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Professional Education Seminar Series

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Weekend A:

 

Thursday, June 11, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

15-111a: The Troubled Triangle: The Developmental Neurobiology of Addiction, Attachment, and Trauma

Kurt White, M.S.W.


Addiction work is trauma work. Recent studies show that as much as 80% of co-occurring clients have histories of trauma (often multiple episodes of trauma). Rates of PTSD and other trauma-related disorders are endemic to addicted populations. Clinicians who see themselves as addiction specialists often feel uncomfortable with the trauma related presentations in substance use disorders; conversely, many skilled trauma therapists have had little training in addiction. This seminar aims to help both groups build the gap in both knowledge and the skills for working with this complex population using new knowledge on the neurobiology of attachment. We will examine the disruptions to healthy attachment patterns and how this predisposes individuals to develop addiction in mid-late teen years. Early experiences alter gene expression and brain development: exposure to an environment of disrupted attachment, persistent fear, trauma-related experiences, and exposure to substances all have significant affects on the developing brain. This new science of attachment and neurobiology can be a guide to effective treatment interventions with addicted individuals. Both theory and implications for technique will be explored.

Learning Objectives and References

Faculty: Kurt White, L.I.C.S.W., LADC, CGP is the Director of Ambulatory Services at the Brattleboro Retreat in Brattleboro, VT, and is a social worker and drug and alcohol counselor by trade and training. He presently currently serves as president of the Vermont Association of Addiction Treatment Professionals (VAATP), which represents addiction treatment agencies in Vermont. Kurt is adjunct assistant professor at Smith College School for Social Work, where he teaches Group Theory and Practice. He is also adjunct faculty at Antioch New England Graduate School, where teaches in the Applied Psychology program.

 

15-112a: Faith and Taboo: The Role of Religion in the Clinical Encounter

Matilda Rose Cantwell, M.S.W., M.Div.

Using a psychodynamic developmental framework this class will consider the role of religious beliefs and practices and examine how we understand and work with them in our clinical practice. While the mental health field is integrating many aspects of spiritual health, to good end, religious practice and belief are often relegated to the shadows of treatment in non-sectarian settings. Religion has historically been a marginalized and often maligned part of traditional psychodynamic theory. Despite this history, many mental health practitioners cite their own religious worldviews as informing their practice. At the same time, more and more psychotherapy now is done in diverse settings across religious difference.

In this class we will consider three main themes in an attempt to broaden our clinical understanding of religious orientation in the clinical encounter:

We will also consider the role of religion in clients’ lives for both good and for ill, and make connections between religious affiliation and psychological/developmental object use. Participants are encouraged to bring disguised case vignettes, and the seminar will include a participatory exercise designed to explore one’s own religious and spiritual inclinations and views.

Learning Objectives and References

Faculty: Matilda Rose Cantwell, M.S.W., M.Div.: Matilda is currently the Interfaith Fellow at Smith College Center for Religious and Spiritual Life, where she conducts trainings and workshops on religious pluralism and interfaith dialogue and the interactions of faith and social justice. Her clinical area of focus has been adolescent group work and she worked with teens in many modalities and settings for over a decade. As an ordained minister she develops programs which aim to expand how religion and spirituality are perceived and utilized both within and outside of organized religion, and is currently working with the Smith School for Social Work to continue to develop resources for students’ spiritual care.

 

15-113a: Depression, Grief and Loss in the Geriatric Population

Karen Mozzer, M.S.W., L.I.C.S.W.

This course will explore how elders may experience depression, loss and grief. There will be a thorough discussion of depression and its manifestations in the elderly including suicide. Also discussed will be the various ways that the geriatric population experiences loss and grief and how they might cope with this. This will be tied to adult development and physical aging. Treatment options will be noted.

Learning Objectives and References

Faculty: Karen Mozzer, M.S.W., L.I.C.S.W., is the Vice President of Operations for New England Geriatrics, a company providing behavioral health services to nursing homes throughout MA. She has worked with NEG and specialized in geriatrics for 20 years. She also serves as the Professional Services Director for West Central Family and Counseling, an outpatient mental health clinic in West Springfield.

She received her MSW from the Simmons School of Social Work and graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College with a BA in psychology.

 

Friday, June 12, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

15-121a: Listening with Purpose: New Applications in Treating Shame and Narcissism

Patricia Gianotti, Psy.D.

