Full Day Workshops

I offer these full day workshops for mental health counselors and other professional helpers:

  • From Resistant to Resilient: Clinical Skills for Transforming Teen Therapy
  • Behind the Mask: Understanding and Treating Depression in Adolescent Males
  • Moving Beyond Stuckness: Addressing Substance Use and Trauma Among Teens
  • Rainbow Teens: Clinical Considerations When Working With LGBTQ+ Youth

Descriptions can be found below. These full day workshops are typically scheduled 9:00am to 4:30pm, with an hour lunch and two fifteen minute breaks, for a total of 6 clock hours of training.  For more details or to schedule a presentation, contact me today.

Many teens hate counseling, presenting as unwilling, oppositional, or completely resistant. If that isn’t enough, most therapists have limited training or experience working with teens – often treating them like big kids or little adults, then wondering why they don’t engage!

Grounded in twenty years of clinical experience with teens, presenter David Flack offers a day packed with practical strategies, stories from the field, and a bit of inspiration. We’ll start by exploring important ideas from developmental psychology and attachment theory, with a focus on how these ideas inform our work with teen clients. Then, we’ll take deep dives into four key concepts:

  • Cultivate Rapport. Therapeutic alliance is the single most important factor when it comes to positive treatment outcomes, especially with teens. With that in mind, we’ll explore a variety of attachment-based approaches for building trust, creating connection, and increasing engagement – even with the most resistant teen clients.
  • Facilitate Change. We’ll deepen our understanding of the change process by examining core ideas from motivational interviewing, the stages of change, and other change strategies – including developmentally appropriate approaches to creating change, strategies for integrating change-talk into sessions, and ideas for resolving ambivalence.
  • Nurture Thoughtful Choices. Teen clients have a habit of making things worse. These ineffective choices are fueled by impulsivity, dysregulated emotions, and a lack of problem-solving skills. We’ll examine field-tested strategies to help teens slow down, be more effective, and make more thoughtful choices.
  • Foster Resiliency.  Resiliency is the ability to bounce back from adversity. Some teens are naturally resilient, but for those who aren’t, resilience can be learned. We’ll explore strategies that help teens build five important resiliency skills:  insight, integrity, initiative, creativity, and connectedness.

Along the way, we’ll consider a variety of teen-specific clinical skills, tools, and interventions – such as ways to build self-efficacy, the role of metaphors, the importance of humor, and more. Past attendees have called this presentation “transformative for my work with teens” and “a smorgasbord of engaging ideas.” Come find out why!

Depression is soaring among adolescent males. Unfortunately, these young men frequently go undiagnosed and untreated, often because they don’t exhibit standard diagnostic criteria. Instead – after a lifetime being told boys don’t cry – they appear angry, oppositional, self-destructive, or simply numb. They hide behind these masks, pushing away the world and hoping nobody notices they’re actually sad, lonely, vulnerable boys.

In this workshop, we’ll develop the knowledge and skills to look behind those masks – in order to 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. Since this stuckness often includes Big Questions related to death, meaninglessness, and isolation, we’ll also consider practical strategies for exploring existential themes with depressed adolescent males.

Often, these masks are attempts to avoid feelings, connections, and life. With that in mind, we’ll identify practical strategies for building therapeutic alliance by improving trustworthiness, nurturing connectedness, and developing therapeutic presence. Throughout the day, we’ll also consider a variety of field-tested strategies to help adolescent males get unstuck, start moving forward, and leave their masks behind.

Teens seeking mental health services often have substance use issues, trauma histories, or both. As a result, they often seem stuck in endless cycles of maladaptive behaviors, experiencing multiple treatment failures and frustrating even the most dedicated professional helpers. Over time, these teens can seem apathetic, ambivalent, or completely resistant.

Join presenter David Flack for this special online workshop to deepen your understanding of these challenging topics and develop the clinical skills to help these teens get unstuck. Grounded in twenty years of clinical experience, this workshop is packed with practical strategies, stories from the field, and a bit of inspiration.

Part One:  Substance Use in Teens. Nearly half of all teens receiving mental health services have a diagnosable substance use disorder. Unfortunately, most mental health counselors have little training or experience when it comes to substance use among teens, so these concerns go overlooked and unaddressed. 

We’ll start the morning segment of this workshop by exploring the stages of substance use, diagnostic criteria, and common co-morbid mental health disorders. Next, we’ll consider reasons that teens use and the stuckness that can develop. Then, we’ll examine several field-tested approaches for addressing substance use in teens, including ideas for cultivating rapport, fostering change, and getting unstuck.

Part Two:  Trauma in Teens. Two-thirds of all Americans experience some form of trauma by age 16. If left untreated, this can lead to a variety of emotional, behavioral, and developmental concerns – leading to increased mental health challenges, substance-related issues, school failures, and other issues. 

In the afternoon segment of this workshop, we’ll deepen our understanding of the ways that trauma impacts teens, identify the active ingredients for successful trauma therapy, and explore clinical strategies for treating trauma in teens. Inspired by motivational interviewing, narrative therapy, and trauma-informed approaches, these strategies will increase engagement, improve treatment outcomes, and help teens move forward.

Studies show that LGBTQ+ teens are significantly more likely than peers to experience depression, anxiety, substance-related problems, and suicidal thoughts. They’re also more likely to engage in self-harming behaviors, experience trauma, become homelessness, and under perform in school settings. Despite these concerns, mental health professionals often feel poorly prepared to provide quality care when meeting with this population.

This workshop will provide an interactive, non-judgmental space to explore clinical and ethical considerations when meeting with LGBTQ+ teens. We’ll start by increasing our knowledge related to LGBTQ+ teens, such as current vocabulary, relevant statistics, issues specific to trans and gender non-conforming youth, and the impact of minority stress on this population. Next, we’ll explore the role of cultural competency when working with LGBTQ+ teens, examine our personal perspectives on gender and sexual orientation, and consider the difference between being an LGBTQ-friendly therapist and an affirming one.

With this important foundational information in place, we’ll shift our focus to increasing our effectiveness when meeting with LGBTQ+ teens. Key clinical skills covered include fostering resilience as an antidote to minority stress, building therapeutic alliance, the importance of being trauma informed, and practical ideas for working with families.