Fall 2010 – Spring 2011
The following are the workshops from the School of Social Work’s Clinical Lecture Series, where area practitioners, students, and faculty learn together from esteemed and innovative clinicians. The CLS offers monthly lectures enhance the clinical curriculum for students and offer continuing education for graduates and practitioners. It also aims to foster and strengthen relationships among clinically-oriented students and the wider clinical community. Selection of topics and speakers come from participant feedback.
All events took place in the Tate-Turner-Kuralt Auditorium of the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill located at 325 Pittsboro Street, and met on Mondays from 12 noon to 2:00 pm.
Schedule of Events
This workshop will usher clinicians into the “third wave” of behavioral therapy, a phrase coined by Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) founder Stephen Hayes, for the broader and more flexible approaches to behavioral change introduced over the last few decades. Drawing from meditative traditions, these newer therapies – including ACT, DBT, and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy – not only focus on change but also on strategies to accept what is. This workshop explores the seeming paradox that through acceptance comes change, an idea grounded in theory and illustrated by client experience. Third wave behavioral therapies also share central tenets with older humanistic/existentialist approaches, including a humanistic emphasis on the “paradox of change” and the existentialist aim of leading a value-based life. In the newer mindfulness based therapies, these concepts have been translated into teachable skills, making them easily accessible to clients and clinicians. Workshop participants will learn specific techniques to foster mindfulness, acceptance, and psychological flexibility, and ways to incorporate them into clinical practice regardless of one’s theoretical orientation.
Tyler Beach, MSW, LCSW is a psychotherapist in private practice in Chapel Hill and Durham. Mr. Beach has studied and embraced newer behavior therapies and has a particular interest in how to integrate them effectively within a relationally-based psychotherapy model. Prior to becoming full-time in private practice, he worked in a variety of settings including as staff therapist at UNC’s Counseling and Wellness, DBT Program Coordinator at Carolina House, and therapist at a local Community Mental Health Center (OPC). A generalist at heart, he has also gained significant experience in working with people with eating disorders and with gay men. He is an active member of the American Academy of Psychotherapists, a group which emphasizes relationally-based and experiential psychotherapies.
2. Monday, October 18, 2010 || SLIDES || printable Handouts || link to video
When is it okay to want to die? Ethical considerations in treating depression among older adults
Lea C. Watson, MD, MPH
As clinicians, what are we to do when an older client expresses the desire to die, but does not fit the criteria for depression? As professionals, we are committed to helping all clients find their will to live and build a life worth living; yet, we are affected by societal biases about what constitutes life quality among the elderly. In this thought-provoking workshop, Lea Watson encourages us to examine our views on a client’s rights to self determination in older adulthood. Through self-reflective exercises and case examples, Dr. Watson will help us weigh our ethical imperatives to provide treatment and to meet clients where they are. Participants will gain insight on the difficulties and importance of diagnosing and treating later-life depression, and the value of cultivating a creative, compassionate, and mindful approach when depression is not the central issue.
Lea Watson MD, MPH, a geriatric psychiatrist, is an assistant professor of psychiatry at UNC and directs the UNC psychiatry adult outpatient clinic. She is a supervisory and consulting psychiatrist for numerous programs, including the UNC program on depression care management, Carolina Pointe geriatric evaluation clinic, the Cedars of Chapel Hill Retirement Community, and the Orange County Department on Aging. She has published and presented widely on late-life mental health issues, including depression, appropriate use of medications, screening for depression among long-term care residents, the relationship between depression and dementia, and depression among caregivers. She is a fervent advocate for vulnerable populations, committed to preserving people’s quality of life and providing compassionate, client-centered care. Dr. Watson has won numerous awards for her outstanding teaching and research.
Much of what we hear in popular culture about dissociative disorders – and particularly, dissociative identity disorder – involves controversy and provocative media dramatizations. In this workshop, Gary Peterson dispels myths and explains dissociative disorders as identifiable clinical entities that can develop in response to severe childhood trauma. Dr. Peterson will provide guidance (and tools) on how to screen for dissociative disorders as part of an assessment, as well as treatment techniques for working with individuals who suffer from dissociative symptoms. Dr. Peterson will present case material to illustrate the assessment and treatment of individuals with dissociative identify disorder. Participants will deepen their understanding of this disorder and learn specific techniques to engage with clients’ alter egos to facilitate their unique healing journey.
Gary Peterson, MD, a resident faculty member and psychiatrist in independent clinical practice at the Southeast Institute, is board certified in both psychiatry and child psychiatry and has experience working with complex trauma and dissociation, EMDR, and energy psychotherapies. He held various faculty appointments over more than 20 years at UNC Chapel Hill in psychiatry, psychology, and at the Center for Developmental Science and Research, with previous appointments in psychiatry at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, and the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. He has published extensively on dissociative disorders, particularly in children, and frequently consults, trains, and supervises on related topics. He cofounded the North Carolina Triangle Society for the Study of Dissociation, served as liaison to the Dissociative Disorders Work Group for APA Task Force on DSM-IV, and receives frequent accolades for his work, including the Distinguished Achievement Award and the President’s Award of Distinction by the International Society for the Study of Dissociation.
4. Monday, January 24, 2011 || Slides | Handouts || Tools for Evaluation and CBT || Tools for Assessing Bipolar Disorder || link to video
Evaluating and treating bipolar depression through the life course
Eric Youngstrom, PhD
Bipolar disorder is a chronic, recurring, serious, and potentially life-threatening mental illness, which, if left untreated, can grow more severe and resistant to treatment. In this workshop, Eric Youngstrom will discuss key issues in the assessment and treatment of this disorder, including how it manifests in children versus adults, effective ways to use specialized measurement tools in differential diagnosis, and cognitive behavioral techniques that are particularly helpful for individuals with this diagnosis. Dr. Youngstrom’s talk will incorporate recent innovations by leading researchers in the field, and use illustrative case examples to demonstrate these assessment and treatment strategies.
