Full Day Workshops

I offer three full day workshops. They are:

  • Behind the Mask: Understanding and Treating Depression in Adolescent Males
  • Treating Trauma in Teens
  • Substance Use in Teens: What All Mental Health Professionals Should Know

Descriptions can be found below. These trainings provide 6 general CEUs each and are typically scheduled 9:00am to 4:30pm, with an hour lunch and two 15-minute breaks. For more details or to schedule a presentation, contact me today.

Depression is soaring among adolescent males. Unfortunately, these young men frequently go undiagnosed and untreated, often because they don’t exhibit typical 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.

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 our 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.

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. 

We’ll start this workshop by examining the ways trauma impacts teens, identifying the active ingredients for successful trauma therapy, and exploring practical clinical strategies for treating trauma in teens. Inspired by motivational interviewing, narrative therapy and the latest trauma research, these strategies will increase engagement, improve treatment outcomes, and help teens move forward.

With this important foundation in place, we’ll focus on the window of tolerance — a highly useful concept for understanding trauma-related triggers and emotional dysregulation. When inside our window of tolerance, we feel mastery over our emotions and behaviors, interact effectively with the world, and relate well to self and others. If outside our window, though, we become emotionally and behaviorally dysregulated. This can result in hyper-arousal—experienced as restlessness, extreme anxiety, and anger. It can also result in hypo-arousal—experienced as numbness, difficulty focusing, and disassociation.

We’ll explore practical strategies to help teens get back into their window when they fall out, stay there when triggered, and ultimately widen their window. Since many of these strategies include skills related to metacognition and being present, we’ll also spend time exploring key trauma-informed approaches to mindfulness.

Studies show that teens with mental health concerns are at extremely high risk for substance related problems. Unfortunately, most therapists working with teens have little training or experience when it comes to addressing co-occurring disorders. As a result, substance use in teens often goes overlooked, unaddressed, or ignored.

In this highly interactive workshop we’ll examine ways that substance use and mental health challenges impact each other. We’ll start by examining the stages of substance use, diagnostic criteria, and common co-morbid mental health disorders, with a special focus on trauma. With this foundation in place, we’ll explore the cycle of stuckness frequently underlying teen substance use.

In the second half of this workshop, we’ll explore field-tested strategies for addressing substance use with teens — including ideas for increasing willingness, facilitating change, and talking with teens about their substance use. Along the way, we’ll consider the impact of attachment-related challenges, developmental considerations, and more to help teens get unstuck.