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Smith College Studies in Social Work
Lectures & Conferences

Detailed Course Descriptions 2015-16

Connection and Hope: Psychosocial Capacity Building in Response to Disasters

Joshua L. Miller, M.S.W., Ph.D.

This lecture will present a model to guide work with individuals and communities after a disaster called psychosocial capacity building, which is strength's based and fosters resiliency. Psychosocial Capacity Building recognizes that individual and community well-being are intricately related and that local cultural practices are an essential foundation for recovering strengths and healing. This approach builds on a social ecology conceptualization of disasters and is multidimensional and multisystemic, often involving the use of groups and activities. Psychosocial capacity building will be compared with more traditional methods of offering mental health services after a disaster. Sources of individual, family and community resiliency will be discussed drawing on research and practice. Case examples from work in Haiti, China and the U.S. will be used to illustrate theoretical points.

Faculty: Joshua Miller's areas of interest are anti-racism work, the social ecology of disaster and integrating psychosocial capacity building and disaster mental health approaches in response to disasters. He is chair of the School for Social Work's social policy sequence. He has co-taught the school's foundation anti-racism course and a course on mental health responses to disasters. For more information on Dr. Miller's work, see our Resident Faculty Profiles.

A Clinically Meaningful Understanding of People with Disabilities and the Impact of Ableism

AndreAs Neumann-Mascis, Ph.D.

In this lecture we will review the evolution of disability as an identity, a community and a field of study. We will examine the impact of disability and ableism from a sociopolitical perspective and a psychodynamic perspective and we will identify the ways in which disability and the impact of ableism can shape clinical themes. Finally, we will develop a dimensional framework for providing informed and meaningful care to this diverse community of people

Faculty: AndreAs Neumann-Mascis, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist with areas of specialty that include gender variance, trauma and physical and psychiatric disability. Dr. Neumann- Mascis has been working as a provider, educator and activist since 1992 and has had access to working with people in a wide range of setting including in-patient hospital units, community mental health settings and street level outreach and shelter programs.

Dr. Neumann-Mascis founded and developed The Meeting Point: a Multidimensional Center for Healing and Growth in Jamaica Plain, MA. The Meeting Point serves the LGBTQ community, survivors and the disability community, and is growing to meet the unique strengths and needs of queer people and their allies through community activity and personalized approaches to wellness

DSM-5: Implications for Social Work Practice

David S. Byers, M.S.W., L.I.C.S.W.

This course provides a review of some of the major conceptual changes introduced with the fifth edition in May 2013, and situates these changes and controversies in the context of the history of DSM and contemporary clinical social work practice. The changes over time have had and will continue to have significant implications for how we use the DSM and think about diagnosis and case formulation, as well as how we teach our students and supervisees to engage with it. Topics to be discussed include models for supervision in the context of DSM-5, balancing descriptive and etiological nosology, and ongoing critical engagement concerning ethical reasoning, sociocultural biases in diagnosis, and the shifting theoretical basis for the DSM. This course is appropriate for clinicians and clinical supervisors at all levels.

Faculty: David Byers, M.S.W., L.I.C.S.W. is a Ph.D. Candidate at Smith College School for Social Work, and a lecturer and research advisor in the MSW program. He is presently teaching courses on psychosocial development, assessment, and neurobiology. David is also the Coordinator of Clinical Training and Development at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, and continues to serve as a clinical supervisor and clinician. David is presently conducting research in the Palestinian West Bank about cultural and political factors in clinical case conceptualization. He is also writing and presenting at schools and agencies about the implications of DSM-5 for social work theory and practice. For his dissertation, David is examining the moral reasoning of adolescent bystanders when witnessing bullying.

Quiet, Blackness, and the Grace of Being Human

Kevin Quashie, M.A., Ph.D.

