AMHCA Annual Conference Schedule: 


Thursday, July 14, 2016

11:00 AM – 8:00 PM  Registration Open


12:30 PM  - 3:45 PM  Preconference Workshops (Additional Registration Required)

Preconference Workshop: Accelerated Resolution Therapy

Speakers: Kevin Kip, PhD, FAHA & Diego Hernandez, PhD

Preconference Workshop: The Nature, Causes, and Management of Suicidal Behavior and Related Disorders

Speaker: Thomas Joiner, PhD


4:00 PM – 6:00 PM  

NR: Beyond Self Report: Ethical Decision-Making, Counseling & Your Brain

Speakers: SheriaShia Chatters, PhD, LMHC-Fl; Carlos Zalaquett, PhD, LMHC-Fl; Hyungyung Joo, MEd; Pei-Hsuan Liu

Research has found self report assessment to be unreliable. However, to date, methods aimed at going beyond self report have included observation and time-consuming methods. In this presentation, we will discuss the process of using brainwaves to go beyond self report when investigating underlying individual perceptions of ethical situations. 

NR: Enhancing Resilience Through Biologically Based Counseling

Speakers: Laura Jones, PhD, MS, NCC, LPCC, ACS; Eric T. Beeson, PhD, LPC, CRC, NCC; Thom Field, PhD, LMHC, NCC, ACS

This program reviews the knowledge and skills outlined in the 2015 AMHCA Standards of Practice related to the biological basis of behavior. The focus of this program is to review foundational content (e.g., neurobiology of thinking, emotion, and memory) while building skills that can be easily implemented. 

IC: New Visions for Integrated Behavioral Healthcare: Decisive Roles & Opportunities

Speakers: H. Gray Otis, PhD, LCMHC

Well-qualified CMHCs are uniquely positioned to achieve outstanding results in integrated behavioral healthcare. This workshop examines the ways counselors can team up with physicians to provide holistically comprehensive best practices in psychotherapeutic treatment. CMHCs can advance patient health when they apply the crucial core factors for successful outcomes. 

CH: Proceed With Caution: Children Refusing Contact With a Parent

Speakers: Rebecca Smith, MA, LPC-S; Anne Marie Termini, EdS, MS, LPC

This session will address a differential perspective of visitation refusal based on a review of literature and clinical experiences. Early identification of parent-child contact problems and future risks for children will be discussed. Presenters will discuss interventions designed to resolve visitation resistance/refusal before behaviors become embedded. 

EV: Helping Clients and Clinicians Build Resilience

Speakers: Hope Threadgill, PsyD, LPC, LPCS; Judith Cooper, MA, LPC, LPCS

This program is designed to help clinicians identify factors to assist their clients and themselves in building resilience toward total health. Quality of life concerns what what causes them affects one's resilience. This program will address ways to deal with quality of life issues, including assessment, clinical implications and interventions. 

GN: Engaged Research: Connecting Researchers & Practitioners to Improve Client Outcomes

Speakers: Leigh Holman, PhD, LPC-MHSP, RPTS, NCC, LSC, CMHC; Richard James, PhD, LPC-MHSP; Michael Skirius, MS, NCC; Paul Dunaway, MS, CRC, NCC; Shelly Wilkerson, Student

A panel from the University of Memphis's Crisis Research Team will discuss practice-informed research and engaged research in community agency, police, corrections, and military settings, using the framework of six projects the team is involved with. Best practices, potential pitfalls, negotiation of roles, funding and supervision will be covered. 


4:00 PM – 6:00 PM Give An Hour Training

Give an Hour was founded in 2005 to engage volunteer mental health professionals in service to the post 9/11 military community by giving one hour per week of their time for anonymous, no cost, unlimited mental health care. This training will give you all the information and tools you need to engage in this tele-mental health volunteer opportunity.


5:30 PM – 7:30 PM Welcome Reception & 40th Anniversary Celebration



Friday, July 15, 2016

7:00 AM – 8:00 PM  Registration Open


7:30 AM – 8:30 AM  Breakfast


8:30 AM – 10:00 AM General Session featuring Thomas Joiner, PhD 

Dr. Thomas Joiner is a leading suicide expert and author of many books on the subject, particularly on the interpersonal theory of suicide. His session will examine the nature, causes & management of suicidal behavior and related disorders.


