Full Day Workshops

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

  • Behind the Mask: Understanding and Treating Depression in Adolescent Males
  • Rainbow Teens: Clinical Considerations When Working With LGBTQ+ Youth
  • Mindfulness With Teens
  • Ethical and Legal Considerations When Counseling Teens

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.

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.

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.

Research shows that practicing mindfulness can be extremely helpful to those challenged by depression, anxiety, ADHD, substance use disorders, and more. In fact, mindfulness is an essential component of evidence-based practices such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

However, the abstract nature of mindfulness can make it challenging to teach in ways that are meaningful and translate into the daily lives of many teen clients. In fact, those clients who would find mindfulness the most difficult to practice — due to significant impulse control issues, extreme hyper-vigilance, or chronic chaos-making behaviors — are generally the ones who would most benefit from it!

Our task, then, is to present mindfulness in ways that are concrete, engaging, and provide obvious value. This workshop will focus on strategies for doing just that. We’ll also develop a deeper understanding of mindfulness, review the evidence supporting clinical applications of mindfulness, and explore strategies for integrating mindfulness into the treatment of common presenting concerns. Along the way, we’ll participate in over a dozen field-tested activities that help make mindfulness accessible, fun, and effective when working with teens.

Counseling teens can present a variety of unique ethical and legal considerations – from navigating informed consent requirements, to defining what “imminent harm” actually means, to balancing best practices and client willingness.

This can be especially challenging here in Washington state, where laws about confidentiality and related treatment issues places the age of consent for counseling at 13 years old — at least in most cases. That’s why this workshop focuses specifically on the unique ethical and legal challenges faced by therapists who work with teens.

We’ll start this highly interactive workshop by reviewing state laws covering confidentiality and consent when counseling teens. Next, we’ll explore HB1874, which went into effect in 2019. Then we’ll examine a variety of practical considerations related to Washington’s age of consent, ethical issues when working with mandated teens, and more.

This workshop meets Washington state’s biennial licensing requirements for mental health professionals. It exceeds Washington state’s biennial credentialing requirements for substance use disorders professionals.