Thursday, June 25

All times are in Eastern time.

11:00 - 12:00 PM Breakout Session 1
 Addiction Track 
An Introduction to Opioid Use Disorder and Medication Assisted Treatment 
Presented by Brian Russ, PhD, LPC, NCC, DCMHS
Prevalence data suggests there are approximately two million individuals who have an addiction to prescription opioids with another 467,000 being addicted to heroin (Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, 2016). According to Rudd, Seth, David, and Scholl (2016) opioid drug overdoses have nearly tripled from 1999 to 2015. Most recent data indicated that in 2017 there were 47,600 drug overdose deaths involving an opioid (Seth, Scholl, Rudd, & Bacon, 2019). In part, this problem lies in the increased pressure on medical doctors to manage pain over the past two decades. This has led to over prescribing by physicians, allowing for patients to have access to large quantities of powerful opioid painkillers. As the supply increased, so did the addiction. Recently, prescribers have become more conservative with their painkiller prescribing, which has led to a quick decrease in supply. Thus, those with opioid use disorder (OUD) are turning to the streets to get their drugs, and since painkillers are much more difficult to find and more expensive, people are turning to heroin, which is much more dangerous, especially with the potential for it to be laced with other drugs like fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid. To be prepared to address this serious concern, clinical mental health counselors need to be adequately trained to work with clients with OUD, with a special emphasis on those practices that have a strong evidence base. Medication Assisted Treatment is an evidenced based modality for treating OUD with the combination of psychotherapy and medications designed to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Specific to opioid addiction, the most commonly used medications are methadone, naltrexone and buprenorphine products, like Suboxone. These medications have opioid agonist and/or antagonist properties that offer individuals with opioid addiction a level of stability not found in heroin or prescription painkiller abuse. Once a level of physiological stability is reached, clients are more invested in counseling; and, therefore, they can address the psychosocial factors that are impacting their addiction. 
 Trauma Track
Are You Prepared For When a Disaster Hits Your Community?
Presented by Robert W. Schmidt, MS
Up to 32% of victims will suffer from Acute Stress Disorder after a disaster and approximately half will end up with PTSD. With the rise of destructive weather due to climate change, mass shootings, and acts of terrorism, no community is immune to these disasters. When a community is prepared for a disaster they can immediately and more effectively serve the mental health needs of the victims. Mental Health Counselors played a significant role in the healing of the communities after disasters. Counselors can become the leaders in their communities by creating pro-active trauma-informed collaborative groups. The presenter is a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice in Sandy Hook, Connecticut and played an active role attending to the mental health needs in Newtown. He learned a great deal about the more effective brain-based trauma-specific treatments and will demonstrate them to the participants. All participants will also receive a “Roadmap” that will list all the things that can be done to prepare a community for a disaster.
 Ethics Track
Ethical and Legal Expectations in Clinical Documentation
Presented by James H. Dalton, PhD, LPC/MHSP, CCMHC and Mike Cravens, LPC/MHSP, LMFT, NCC
Many clinicians struggle to feel fully proficient in the area of documentation. Clinicians lack confidence in their documentation skills for multiple reasons. First, clinical documentation is different from state to state and from practice to practice, leaving clinicians unsure which standards are best or even appropriate. Second, many graduate programs do not spend much time on documentation. Those who are taught documentation in their graduate program find the real-world practice expectations to be very different. Third, few continuing education offerings focus on documentation and provide clear guidelines and suggestions to help clinicians improve in the area of documentation. For all of these reasons, and others, clinicians are often unsure of what should and should not be documented in clinical records. In this presentation, Drs. Dalton and Cravens will discuss ethical guidelines for documentation from the Code of Ethics for the AMHCA, ACA, and other mental health professions. Legal responsibilities of documentation reflected in HIPAA will also be reviewed as will guidelines of documentation from selected third-party payers. The two presenters have a combined experience of over 45 years in counseling. Both are counselor educators with experience teaching ethics and presenting on documentation to mental health professionals. One presenter has administrative experience in quality assurance and the other presenter has past service on a state licensing board. Bringing together the ethical and legal standards, literature related to documentation, and their wealth of experience, the presenters will share theoretical as well as practical guidelines for clinicians of what should and should not be included in mental health records.