Eric A. Youngstrom, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist, and Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he is also the Acting Director of the Center for Excellence in Research and Treatment of Bipolar Disorder. He is an extremely engaged researcher – he has published over 130 peer-reviewed articles, reviewed articles for more than 50 scientific journals, and serves on the editorial boards of numerous journals. Much of his research has focused on ways to improve assessment tools for diagnosing bipolar disorder and to predict and monitor the treatment progress of individuals with this disorder across the lifespan. Currently, he is the principal investigator on two multi-site studies designed to improve the assessment of bipolar disorder in diverse communities. He has presented his work at scientific meetings around the globe, and has received numerous awards for his research and teaching.
Partner violence is a devastating experience that impacts most aspects of survivors’ lives including their health, careers, and relationships. In working to secure and sustain a safe and violence-free life, survivors of partner violence must manage multiple challenges and concerns. For survivors who are parents, the wellbeing of their children is central. Given the effects of chronic partner violence on a survivor’s stress management skills, sense of self-worth, and feelings of self-confidence, the challenges of parenting extend beyond issues of physical safety. Thus, fundamental to clinical practice with survivors who have children is helping them cultivate effective parenting strategies. In this workshop, Rebecca Macy draws from her cutting-edge research to illuminate the experience of adult survivors and their children, and share findings about positive parenting strategies. Much of the workshop will be presented in the words of survivors and the approaches that they have found most helpful.
Rebecca J. Macy, PhD, ACSW, LCSW is an associate professor at the UNC School of Social Work, with practice experience in community mental health where she worked with violence survivors. Dr. Macy teaches courses in social work practice, family violence, mental health, and statistics, and has won teaching awards, including the Dean’s Recognition of Teaching Excellence, Outstanding Professor, and Most Supportive Professor. She is a Carolina Center for Public Service Faculty Engaged Scholar, and publishes and presents widely on issues around intimate partner and sexual violence, including on the health consequences, cognitive-behavioral therapy interventions, repeated victimizations across the life span, and community-based preventions and interventions to promote resilience and wellbeing. She recently completed an evaluation of the Hope for Children program for children who have been exposed to intimate partner violence, and is currently evaluating the Mothers Overcoming Violence through Education and Empowerment (MOVE) program, a project initiated by Interact and SAFEchild in Raleigh.
It is a common misconception that everything we need for medical decisions can be found by “googling.” This approach is particularly inadequate when decisions are ethically complex and emotionally fraught, family caregivers are older and frail, or the circumstances or outcomes are potentially uncertain and unpleasant. In this workshop, Lisa Gwyther highlights the importance and key components of being an effective navigator for families facing eldercare decisions. Among the salient skills she describes are helping family members communicate with each other, modify their expectations, identify the relevant pieces in what can be overwhelming amounts of information, and find where their choices lie. Ms. Gwyther will present a framework to facilitate ethical decision making, which involves culture, context, and resources. She will also illustrate these points with video vignettes and the firsthand family-care experience of a social worker in dialogue with Ms. Gwyther. Emphasis throughout the talk will be on family resilience and the power of targeted timely help in navigating difficult ethical decisions.
Lisa P. Gwyther, MSW, LCSW is an associate professor in the Duke Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, a Senior Fellow of Duke’s Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, and an original core faculty member of the Institute on Care at the End of Life at the Duke Divinity School. She founded and continues to direct the Duke University Center for Aging’s Family Support Program, served as president of the Gerontological Society of America, and directs education for the Joseph and Kathleen Bryan Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Duke. She is a prolific scholar, with more than 100 articles, book chapters, and books, as well as an award-winning documentary filmmaker on aging and family care. Throughout her nearly 40 years working in aging, she has won numerous awards, including distinguished social work practitioner (by the National Academies of Practice), top 20 people who have made a difference in US long term care (by Contemporary Long-Term Care), and Agency of the Year for the Family Support Program she founded (by NASW, NC Chapter).
Health concerns and psychopathology are typically viewed as individual issues, yet they exist in a larger interpersonal context. Individual distress affects intimate relationships and partners, and reciprocally, relational factors affect individual health outcomes. In this workshop, Don Baucom emphasizes the relevance of couple-based interventions when one partner is struggling with significant psychological distress such as anxiety or depression, or health concerns such as cancer or cardiovascular difficulties. The approach highlights how to help couples adapt to the stressors that affect them both as individuals and as a couple. Drawing from his substantial research on therapeutic interventions with couples, Dr. Baucom provides a framework for helping couples engage in effective change in response to individual distress. This workshop demonstrates how we can apply couples therapy to problems that have been largely defined in terms of individual distress in order to assist both partners and the relationship.
Don Baucom, Richard Simpson Distinguished Professor of Psychology at UNC, has devoted his career to understanding intimate relationships, and the development and evaluation of interventions to assist couples over the lifespan of their relationships. He has been a pioneer in developing cognitive-behavioral couple therapy and has conducted more couple-based intervention studies than any other investigator in the field. His work has included working with maritally distressed couples, couples experiencing infidelity, and relationship education and enhancement for happy couples. In more recent years, he has developed a wide range of couple-based interventions to address how couples can respond adaptively when one partner struggles individually, either because of psychological distress or health concerns.