Wednesday, June 24

All times are in Eastern time.

3:00 - 4:30 PM Breakout Session Number 1
 Child & Adolescent Track
Behind the Mask: Understanding and Treating Depression in Adolescent Males
Presented by David Flack, LMHC, SUDP
Studies show that depressed adolescents of all genders are at high risk for a variety of negative outcomes, such as suicide, problematic substance use, violence, and school failure. Studies also show that depression is soaring among adolescent males, who often go undiagnosed and untreated, frequently because the do not exhibit standard diagnostic criteria. Instead, after a lifetime being told boys don't cry, they present as angry, oppositional, self-destructive, or simply numb. They hide behind these masks, trying to push away the world and hoping nobody notices they are actually sad, lonely, vulnerable boys. In this highly interactive presentation, attendees will develop the knowledge and skills to look behind those masks, in order to better understand and address the roots of this covert depression, the impact of the Guy Code, and the Stuckness that results when biological predispositions and environmental stressors collide. Attendees will also consider a variety of field-tested strategies to help adolescent males get unstuck, start moving forward, and leave their masks behind.
 Addictions Track | Couples and Family Track  
Gambling Disorder is a Family Problem: The Impact on Families and Best Practices for Treatment
Presented by Cheryl B. Almeida, Ph.D.
The Substance-related and Addictive Disorders chapter in the DSM 5 now includes a non-substance related disorder: Gambling Disorder. This disorder is characterized by an individual experiencing persistent and recurrent pattern of gambling behavior that disrupts personal, family and/or vocational pursuits. . PG is often referred to as the “Hidden Disorder” masked by other co-morbid addiction and compulsive behaviors and is often overlooked when doing the initial diagnostic (Menchon, 2018). The prevalence of PG is 10X higher in substance abuse populations. It is inexcusable to omit screening for Problem Gambling with this population. Nevertheless, what about other populations vulnerable to this problem including the elderly, veterans, adolescents, lower SES groups and at-risk groups. Considering the predominance in multiple populations, it makes sense to integrate screening questions for Problem Gambling into all our assessments. The power of gambling has far-reaching impact. The costs to the individual and the family are high. "Almost all compulsive gamblers… have issues at home with their family because of their addiction. Gambling problems affect the functioning of family members including children, parents, siblings and grandparents and intimate relationships. Impaired family relationships, emotional problems and financial difficulties are some of the most common impacts on family members of people with gambling problems.There is consistent evidence of an association between gambling problems and family violence.The children of problem gambling parents are at a much higher risk of developing gambling problems than the children of non-problem gambling parents" (Neg. Effects) Through early screening and therapy, we can help families to identify the issues, cope with the loss and develop skills for facing the problem effectively. Looking at the signs and symptoms of this disorder, the impact on the relationships and the treatment options available will allow practitioners the opportunity to turn Problem Gambling behaviors into a new way of life for the Problem Gambler and for the family. Menchon, J. (2018). Prime recommendation of early risk and protective factors for problem gambling: A systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. Post-Publication Peer Review of the Biomedical Literature. Negative Effects of Gambling Addiction. (n.d.). Retrieved from
 Diversity Track  |  Ethics Track 
How Your Heritage Informs Your Values, Cultural Competence, and Unconscious Bias
Laurie A. Persh, LCPC, LMFT, CCMHC, EAS-C
Multicultural counseling, “Cultural competence,” and “Diversity training” are all relatively recent concepts and areas of study for counselors. Multicultural counseling was not even a required course in many master’s programs when the fields of community counseling and counseling psychology were still young, before CACREP. However, it is very much a requirement now. Counselors and other mental health professionals are also bound by codes of ethics. The ACA Code of ethics addresses multicultural issues in sections on “Professional Responsibility,” Assessment,” “Supervision and Training,” and Ethical Decision Making. With this foundation of understanding and need, the current political and world environment which we all work in has been undergoing tremendous change and public awareness of conflict around immigration and civil rights. Many journalists and researchers have noted increases in incidents of overt racism, antisemitism, and hate crimes. Concerns have been raised about the effectiveness of corporate diversity or sexual harassment training while police departments are feeling the pressure to increase trainings to avoid “implicit bias” or racial profiling. As counselors, we need to understand the origins and dynamics of cultural diversity. Within every culture, there are values that predominate. Understanding and embracing our own values can help us see where we may differ and unconsciously judge others for who they are or what their values are. This presentation will present some review and exploration of the development of the concept of cultural competence and related concepts. We'll examine developmental values and how they influence attitudes and interactions, for both clients and counselors.We'll also look at some of the latest research and work on measuring and training around unconscious bias.