African American culture is often considered expressive, dramatic, and even defiant, characterizations which are linked to the idea of resistance. Indeed, these terms come to dominate how we think of blackness. This lecture will ask what a concept of quiet could mean to reimagining this thinking. It will explore quiet as a notion different from silence, as a metaphor for one's inner life--quiet as the desires, ambitions, hungers, vulnerabilities, and fears that signal one's humanity. Using this idea of quiet, the lecture will consider such iconic moments as Tommie Smith and John Carlos's protest at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics and Elizabeth Alexander's reading at the 2009 inauguration of Barack Obama. The lecture will suggest that the notion of quiet allows us to move beyond the emphasis on resistance, and enables a more nuanced understanding of black culture and consciousness.

Faculty: Kevin Quashie, M.A., Ph.D. is an associate professor at Smith College, where he teaches in the department of Afro-American Studies and the program for the Study of Women and Gender. His new book, The Sovereignty of Quiet: Beyond Resistance in Black Culture, was published in July 2012 by Rutgers University Press. He is coeditor of the anthology New Bones: Contemporary Black Writers in America, and is author of Black Women, Identity and Cultural Theory: (Un)Becoming the Subject.

Trans-affirmative Care: The Evolving Role of Clinical Social Workers with Transgender, Transsexual and Gender Nonconforming Individuals

Lisette Lahana, L.C.S.W

International standards of care and clinical guidelines are moving toward collaborative treatment planning that takes into account each client's unique gender identity and life circumstance. For over sixty years mental health clinicians have been placed in the role of a gatekeeper to needed medical interventions. Increasingly, therapists are shifting from a "one size fits all" approach to one that takes into account a variety of gender presentations and identities, as well as medical interventions outside of the established male/female gender binary. However, when existing systems are slow to change, trans-affirmative therapists are often presented with challenging clinical and ethical questions for which there are no clear answers. Clinical social workers are well suited for this complex work, which may include depth psychotherapy, assessment, case management, advocacy and activism.

Faculty: Lisette Lahana, L.C.S.W. is a licensed clinical social worker with a private practice in Oakland California. Since 1999 she has specialized in providing psychotherapy to transgender, transsexual, gender nonconforming people and their partners. She also serves as a consultant to therapists and organizations striving to provide culturally competent care to the transgender community. She holds a B.A. in Critical Gender Studies and another in Psychology from UC San Diego and her M.S.W. from Smith College School for Social Work. She is an active member of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.

The Transformative Nature of Grief and Bereavement

Joan Berzoff, M.S.W., Ed.D.

Death, loss and bereavement always change the mourner, for better or for worse. This lecture will examine some of the most valuable psychodynamic theories which best illuminate our understanding of how experiences of loss, dying and bereavement change the person who is grieving in often unexpected and positive ways. Looking at Freud, Loewald, and Klein, we will examine ways in which mourners may experience complicated grief. We will then examine more contemporary constructivist theorists as we learn about how grief can be transformative, changing the mourner's ego and ego ideals, sense of meaning, identity and purpose. We will use clinical examples, films, examples from everyday life and a narrative to consider the ways in which mourners come to initiate change: both intrapsychically and socially, leading to new outcomes. The clinical implications of this work will also be discussed.

Faculty: Joan Berzoff currently teaches in the doctoral, masters, and end-of-life care programs. She directs the End of Life certificate program. She formerly served as the co-director of the doctoral program and before that as the chair of the human behavior in the social environment sequence at Smith, which she now co-chairs. For more information on Dr. Berzoff's work, see our Resident Faculty Profiles.

Raising the Color Bar: Thinking about Race in the Dyad from a Relational Perspective

Yvette Esprey, M.A.

This course focuses on issues of race as they manifest within the clinical dyad. Adopting a relational approach, the course will consider how the racial identities and histories of both therapist and client impact on the mutually constructed analytic space. In particular, close attention will be paid to how thinking and basic analytic skills of empathy and mentalization may be impacted on when race enters the room. Drawing on current literature and clinical examples, the course will invite participants to consider how and when to engage with race in the room.

Faculty: Yvette Esprey, M.A., is a Clinical Psychologist, working in private practice in Johannesburg, South Africa. Previously Head of Wellness at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy, and Head of Psychology at a government psychiatric hospital, she currently teaches part time for various tertiary institutions in the areas of race, personality pathology and psychoanalytic practice. She has previously been on the adjunct faculty at Smith College School for Social Work where she has taught in trauma theory and biopsychosocial functioning.

