Here is the overview (in no particular order) of each of the presentations offered at the upcoming conference. The presentations were chosen by a volunteer group of blind reviewers, which is to say, they are some of the best of the best our field has to offer.
Trauma and the Body: Mapping Autonomic Responses for Assessment and Intervention in Mental Health
Current research shows that at the root of many physical and mental health disorders is trauma. Specifically, the highly stressful or overwhelming experiences that occurred in early childhood which correlate to disease processes well into adulthood. The evidence is so strong that it suggests working in mental health inherently means working with traumatic reactivity and it’s many repercussions.
This talk provides a coherent overview of trauma with an emphasis on emerging somatic approaches. Drawing specifically from the Trauma Dynamics treatment model, we will discuss the memory systems involved in storing, triggering and ultimately resolving trauma. We will review a clinically useful, research based map of the autonomic nervous system and our adaptive responses to traumatic events. Finally, we will discuss resolution techniques that are trending towards bottom-up, fast brain, somatic processing
About the Speaker: Saj Razvi is the Executive Director of Trauma Dynamics and a sub-investigator for the recently completed Boulder, CO Phase 2 trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He is also involved in the researching ketamine to improve the effectiveness of psychotherapy for depression, suicidality and PTSD symptoms. Saj is adjunct faculty at the University of Denver where he leads Trauma Dynamics trainings. He is also a national topic expert for PESI education seminars focusing on complex trauma, and he is the co-author of a soon to be released text for therapists that is based on the Trauma Dynamics treatment protocol.
Natalie Portman-Marsh, MSW, Rachel Clements, and Krista Lewis
Save Yourself from WebMD: Mental Health First Aid for Community Literacy
We’re all familiar with the phenomenon of DIY diagnosis: ten minutes on the Internet lets anyone diagnose a friend or family member with schizophrenia or a personality disorder. Clinicians spend an inordinate amount of time and resources combating stigma and misinformation among people who care for a loved one with a mental health challenge. What if you could send those well-meaning friends, family, and caregivers to an evidence-based behavioral health literacy training instead of to Google? In a Mental Health First Aid class, participants learn the signs and symptoms of common mental health challenges and substance use disorders, an action plan for mental health crises, and what local resources (read: you) are available to help. Clients, caregivers, and communities all benefit from the common language and added mental health savvy of the training.
In this session, you will learn about the content and structure of the Mental Health First Aid curriculum, how to connect with local statewide efforts to increase mental health literacy, and how Mental Health First Aid will help the people you serve. Join us to get on board! Attendees will be eligible for free admission to an upcoming MHFA training
About the Speakers: Natalie Portman-Marsh is the owner of NPM Consulting, LLC and provides Emergent Learning, strategic planning, road mapping, operational analysis, coaching, meeting and board facilitation services. She has presented at conferences on school based health, suicide, trauma, health disparities, family involvement and collective impact. She is an adjunct at DU Graduate School of Social Work and on the Board of the Colorado School Medicaid Consortium. Please reach Natalie at NPMConsults@Gmail.com, 303-641-6772.
Krista Lewis – Director of Development, Jefferson Center for Mental Health: Ms. Lewis joined Jefferson Center for Mental Health in December of 2013. As Director of Development, she oversees the overall strategy to maintain and expand philanthropic support for the organization through individual, corporate, foundation and governmental funding. Since her time at Jefferson Center, the contributed revenue has doubled from $2M to nearly $4M. Ms. Lewis has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theatre from the University of Colorado and has been a development professional for over a decade.
Rachel Clements is the Colorado Statewide Coordinator for Mental Health First Aid. Rachel received a Master’s in Organizational Psychology and Leadership Development and has since traded the Los Angeles traffic in for the Rocky Mountain serenity. Rachel previously worked with adolescents post suicide attempt and found MHFA as a great tool to be more proactive in creating a culture of empathy and mental wellness. Rachel loves working to improve public health, TED Talks, time with friends, and concerts at Red Rocks.
Robert A. Lees, Michelle J. Stevens and Julie A. Jacobs
Alternative Income Streams – the Legal Risks and Benefits
Synopsis: Learn about ways to ethically and legally diversify your practice income! Come learn about the hottest trends – including becoming a Coach, offering Teletherapy, and/or becoming a Parental Responsibility Evaluator or Child and Family Investigator. We will help you understand the legal and ethical risks so you can set yourself up for success!
Michelle J Stevens, JD, MA, LPC is an Associate Attorney for Robert A. Lees & Associates. Michelle works on professional liability, ethical, regulatory, risk management, business and legal mental health issues for mental health professionals practicing in the State of Colorado. She also works on elder law including trusts and estates. Michelle is trained in Risk Management specializing in Managing Opportunities and Threats, Risk Identification, and Mitigation Plans. She is well versed in the Colorado Mental Health Practice Act as well as Ethical Codes of the American Counseling Association, the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, the National Association of Social Workers and the American Association of Psychologists. Michelle is a current member of the Colorado State Bar; she is a past member of the Washington State Bar (#24479 1994 – 2003); and, has a solid understanding and foundation of the legal aspects of mental health practice. Her passion is helping counselors learn critical ethical practice tools so that they make sound ethical practice decisions.