 Child & Adolescent Track | Trauma Track 
Multisensory Trauma-Focused Interventions for Elementary School Children with Developmental Disabilities
Presented by Vanessa B. Teixeira, Ed.D
Mental health counselors often lack the necessary knowledge and evidence-based training when working with children who have experienced multiple levels of childhood trauma. Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT) is an evidence-based counseling model widely utilized by mental health counselors when working with children, adolescents and families who have experienced trauma (Cary & McMillen, 2012). This short-term, therapeutic treatment focuses on building healthy coping skills, constructing a trauma narrative, and incorporating substantial parental involvement in the counseling process. Current research suggests that TF-CBT techniques significantly improve trauma symptoms experienced by children and adolescents after being exposed to trauma or significant life stressors (Jensen, Holt, & Ormhaug, 2017). Many mental health counselors are not specifically trained to work with trauma and many do not feel comfortable working with young children presenting with special needs or developmental disabilities such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Down Syndrome, Intellectual Disabilities (ID) and Learning Disabilities (Cohen, Mannarino & Deblinger, 2012). This presentation focuses on the importance, use and application of multisensory TF-CBT clinical interventions mental health counselors can use with elementary school children who may present with mild to moderate developmental disabilities. Multisensory counseling interventions can include auditory, visual, tactile, and kinesthetic activities that keep children interested and focused throughout the counseling session (Kahveci, 2016). These types of activities, which can be used in both the school and home environment, are essential to use with children who may struggle with attention, focus, learning, emotional dysregulation, communication difficulties, and various levels of cognitive deficits. An important part of TF-CBT includes involving parents and teachers who may facilitate the therapy process and further help children with any trauma-related symptoms they may be experiencing at home and school. This presentation will also highlight effective ways in which mental health counselors can work collaboratively with parents and teachers to reduce trauma symptoms in children with developmental delays and quickly improve mental health functioning and pro-social behaviors.
 Couples & Family Track 
To Be Released From Debt: An Experiential Model of Forgiveness and Healing for Couple Infidelity
Presented by Steven R. Vensel, Ph.D., L.C.S.W.
Couples who have experienced an infidelity come to counseling in considerable brokenness and assisting them in the healing process is complex and challenging. For the offended the infidelity is traumatic with deep visceral and emotional wounds. For the offender who is remorseful there seems to be no remedy or end to their guilt and shame. This innovative intervention addresses both experiences leading the way for forgiveness, reconciliation and healing. Despite the traumatic impact of an affair many couples choose to remain in the relationship and seek help in recovering from the infidelity (Heintzelman, Murdock, Krycak & Seay, 2014). A first step in treating couple infidelity is to help the couple navigate the initial impact of the extra-couple affair (Baucom, Gordon & Snyder, 2005). This workshop outlines an approach that utilizes both cognitive and experiential interventions leading to forgiveness and reconciliation. Forgiveness is most often viewed as a spiritual or justice-oriented practice that places the responsibility of the forgiveness on the victim. However, forgiveness, as a financial term, means to be released from debt. As a financial construct it would include itemizing the debt and determining how recompense is to be structured or a declaration of bankruptcy leading to the debt being forgiven with no further payment required. There is a deep literature on the role of forgiveness in couple infidelity (MacIntosh, Hall, & Johnson, 2007) with the bulk of the literature indicating forgiveness as an ongoing process that has no definitive end point other than the passage of time. The model presented in this workshop leads to an experiential event whereby the offender is present to the partner’s painful experience, shares that pain, which leads to an informed request for forgiveness and a subsequent declaration of forgiveness and release of any further debt. It is a deeply intimate and powerful event in the lives of couples recovering from an infidelity.
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM and 3:00 PM - 4:15 PM PLEASE NOTE: This breakout spans two breakout sessions (11:00 AM - 12:00 PM and 3:00 PM - 4:15 PM). You must attend both sessions to receive full 2.25 CE credit.

 Geriatric Track | Neuroscience Track
Getting up to Speed to Work Effectively with Senior Adults with Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders
Presented by James J. Messina, Ph.D.