Energized to Unify Portability: One Voice, One Profession, One License
Elizabeth Nelson, MS, LPC and Joseph Weeks, MA, LMH
This workshop will focus on a strategic approach to unify the scope of practice of our profession and promote portability of licensure across states. A primal issue linked to our profession is the various scope of practice which limits the services CMHCs can provide and geographic areas where they can practice. AMHCA is one of four associations that form the National Portability Task Force, however the responsibility lies on each CMHC to proactively engage in a strategic plan designed to help standardize our profession. There is a movement taking place and you are empowered to join and take part in strengthening our professional identity, improving our public perception, and licensure portability amid the evolution of the AMHCA Portability Task Force.
3:00 - 4:30 PM and 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM PLEASE NOTE: This breakout spans two breakout sessions (3:00 - 4:30 PM and 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM). You must attend both sessions to receive full 3.5 CE credits.
  Trauma Track | Neuroscience Track
Invisible Injuries: The Epidemic of Misdiagnosed and Untreated Brain Trauma in Women Who Survive Intimate Partner Violence
Presented by Penijean Gracefire, LMHC, BCN, qEEG-D
Intimate partner violence is a pervasive and global health crisis which can often feel overwhelming to address from the perspective of clinical care. Examining it through the lens of traumatic brain injury allows for a more focused discussion that still includes the complex intersections of mental health, neuroscience, social systems, and relationship dynamics. In an article published this summer in the Journal of Women's Health, researchers observed that the front line service providers to individuals impacted by intimate partner violence demonstrated insufficient ability to recognize the signs of traumatic brain injury in battered women and provide effective support (Haag, 2019). Another article in Family Community Health (St. Ivany, 2016) states that a review of available literature indicated 60% to 92% of abused women have an intimate partner violence correlated traumatic brain injury. The Professional Counselor Journal states is estimated that as many as 23 million women in America are currently living with brain injuries incurred from domestic violence (Smith, 2019). The Journal of Neurotrauma indicates that 70% percent of people seen in the emergency room for this type of abuse are never identified as survivors of intimate partner violence (Zieman, 2017), and further states that out of the people they interviewed, 88% reported more than one injury, 81% reported a history of loss of consciousness associated with their injuries, 85% had a history of abuse in adulthood, 22% had experienced abuse in both childhood and adulthood, and 60% of the patients abused as children went on to be abused as adults. Only 21% sought medical assistance at the time of injury. Fear, social conditioning and shame around domestic violence and abuse impact the willingness of survivors to speak up about how they acquired their injuries, but one of the more shocking revelations unearthed in the interviews was how often nobody asked them specifically about a history of intimate partner violence (Zieman, 2017). Clinicians are often uncomfortable with the subject matter, do not feel adequately prepared or trained to handle a situation in which their client may be experiencing physical abuse from a partner, may not have the knowledge to recognize the signs of possible head injury, or do not know the questions to ask to rule it out. This session will discuss clinical strategies to improve provider competency in identifying and addressing traumatic brain injury in clients with histories of domestic violence, complex trauma and multiple mental health concerns. PLEASE NOTE: Breakout spans two sessions (3:00 - 4:30pm and 5:00 - 7:00pm) - must attend both sessions in order to receive full 3.5 CE credit.