ROBERT A. LEES is a seasoned attorney with over thirty-nine years of experience practicing law in the areas of regulatory (administrative) law; the Administrative Law Courts (ALJ); litigation, arbitration, mediation, and appellate actions in all state and federal courts in Colorado, regulatory boards and agencies; asset protection, constitutional litigation, and has extensive experience in issues and legal concerns related to regulatory law and the drafting of those laws, by request, for the office of Attorney General and the Colorado Legislature for the benefit of DORA (Department of Regulatory Agencies). Mr. Lees has lectured for numerous national and local education programs. He was deputy district attorney and special prosecutor for the 12th Judicial District. Mr. Lees has litigated and advocated on issues for and against various state governments. He has been designated as an expert in Colorado Courts and has testified regarding matters of concern.
JULIE A. JACOBS is an Associate Attorney with Robert A. Lees & Associates. Dr. Jacobs is a licensed psychologist and attorney who practices in the area of mental health provider law. Prior to attending law school, Dr. Jacobs practiced for 12 years as a clinical psychologist in a variety of settings, including private practice, college counseling centers, and the United States Air Force. Several years ago, she decided to change the path of her career and focus on helping mental health providers understand the interaction between law and mental health practice. This decision brought her to Boulder, where she obtained her J.D. at the University of Colorado Law School in 2014. She is a current member of the Colorado State Bar.
Somatic Approaches to Financial Wellbeing in Therapy
Developing mindfulness around habits and beliefs in relationship to money can open space for new choices in spending, saving, earning, and financial patterns. From a somatic perspective, self-regulation and resourcing skills can be useful when strong emotions arise with the topic of finances. The presenter will convey key aspects of her qualitative research on somatic approaches to money work, and facilitate a somatic exploration of 8 financial archetypes.
About the Speaker: Meredith Potter graduated from Naropa University in Somatic Counseling Psychology with a Specialization in Dance/Movement Therapy. She currently works as a Community-based Therapist with Griffith Centers and a Counseling Extern with Noeticus Counseling Center and Training Institute, both in Denver. Through engaging in her own money work with Bari Tessler's Art of Money program and conducting research on the topic for her Master's research in graduate school, Meredith continues to explore the connections between financial life and emotions, behaviors, and psychology. Meredith has been blessed with the opportunity to develop more connection with her own body through dance, yoga, and graduate school at Naropa. She has been lucky enough to develop trauma-informed skills through her training at Noeticus. She gets excited about bringing these experiences into the developing field of Financial Therapy.
Arielle Schwartz, PhD
Healing from Complex PTSD and Dissociation with EMDR Therapy
Complex PTSD occurs as a result of long-term exposure to traumatic stress rather than in response to a single incident and typically arises as a result of repeated traumatic events that occur during childhood. Growing up afraid has ramifications on cognitive, emotional, and physical development that persist into adulthood until one has sufficient support to heal. This is not a character weakness; it is a learned stress disorder. You can help your clients reclaim their lives from the costs of childhood trauma by deepening self-acceptance and reducing the shame that often accompanies developmental wounds. In this presentation you will develop a greater understanding of Complex PTSD and discover ways to mitigate its effects through Resilience Informed Therapy, which applies research on trauma recovery to form a strength-based, trauma treatment model that includes EMDR Therapy, Somatic Psychology, and time-tested relational psychotherapy. We will explore the existential issues that typically arise for clinicians when working with dissociative clients. Through discussion we will examine the ways that embodiment, mindfulness, and compassion based practices facilitate health for both the client and the clinician.
About the Speaker: Arielle Schwartz, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist, EMDR Therapy consultant, and certified yoga instructor with a private practice in Boulder, Colorado. She earned her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Fielding Graduate University and holds a Master’s degree in Somatic Psychology through Naropa University. She is the author of The Complex PTSD Workbook: A Mind-Body Approach to Emotional Control and Becoming Whole. She is a core teacher with The Maiberger Institute offering EMDRIA approved Advanced Workshops on topics of EMDR Therapy, Somatic Psychology, Attachment Trauma, and Chronic Pain. She provides consultation and education to EMDR therapists from around the country. Her psychotherapy practice specializes in PTSD, Complex PTSD, grief and loss, resilience, and therapeutic yoga. She is dedicated to offering informational mental health and wellness updates through her writing, public speaking, social media presence, and blog.
