Workshops and Schedule

Please note all workshops and times are subject to change

Thursday Workshops – Block A – 2 contact hours

Positive Psychology:  Building positive self-identity for our clients and ourselves

Barbara Drotos, LICSW

Positive psychology reaches far beyond simply having a positive outlook on life. Identifying character strengths and understanding PERMA is transformative for people who incorporate these practices into their lives. When we bring the concepts of positive psychology into our clinical work with individuals and families, it is equally as important to allow it to permeate through our own lives. It can have a powerful influence on the everyday lives of clients who have experienced trauma, loss, or significant change. It can be transformative in the lives of individuals who are neurotypical as well as those who have an acquired brain injury, developmental disability and/or mental health challenges. Join us in this enlightening, interactive workshop to learn more about positive psychology and the impact is can have on your life and the lives of others.

Art and Mindfulness: Sensory Based Art Interventions for Social Workers 

Barbara Davis, MFA, MSW, LCSW

Trauma research has taught us that talking is often not enough and we need to integrate body based and other non-verbal interventions into our practice.   This workshop brings together the fields of Mindfulness, Art Therapy and Social Work Practice and offers participants a range of body and art-based interventions that compliment any talk therapy practice.  Participants will learn the rationale for such an integrated approach and how such an approach supports our work as talk therapists, and the healing process for our clients.  Interventions taught will be appropriate for a range of clients struggling with anxiety, depression, loss and trauma and focused on feelings identification and expression, self-awareness and acceptance, increased sensory awareness and integration.  This workshop will be both didactic and experiential as participants will be asked to engage in the mindfulness and art based activities as a way to become familiar with the materials.   

Substance use and the legal system; Navigating the challenges of requiring treatment  

Michael Lawless, MSW, LICSW, MLADC

The goal of this workshop is to discuss and develop strategies to engage court involved, and mandated clients in the clinical setting who are dealing with substance use and co-occurring mental health issues.  The focus will be on the specific challenges of mandated treatment and how to align with clients in a way that will provide opportunity for fuller engagement and increased likelihood of successful outcomes.  Attendees will discuss the challenges of working across systems where clients may give consent, but not feel like they have much of a choice.  We will discuss the naturally occurring opportunities to help individual clients develop insight around issues they may be struggling with regarding substance use.  A focus will be on the specific challenges of Opioid use, and the unique challenges to this classification of drug as it relates to particular client populations.

Client Boundary Violations: When A Client Becomes a Stalker  

Noel B. Dumas, Esq., 

Pandora L. MacLean-Hoover, LCSW

Attorney Dumas and Ms. MacLean-Hoover will present on ethical considerations for Social Workers as these relate to client boundary violations, with an emphasis on stalking. Examples of NASW guidelines and state regulations will provide valuable insight and current tools for practitioners working in this age of technology. The workshop will include a real life example of how one clinical social worker, Pandora, confronted this scenario and navigated those turbulent waters.

Intuition: The Inner Wisdom of Social Work Practice 

Bette Freedson, LCSW, LICSW, CGP

Current research by Scott Miller and Mark Hubble suggests that there exist healing forces that transcend current medicalized approaches to provision of mental health and behavioral services. Utilizing didactics and exercises, The Inner Wisdom of Social Work Practice presents practical and corrective benefits of integrating intuitive insights into social work practice. In this workshop participants will experience the way mini-ideas and images, emerging within the inner mental flow of provider and client, offer rich material for creative interventions that can elicit empathic resonance, reframe negative narratives, evoke adaptive realizations, shift focus from problems to solutions and result in effective and enduring psychosocial outcomes. We will be considering intuition as an ego state, examining similarities of an intuitive approach with aspects of mindfulness and hypnosis. Special focus will be placed on intuitive wisdom as part of innovative linear schemas such as the “SOLVE Schema” and “Miss Bette’s” Simple Schema.” 

Thursday Workshops – Block B – 3 contact hours

Parent Coaching as Clinical Intervention 

Jude Currier, LICSW

With an alarming increase of mental health diagnoses in children, especially those coming from chaotic families, the mental health system continues to focus on an individual pathology model, a model ill suite to children. Parent coaching can address system issues that often affect a child's emotional functioning, as well as correct behavioral issues that are often mistaken for mental health pathology. This presentation will outline the parenting model, Choice Consequence Parenting, and its application and deployment within this population. Focus will be on providing steps for healthy behavioral and emotional outcomes for these vulnerable children while sidestepping the mistake of identifying their behaviors as a function of individual pathology.