5:00 - 7:00 PM Breakout Session Number 2
 Child & Adolescent Track | Trauma Track  
13 Reason Why: A Mental Health Perspective on the Glamorization of Suicide
Presented by Sergio Washington, MS and Don Tranhan, PhD, LPC, ACS, NCC and Felicia Pressley, PhD, LPC-S
13 Reasons Why is an international bestseller and Netflix sensation. The series revolves around 17-year-old Hannah Baker, who takes her own life and leaves behind audio recordings for 13 people who she says in some way were part of why she killed herself. Each tape recounts painful events in which one or more of the 13 individuals played a role. Information about the epidemiology of such behavior is important for policy-making and prevention. Suicide is a complex phenomenon, thus, the prevention of it needs to be tailored accordingly. Prevention can occur on both the individual and societal level, with the most effective strategies being a combination of efforts. The session will examine the glorification depicted in the art, draw together key evidence, resources and group discussions as an opportunity to provide feedback on the resources communities need to support their youth.
 Diversity Track 
And I Tell Myself, A Moon Will Rise From My Darkness: A Trauma-Focused Group Therapy Protocol for Immigrants and Refugees
Presented by Saba Aqel, M.A.
War, political turmoil, and economic duress have led millions of immigrants and refugees to seek asylum in the United States. This creates a need for multiculturally informed therapeutic interventions that are designed for diverse populations. This presentation introduces a trauma-focused group therapy protocol for immigrants and refugees from the Middle East. Trauma is any experience that is “unbearable and intolerable” (Van Der Kolk, p.1, 2015). Trauma often overwhelms our nervous system and the ability to process and regulate our emotions in a given situation. Steven Porges (2011) proposed the polyvagal theory, which explains the devastating impact trauma has on our parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system. In addition, trauma impacts healthy brain development, exacerbates mental illness, and increases susceptibility to physical illness (Felitti et al., 1998). Immigrant and refugee communities experience significant levels of traumas before, during, and after their flight (Gonzalez & Ivers, 2017). Often experiencing geographic, economic, environmental, and political trauma as well as systemic oppression and persecution (Reed, Fazel, Jones, Panter-Brick & Stein, 2012). Additionally, they likely experience marginalization, scapegoating, discrimination and acculturation difficulties in their original and host countries (Yoon, Langrehr & Ong, 2011). This likely results in intergenerational trauma patterns that passed down through the generations, which further debilitates the community and leads to stagnation, isolation, and poor mental health outcomes. This presentation aims to explore cultural strengths and utilize generational resilience to empower this population through group work. Here, I develop a group therapy protocol to ameliorate trauma symptoms through the integration of historical and native cultural healing practices.
 Supervision Track | Diversity Track
Redefining Vulnerability: A Supervisor’s Super Strength
Presented by Matthew R. Shupp, Ed.D., NCC, BC-TMH, LPC
Staff retention is becoming increasingly important in a field where expectations and responsibilities are becoming increasingly more demanding. Counseling literature and research consistently identify supervision as one factor in the retention and satisfaction of staff, both positively and negatively. Despite the extensive research on best practices in supervision, especially for new professionals, very few theoretical models of supervision exist within the field and even fewer models specifically consider multicultural competence as a foundation for effective supervision. A new and intentional approach to supervision that models the values of inclusion is critical for the retention of professionals at all levels, is critical to the continued development of staff beyond professional preparation programs, and is critical for creating a profession that espouses a philosophy of inclusion. This session will introduce the inclusive supervision model, an innovative approach to supervision that seeks to align our professional values of multicultural competence with our professional practice. It reflects the important values of our profession and provides a framework through which professionals can evaluate supervision practice and consider specific actions to enhance one's own capacity for enacting the four tenets of inclusive supervision which are: creating safe spaces, demonstrating vulnerability, cultivating holistic development, and building capacity in others. The inclusive supervision model is a result of almost 5 years of research examining multicultural competence in the context of supervision.