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2013 Annual Conference
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In Their Own Words—
Excerpts From Conference Speakers’ Written Works
By Judith Bertenthal–Smith, LPC, ALPS, 
Chair, Conference Planning Committee, and 
AMHCA President–Elec,t 2012–2013

You know a conference is going to be good when it’s hard to choose which sessions to attend because they all look so appealing. See the full conference schedule at AMHCA’s 2013 conference website, and start making your choices.

To offer increased CEU opportunities, we are making sessions available on Thursday evening following the Opening Reception and Poster Sessions. Also, don’t miss the Graduate Student Silent Auction table next to the Registration Desk.

Register online, and register by June 25 for the best rates.

To give you an unfiltered glimpse of the ideas of the main conference speakers, following are excerpts from each speaker’s works.

Friday Keynote Speaker

  • Jonathan Haidt, PhD
  • “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion”
Haidt is a social psychologist whose research examines the intuitive foundations of morality, and the author of “The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom.”

“Morality binds and blinds. It binds us into ideological teams that fight each other as though the fate of the world depended on our side winning each battle. It blinds us to the fact that each team is composed of good people who have something important to say.”
“Happiness is not something that you can find, acquire, or achieve directly. You have to get the conditions right and then wait. Some of those conditions are within you, such as coherence among the parts and levels of your personality. Other conditions require relationships to things beyond you: Just as plants need sun, water, and good soil to thrive, people need love, work, and a connection to something larger. It is worth striving to get the right relationships between yourself and others, between yourself and your work, and between yourself and something larger than yourself. If you get these relationships right, a sense of purpose and meaning will emerge.”
“The most powerful force ever known on this planet is human cooperation—a force for construction and destruction.”
“Most of the people going to Congress are good, hard-working, intelligent people who really want to solve problems. But once they get there, they find that they are forced to play a game that rewards hyper-partisanship and that punishes independent thinking.” 

Source: TED Talks

Following his keynote address, Haidt will present an invited track: “Question and Answer Session with Jonathan Haidt”

Saturday Keynote Speaker

  • William Brill, PsyD
  • “The Challenges of Reintegration Following Deployment”
Brill is deputy director of the Center for Deployment Psychology
“As a whole, servicemembers exposed to combat experience significantly more potentially traumatic experiences early in their lifetime than many Americans experience in a lifetime.” 


At the Center for Deployment Psychology, “We are committed to becoming a place where like-minded providers can come to find resources to support their use of evidence-based psychotherapies. Where therapists can consult with experts in the different EBPs and with one another as we provide knowledgable, focused therapies for servicemembers, veterans, and families. Look around, come back, enjoy and let’s do it right.”


Following the keynote, Brim will deliver an invited track on “Evidence-Based Treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,” which includes overviews of Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Prolonged Exposure (PE) therapy, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). 


Pre-Conference Workshops

The 2013 pre-conference workshops provide an opportunity for longer sessions on very specific topics. AMHCA offers two pre-conference workshops this year. Both will be held on Thursday, July 18, 2013, from 1:00–5:30 p.m.,
  • Gary G. Gintner, PhD, LPC
  • “DSM-5: A User’s Guide”
Gintner heads AMHCA’s DSM-5 Task Force, and he is an associate professor and program coordinator of the Counseling Program at Louisiana State University as well as a nationally recognized trainer on the DSM and best practice guidelines.

“The AMHCA Task Force prepared a systematic review of the newest draft and submitted 23 review pieces to APA. Despite a number of improvements, a major concern was the number of places in which disorders or symptom-rating scales were being proposed for inclusion without sufficient empirical support. For example, Attenuated Psychosis Syndrome attempts to identify young people at risk for developing later psychotic disorders. The cardinal features are toned-down delusions, hallucinations, or disorganized speech in the context of ‘intact reality testing.’ This casts the net of potential behaviors so broad that it could include culturally inappropriate, non-conforming, and rebellious behaviors common among the very groups this syndrome would target: adolescents and young adults.” 
“The AMHCA Task Force recommended that disorders and rating scales without sufficient empirical support be subjected to more rigorous testing before being included in the manual.”
  • Mary Alice Fisher, PhD
  • “Ethical Implications of Electronic Technology, Teletherapy, and Technotherapy”
Fisher is the founding director of The Center for Ethical Practice, Inc. and a clinical psychologist in private practice in Charlottesville, Va. 
“Therapists, whose ethical rule was once, ‘Disclose nothing without the patient’s consent,’ now have a professional ethic that permits disclosure of confidential information in certain circumstances, even if the patient objects. This new ‘conditional confidentiality’ ethic arose because court decisions and reporting laws began to legally require therapists to breach confidentiality. But the fact that a breach of confidentiality is legally required ... does not reduce its impact on the patient.

“It is precisely because of this potential for harm that the ethical freedom to place patients’ confidences at risk comes with a clinical price: ... Instead of beginning therapy relationships with the old promise—‘Everything you tell me will remain in this room’— ... therapists are not ethically or legally free to ‘keep secret’ the fact that they do not always keep secrets.”
Source: “The Ethics of Conditional Confidentiality: A Practice Model for Mental Health Professionals,” Oxford University Press, Jan. 31, 2013.

Commuting to the Conference?

Parking is available: Iinformation on where to park near the hotel for local attendees and conference commuters.