Royal Road Revisited: Dream Interpretation for the Modern Clinician 

Gretchen Davidson, LCSW

Jed Wilson, LICSW

Regarded by Freud as the “royal road to the unconscious,” dreams have curiously been relegated to the margins of psychotherapeutic practice since the dawn of the “talking cure” over a century ago. In this workshop we will interrogate this marginalization and attempt to reignite interest in the dream as a vessel for self-discovery and reckoning with unconscious desire. After reviewing psychodynamic theories of dreams and their interpretation, the workshop will open a space for practice. Participants will be given opportunity to experiment with the art of dream interpretation and acquire skills that can be readily integrated into any style of psychotherapy.

Working with Older Adults with Clutter and Hoarding Challenges 

Karen Kruzan, LISW-S, CPO-CD

Older adults living in cluttered and hoarding environments face a variety of health and safety challenges. In this lively course you will gain a better understanding of why older adults can have so much stuff and trouble getting rid of it. You will learn strategies and techniques for working with older adults in your office or in their homes.

The Dynamics and Skills of Supervision: The Parallel Process and the Interactional Model

Lawrence Shulman MSW, Ed.D

The focus of this workshop will be on understanding the core dynamics and identifying the skills required to lead mutual aid support groups. Examples presented by the instructor and those shared by participants will be used to illustrate how to apply this understanding to a range of set-tings (e.g., hospitals, drug treatment agencies, schools, residential settings) and with a range of populations and problems. Discussion will include how to integrate elements from Evidenced-Based Practice (e.g., motivational interviewing, solution focused practice, cognitive behavioral) in a non-prescriptive manner so that the group leaders artistry is enhanced and not restricted by the science. 

2020 Living and Working in a Digital World (Professional Ethics versus Today’s Reality) 

Wanda Anderson, MSW, LCSW

This training will provide a safe forum to discuss ethical dilemmas encountered in today’s fast moving era of technology. We will discuss boundaries, confidentiality, personal and professional relationships as they relate to cell phones, internet, digital notes, etc. as well as other pertinent topics. We will also review and discuss the updates and changes to the NASW Code of Ethics regarding technology.

Friday Workshops – Block C -  1.5 contact hours unless otherwise noted

Ethics In Our Practice: Cultural Humility & Self Care 

Bonnie Collier, LCSW

Maine is a unique state with a 200 year history and rich diversity including generations of French Canadians in Aroostook County to asylum seekers in the city of a gentrifying Portland, aging blue collar workers downeast to skiing visitors from out of state in the mountains of Bethel.  Practicing within the state of Maine and in accordance with the social worker’s code of ethics necessitates self-reflection related to reasons for doing the work, and also cultural humility related to our own values and those of the individuals with whom we work.  Using the Liberation Health framework, this workshop will demonstrate the obligation to engage in self-care fervently while judiciously to maintain longevity in the ever changing field of social work.

Innovative Family Navigator and Vocational Specialist Program for Inpatient Psychiatric Care

Lee D'Attilio, LCSW

Psychiatric hospitalization disrupts the daily life of an individual and their family. How does hospitalization impact work or school, or if they were fired from their job how to get back to work, to get their life back on a positive track? Where does the family get in depth supports through the hospitalization process, on their loved one’s diagnosis, how to manage what is happening in their family system and how to manage their loved one in recovery? Important is also learning what families need during a loved one’s psychiatric hospitalization and then what practical interventions can be delivered to the families to support them in their time of crisis - results from our qualitative research project. This presentation will provide you with information and original research on this innovative program that is a two prong approach, supporting both patients and their families on the road to recovery. 

Affirming Healthcare for Transgender and Gender Diverse Clients- Social Workers Make a Difference  

Brandy Brown, LCSW

Social workers have not consistently had adequate training in specific issues facing transgender and gender diverse people.  However, with a growing population seeking care, social workers need to not only provide affirming care, but engage systems of care to improve equity and access.  Social workers have the unique ability to lead change efforts for transgender people at all practice levels.  This presentation will review assessment of healthcare needs that transgender people face, specific disparities that youth experience, change models used in effecting systemic change, and a call to action for social workers to increase their education and competency and to engage their systems of care to ensure transgender people, as a vulnerable population, receive equitable care. 