Tools for Solving Ethical Dilemmas

Catherine Clancy, Ph.D., L.C.S.W.

Many clinicians enter a profession because the ethics of that profession reflect their own personal values. As practice complexity increases, the clinician's values and ethics are constantly being challenged. To deal with the ethical dilemmas facing us in today's practice environment, we need tools to help us reach solutions that are based on reasoning and not emotion. This seminar will discuss ethical principles and theories used to assist in ethical decision making and will examine the role codes of ethics play in this process. It will provide a practice model for solving ethical dilemmas and will give practitioners the opportunity to apply this model to practice situations.

Faculty: Catherine Clancy, Ph.D., L.C.S.W. - Social Work Training Director, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, Houston, TX. Private clinical, educational, and consulting practice. Clinical Instructor, Dept. of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine; Past Chair, Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners; Field Instructor, Smith College School for Social Work.

Attachment Based Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder

Yvette Esprey M.A.

This course focuses on the understanding and treatment of borderline personality disorder from an attachment perspective. Drawing on current literature, and looking specifically at the core difficulties of affect dysregulation, identity disturbance and impulsivity which manifest in borderline presentation, the course will interrogate how an understanding of attachment can aid the practitioner in assessing and treating the borderline personality patient. In particular, the role of mentalization in the understanding and treatment of borderline patients will be introduced.

Faculty: Yvette Esprey, M.A., is a Clinical Psychologist, working in private practice in Johannesburg, South Africa. Previously Head of Wellness at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy, and Head of Psychology at a government psychiatric hospital, she currently teaches part time for various tertiary institutions in the areas of race, personality pathology and psychoanalytic practice. She has previously been on the adjunct faculty at Smith College School for Social Work where she has taught in trauma theory and biopsychosocial functioning

Assessing the Risk: Interviewing, Understanding and Managing Suicidal and Self Injurious Clients

Kirk Woodring, M.S.W., L.I.C.S.W., C.G.P.

Although suicide rates over the past decade have gradually declined, suicide attempts, and parasuicidal behavior, continue to increase in frequency across the country. Assessing for risk requires not only understanding the intensity of ideation, the plan, and the means, but also knowledge of cultural, racial and socio-economic pressures that may potentiate risk. This workshop will provide an analysis of the clinical and social factors influencing risk, as well as tools to use for interviewing and intervening with high risk individuals.

Faculty: Kirk Woodring, M.S.W., L.I.C.S.W., C.G.P. is the Senior Director of Access, Evaluation, Ambulatory and Security Services at the Brattleboro Retreat in Brattleboro, Vermont and is the author of “Assessing the Risk: Suicidal Behavior in the Hospital Environment of Care” (HCPro, 2011). Mr. Woodring is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Social Work at Smith College, where he teaches courses in group theory, group therapy and crisis intervention. His experience in risk assessment includes supervision of psychiatric crisis services in Massachusetts, and consultation for numerous state and national organizations providing following natural and human caused disasters.

Attachment Across the Life Span: Clinical Implications

Sally D. Popper, Ph.D.

Attachment has become perhaps the dominant paradigm for understanding development clinically, but few understand it in enough depth to be able to make use of the clinical richness it offers. This presentation will provide a brief historical background on the origins of attachment theory in John Bowlby’s work, Mary Ainsworth’s seminal contributions in operationalizing a measurement of attachment in the parent-infant relationship, and Mary Main’s extension of our understanding to comprehend the operation of the attachment system in adults, as well as the importance of disorganization in attachment for later development. We will discuss work on intergenerational transmission of attachment, the relationship of disorganized attachment to dissociation, and the impact of interpersonal trauma on the attachment system. We will see examples of Ainsworth’s “Strange Situation” to assess early childhood attachment styles, and will read from examples of Mary Main’s Adult Attachment Interview to understand the methods it uses to assess attachment styles.