After attending this workshop the attendee will gain and an awareness and knowledge of the needs of seniors and the skills needed in addressing their various needs such as: 1). Clinical Assessment and Treatment Planning; 2). Evidence Based Practices for treating Seniors with Mental Health Disorders; 3). Motivational Interviewing with Seniors; 4). Treating Seniors affected by the Opioid Heroin and Fentynal Epidemic; 5). Treating Seniors with Alcohol and Substance Use Disorders; 6). Preventing and intervening in Senior’s suicides; 7). Collaborative Integrated Behavioral Health Services for Seniors; 8). Neuroscience behind working with Seniors; 9). Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction use with Seniors; 10). Assisting Seniors dealing with handling loss, grief and death and 11). Addressing the Spiritual Needs of Elderly. PLEASE NOTE: This breakout spans two sessions (11:00am - 12:00pm and 3:00pm - 4:15pm). You must attend both sessions to receive full 2.25 CE credit.

3:00 - 4:15 PM Breakout Session Number 2
 Neuroscience Track 
AMHCA Neuroscience Taskforce Update: Towards a Training Model for Neuroscience Integration
Presented by Thomas A. Field, PhD, LMHC, NCC, CCMHC, ACS
The AMHCA Neuroscience Taskforce was formed in 2018 to develop training standards pertinent to the new AMHCA Biological Basis of Behavior Standards. The Taskforce's charge for the second year was to develop a model that outlined competencies required for different stages of training. In this presentation, the AMHCA Neuroscience Taskforce will present their training model for integrating neuroscience into counseling practice. This training model contains stages of training associated with entry-level and advanced competence. Participants will have the opportunity to self-evaluate their own competence in providing neuroscience-informed counseling.
 Diversity Track 
Skills and Techniques for Bridging Cultural Differences
Presented by Susan V. Lester, PhD, NCC
The third and fourth domains of the Multicultural and Social Justice Counseling Competencies adopted by ACA in 2015 are competency in the counseling relationship and in counseling and advocacy interventions. These domains are addressed through counselors’ ongoing development in attitudes and beliefs, knowledge, skills, and action. Multicultural counseling training often gives more attention to attitudes, beliefs, and knowledge than to skills and action. Skills are also often taught as specific to work with particular ethnic groups. This presentation is focused on skills that may be useful across groups and types of difference for developing the counseling, supervision, and teaching relationships. The skills presented are based on recommendations by leading counselor educators and scholars and include broaching the topic of difference, leaning into challenging conversations, questioning assumptions and asking questions, and making adaptations to traditional European American counseling approaches. Participants in this session will engage in experiential learning in the form of role play and practice exercises.
 Trauma Track 
The Neurobiology of Trauma and Its Application to Successful Treatment
Presented by Judith A. Swack, Ph.D. and Wendy Rawlings, MS LMHC
Every therapist has known that moment with a client when they realize they just don't know what to do or say to help them move past their trauma. Something is missing from their repertoire of responses. This class seeks to furnish that missing piece. Because trauma is a universal experience, therapists need to understand how trauma imprints in the body and how it is structured so they can identify the causes and treat it effectively. Sometimes, however, the origin of the trauma is tough to find. Symptoms recur when the root cause is not found or goes untreated. If therapists don't understand the neurobiological underpinnings of trauma in the body, they may miss important clues and create false assumptions. In this class, the presenters will describe the neurophysiology of trauma and review the evidence-based research on the use of Energy Psychology techniques for treating trauma by Van der Kolk, Swack, Seigel, Porges, Church, and Feinstein (to name a few). Dr. Swack will then share her published research on the structure of trauma and teach participants a rapid and effective process for treating it. Through observation, testing and retesting, Dr. Swack has found that the first layer of trauma contains shock/fear, anger, sadness, and pain. The second layer of trauma is composed of core beliefs including issues of shame, blame, and guilt and feelings of powerlessness. The next layer requires processing feelings of grief and emptiness in the case of loss trauma or pollution in the case of violence. The last layer is the anticipatory anxiety caused by the trauma. Dr. Swack has created a protocol to accurately find and treat the layers of trauma using the body's own resources and systems and Meridian Tapping techniques such as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). Both Dr. Swack and Ms. Rawlings will describe how they have used this method for treating trauma in adults, adolescents and children. It is effective in treating secondary trauma, so therapists can use this protocol for their own self-care. This method is a must for any therapist's toolbox and participants will be able to use it with their clients Monday morning.
