suicide Protective & Risk Factors in Trans-Adults

Lindsay Edwards, Annabelle Goodwin

This workshop includes the presentation of a socio-ecological model that integrates risk and protective factors associated with the increased likelihood of suicide in the transgender and gender nonconforming communities. The presenters will discuss research findings relevant to four different intersecting systems (Societal, Community, Relational and the Individual) and then offer concrete recommendations for practicing clinicians within each system. 

406 Surviving Public Agencies as an MFT

Arnold Woodruff

This workshop will explore the plight of marriage and family therapists who are working in public and private, publically funded agencies. The nature of the policy environment that undercuts systemic thinking will be explored. Strategies for maintaining a systemic and ecological mindset within a sometimes hostile enviornment will be explored and relating real life experiences will be encouraged. 

407 Family Therapy In Global Humanitarian Contexts

Laurie Charlés, Catalina Perdomo. Deborah Healy, Daisy Ceja, Kathryn Dunne, Kotia Witaker

We will focus on critical issues specific to the practice of family therapy within the humanitarian sphere. We offer practical information and content specific to the training, supervision, and delivery of systemic family-based services where human rights and humanitarian intervention are part of the context, with a focus on making this work accessible across a variety of settings. 

408 Systemic Interventions with Families with an Autistic Child

Mudita Rastogi, Alyssa Abbate

Using experiential exercises, cases, and AV material, participants will explore strengths and challenges faced by families with a child diagnosed with autism. Attendees will learn about Interventions targeting ambiguous loss, stages of grief, sibling and couple subsystems, and larger systems, while integrating cultural and religious beliefs of these families. Participants will receive references and resources to aid their clinical work. 

409 Strategies and Interventions for Online Practice in MFT

Paul Springer, Richard Bischoff, Nathan Taylor, Adam Farero

Videoconferencing tools have become a popular medium for providing mental health care, with research showing that it is effective, cost-efficient, and beneficial to reach underserved populations. Though videoconferencing tools are accessible and beneficial, clinicians need to be trained to use them. This presentation will discuss the strategies used for developing an online practice, and clinical interventions useful in providing tele-health. 

410 Military Personnel Reintegrating with Preschool-Aged Children

Rob Atchison

This workshop will examine reattachment experiences of military parents with their preschool-aged child during reintegration through the theoretical lens of attachment theory. Participants of this workshop will understand how the present research impacts military families and will analyze how future programs may be created to facilitate more cohesive family bonds within the context of the military culture. 

411 Exploring Spirituality Through Cinematherapy

Christie Eppler, Nicole Chilivis

Films have a unique ability to explore the transcendent. Cinema is a medium that offers a safe distance while being deeply moving. Films provide impetus for clients and therapists to identify their own sacred symbols and healing metaphors. This interactive session will provide skills for therapists to use cinematherapy to explore spiritual themes in session and self-of-the-therapist work.


500 Series Descriptions: Saturday, September 17, 2016 2:30pm – 4:30pm

500 Empirically Informed Consultation and Supervision—Using the STIC

Nathan Hardy, Jacob Goldsmith

Using clients’ self-report data can provide therapists real time information about clients’ experiences of therapeutic processes, including the therapeutic alliance. The STIC® (Systemic Therapy Inventory of Change)–a multisystemic measurement and feedback system–provides therapists an effective way to deliver empirically informed couple and family therapy. In this workshop, participants will learn to integrate clinical data into therapy and supervision.


501 Working with Today’s Technology Connected Children

Jaclyn Cravens, Cayla Minaiy, Neli Morris

Today’s children use technology at higher rates than any previous generation. The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages pediatricians to ask children about screen use, but are family therapists? It is important for family therapists to be knowledgeable about recommended technology use, how use impacts children, how to educate family members, and how to assess and treat these issues in therapy.


502 Secure Attachment and Mindfulness in Affair Recovery

Tina Timm, Adrian Blow

Infidelity is one of the most painful presenting issues in couple therapy. Therapists typically have little training, and few infidelity-specific evidence-based treatments exist. This presentation will detail an integrative approach based in attachment and post-traumatic growth theories. Using a mindfulness informed approach, the workshop will address ways to help couples rebuild trust, create secure attachment, and rekindle a sexual relationship.


