Online Workshops

TRANSFORMING TEEN THERAPY is an ongoing series of online workshops presented in collaboration with Cascadia Training. These three-hour workshops explore a variety of field-tested strategies for fostering therapeutic alliance, facilitating change, treating trauma, and more. Workshops in the series are scheduled periodically throughout the year. Attend the whole series or choose the workshops that best meet your needs.

Current workshops include:

  • Reframing Resistance: Maybe Teens Aren’t Stubborn, Oppositional or In Denial
  • Facilitating Change: Helping Teens Move from Ambivalence to Action
  • Engaging Avoidant Teens: An Attachment-Based Approach to Cultivating Rapport
  • Treating Trauma in Teens: Active Ingredients, Meaningful Metaphors & Other Practical Strategies
  • Treating Trauma in Teens: Window of Tolerance
  • Treating Trauma in Teens: Sexual Trauma in Adolescent Males
  • Attached to Drugs: Teens, Substance Use & Insecure Attachments
  • In This Moment: Mindfulness-Based Existential Therapy with Teens

Workshop descriptions are below. For registration or additional information, visit Cascadia Training.


REFRAMING RESISTANCE: MAYBE TEENS AREN’T STUBBORN, OPPOSITIONAL, OR IN DENIAL
Many teen clients seem unwilling, unengaged, or uninterested in therapy. That doesn’t mean they’re resistant, though. It means they don’t want to talk about their feelings with a stranger, learn shrink-wrapped coping skills, or identify measurable treatment goals. What teen would?

In this workshop, we’ll reframe this so-called resistance from developmental, attachment-based, and trauma-informed perspectives. These perspectives help us look beyond the initial reluctance and engage teen clients more effectively. Sometimes, that’s all it takes for the reluctance to disappear. Other times, we discover clients are stuck. In other words, they’re trapped in patterns of thinking and doing that are ineffective. We’ll explore that Stuckness, identify common exacerbating factors, and consider field-tested ideas for helping teens get unstuck.

FACILITATING CHANGE: HELPING TEENS MOVE FROM AMBIVALENCE TO ACTION
Change is a process, not an event. Many teens enter counseling with little commitment to this process. Instead, they seem resistant, stubborn, or in denial. Our goal isn’t to talk them into action, but to help them resolve their ambivalence about change, find their own motivation to take action, and start moving forward.

We’ll start this workshop by examining core ideas from Motivational Interviewing and the Stages of Change model – two evidence-based approaches to facilitating lasting change. Then we’ll explore stage-specific interventions, strategies for integrating change-talk into every session, and field-tested ideas for facilitating change with teens. Along the way, we’ll examine developmental considerations, common obstacles, and more.

ENGAGING AVOIDANT TEENS: AN ATTACHMENT-BASED APPROACH TO CULTIVATING RAPPORT
Avoidantly attached teens are often labeled resistant or oppositional. They’re likely to seem highly independent, defensive, or dismissive. They’re also likely to engage in treatment interfering behaviors, be suspicious of empathy, and consider helpers to be adversaries. Building effective therapeutic alliances with these teens can seem daunting to even the most seasoned counselor, yet is absolutely essential!

We’ll start this workshop by deepening our understanding of avoidant attachment style, especially among teens. Next, we’ll explore practical skills for increasing our trustworthiness, nurturing connectedness, and embodying empathy. Along the way, we’ll consider the role of self-disclosure, identify strategies for maintaining therapeutic presence, and explore other ways to become a much needed secure base for these teen clients.

TREATING TRAUMA IN TEENS: ACTIVE INGREDIENTS, MEANINGFUL METAPHORS & OTHER PRACTICAL STRATEGIES
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 this workshop, we’ll deepen our understanding of the ways trauma impacts teens, identify the active ingredients for successful trauma therapy, and explore 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.

TREATING TRAUMA IN TEENS: WINDOWS OF TOLERANCE
When in 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, typically due to trauma-related triggers or other stressors, 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.

In this workshop, we’ll deepen our understanding of the window of tolerance concept. We’ll also examine practical strategies to help teens get back into their window, 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.

TREATING TRAUMA IN TEENS: SEXUAL TRAUMA IN ADOLESCENT MALES
One in six males experience some form of sexual trauma, most before entering adulthood. Frequently, these experiences are dismissed, minimized, or ignored – by both the young man and the world in general. This can lead to a variety of emotional, behavioral, and developmental impacts, including mental health challenges, substance-related issues, school failures, and other concerns.

In this training, we’ll deepen our knowledge of common trauma impacts, consider ways the Guy Code exacerbates these impacts, and identify other developmental considerations. We’ll also identify the active ingredients for successful trauma therapy and explore a variety of field-tested approaches for working specifically with adolescent male survivors. Inspired by motivational interviewing, narrative therapy, and trauma-informed approaches, these strategies will increase engagement, improve treatment outcomes, and start the process of healing.

ATTACHED TO DRUGS: TEENS, SUBSTANCE USE & INSECURE ATTACHMENTS
Nearly half 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 addressing substance use among teens. As a result, these concerns often go overlooked and unaddressed. In this highly interactive workshop, we’ll develop practical skills for identifying and working with teens who have substance-related concerns.

We’ll start by examining the stages of use, identifying common co-morbid mental health disorders, and exploring the reasons teens use, especially reasons rooted in insecure attachments – which we can define as disorders of mood, behavior, and social interactions resulting from a failure to form healthy attachments to primary care givers in early childhood. Along the way, we’ll explore field-tested strategies for addressing substance use, fostering change, and helping teens make new, more effective choices.

IN THIS MOMENT: MINDFULNESS-BASED EXISTENTIAL THERAPY WITH TEENS
The last few years have been overwhelming, filled with distress about issues that simply can’t be fixed – and therefore can’t be adequately addressed by solution-focused approaches or traditional cognitive-behavioral techniques. This workshop explores practical, mindfulness-based strategies for addressing these very real existential concerns.

We’ll start by considering the use of mindfulness in clinical settings, including common challenges when working with teens. Next, we’ll examine core ideas of existential psychotherapy – as related Those Big External Stressors, as well as themes such as isolation, meaning, and pointlessness which are common among teens with mood disorders, trauma, and other mental health challenges. Then, we’ll explore field-tested strategies for integrating mindfulness and existential psychotherapy when exploring both.