The second half of the presentation will focus on clinical implications of attachment, with a focus on several approaches that have thoughtfully incorporated an understanding of attachment to enrich clinical focus. These will include work by David Wallin, Kristine Kinniburgh and Margaret Blaustein, Dan Hughes, Alicia Lieberman and Patricia Van Horn, and Mary Dozier. While the majority of the clinical approaches discussed will be child-focused, there will also be a focus on ways in which early attachment experiences affect adult clinical presentations.

Faculty: Sally D. Popper, Ph.D. has worked as a researcher and clinician exploring the impact of attachment disruption and early trauma on the development of young children and working with their families to help them heal. As a board member of the national parent/professional organization. ATTACh, she worked to bring information from new research to the clinical practice and parenting of members.T his work culminated in co-authorship of a book now in press entitled Attachment-Focused Therapy: A Professional Practice Guide. She is also author and co-author of a number of journal articles, and has presented locally and nationally on topics ranging from postpartum depression to the impact of early trauma and loss on the developing brain. She currently serves on the board of the Treehouse Foundation and is an active volunteer both at the Treehouse community and in the Treehouse inspired Reenvisioning Foster Care in America task force.

Clinical Skills Working with Gender Nonconforming Children and Transgender Youth

Arlene Istar Lev, L.C.S.W.-R., C.A.S.A.C.

This workshop is an overview of gender identity development in children and youth. It provides general background information on transgender identity, and focuses on assessment of gender nonconformity in children, and transgender and transsexual identity in adolescence. We will example the available treatment options for pre-pubescent and adolescent children, including the use of hormone blockers and cross-sex hormones. Gender diversity and expression is viewed as a normative process of identity development, albeit a challenging one within rigid socio-cultural environment. The focus is systemic in examining the role of family members, service providers, and educational institutions. Attention will be paid to the newly released Standards of Care developed by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health will be reviewed.

Faculty: Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev, L.C.S.W.-R., C.A.S.A.C., is a social worker, family therapist, educator, and writer whose work addresses the unique therapeutic needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. She is the Founder and Clinical Director of Choices Counseling and Consulting and The Institute for Gender, Relationships, Identity, and Sexuality (TIGRIS), a training program in Albany, New York. Arlene has been a part-time lecturer at the State University New York at Albany, School of Social Welfare for the past 23 years, and is also an adjunct at Empire College and Smith School of Social Work. Additionally, she is the Clinical Supervisor for Center Support: Counseling Services, a low-cost therapy program at the Pride Center of the Capital District. Arlene has authored numerous journal articles and essays including authoring two books: The Complete Lesbian and Gay Parenting Guide and Transgender Emergence: Therapeutic Guidelines for Working with Gender-Variant People and their Families, winner of the American Psychological Association (Division 44) Distinguished Book Award, 2006.

All the Rage: Helping Adolescent Girls in Crisis

Martha B. Straus, Ph.D.

Many adolescent girls today are in a crisis of rage and despair. Some try to disappear through starvation, others carve indecipherable symbols onto their arms or run away from home, still others bully and get bullied, hide weeping in their rooms, or attempt suicide. How can therapists become more effective with this volatile population? This highly practical workshop will explore concrete strategies and methods for helping girls in crisis and examine the limitations of old standards of care such as self-harm contracts and confidentiality rules. You'll learn what questions to ask and how to rally support for the girls from family and relationship network. You'll also find out about a variety of practical strategies that work, including harm reduction, inviting resistance, and developing a protective circle of adults. By the time you leave, you'll know what it takes to stay connected to these adolescents as you help them become competent and independent young women.

Faculty: Martha B. Straus, Ph.D. is a professor in the Department of Clinical Psychology at Antioch University New England Graduate School in Keene, New Hampshire, and adjunct instructor in psychiatry at Dartmouth Medical School. She maintains a small private practice in Brattleboro, VT and consults to schools, social service agencies and courts. Dr. Straus is the author of numerous articles and four books including No-Talk Therapy for Children and Adolescents, and more recently, Adolescent Girls in Crisis: Intervention and Hope. Dr. Straus trains and conducts workshops internationally.