10:00  – 10:30 AM  Networking Break


10:30 AM – 12:00 PM 

CSE: Building Blocks of Ethical Thinking: Research into Practice 

Speakers: Richard Ponton, PhD, LPC, ACS; Alfred Mancuso, PhD & Alicia Quayson, Graduate Student; Chelsea Sikora, Graduate Student; Nicole Mossbacher, Graduate Student

This lively session presents results of a study of counselors’ ethical thinking that began at the 2015 AMHCA Conference and focuses on the relationship between personal and professional ethics. Guided by moral foundations theory, the conversation provides a rich understanding of the nature of ethical codes as statements of organizational identity. 

GN: Understanding and Treating Eating Disorders: A Collaborative Approach 

Speakers: Wendy Foulds Mathes, MS, PhD, LPCA, NCC

Eating disorders treatment is complicated by biological and psychological factors that perpetuate the progression of the illnesses. Understanding implications of the complex interaction among these factors can inform clinical practice, increase the probability of positive treatment outcomes, and improve clinician self-efficacy. 

NR: Neuroscience-Informed Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Adolescents

Speakers: Laura Jones, PhD, MS, NCC, ACS; Eric Beeson, PhD, LPC, CRC, NCC; Thom Field, PhD, LMHC, NCC, ACS

Adolescence represents a critical period in brain development. As CBT evolves to incorporate the influence of neurophysiology on immediate and secondary symptom expression, the role of brain development must be considered. A neuroscience-informed model of CBT will be explored in relation to adolescent brain development and work with adolescent clients. 

EV: Mindfulness Matters: Practical Practices for Clinicians and Clients

Speakers: Quinn M. Pearson, PhD, LPC; Jonathan CainMelissa ChristopherElisa HolmSandra WestTheresa Davis

Mindfulness practices of turning inward to internal experiences, attending to the present moment through the senses, and engaging in meditation will be the focus. Participants will be engaged in mindful eating, breathing meditation, body scan, RAIN meditation, grounding techniques, and loving kindness meditation. Detailed handouts will be provided.

VT: Treating the Mind, Body & Spirit of Military Veterans

Speakers: Mark Stebnicki, PhD, DCMHS, LPC, CRC, CCM        

More than two million American troops have deployed to the Middle East since September 11, 2001 in support of OEF, OIF, OND, and the Global War on Terror. More servicemen and women are surviving combat injuries than ever before due to improved battlefield medicine, post-operative medical technology, and better body armor. Despite survival rates, many have acquired catastrophic physical injuries/disabilities (i.e., traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and amputations) and serious mental health concerns (i.e., post-traumatic stress, suicide ideation, substance abuse, and behavioral addictions). Consequently, many veterans have acquired significant issues related to their medical, physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, and psychosocial well-being.  

AB: Simultaneous Treatment for Co-Occurring Complex Trauma and Addiction

Speakers: Shedeh Tavakoli, PhD, LCPC, CCMHC              

Counseling trauma survivors who suffer from co-occurring complex trauma and addiction can be a perplexing experience, even among seasoned clinicians. The challenge often leads some counselors to question their counseling skills. This presentation will address applicable strategies and interventions that can be applied for clients with co-occurring disorders.   


12:00 PM  – 1:30 PM  Lunch & Learn Featuring Dwight Hollier (Additional Registration Required) or Lunch on Own

Former NFL linebacker & NFL Vice President, Wellness and Clinical Services will address mental health stigma. 


1:00 PM – 4:00 PM 

Intensive Art Therapy Workshop

Speakers: Cathy Malchiodi, PhD, LPCC, LPAT, ATR-BC, REAT


1:30 PM – 3:30 PM 

CH: Puppets Lend Hand Helping Children Heal From Effects of Trauma 

Speakers: Gale Kelley, EdD, LMHC, NCC, CETP, MFLC, QSMHC & MFT, ACS

The innovative features of this presentation/workshop will combine the treatment components of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), the use of puppetry as an expressive arts media, and the underlying principles of anthropomorphism (the practice of attributing human characteristics to animals and other living things). 