Howard Baumgarten, LPC
Build, Change, Grow: Bright Ideas for a Better Practice
At a time of healthcare uncertainty, many practitioners in or starting private practice are unsure about how to grow their practice in the right direction. This training focuses on the private practitioner's creativity, ability to risk change, and challenges in resilience. Specific tips for practice improvement are explored.
About the Speaker: Howard Baumgarten, a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice for 17 years, created and taught a practice-building course at the University of Colorado, Denver, and has lectured around the country on the integration of business development and mental health. He provides professional consultation to practice owners and is the author of a practice-building workbook to be released in 2017.
Mita M Johnson, Ed.D, NCC, LPC, LMFT, LAC, MAC, SAP
Drugs and the Brain
Clients who misuse street drugs and prescription-based psychoactive substances often have a co-occurring mental health disorder and/or physical health issue - that they may be struggling with and potentially self-medicating. This workshop will discuss how misusing substances dysregulates the brain and impairs our client. There will be a discussion about the implications of brain dysregulation as a result of substance use on psychotherapy (assessment, treatment planning and treatment). We will also discuss how to present this information to the client that is motivating and hopeful.
About The Speaker: Dr. Mita Johnson brings 26 years of experience in clinical mental health counseling, with a specialization in substance use disorders, clinical supervision, and ethical practice. She is a Core Faculty member of Walden University, and trains internationally and nationally on numerous clinical issues. Mita maintains a private practice where she offers clinical supervision, consultation and counseling services. Dr. Johnson is a Governor’s appointee to the Behavioral Health Transformation Council, services on several workforce development committees, and is the Treasurer and Ethics Chair of NAADAC.
Dr LaTisha Bader, PhD, LP, LAC, CCAASP
We've All Gone to Pot: Counseling Tips and Strategies
Dr. Bader will present a scientifically informed, balanced approach to clinical conversations regarding cannabis. The current zeitgeist of the Colorado marijuana industry will be review, considering additional states legalizing marijuana. The discussion will include information about delivery methods, psychoactive properties, addictive potential, use and withdrawal concerns. More importantly, it will offer clinicians talking points to use with clients and colleagues, and current medical and mental health approaches to treating marijuana use.
About The Speaker: Dr. Bader graduated from the University of North Texas in 2007 with a PhD in counseling psychology and specializing in sport psychology, and completed her postdoctoral fellowship in Chemical Dependency at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. She is a licensed psychologist and licensed addiction counselor, in addition she also a certified consultant for the Association of Applied Sport Psychology. She currently works at the Center for Dependency, Addiction and Rehabilitation (CeDAR) in Aurora, CO, where she manages the Professional’s Program and Ascent track for elite athletes, as well as complimenting the multi-disciplinary treatment team that provides individualized care for patients. She brings years of experience working in the field of addiction, specifically with professionals, executives and athletes. She serves as Senior Clinical Instructor for the UCH Department of Psychiatry and maintains a private practice in the Westminster area offering counseling and sport psychology services.
Genuine, Ethical and Booked Solid! Authentic Outreach for Building Your Private Practice
Truly effective outreach for your private practice is about more than just networking with other mental health professionals or mastering social media. If you want to ethically and genuinely attract the right type of clients for your private practice without over-working or over-spending, you need a new approach. This presentation will introduce a client-centered outreach strategy that you can use on-line or off-line to increase organic referrals, attract clients who are the best match for your unique approach and services and convert a higher number of inquiries into clients.
About the Speaker: Mari has been an entrepreneur for the last 35 years and has been a business coach since the year 2000. She specializes in working with, therapists, healers, and others in the business of transforming lives to help them build thriving private practices. Mari is a Coach University CTP graduate and holds a B.A. in Theatre from Colorado University at BoulderShe is a General Member of the International Coaching Federation, and the American Counseling Association,
Li Brookens, LCSW
Transgender Identities and Clinical Practice: Updating and experiencing clinical care models
In this workshop, participants will be exploring current mental health practices that align with optimal health for our transgender clients. After the initial teaching on Gender 101 and social/medical transition related resources, the workshop attendees will have the option to participate in a gender experiential fish bowl as part of the learning. In the fish bowl experience, participants will be invited to share clinical case material and receive consultation and support.
About the Speaker: Li Brookens is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in private practice in Boulder and offering psychotherapy as well as hypnotherapy. In March 2017, they received a Community Service Award for their work with the transgender community from the Colorado Society for Clinical Social Work. In 2016, Li started the Umbrella Collective, a small group practice in Denver and Boulder in 2016 where the group specializes in psychotherapy, counseling, and hypnotherapy with an intersectional, social justice lens. Li has been practicing in Boulder and Denver since 2012 and has specialized experience and knowledge working with the Transgender and LGB communities represented in numerous presentations and clinical practice.