Understanding ADHD/ADD and Executive Functioning in Children and Adolescents

Sharon Saline, Psy.D.

Many clinicians today possess limited information and training in working with children and adolescents who have been diagnosed with ADHD/ADD. They often do not understand the complexity of biology, behaviors and family environments which exacerbate the symptoms and complicate treatment. Clinicians seem to struggle to create effective interventions to help these young people and their families manage life with ADHD/ADD. This course will provide participants with the tools to work with these clients more successfully. It will review the literature about ADHD/ADD and provide a historical context in which to consider this disorder. It will delineate the neurological factors that characterize ADHD/ADD, discuss the types of medication and the political and biological issues involved in using them as well as introduce and clarify the executive functions of the brain and how they are affected by this disorder. In addition, treatment implications and modalities for working with this population will be evaluated and taught. Participants will also learn about how to address the common comorbid conditions of anxiety, depression and learning disorders which further complicate treatment. Methods of teaching include didactic seminar, case examples and small and large group discussions.

Faculty: Sharon Saline, Psy.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in Northampton, MA. Dr. Saline has extensive experience consulting with the City of Northampton School District, the Montessori School of Northampton and the Williston-Northampton Middle School on mental health issues in the classroom as well as understanding psychological evaluations and improving teacher/parent communication. Her areas of expertise include diagnosis, treatment and intervention for children, adolescents and their families with ADHD/ADD, learning disabilities and various mental health issues. She has conducted numerous trainings around the Pioneer Valley for teachers, psychologists, adjustment counselors, ESP’s, parents and students on ADHD/ADD and Executive Functioning, Collaborative Problem Solving, Bullying Prevention, Promoting Success among Middle and High School Students, Effective Couples’ Therapy, Children’s Social Relationships and How Trauma Impacts Child Development.

Relational Psychodynamic Theory and Therapy

David Levit, Ph.D., A.B.P.P.

This course will center upon relational perspectives on psychotherapy with emphasis on the evolution and expansion in our understanding of therapeutic process, therapeutic options, and therapeutic action. We will address relational revisions in basic concepts such as transference and countertransference. The foundations of relational perspectives will be presented, drawing upon the contributions of seminal theorists, such as Mitchell, Greenberg, Davies, Hoffman, Bromberg, Aron, Benjamin, etc. We will not only outline and discuss the central ideas about psychotherapy within the relational paradigm, but also examine them in light of more traditional psychodynamic perspectives. For example, the relational emphasis on the therapist’s expressive participation will be considered in light of a more traditional emphasis on analytic restraint.
While the emphasis of this seminar will be on the relational paradigm as a clinical theory, we will also consider it as a psychological theory. We will look at relational models of the mind, wherein conscious and unconscious inner processes and dynamics are conceptualized quite differently than in the Freudian view. This will include an emphasis on dissociation and its centrality in an understanding of the impact of trauma.
In addition to the clinical and psychological emphases in this program, we will also consider relational theory historically. We will contextualize its evolution in terms of the overall relational turn in the psychoanalytic world during the 20th century, and we will trace out the emergence of relational theory as a radical revolutionary movement beginning in the 1980’s.

Faculty: David Levit, Ph.D., ABPP is a Diplomate in Psychoanalysis and Clinical Psychology. His faculty positions are: Adjunct Associate Professor, Smith College School for Social Work; Faculty, Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis (MIP); Co-Founder, Chair, and Faculty, MIP Postgraduate Fellowship-West; Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Tufts Medical School. He is in private practice in Amherst where he provides individual therapy and psychoanalysis for adults and consultation for colleagues.

NEW! Historical Trauma and Unresolved Grief: Implications for Clinical Research and Practice with American Indians and Alaska Natives

Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart, Ph.D.