DC: Assessing and Working With Suicidal Clients While Maintaining Wellness

Speakers: Katherine Bender, PhD, NCC; Carole Luby, EdD, LMHC, LMFT

This presentation will provide information on understanding suicide risk, theories of suicidality, suicide prevention and client safety planning, a variety of effective intervention strategies, and best practices for self-care when working with suicidal clients. Self-care strategies will be practiced in session. 

EV: Improving Outcomes is Everything

Speakers: Wendy Kimball, LPC, CEAP

This session will focus on the importance of outcomes data collection in the field of addiction recovery and the role of recovery support after treatment. We will explore best practices for using telehealth as a means to both provide support to patients and collect data around recovery rates. Initial finding from five years of post-treatment data collection will be presented, and opportunities for telehealth reimbursement will be explored. 

GN: The Cost of Caring: Compassion Fatigue and Burnout

Speakers: Elizabeth Grady, LPCS, NCC; J. Patrick Slifka, LCSW

This workshop defines and discusses compassion fatigue and burnout as related to those who serve in "helping” roles. The training presents an overview of the causes and consequences of these conditions and offers specific strategies for prevention and intervention. The material offered in this session goes beyond traditional "self-care” skills. 

EV: Self-Care in the 21st Century: Complementary and Integrative Health

Speakers: Christine Berger, PhD, LCPC; Suzan Thompson, PhD, LPC

Complementary and integrative therapies are used to treat a variety of counseling issues. Solid evidence demonstrates that these therapies are effective in building resilience. This session will present an overview of the research, demonstrate some of the techniques, and share strategies to integrate them into individual wellness plans. 

CH: Experiences of Transporting Functional Family Therapy into Community Based Programs

Speakers: Tracey Duncan, EdS, PhD, LPC, ACS

The ability to successfully transport evidence based programs into community settings has caused a great gap between research and clinical practices. This mixed-method modified Delphi study explored the experiences of implementing Functional Family Therapy (FFT), family evidence based intervention from the perspectives of administrators, supervisors and clinicians. 

IC: The Evidence Based Practices Imperative within Integrated Medicine

Speakers: James Messina, PhD, CCMHC, NCC, DCMH

Integrated Medicine embraces evidence based treatments. It is imperative that CMHCs who want to work in these settings embrace evidence based practices (EBP) in treating patients with mental health disorders. Learn more about how to identify and explain EBPs to the medical team working with the same patients. 


3:30 PM – 4:00 PM   Networking Break


4:00 PM – 5:30 PM  General Session featuring Cathy Malchiodi, PhD, LPCC, LPAT, ATR-BC, REAT



Saturday, July 16, 2016

7:00 AM – 9:00 AM  Breakfast


7:45 AM – 8:45 AM 

EV: The Superwoman Schema and African American Women: Highlighting Strengths Approaches

Speakers: Jessica Henry, CRC; Mona Robinson, PhD, LPCC-S, LSW, CRC

New evidence suggests that African American women are more likely to be diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. As "superwomen” (Woods-Giscombe, 2010), the process of maintaining obligations after a diagnoses is the "kryptonite” preventing the development of a disability identity. This interactive presentation offers strength-based practices to encourage positive health promotion. 

AS: Transitioning to ICD-10-CM: What It Means for Coding Mental Disorder

Speakers: Gary Gintner, PhD, LPC-S

This program highlights three ways the transition to ICD-10-CM will impact the diagnosis of mental disorders. ICD-10-CM is examined including its structure, classification of mental disorders and contrast to DSM-5. Participants learn how to use DSM-5 with ICD-10-CM codes and become familiar with additional ICD-10-CM codes not listed in DSM-5. 

EV: The Art and Science of Self-Injury: Knowledge and Creative Therapies

Speakers: Laurie Craigen, PhD, LPC, NCC, NCMHC; Stephen Brady, PhD; Jori Berger-Greenstein, PhD; Rachel Levy-Bell, PsyD

This presentation is informed by results of a qualitative study on the counseling experiences of young women with a history of self-injury. The focus of the presentation is on therapeutic strategies for working with clients who self-injure. A large emphasis will be placed on expressive and creative arts activities. 