Effective treatment of the spectrum of narcissistic injury must include an integrated understanding of narcissistically based thoughts and behaviors, ranging from expansive self-enhancement to crushing self criticism, from devaluation of others to over-idealization and hero-worship, from standards of perfectionism to an often defiant or flagrant disregard of rules and laws. This workshop will address how these often contradictory facets of distorted self-presentation form a tightly constructed defensive organization to keep feelings of shame and inadequacy at bay.

Through lecture, cogent video-taped case demonstrations, small group discussion, and shared case material we will examine how therapeutic listening and intervention techniques can be effectively used to penetrate narcissistic defenses of vertical splitting, grandiose expansiveness, cognitive distortions, self-destructive behaviors, and revenge enactments.

Participants will be introduced to an integrated Four Quadrant Model that explains how often contradictory parts of the psyche create a complex homeostatic balance. In order to see how these parts connect to the whole, participants will learn how to attend to what is being said as well as listening for what is being kept hidden from view and thus disconnected from the potential of emerging authenticity. Special techniques such moment-to-moment tracking, part-whole analysis, and the use of language as entry-points will help clinicians deepen their listening and intervention skills as the treatment unfolds.

Learning Objectives and References

Faculty: Patricia Gianotti, Psy.D., is a licensed psychologist, clinical supervisor, and founding member of Woodland Professional Associates, a group private practice in North Hampton, NH. Dr. Gianotti, a seasoned lecturer and facilitator, has taught at Washington University and the University of New Hampshire and has presented at various professional conferences, including Division 39 and SEPI. She has recently co-authored a book with Jack Danielian entitled Listening with Purpose: Entry Points into Shame and Narcissistic Vulnerability.

 

15-122a: Clinical Skills Working with Gender Nonconforming Children and Transgender Youth

Arlen Istar Lev, L.C.S.W.-R., C.A.S.A.C.


This workshop is an overview of gender identity development in children and youth, focusing on assessment of gender nonconformity in children, and transgender and transsexual identity in adolescence. We will example the available treatment options for pre-pubescent and adolescent children, including the use of hormone blockers and cross-sex hormones. Gender diversity and expression is viewed as a normative process of identity development, albeit a challenging one within rigid socio-cultural environment. The focus is systemic in examining the role of family members, service providers, and educational institutions. Attention will be paid to the newly released Standards of Care developed by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health will be reviewed.

Learning Objectives and References

Faculty: Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev, L.C.S.W.-R., C.A.S.A.C., is a social worker, family therapist, educator, and writer whose work addresses the unique therapeutic needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. She is the Founder and Clinical Director of Choices Counseling and Consulting and The Institute for Gender, Relationships, Identity, and Sexuality (TIGRIS), a training program in Albany, New York. Arlene has been a part-time lecturer at the State University New York at Albany, School of Social Welfare for the past 23 years, and is also an adjunct at Empire College and Smith School of Social Work. Additionally, she is the Clinical Supervisor for Center Support: Counseling Services, a low-cost therapy program at the Pride Center of the Capital District. Arlene has authored numerous journal articles and essays including authoring two books: The Complete Lesbian and Gay Parenting Guide and Transgender Emergence: Therapeutic Guidelines for Working with Gender-Variant People and their Families, winner of the American Psychological Association (Division 44) Distinguished Book Award, 2006.

 

15-123a: Time-In, Not Time-Out: Strategies for Co-Regulation with Traumatized Adolescents and Families

Martha B. Straus, Ph.D.

Traumatized adolescents struggle with self-regulation. They are dysregulated across systems--neurologically, cognitively, physically, emotionally, behaviorally, socially, and spiritually. Anxious and vigilant, and unable to trust themselves or caregivers, they may experience even loving relationships as confusing and frightening. But to learn self-soothing, they must first be able to rely upon others, and discover the joy of co-regulation. They benefit from relationships with adults that provide them with the psychological (and physical) sense of containment they cannot supply themselves. In this workshop, we will discuss and practice mindful, empathic strategies to help these teens - and their parents--feel more secure, connected, present, and stable.

Learning Objectives and References

Faculty: Martha B. Straus, Ph.D. is a professor in the Department of Clinical Psychology at Antioch University New England Graduate School in Keene, New Hampshire, and adjunct instructor in psychiatry at Dartmouth Medical School. She maintains a small private practice in Brattleboro, VT and consults to schools, social service agencies and courts. Dr. Straus is the author of numerous articles and four books including No-Talk Therapy for Children and Adolescents, and more recently, Adolescent Girls in Crisis: Intervention and Hope. Dr. Straus trains and conducts workshops internationally.

 

15-124a: Relentless Hope: The Refusal to Grieve

Martha Stark, M.D.