American Indians and Alaska Natives are disproportionately burdened with mental health disparities and severely underrepresented in mental health services research. Engagement and retention of this population in therapy has been difficult due to mistrust of government sponsored treatment, lack of cultural sensitivity of providers, challenges in establishing a therapeutic alliance, and lack of empirically supported treatments (EST) with Native communities. This lecture covers the development of the Historical Trauma and Unresolved Grief Intervention (HTUG), a Tribal Best Practice and its utilization in clinical intervention research. HTUG frames current depression, complicated or prolonged grief, and trauma responses within a collective multigenerational context aimed at reducing stigma and fostering increased utilization of traditional tribal cultural protective coping and self-soothing strategies.

Current National Institute of Mental Health-funded research is underway at two tribal sites: one Northern Plains reservation community and one Southwest urban community outpatient behavioral health settings. This pilot clinical trial includes random assignment to two treatment conditions at each site: one group receives HTUG combined with IPT and the other group receives IPT only. Preliminary data reveals that: a) the mean depression scores and PTSD symptoms are elevated and b) clinical providers perceived the group participants developing bonding and sharing with other participants, perceived the HTUG/IPT group as helpful, the group intervention model, and the predominant interpersonal issue related to depression is primarily grief, followed by role transition, often related to death or relationship loss. The most recent available data at the time of the lecture will be reported.

There are significant challenges to successful implementation of a clinical study in tribal communities, including socioeconomic barriers such as transportation problems related to distances, difficult roads, unreliable vehicles, spotty cell phone coverage which makes follow up contact difficult at times, child care, and ongoing trauma in the community; all of these factors interfere with attendance at group session. Clinicians are often overloaded and behavioral health facilities have inadequate resources. Tribal providers are not immune from high rates of trauma exposure and socioeconomic challenges as well. Despite these challenges, the group participants appear highly motivated, engaged, and receptive to group treatment. Clinicians who have been able to sustain engagement in the training, ongoing supervision in the HTUG/IPT and IPT models perceive the group treatment as effective and observe engagement of the participants, although we do not yet have results on outcome measures, as the groups are still ongoing.

Faculty: Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart, Ph.D.,(Hunkpapa/Oglala Lakota) is Associate Professor of Psychiatry/Director of Native American and Disparities Research at the University of New Mexico (UNM) Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Division of Community Behavioral Health. Previously, Dr. Brave Heart was Associate Professor at Columbia University School of Social Work and clinical intervention research team member at the Hispanic Treatment Program, New York State Psychiatric Institute/Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Throughout her academic career, Dr. Brave Heart has been Associate Professor at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work and founding President/Director of the Takini Network/Institute, based in Rapid City, South Dakota, a Native collective devoted to community healing from intergenerational massive group trauma.

Currently, Dr. Brave Heart is Principal Investigator for a National Institute of Mental Health-funded R34 pilot study Iwankapiya-Healing: Historical Trauma Practice and Group IPT for American Indians. The goal of Iwankapiya is to examine the effectiveness of the HTUG intervention combined with group Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) for American Indian adults with depression and related disorders, at two outpatient behavioral health clinics: one in a Southwest urban area and one Northern Plains reservation site. Dr. Brave Heart is also Principal Investigator of the New Song Mountain Tribal Preventive and Early Mental Health Intervention Project focusing on Southwestern reservation youth, funded by the National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities, part of the UNM Center for the Advancement of Research, Engagement, and Science on Health Disparities. Dr. Brave Heart is Chair of the Special Interest Group on Intergenerational Trauma and Resilience for the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. She is also a Senior Fellow at the NIMHD-funded New Mexico Center for the Advancement of Research, Engagement, and Science on Health Disparities and Senior Fellow for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at UNM.

Dr. Brave Heart received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Magna Cum Laude, from Tufts University, a Master of Science from Columbia University School of Social Work in 1976, and a Ph.D. in Clinical Social Work from Smith College in 1995. In 1992, she founded the Takini Network and developed theHistorical Trauma and Unresolved Grief Intervention(HTUG), recognized as an exemplary model, in a special minority initiative, by the Center for Mental Health Services in 2001. In 2009, HTUG was selected as a Tribal Best Practice by the First Nations Behavioral Health Association, the Pacific Substance Abuse and Mental Health Collaborating Council, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Dr. Brave Heart also incorporated the HTUG components in reservation parenting interventions and developed the international Models for Healing Indigenous Survivors of Historical Trauma: A Multicultural Dialogue among Allies Conference from 2001-2004, supported by SAMHSA.