GN: Why AMHCA? What Have We Learned From Our Collective Efforts?

Speakers: James Finley, Direct of Public Policy, AMHCA; Stephen Giunta, PhD, LMHC, NCC, CCMHC; Linda Barclay, PhD, LPCC-S, LICDC, NCC; Jim Blundo, MA, LPC, NCC, CCMHC; Nancy Benz, MA, LPC, CCMHC, NCC, ACS

Dialogue with AMHCA past presidents to explore the historic role of AMHCA to advance the profession, with a particular focus on assessing the effectiveness of the organization in this role and the lessons our experience offers as we move forward. 

TR: Treating Female Acquaintance Rape Victims in College Using ACT

Speakers: Stephanie Bell, NCC, ACS; Lori Wolff, PhD, JD

Victims of acquaintance rape experience a variety of symptoms after the attack, which are often aggravated by the fact that they commonly encounter their attacker post-rape. ACT is proposed to treat PTSD and trauma related problems. Assessment and treatment models for counselors will be presented. 

VT: Mental Health Triage and De-Escalation in the Combat Theater

Speakers: Leigh Holman, PhD, LPC-MHSP, RPTS, NCC, LSC, CMHC; Richard James, PhD, LPC-MHSP; Paul Dunaway, MA, CRC; Michael Skirius, MA, PLC

The presenters will discuss the ongoing research and development of training for an Army Forward Surgical Team in the use of a modified Crisis Intervention Training model of intervention and de-escalation with casualties in the combat theater who demonstrate peri-traumatic, aggressive, dissociative, and suicidal behaviors. 

IC: How CMHCs Can Market Themselves Within the Integrated Medicine Community

Speakers: James Messina, PhD, CCMHC, NCC, DCMHS

Learn what Clinical Mental Health Counselors can share about their knowledge, skills and abilities which can be fully utilized in integrated medical setting to effectively meet patients’ emotional and behavioral needs. Use this marketing to back up your qualifications as a Behavioral Health Consultant in a medical setting. 

GN: Practicing What We Preach: Increasing Resilience in New Practitioners

Speakers: Sara Andrews, JD, MEd, LAPC, NCC; Erica Merrill, MAEd, LPC; Daniel Gutierrez, PhD, LMHC, NCC

Higher levels of emotional intelligence (EQ) are correlated with increased resiliency factors. Increasing the EQ of new counseling professionals can reduce stress levels. In this presentation, we will explore ways to increase EQ in order to mitigate the negative effects of stress and potential for professional burnout among new practitioners. 


9:00 AM – 10:30 AM  General Session featuring Maureen Duffy, PhD and Juliana Ekong, MD

Dr. Duffy, workplace and school bullying specialist, will share insights on how to approach recovery with individuals, families and organizations.

Dr. Juliana Ekong, Chief Medical Officer for Quartet, will discuss mental health treatment as the path to improved physical health outcomes. She will focus particularly on the role of technology.


10:30 AM – 11:00 AM Networking Break


11:00 AM – 12:30 PM 

DC: Strategies and Techniques on De-Escalating Crises Situations

Speakers: Kasia Wereszczkynska, MA, LCPC, RYT; Matt Glowiak, PhD, NCC, CAADC, LCPC

This presentation has been designed to inform audience members about crisis intervention by providing the latest information pertaining to taking personal control of a situation, de-escalating a dangerous situation, and proven crisis management strategies in various settings. 

EV: Deconstructing Today’s Marriage: An Introduction to Alternate Relationship Paradigms

Speakers: Melissa Bridges, PhD; Paul Maione, PhD

The evolving definition of marriage and alternate relationship paradigms have been the subject of great debate in recent years. Distinctions drawn in these conversations are becoming more relevant for therapists working with couples. Presenters explore the evolving construct of marriage and proliferation of alternatives to traditional marriage that challenge accepted norms. 