503 Addressing Race in Multicultural Families and the Role of Parents

Katie Heiden-Rootes, Bobbi Miller

Multicultural families are the “new normal.” Finding ways to address race in families seems to lead to better outcomes for children of color raised by white adoptive parents. The results of original research by the presenters suggest a mediation model for parental cultural competence. Practical clinical and policy implications are discussed.


504 Families and Health: A Biopsychosocial Approach to Treatment

Sarah Woods, Jacob Priest

This workshop will describe recent research findings linking close relationships and health, and the clinical implications of this research for family therapists. Applications of the Biobehavioral Family Model, a systemic, biopsychosocial approach to health, will be used to describe how best to navigate therapy with families with an ill child or adult family member.


505 Working with Individuals and Families Impacted by Deportation

Sean Davis, Sandra Espinoza

Deportation affects the lives of millions of people living in the U.S. This workshop focuses on the skills necessary to treat adult individuals separated from their parents as children. Themes from in-depth interviews with several of these individuals will be discussed. Participants will learn how to apply culturally appropriate interventions for this population.


506 Stepping in to Help Clients Resolve Relationship Cutoffs

Elena Lesser Bruun

A cutoff from someone close can be a gut-wrenching experience. It can make initiator or recipient literally sick. This presentation covers the main reasons people cutoff, cutoff types, degree and severity, advisability of reestablishing contact, and strategies clinicians can suggest or employ. Since few clinicians tackle these thorny clinical situations, attendees' self-reflection about their own cutoff experiences will be encouraged.


507 Brain Science in Relationships: Crucible® Neurobiological Therapy

David Schnarch

Brain-based Crucible Neurobiological Therapy, developed from 12 years of clinical treatment failure research, resolves emotional trauma by harnessing the interpersonal neurobiology of ”mind mapping”—the brain’s innate ability to make a mental map of another person’s mind. Understanding mind mapping, “mind masking” and “traumatic mind mapping” (mapping someone else’s mind dysregulates your brain) helps highly troubled clients heal.


508 Engaging in Systemic Science through Collaborative Research Teams

Kristy Soloski, David Ivey, Sara Smock Jordan, Mariam Massoud, Fei Shen, Sara Schonian

Collaborative research teams are becoming crucial to implementing advanced methods in systemic science research. Fostering a collaborative team can be an intimidating and belaboring process, but can cultivate considerable productivity. Using a panel discussion with both faculty and graduate students, our research team will discuss the process and benefits of developing a productive and collaborative research team.


509 Trauma-Informed Couples Therapy: Challenges and Interventions

Michael Redd

This workshop will address couples therapy where one or both partners have unresolved trauma. As these are some of the more difficult to treat cases, additional understanding and a trauma-focus is necessary to effectively address these couples' unique needs, to work past challenges, and to avoid pitfalls. This workshop will focus on discussing both theoretical conceptualization and effective interventions.


510 Mindfulness with Children, Teens, and Families

Diane Gehart

In this workshop, therapists will learn mindfulness techniques for working with children 5-12, teens, and their families. In addition, participants will about options for creating mindfulness-based groups in both school and practice/agency settings. Emphasis will be place on treating trauma, ADHD, and depression in children and teens and on using mindfulness with parents and families.


511 MFT Consultants: Working with Low-Income Communities & Stakeholders

Brian Distelberg. Lauren Foster, Elsie Lobo, Ginger Simonton, Marj Buchholz-Castronova

This workshop will demonstrate how participants can expand their clinical work to their larger community. We will present varying community based research models from the MFT literature and illustrate our own community based action oriented model has been effective at reducing low income family stressors such as homelessness, veteran mental health struggles and socioeconomic mobility through housing assistance programs.


American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
112 South Alfred Street Alexandria, VA 22314-3061
Phone: (703) 838-9808 | Fax: (703) 838-9805

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