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By Karen Langer
AMHCA Western Region Director

The AMHCA Western Region wrapped up another very successful conference in March. Held in conjunction with the Utah Mental Health Counselors Association (UMHCA) annual conference March 25 and 26 in Salt Lake City, the conference was very well attended and offered up to 12 CEU credit hours. 

The conference began Thursday evening with a social gathering and the start of a weekend of networking. A dinner and auction was held to support the graduate student scholarship given by UMHCA to a deserving Utah graduate student. The scholarship, a $500 cash award, was awarded for the first time this year, and went to Tiffany Roe, who has a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Argosy University. Roe is also Western Region Liaison to AMHCA’s Graduate Student Committee and UMHCA University Coordinator.

This year’s conference theme was “It Takes a Village,” with a focus on working together.  Keynote speakers discussed the challenge and rewards of working with clients with disabilities and with the Latino community. Graduate students presented poster sessions during the lunch break on Friday to an enthusiastic audience. 

The breakout sessions offered lots of variety: there were sessions on how to nurture brain development to prevent addiction and suicide; teletherapy; use of therapeutic community and recovery management in the treatment of substance abuse; multicultural counseling dilemmas; treating trauma with culturally diverse populations; mental health and primary care: building partnerships; moving beyond good: a framework for developing lasting change; developmental stages of the intern; a primer for working with veterans; Department of Licensing: on your side; and adolescent development and pornography.  

Along with the outstanding presentations, the conference provided an opportunity to reunite with old friends from different states and network with new colleagues and friends. For many of those who attend, this is the greatest benefit. 

Where shall we hold the conference next year?  Nevada? California? Colorado? Send me an email to  to let me know your thoughts. Very special thanks to the conference committee and especially the chair, Paul Carver, who is also UMHCA president.

Photo Captions

(Photos courtesy of Diane Jackson)

Top photo: Attendees network mid-day on Saturday over boxed lunches from the HoneyBaked Ham shop. It was a great time to learn more about each other’s interests and specialties in therapy.

Middle photo: Diane Jackson, UMHCA past-president; Paul Carver, UMHCA president; Melanie Brown, UMHCA secretary, Chris Adams, chair of the Graduate Student Committee; and Amy Peden, UMHCA president-elect. Melanie Brown and Amy Peden were honored for their service as officers of the Graduate Student Committee for 2010-2011.

Bottom photo: AMHCA President-Elect Gray Otis, PhD, and Marty Shannon, wife of the late Dean Workman, share some frivolity at the silent auction/dinner to raise funds for the Dean Workman Scholarship Fund, spon-sored by the Graduate Student Committee. Dean Workman was very active in UMHCA, AMHCA’s Utah chapter, and in the mental health counseling profession, including serving on Utah’s state licensing board.