Dr. Martha Stark’s particular interest has long been in the patient’s “relentless pursuit of the (bad) object.” The patient’s relentless hope (a masochistic defense) is the stance to which she desperately clings in order to avoid confronting, and grieving, certain intolerably painful realities about the love/hate object to which she is intensely attached; and her relentless outrage (a sadistic defense) is the stance to which she resorts in those moments of dawning recognition that the object might never be forthcoming after all. Finally, the patient’s relentless despair (a schizoid defense) is the stance to which she retreats when attachment itself has become intolerable. Martha will offer prototypical interventions designed to facilitate transformation of the patient’s need to possess and control the object (and, when thwarted, to retaliate by attempting to destroy it) into the mature capacity to relent, accept, grieve, forgive, internalize, separate, and move on.

Learning Objectives and References

Faculty: Martha Stark, M.D., is Clinical Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a Teaching/Supervising Analyst at the Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis. In addition, she serves on the Faculty of the Continuing Education Program in the Department of Psychiatry at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Harvard Medical School), is Adjunct Faculty at the Center for Psychoanalytic Studies at the Massachusetts General Hospital (Harvard Medical School), and is Adjunct Faculty in the Continuing Education Program at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology. She is the author of three award-winning books on psychoanalytic theory and technique: Working with Resistance; A Primer on Working with Resistance; and Modes of Therapeutic Action.

 

 

Saturday, June 13, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

15-131a: All the Rage: Helping Adolescent Girls in Crisis

Martha B. Straus, Ph.D


Many adolescent girls today are in a crisis of rage and despair. Some try to disappear through starvation, others carve indecipherable symbols onto their arms or run away from home, still others bully and get bullied, hide weeping in their rooms, or attempt suicide. How can therapists become more effective with this volatile population? This highly practical seminar will explore concrete strategies and methods for helping girls in crisis and examine the limitations of old standards of care such as self-harm contracts and confidentiality rules. You’ll learn what questions to ask and how to rally support for the girls from family and relationship network. You’ll also find out about a variety of practical strategies that work, including harm reduction, inviting resistance, and developing a protective circle of adults. By the time you leave, you’ll know what it takes to stay connected to these adolescents as you help them become competent and independent young women.

Learning Objectives and References

Faculty: Martha B. Straus, Ph.D. is a professor in the Department of Clinical Psychology at Antioch University New England Graduate School in Keene, New Hampshire, and adjunct instructor in psychiatry at Dartmouth Medical School. She maintains a small private practice in Brattleboro, VT and consults to schools, social service agencies and courts. Dr. Straus is the author of numerous articles and four books including No-Talk Therapy for Children and Adolescents, and more recently, Adolescent Girls in Crisis: Intervention and Hope. Dr. Straus trains and conducts workshops internationally.

 

15-132a: Relational Psychodynamic Theory and Therapy

David Levit, Ph.D., ABPP

This course will center upon relational perspectives on psychotherapy with emphasis on the evolution and expansion in our understanding of therapeutic process, therapeutic options, and therapeutic action. We will address relational revisions in basic concepts such as transference and countertransference. The foundations of relational perspectives will be presented, drawing upon the contributions of seminal theorists, such as Mitchell, Greenberg, Davies, Hoffman, Bromberg, Aron, Benjamin, etc. We will not only outline and discuss the central ideas about psychotherapy within the relational paradigm, but also examine them in light of more traditional psychodynamic perspectives. For example, the relational emphasis on the therapist’s expressive participation will be considered in light of a more traditional emphasis on analytic restraint.

While the emphasis of this seminar will be on the relational paradigm as a clinical theory, we will also consider it as a psychological theory. We will look at relational models of the mind, wherein conscious and unconscious inner processes and dynamics are conceptualized quite differently than in the Freudian view. This will include an emphasis on dissociation and its centrality in an understanding of the impact of trauma.

In addition to the clinical and psychological emphases in this program, we will also consider relational theory historically. We will contextualize its evolution in terms of the overall relational turn in the psychoanalytic world during the 20th century, and we will trace out the emergence of relational theory as a radical revolutionary movement beginning in the 1980’s.

Learning Objectives and References

Faculty: David Levit, Ph.D., ABPP is a Diplomate in Psychoanalysis and Clinical Psychology. His faculty positions are: Adjunct Associate Professor, Smith College School for Social Work; Faculty, Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis (MIP); Co-Founder, Chair, and Faculty, MIP Postgraduate Fellowship-West; Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Tufts Medical School. He is in private practice in Amherst where he provides individual therapy and psychoanalysis for adults and consultation for colleagues.