CSE: Basics of Developmental Supervision in Mental Health Counseling 

Speakers: Laura Tejada, LMFT, LCPC, Reg Play Therapist Sup; Shedeh Tavakoli, PhD, LCPC

Effective clinical supervision of counselor trainees in field placements incorporates a developmental perspective on the growth of counselor trainees throughout their academic and clinical experiences. This workshop will identify the needs and motivations of counselor trainees at different developmental levels and the recommendations for supervisory interventions targeted to each level. 

EV: Depression in Girls and Women: Effective Mental Health Treatment 

Speakers: Laura Choate, EdD, LPC-S

Girls and women are twice as likely as men to experience depression. It is important for clinicians to consider gender issues in the conceptualization and treatment of depression. The presenter will review biological and sociocultural influences and will discuss two evidence-based treatments for depression in women: Cognitive-Behavioral and Interpersonal Therapy. 

EV: Healing Songs: Empowerment Therapy Using Music

Speakers: Enobong Inyang, LPC-S, NCC, TriCare MHCP; Rebecca Smith, MA, LPC-S

The scope of the healing power of music dates back to antiquity. This highly experiential session aims to explore the use of music in therapy for healing and empowerment. Participants need not be musicians. Bring a favorite CD with lyrics and be ready to discover the healing power of music.

TR: The Neurophysiology of Trauma and Its Application to Successful Treatment

Speakers: Judith Swack, PhD; Wendy Rawlings, MS, LMHC, DCC

Trauma is structured and cleared in layers. It has neurobiological underpinnings that need to be accurately mapped to be successfully treated. This class teaches participants the structure of trauma and how to clear it using an evidence-based Energy Psychology tool that heals several layers of trauma simultaneously and quickly. 

VT: "Soldier-focused” Therapy: A Protocol That Works!

Speakers: Stan Meloy, PhD, LPC

Attendees will learn how to apply the principles of "soldier-focused” counseling – a new methodology created and tested by this presenter to identify and treat problems soldiers commonly present with. 

AB: Structural Family Therapy Approach with Families Impacted by Drug Addiction

Speakers: Tracey Duncan, EdS, PhD, LPC, ACS

This presentation will provide both a conceptual model (Phase I) and skills approach model (Phase II) to understanding the impact drug addiction has on families. The aims are to provide workshop participants with an understanding of drug addiction on the family and to demonstrate family interventions for working with families. 

TH: Telehealth and Web-Based Counseling

Speakers: Raymond Barrett, LPC, LMHC

This presentation will examine section B.6: Telehealth, Distance Counseling and the Use of Social Media in the 2015 AMHCA Code of Ethics. There will also be a clear demonstration on the implementation of these ethical codes. 


12:30 PM – 2:00 PM  Student Lunch (Additional Registration Required) or Lunch on Own


2:00 PM – 3:30 PM   General Session featuring Major General Margaret Wilmoth

Major General Margaret Wilmoth oversees resilience and readiness efforts for Army Reserve Soldiers across the country. At this year's Lunch & Learn, she will share innovative approaches that the Army Reserve is spearheading in the mental health space.


3:45 PM – 5:15 PM 

CSE: Ethics and Social Media in the Digital Age

Speakers: Rebecca Rucker, MA, LPC-S, LMFT

Social networking is offering a number of new clinical and ethical challenges for counselors. This workshop offers best practice guidelines on using social networking sites while maintaining good ethical practice. Additionally, the presenters provide guidelines for how to manage counselors’ concerns that arise from the use of social media. 

IC: Navigating the Intersection of Medicine and Mental Health

Speakers: Deanna Bridge Najera, MPAS, MS, PA-C, NCC

This program is for both the young professional and the experienced clinician, covering the broad categories of medications, their uses (and misuses) and potential risks. Attendees will be encouraged to become a more integral part of the health care team with case examples used to assist in learning. 

IC: Positive Psychological Interventions with Immigrant Youth

Speakers: Ana Estrada, PhD; Juliana Abercrombie, MA Candidate; Colene Lippman, MA Candidate; Miguel Martinez, MA Candidate

This presentation will provide an overview and results of the Positive Psychology Project (PoPP), an evidence based intervention which promotes happiness and resilience among immigrant youth by increasing subjective well-being, academic functioning, and experiences of gratitude, optimism, kindness, and taking care of one’s body. 