 Supervision Track 
The Proctor Model of Clinical Supervision: A Primer for Clinical Counselors
Presented by Gideon Litherland, MA, LCPC, CCMHC, NCC, BC-TMH and Gretchen Schulthes MA, LAC, NCC
Counseling supervisors require an increasingly diverse set of tools, theories, and interventions to address the myriad concerns that arise in clinical supervision. Seniority and clinical savvy do not an effective supervisor make. Rather, the ability to support, provide feedback, and systematically address supervisee issues are critical to effective supervision. Deliberate practice remains a key indicator of clinical effectiveness, with supervision skills requiring the same attention and practice. As consumers of supervision or providers of supervision services, clinical mental health counselors require useful frameworks for engaging in supervision. The Proctor Model is an internationally recognized and implemented model of supervision that has great utility for clinical mental health counselors.
5:00 - 6:30 PM Breakout Session 3

 Ethics Track
Ethics in Soundbytes: Bite-Sized Strategies to Enhance Ethical Practice
Presented by Susan Meyerle, LIMHP
We are all aware of how technology is changing our lives. This is true in how we consume information, even clinical research impacting our profession. How are counselors staying abreast of the deluge of evidence-based research? How effectively are we consuming the research? Or, does it become one of those things “we’ll get around to someday”? This presentation focuses on how counselors are consuming data and incorporating new information into their practice. The session poses the question of whether researchers are communicating their findings in a way that is user-friendly. Counselors have an ethical obligation to “Maintain knowledge of relevant scientific and professional information related to the services rendered, and recognizes the need for on-going education” (AMHCA, 2015). Yet, most organizations will tell you their printed journal subscription rate has continued to steadily decline over the last several years, leading them to publish online. Sure, we can obtain information through an online journal, but do we? This presentation is based on a research study conducted in 2019 of professional counselors, social workers, and marriage and family therapists. The study sought to explore how behavioral healthcare professionals access ongoing educational materials and their perceived usefulness. Furthermore, the implications of the information address the growing trend of counselors who share research blurbs through social media platforms. How do we communicate results effectively, ethically, and usefully to our intended audience?

 Trauma Track | Specialized Clinical Assessment 
How to Ace Your Case Conceptualization with ACES: Transforming Your Practice With Trauma Informed Conceptualizations
Presented by Russell MacKay, CMHC, NCC, SSW and Jessica Saxton, LCMHC, NCC

Clinicians are often faced with complex cases and one of the ways that case conceptualization helps clinicians is to make decisions in these complex cases (Persons, 2013). While there are various models, one thing to note in all of these models, there is no specific way to do conceptualization and it seems that it is just left to the clinician to insert their conceptualization into the final assessment of the client (Eells, 2013). The job of a clinician is not easy. They must take the whole life-history of a client, condense it into meaningful themes and patterns, build rapport, create a treatment plan including goals, choose the best evidenced based strategies and interventions, keep in mind best practices within a multicultural framework, and many times do all of this within the first few sessions, as insurance companies, internal company policies, and funding sources all have deadlines for the diagnosis and treatment planning (Ridley, Jeffrey, & Roberson III, 2017). ACES can delay the diagnosis of certain mental health disorders (Berg, Acharya, Shiu, & Msall, 2018). This can lead to less optimal outcomes for these clients. Also, when conceptualizing cases it is important to remember that individuals who have been through Adverse Childhood Exerpiences may impact their ability to have conscious self-awareness which can lead to problems with traditional therapy (Zyromski, Dollarhide, Aras, Geiger, Oehrtman, & Clarke, 2018). Another area that is sometimes a struggle for clinicians is understanding the implications of adversity and the impact of trauma on cognitive functioning and seeing the client through a conceptualization model that integrates neuroscience can be helpful. Using a comprehensive approach that includes biological, psychological, social, cultural, and spiritual aspects of case conceptualization clinicians can be more trauma informed in their treatment and conceptualizations.
 Integration Track 
Integrated Care and Effective Collaboration With Physicians
Presented by Joseph Kertesz, MA, LPC, NCC
Primary care medical providers are the initial source for diagnosing and treating a majority of the people with diagnosed mental health disorders. They also write the majority of psychotropic medication prescriptions. Therefore, many people in need of mental health services are currently being treated by their physicians and some are receiving medications from them. A growing trend in healthcare is to integrate mental health professionals in medical settings. Some insurers are exploring rewarding those primary care clinics that implement the integrated model. However, there is very little written or taught about preparing mental health professionals in how to communicate with medical providers. It is imperative that the mental health provider learn to communicate effectively with physicians in order to maximize the care to their clients. This is true whether the mental health provider is in an integrated setting or is in a freestanding clinical practice. It is also very useful for them to learn these skills as a way to build a large referral base. Many primary care physicians recognize the need to refer mental health concerns out to specialists because the PCP does not have the time nor the expertise to appropriately treat these issues. Mental health providers are in the perfect position to assist with this challenge. The presenter has over 40 years of experience working in an integrated setting.