NEW! The Enduring Paradox of Immigrants and Access to Health Care

Margarita Alegría, Ph.D.

Based on research conducted during the past five years, this presentation discusses some of the main reasons why immigrants do not appear to access care for their mental health problems. We discuss some of the challenges that contribute to disparities in behavioral health treatment services for immigrants. Focusing on immigrants allows us to consider the rapidly changing context of today increasingly connected world of migration and the complex challenges it poses for culturally appropriate mental health and substance abuse services. Furthermore, the focus on immigrants calls attention to the role of acculturation in behavioral health disorders, the logistics of continuity of care across borders, and the challenges of language and of intergenerational conflict. The presentation integrates examples of our work on psychiatric epidemiology, health services research, intervention research, and community partnered research to illustrate how research findings can offer guidance when taking steps to eliminate behavioral health disparities and the negative consequences of these disparities in immigrant populations.

Faculty: Margarita Alegría is the director of the Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research (CMMHR) at Cambridge Health Alliance and Harvard Medical School, and a professor of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Alegría is currently the PI of three National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded research studies: International Latino Research Partnership; Effects of Social Context, Culture and Minority Status on Depression and Anxiety; and Building Community Capacity for Disability Prevention for Minority Elders. She is also a PI of a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) project: Effectiveness of DECIDE in Patient-Provider Communication, Therapeutic Alliance & Care Continuation. Dr. Alegría has published over 200 papers, editorials, intervention training manuals, and several book chapters, on topics such as improvement of health care services delivery for diverse racial and ethnic populations, conceptual and methodological issues with multicultural populations, and ways to bring the community's perspective into the design and implementation of health services.

As an acknowledgement of her contributions to her field, Dr. Alegría has been widely recognized and cited. Among the many awards: the Mental Health Section Award of American Public Health Association, 2003; the Health Disparities Innovation Award from the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities, 2008; and the Award of Excellence from the National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse in 2011. In October 2011, she was elected as a member of the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Alegría was selected as El Planeta's (Massachusetts's largest circulating Spanish-language newspaper) 2013s Powermeter 100 most influential people for the Hispanic community in Massachusetts.

NEW! Treating Trauma with Plain Old Therapy

Jon G. Allen, Ph.D.

In a field dominated academically by a multitude of specialized, evidence-based treatments, we need a solid scientific foundation to guide what many of us generalists actually provide: plain old ("talk") therapy. Attachment theory, now enriched by research on mentalizing, provides that foundation. This presentation highlights trauma in attachment relationships, which substantially undermines the development of mentalizing and compromises individuals' capacity to make optimal use of psychotherapy. The sheer complexity of developmental psychopathology associated with such trauma calls for a flexible, generalist approach to psychotherapy, with a focus on mentalizing in attachment relationships as its organizing principle.

Faculty: Jon G. Allen is Senior Staff Psychologist and holds the Helen Palley Chair in Mental Health Research at The Menninger Clinic; he is also Professor of Psychiatry in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Baylor College of Medicine. He is an adjunct faculty member of the Center for Psychoanalytic Studies in Houston and of the Institute for Spirituality in the Texas Medical Center. He teaches and supervises fellows and residents, and he conducts psychotherapy, diagnostic consultations, psychoeducational programs, and research on clinical outcomes.

Allen is on the editorial boards of the Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, Journal of Trauma and Dissociation, Psychiatry, and Psychological Trauma. His books include Coping with Trauma: From Self-Understanding to Hope, Coping with Depression: From Catch-22 to Hope, Mentalizing in Clinical Practice,Restoring Mentalizing in Attachment Relationships: Treating Trauma with Plain Old Therapy, and Mentalizing in the Development and Treatment of Attachment Trauma.

NEW! Women of Color in Academia: Challenging the Presumption of Incompetence

Carmen G. Gonzalez, J.D.

Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia, by Carmen G. Gonzalez, sparked a long overdue conversation about the climate that female faculty of color encounter in the nation's colleges and universities. How can academic institutions make sure that female faculty of color not only survive but also thrive in the academic workplace? This program is designed to promote reflection among faculty and academic leaders about the barriers to professional success and about the concrete measures that can be adopted to foster an equitable and inclusive campus climate.

Faculty: Carmen G. Gonzalez is a Professor of Law at Seattle University School of Law, who has published widely in the areas of international environmental law, environmental justice, and environmental human rights. She is the co-editor of the critically acclaimed book, Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia. Through personal narratives and qualitative empirical studies, Presumed Incompetent examines the persistence of race, gender, class and other forms of bias in academia, and the strategies that can be adopted to create a more welcoming and inclusive campus climate.

Professor Gonzalez holds a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. She was a Fellow at the U.S. Supreme Court, a Fulbright Scholar in Argentina, and a visiting scholar at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. She practiced law in the private sector and in government before becoming a law professor. In addition to her teaching and scholarship, Professor Gonzalez served as an advisor to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on environmental justice matters, and has represented non-governmental organizations in multilateral environmental treaty negotiations. She has also taught and/or worked on environmental law projects in China, Ukraine, Moldova, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Guatemala, Colombia, and Mexico. Her latest book, International Environmental Law and the Global South, will be published by Cambridge University Press in 2015.

NEW! The Troubled Triangle: The Developemental Neurobiology of Addiction, Attachment, and Trauma

Kurt White, L.I.C.S.W., LADC, CGP

Addiction work is trauma work. Recent studies show that as much as 80% of co-occurring clients have histories of trauma (often multiple episodes of trauma). Rates of PTSD and other trauma-related disorders are endemic to addicted populations. Clinicians who see themselves as addiction specialists often feel uncomfortable with the trauma related presentations in substance use disorders; conversely, many skilled trauma therapists have had little training in addiction. This seminar aims to help both groups build the gap in both knowledge and the skills for working with this complex population using new knowledge on the neurobiology of attachment. We will examine the disruptions to healthy attachment patterns and how this predisposes individuals to develop addiction in mid-late teen years. Early experiences alter gene expression and brain development: exposure to an environment of disrupted attachment, persistent fear, trauma-related experiences, and exposure to substances all have significant affects on the developing brain. This new science of attachment and neurobiology can be a guide to effective treatment interventions with addicted individuals. Both theory and implications for technique will be explored.

Faculty: Kurt White, L.I.C.S.W., LADC, CGP is the Director of Ambulatory Services at the Brattleboro Retreat in Brattleboro, VT, and is a social worker and drug and alcohol counselor by trade and training. He presently currently serves as president of the Vermont Association of Addiction Treatment Professionals (VAATP), which represents addiction treatment agencies in Vermont. Kurt is adjunct assistant professor at Smith College School for Social Work, where he teaches Group Theory and Practice. He is also adjunct faculty at Antioch New England Graduate School, where teaches in the Applied Psychology program.

NEW! Treatment of Anxiety: An Integrative Approach

Dr. Joan Granucci Lesser, Ph.D.

This course will discuss the treatment of anxiety within an integrated theoretical framework, including psychodynamic and cognitive behavioral approaches. Attention will be given to the application of theory to practice with children, adolescents and adults through video, case examples and class discussion. Consideration will be given to culture in the treatment of anxiety.This course is directed toward those mental health clinicians with some experience who are interested in deepening their practice within an eclectic theoretical framework. Participants are invited but not required to bring cases from their own practice.

Faculty: Dr. Joan Granucci Lesser is founder and clinician with The Pioneer Valley Professionals, a multidisciplinary community-based mental health practice in Holyoke. She has over 30 years experience treating anxiety in children, adolescents and adults. Dr. Lesser was previously on the resident adjunct faculty at Smith College School for Social Work. She is currently on the adjunct faculty at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work and the Massachusetts Institute of Psychoanalysis (MIP) - West. Dr. Lesser has presented her work nationally and internationally and is the author of several books, text chapters and articles.