AB: Opioid Use Disorder: An Epidemic Beginning In Our Medicine Cabinets

Speakers: Kasia Wereszczkynska, MA, LCPC, RYT; Matt Glowiak, PhD, NCC, CAADC, LCPC

Heroin continually ruins and claims lives. As one of the most addictive and feared drugs available, heroin use generally begins with prescription medication. This presentation explores heroin addiction by providing the latest information pertaining opioid use disorder, vulnerable populations, maladaptive behaviors, effective treatment strategies, overdose prevention, and available resources. 

EV: Case Conceptualization: State of the Science in 'Real-World' Practice 

Speakers: Carryl Navalta, PhD; Rachel Levy-Bell, PsyD; Jori Berger-Greenstein, PhD; Stephen Brady, PhD; Laurie Craigen, PhD, LPC, NCC, NCMHC

This presentation will outline an innovative case conceptualization model that integrates: the identification of primary problems; predisposing, precipitating, and perpetuating factors; counseling theory; and treatment-related strengths, assets, and problems. Participants will learn to use a biopsychosocial framework coupled with a cultural formulation to develop a comprehensive clinical understanding of clients. 


3:45 PM – 5:45 PM 

TR: Navigating Professional Practice Boundaries: From Telehealth to Portability

Speakers: Susan Meyerle, LIMHP, CEAP, CFLE; Mary Alice Olsan

This presentation addresses the practice issues many counselors face - from managing telehealth restrictions to seeking licensure across state lines. We will discuss the current trends in telehealth and licensure portability regulation and the concept of "over-regulation" and provide insight into the future of mental health counseling regulation. 


5:30 PM – 6:30 PM

IC: Collaboration with Physicians to Enhance Integrated Care Outcomes and Referrals

Speakers: Joseph Kertesz, MA, LPC, NCC

The cornerstone of "Integrated Care" is effective communications and collaboration with the Health Care Providers (HCP). Whether the Mental Health Professional (MHP) is in the same building or collaborating from a distance with the HCP, a specific skill set enhances the health and mental health outcomes. 

CH: Mental Health Counselors in Schools: Partners in Universal Behavioral Screenings

Speakers: SeriaShia Chatters, PhD, LMHC-Fl

Currently, mental health counselors are primarily involved in school settings as a source for referral when mental health interventions are needed. We propose collaboration between mental heath counselors and school counselors at all levels of Positive Behavior Intervention Support or Response to Intervention, from assessment to prevention to intervention. 

EV: Mentally Ill Offenders: Ideas for Preventing Recidivism Through Treatment 

Speakers: Kristin Page, PhD, LMHC, NCC

There are serious issues facing mentally ill offenders which emphasize the necessity of designing effective treatment programs to prevent recidivism. Come explore how to help this population! This session will present research findings which looked at factors/treatment influencing recidivism in a mentally ill population and will discuss treatment options. 


5:30 PM – 7:00 PM 

EV: Use of Animal Assisted Therapy for Treating Anxiety Disorders

Speakers: W. Leigh Atherton, PhD, LPCS, LCAS, CRC, CCS

The aim of this presentation is to provide participants with an overview of Animal Assisted Therapy and specific techniques that can be used to complement traditional interventions for the treatment of anxiety. Pilot study results and future directions in research are also explored. 

AB: Personal is Political in Addictions: Feminist Applications with 12 Steps

Speakers: Joanne Jodry, EdD, DMH, PLC, LCADC; Kathleen McCleskey, PhD, NCC, PhD, NCC

This interactive workshop will allow the counselor to explore the use of feminist theory in relation to addictions and the 12 Steps Program. This advanced session will allow the participant to explore a "feminist 12 step model" developed by the presenters and explore clinical applications and techniques. 

EV: Psychological Flexibility: Utilizing ACT with Duel Diagnosis Adolescents

Speakers: Kevin Waller, MS, LPC, LCAS, CSI; Karyn Kaminski, MSW, LCSWA, LCASA

Working with teens can seem like a battle of rigidity. Presenters address how to enhance psychological flexibility using diffusion with teens through Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). We provide an overview of the basic principles of ACT, focusing on diffusion, incorporating effective strategies for working with dually diagnosed adolescents.