Chris Simon, MA, LPC, NCC, CSAT
The New Face of Addiction: Process Addiction
Addiction treatment continues to be the fastest growing area of counseling and psychotherapy in America. A new type of addiction continues to emerge in today’s culture: process addictions. Many substance abuse treatment providers have witnessed an increase in process addictions alongside substance addictions in their clientele. Process or behavioral addictions – what are they? A process addiction is any activity, thought, feeling or relationship one turns to when there is a need to alleviate pain or an intolerable reality. Any process that alters brain chemistry and enables a client to feel an immediate release of chemicals into the brain (the high – the rush) is potentially addicting. Process addictions include sex, gambling, shopping, Facebook, gaming, etc. This presentation will look at the emergence of research on process addictions, the similarities and differences from substance addictions, and the foundation of treatment plans for process addictions. Counseling tips and strategies, as well as referral and reference resources will be shared.
About the Speaker: Chris Simon MA, LPC, CSAAT, CMAT is a therapist and advocate for sexual health in Denver and surrounding areas. He founded Restorations Therapy Center to help those struggling with sexual addiction, and aid clients in discovering health and wholeness, not only for themselves, but also their marriages and families. Having experiences addiction in his own life, Chris understands that the havoc addictions brings in not limited to one area of life, but influences marriage, family, work, spirituality, friendships and more. Chris strives to help others in the throes of addiction to experience the freedom and joy he lives today.
Natalie Portman-Marsh, MSW
Empowering clients for advocacy
This session will offer strategies to help your clients advocate for themselves and on behalf of family members involved in public systems such as education, behavioral health, juvenile justice, long term services and supports. Advocacy and civic leadership skills will be reviewed, opportunities for engagement will be shared and tips for client support will be offered.
About the Speaker: Natalie is the owner of NPM Consulting, LLC and provides Emergent Learning, strategic planning, road mapping, operational analysis, coaching, meeting and board facilitation services. She has presented at conferences on school based health, suicide, trauma, health disparities, family involvement and collective impact. She is an adjunct at DU Graduate School of Social Work and on the Board of the Colorado School Medicaid Consortium. Please reach Natalie at NPMConsults@Gmail.com, 303-641-6772.
Thea Wessel, LPC, LAC, MAC, NCAAC
Gangs: The Other "Family"
The word “gang” causes a great deal of controversy and fear every time it is uttered. There is a great deal of myth and misconception about what is a gang, how they recruit and operate, and the danger they pose to our society, families, and children. What was once ignored as an anomaly is now recognized as an incredibly complex problem, not only for law enforcement but for our communities. This presentation will invite participants to step into the world of gang involvement to learn how to assess for gang involvement as well as learn tips for working with clients who are gang-affiliated. Thea will offer resources and referral information to enhance your clinical toolbox.
About the Speaker: Thea Wessel is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), a Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC), a nationally-certified Master Addictions Counselor (MAC), and a nationally-certified Adolescent Addictions Counselor (NCAAC). Thea earned her Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology from the University of Denver and is strong advocate for ongoing professional development. Thea has over ten years of clinical experience providing mental health and substance use treatment services to adolescents and adults in the correctional system. She currently maintains a thriving private practice, and provides training and consultation throughout Colorado. She is President of the Colorado Association of Addictions Professionals (CAAP) and a Board Member of NAADAC. She teaches as an adjunct professor at the University of Denver, using her specialized training in a variety of clinical approaches, including cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, mindfulness, and is a Reiki practitioner.
Dr Michael Barnes
Creating a New Normal: A Transgenerational Approach to Helping Families Heal from Trauma and Addiction
Attention to the co-occurrence of addiction and trauma has resulted in the development of trauma informed/integrated treatment models. Absent from these models is the recognition that family members are often as traumatized as their loved one in treatment. For some the trauma is associated with the active addiction experienced by their loved one, but for others it stems from growing up in an addicted/dysfunction family, their own attachment struggles, and their experience of childhood and adult traumas. Clearly, traumatized parents or partners will influence how the family copes with active addiction. This presentation defines secondary trauma and identifies immediate and long-term systemic changes seen within traumatized families. It will present a transgenerational view of how addiction and trauma can be transferred between generations and how these factors impact family functioning. Finally, attendees will learn simple engagement strategies and techniques to better assess and treat secondary trauma within families.
About the Speaker: Dr. Barnes has over 30 years’ experience as a clinician, program administrator, clinical supervisor and addiction counselor educator. He brings significant expertise in the areas of addiction treatment, trauma therapy, and marriage and family therapy, with a specific interest in the development of trauma-integrated addiction treatment. He formerly served at University of Colorado Denver as Assistant Clinical Professor and the Training Coordinator in the Master's Program in Counseling. Dr. Barnes received his BA in Psychology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, his M.Ed. in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Pittsburgh, and his Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Florida State University. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor and approved clinical supervisor for individuals seeking licensure as professional counselors and marriage and family therapists in Colorado.