Ethical Considerations in Suicide Prevention: From Involuntary Hospitalization to Death with Dignity  

Greg Marley  

3 hour workshop – blocks C & D

Suicide is a tragic loss of life impacting everyone who is touched by the death. Suicide prevention is rooted in values regarding the sanctity of life and from these values come the professional practices and even laws that allow us to take action to protect the suicidal individual and prevent harm.  They allow for an individual at imminent risk to be held against their will for assessment and for an individual to be hospitalized involuntarily to preserve safety and to initiate treatment. These laws and guidelines are counter to social work ethics supporting autonomy, empowerment and the right to confidentiality. The recent passage of Maine’s Death with Dignity Act presents another set of ethical challenges for the practitioners and organizations. This session will explore the intersection of suicide prevention and risk management through a lens of the ethical challenges and dilemmas regularly faced by people working to prevent this most tragic death. 

Improving Practice with Vulnerable Clients in Transition Using Principles of Critical Time Intervention

Kimberly Livingstone, PhD, MSW

3 hour workshop – blocks C & D

Critical Time Intervention (CTI) is an evidence-based practice that assists vulnerable individuals to make successful transitions from institutions to the community.  CTI is a short-term, phased approach to case management that is based on core principles. CTI helps to create and/or enhance connections to long-term supports in clients’ communities.  CTI has been implemented with individuals being discharged from hospitals, leaving homeless shelters for permanent housing, and moving into the community following incarceration.  CTI-informed practice has helped to improve practice with individuals making various transitions within support systems. This workshop will focus on the CTI principles and how they can enhance clients’ continuity of support during periods of transition.

Friday workshops – Block D – 1.5 contact hours

Take Off the Cape 

Mary Gagnon, LMFT

Are we helping our clients, or are we rescuing them?  The line can be blurry and difficult to discern.  In this workshop, participants will explore the differences between helpers and rescuers, reasons therapists may be in a rescuing dynamic, and alternatives to rescuing that are healthier for clients and clinicians.

Reparative Work with Parents who have Abused their Children  

Kelly Smith, LICSW

Children who have experienced abuse and/or neglect deserve for their biological parents to apologize for their actions.  Children who are in foster care and are going to be adopted, deserve and need their biological parents to emotionally give them permission to move on and love a new family.  This workshop will describe how to engage the biological parents in this work and how to facilitate this powerful piece of work.

Preventing Opioid Misuse: Practical Strategies for Schools and Communities

Carolyn Curtis, Ed.D, LCSW

This workshop explores the original research of comparing the school experiences and connections for those who have and have not misused opioids in three New England States to identify risk and protective factors for opioid misuse. Through direct quotes and statistical data, the presenter shows how the school experiences differ between people who have and have not misused opioids. Using the theoretical framework of the Brain Opioid Theory of Social Attachment, participants will learn about the link between opioids and social connections. The presenter will detail the aspects of five different school-based and community-wide preventative measures for opioid misuse. The workshop will include a discussion on potential barriers/obstacles to implementing these preventative measures and possible solutions to overcome those barriers. Given the extensive impact of the opioid epidemic, this workshop highlights the importance of focusing on a wrap-around approach for prevention, and provides a practical guide to implement prevention strategies. 



Friday Plenary

Maine in Action

Social workers and allied professionals have been diligently working to improve social justice, but there is more work to do. We will wrap up this conference with a call to action.  What is the work being done, what are the messages that need to be communicated, and how can you do your part. 

Moriah head shot 1

Moriah Greer, MSW

Moriah is the Moxie Case coach at Maine Equal Justice, a public interest organization working to find solutions to poverty and improve the lives of people with low income in Maine. She provides direct legal assistance to low-income clients who need help with public benefits programs and trains community partners on the organization’s priority issues. In August 2020 Moriah will graduate from the University of Maine’s social work program with her MSW as well as a certificate in Disability Studies. Moriah discovered her passion for advocacy and policy work on a trip to Washington D.C. that was part of her internship with the UMaine Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies LEND program. Since then Moriah has engaged in advocacy at both the state and federal level every chance she gets. Because Maine Equal Justice combines individual legal assistance and policy advocacy under one roof, Moriah is able to engage with micro and macro solutions in her work there, helping ensure that policy initiatives reflect the needs of everyday people.