I offer these full day workshops for mental health counselors and other professional helpers:
- Getting Unstuck: Understanding and Treating Teens with Co-occurring Disorders
- Behind the Mask: Understanding and Treating Depression in Adolescent Males
- Rainbow Teens: Clinical and Ethical Considerations for Treating LGBTQ+ Teens
- Mindfulness with Teens: Practical Strategies for Increasing Presence, Intention and Non-Judgment
Descriptions can be found below. Full day workshops typically run eight hours, which includes an hour-long lunch and two 15 minute breaks, for a total of six and a half hours of instruction. For more details or to schedule a presentation, contact me today.
GETTING UNSTUCK: UNDERSTANDING AND TREATING TEENS WITH CO-OCCURRING DISORDERS
Teens with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders often seem stuck in endless cycles of maladaptive behaviors, experiencing multiple treatment failures and frustrating even the most dedicated professional helpers. In this highly interactive workshop, we’ll deepen our understanding of co-occurring disorders and develop practical skills for making change happen.
First, we’ll deepen our understanding of substance-related problems by exploring stages of use, examining reasons teens use, and identifying common co-morbid mental health disorders, with a special focus on trauma. We’ll also explore the concept of stuckness, which we can define as the unwillingness or inability to do anything differently. In other words, stuck teens lack the motivation or necessary skills to engage in the change process. Most often, it’s a mix of both.
With this foundation in place, we’ll examine practical strategies for helping teens gets unstuck, starting with therapeutic alliance. Studies show effective therapeutic alliances are essential for engagement, retention, and positive treatment outcomes – especially when working with teens with co-occurring disorders. With that in mind, we’ll consider three key elements of therapeutic alliance — trustworthiness, connection, and presence — and examine field-tested approaches for increasing each.
In addition, we’ll explore the the Stages of Change, an evidence-based trans-theoretical model that identifies five steps in the process of change. We’ll also examine recycling, ambivalence, and risk avoidance – common obstacles among teens with co-occurring disorders. Along the way, we’ll explore practical ideas for talking to teens about drug use, resolving ambivalence, and more — all with the goal of helping teens with co-occurring disorders get unstuck.
BEHIND THE MASK: UNDERSTANDING AND TREATING DEPRESSION IN ADOLESCENT MALES
Depression is soaring among adolescent males. However, 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’re 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 highly interactive 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 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.
RAINBOW TEENS: CLINICAL AND ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR TREATING LGBTQ+ TEENS
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 well documented 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 the day by increasing our knowledge related to LGBTQ+ teens. We’ll review current vocabulary and relevant statistics, expand our understanding of issues specific to trans and gender non-conforming youth, and consider 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 then shift our focus to increasing our effectiveness when meeting with LGBTQ+ teens. Key clinical skills covered will include fostering resilience as an antidote to minority stress, building therapeutic alliance, the importance of being trauma informed, and ideas for working with families.
Since we’ll be considering a variety of relevant ethical considerations, this training provides four ethics-specific continuing education hours.
MINDFULNESS WITH TEENS: PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR INCREASING PRESENCE, INTENTION AND NON-JUDGMENT
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 several 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 as helpers, then, is to present mindfulness in ways that are concrete, accessible and provide obvious value. This workshop will focus on strategies for doing just that. Along the way, we’ll also develop a deeper understanding of mindfulness, review the evidence supporting clinical applications of mindfulness, and develop practical skills for integrating mindfulness into our own work as professional helpers.