 

15-133a: Protecting the Home Front: Intimate Partner Violence Prevention and Intervention within the Veteran Population

Ruth Muellejans, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a significant and complex health issue faced by many veterans and their families. Given the unique stressors posed by military life and higher rates of mental illness and substance use, veterans are at greater risk for using and/or experiencing violence in their intimate relationships than their civilian counterparts. This course aims to explore alternative ways of preventing and treating intimate partner violence within the veteran population, with a specific focus on the efficacy of couples therapy. Screening, assessment, and treatment for intimate partner violence will be explored through the psychosocial rehabilitation framework (PSR), with emphasis on the recognition that use or experience of violence does not define the individual. This course will additionally delve into the complexities, challenges, and benefits of engaging in couples therapy when intimate partner violence is the presenting problem. Focus will be placed on comprehensive risk assessments, safety planning, and contraindications for couples therapy. Case vignettes will be used to illustrate treatment considerations and to discuss engagement in intimate partner violence specific treatment.

Learning Objectives and References

Faculty: Ruth Muellejans, M.S.W., L.C.S.W., is a clinical social worker who graduated from Smith College SSW in 2013 and is currently working at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital. Ruth specializes in intimate partner violence (IPV) prevention and treatment, working specifically in the Safing Center, the IPV clinic at the VA, and providing individual, couples, and group therapy to veterans. Ruth has been involved in numerous national VA couples therapy trainings, focusing on treatment implications when engaging in couples therapy in the context of intimate partner violence.

 

15-134a: Positive Aging: Using Narrative Therapy to Amplify Clients’ Connections to Their Values and Expressions of Personal Agency

Beth Prullage, M.S.W., L.I.C.S.W.


This practice-based workshop will consider the effects of the dominant discourses of aging, in which stories of loss and decline may be privileged, on the experiences of growing older. As the effects of these discourses are considered, we can consider the steps that we might take in our therapeutic conversations to not replicate the experiences of ageism and marginalization that may occur outside of the therapy room.

Over the course of the day, participants will be presented with a developmental framework for aging that challenges these traditional one-dimensional narratives of “decline”. Together, we will review a range of concepts and tools from Narrative Therapy that seek to connect clients to expressions of personal agency, and that highlight their responses to the events of life.

Much of the day will be spent in small group exercises, consultation, observing a demonstration interview, or engaging in other applied techniques. It is hoped that participants will leave the course with new ideas or strategies for engaging folks with whom they work; as well as with an increased awareness as to the ways that all of us may inadvertently replicate the dominant social order in our therapeutic practice.

Learning Objectives and References

Faculty: Beth Prullage, M.S.W., L.I.C.S.W. has studied Narrative Therapy with Michael White, and teaches in the Smith College School for Social Work summer program. She has engaged in clinical work with individuals, groups and families in a broad range of inpatient and outpatient settings, and is currently the Director of Social Work at a 100-bed inpatient psychiatric hospital.

 

15-135a: Practicing Presence: Integrating Mindfulness into Psychotherapy using the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Model

Annemarie Gockel, Ph.D.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is among the first and most thoroughly researched of the current mindfulness-based interventions. In this course, clinicians will be introduced to foundational MBSR practices and explore their adaptation to psychotherapy and psychoeducation with adults, and to a lesser extent, with children. Building on Fulton’s (2013) notion of a continuum of approaches to mindfulness-based psychotherapy, attendees will experiment with practices to hone their own attention and increase their effectiveness in session as practitioners, as well as gain exposure to practices that can be applied to their work with clients. This is an experiential workshop. Clinicians can expect to learn from experimenting and reflecting on their experiences first hand. Exercises will be interspersed with didactic and/or audio-visual presentations. It is helpful to wear comfortable clothing that allows a full range of motion for mindful movement exercises. Topics covered include: history and background of MBSR, research on mindfulness practices and mindfulness-based interventions; mindfulness and the brain, models of mindfulness-informed psychotherapy; limitations and qualifications for mindfulness-informed practices.

Learning Objectives and References

Faculty: Annemarie Gockel Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor at the Smith College School for Social Work. Annemarie has been engaged in integrating meditative practices into psychotherapy since the mid 1990’s. She conducts research on mindfulness-based interventions and mindfulness in clinical practice, and has developed a model for integrating mindfulness into graduate clinical training. Annemarie attended the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Practicum at the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness in 2010, and considers herself an ongoing student of MBSR.