 Neuroscience Track | Ethics Track
Neuroeducation: Practical Translations of Neuroscience in Clinical Work
Presented by Raissa Miller, LPC and Eric Beeson, LPC, NCC, ACS, CRC
Mental health counselors are expected to use interventions informed by current research and best practice guidelines. Principles of neuroscience are increasingly informing best practices and are now included as components of foundational knowledge. For example, the AMHCA Standards for the Practice of Clinical Mental Health Counseling (2018) identify the necessary knowledge and skills for neuroscience-informed practice. One type of neuroscience-informed intervention is neuroeducation, a didactic or experiential intervention that aims to reduce client distress and improve client outcome by helping clients understand and influence the neurobiological processes underlying mental functioning (Miller, 2016). Neuroeducation is grounded in individuals’ here-and-now experience and promotes common factors of change, such as the therapeutic alliance, expectancy, and goal consensus. Although research on the effects of neuroeducation is just emerging (e.g., Louw, Zimney, Puentedura, & Diener, 2017), practitioners have anecdotally reported a many positive uses and outcomes (Badenoch, 2018; Fishbane, 2013; Miller & Barrio Minton, 2016). The most frequently cited benefits include increased empathy and compassion for self and others, decreased blame and shame, greater client empowerment and hope for change, and normalization and validation of experiences. Neuroeducation is much more than providing a reductionist explanation of symptoms; it is about exploring relevant neurobiological principles in a way that honors complexity, individuality, and context. When delivered within a grounded theoretical framework, neuroeducation can serve to enhance the overall therapeutic process. This presentation will focus on introducing attendees to the principles and process of neuroeducation. Participants will come away with a clear definition of neuroeducation and guidelines for implementation. Participants will also be able to observe and participate in two neuroeducation demonstrations.
 Diversity Track | Child & Adolescent Track
Parenting the Rainbow: Working with Parents of Queer and Trans Children
Presented by Laurie Bonjo, PhD, PSC, NCC and Misty Ginicola, Ph.D, LPC
Research has shown that queer and trans youth who come from affirming families have better outcomes, including higher self-esteem, academic success and increased career planfulness. Furthermore, young people with supportive families demonstrate fewer at-risk behaviors. This includes reduced risk for substance use, non-suicidal self-injury, homelessness, sex work, as well as lower risk of suicide. The annual GLSEN survey provides robust evidence that the majority of clinicians perceive themselves as under-prepared to work with queer youth ( and their families. While young people are going through their own identity development processes as LGBTGEQIAP+ people, their families are going through parallel processes of developing into ally identities as family members of an LGBTGEQIAP+ person. Clinicians can help queer youth by helping their families. Counselors working with LGBTQGEIAP+ youth can: 1) help young people make important choices about identity management based on their safety; 2) discuss, plan, and role play interactions with young people and also discuss, plan, and role play interactions with their caregivers; 3) provide empathy and psychoeducation to parents and family members as well as to young people; 4) help family members understand the identity development processes experienced by most queer youth so that they are better able to support their young people; 5) help family members understand their own identity development processes; 6) help young people and family members understand how intersectional identities figure into the continuum of acceptance to rejection and help young people and their families explore how to leverage feelings of inclusion and belonging across all identity statuses; 7) use modeling through bibliotherapy and cinematherapy to create space for young people and their family members to self-empower by challenging homophobic/transphobic/biphobic/queerphobic messages they are at risk for internalizing; 8) create space for families of queer youth to build connections and provide support, encouragement, and inclusion through community membership that affirms all of the identity statuses our young people occupy. This presentation offers a number of concrete, practical, clinical interventions that counselors can use with queer youth and their families. Distal and proximal interventions are presented for young people as well as their family members. We provide concrete suggestions for how to work with family members who are resistant or who are struggling to accept their LGBTQGEIP+ child. Our goal is to prepare counselors to support family members as they are learning how to best understand, affirm, embrace and effectively advocate for their children.