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CLS-lecturerThe 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

Monday, September 18, 2006
Aging and the Power of Reminiscence
Florence Soltys, MSW, ACSW, LCSW

At all stages of life, reminiscing or reviewing our past helps us understand who we are and find meaning in our existence. For older adults, sharing memories can be affirming and therapeutic, particularly in the face of monumental life transitions. Yet there is a bias in our youth-oriented culture that discounts this meaning-making activity with an unhealthy “dwelling in the past” or even senility. In this session, Florence Soltys presents “life review” as a powerful tool for healthy adaptation to the tasks of aging. When properly done, the sharing of memories helps individuals to accept loss, reduce depression, and increase their sense of identity, self-esteem and belonging. With examples from her work, Ms. Soltys illustrates how memories provide continuity and completeness, essential to the developmental tasks of older adulthood.

Florence Soltys, an associate clinical professor at three Schools at UNC-CH (social work, nursing, and medicine) is a leader in the field of aging. She is the recipient of an award for distinguished teaching and the Ned Brooks Award for Community Service. For the past twenty-some years, she has championed the rights of older adults both locally and nationally, as advocate, activist, researcher, educator, consultant, and practitioner. She has been an early and consistent champion of restraint-free facilities in North Carolina, spearheaded the Orange County Master Aging Plan, and is active on numerous Advisory Committees and Boards. She has served as Director of a center of bereavement services and launched the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Meals on Wheels program. She is currently president of the International Reminiscence and Life Review Society and of Orange Seniors, Inc (nonprofit). She has published widely on aging, including a forthcoming book, Reminiscing: Valuing and Enriching the Lives of Older Adults and served as the interviewer in the documentary film An Unlikely Friendship. 

Monday, October 16, 2006
Men and Depression: the Descent that Heals
Lou Lipsitz, LCSW

Discussions of men and their emotions often lead us into confusing territory. Though more men are seeking therapy, we also encounter in the psychology literature the paradigm of “normal male alexithymia” (the loss of connection with one’s emotions) – which is treated as appropriate for understanding most American men. In this presentation, Lou Lipsitz demonstrates how experiences in the so-called “men’s movement” (though it represents only a tiny fraction of men) can help us learn about deeper layers of male experience. In relation to depression in particular, these experiences help us understand what men are afraid of and what can help depressed men heal.

Lou Lipsitz, has been in private practice for twelve years in Chapel Hill and Raleigh. He has a general adult practice with specialties including men’s issues, grief work, depression, creativity and life transitions. He has also worn many other hats, including: poet, political scientist, activist, father and son, all of which have shaped his perspective and therapeutic approach. After his own transformative experience in therapy, Dr. Lipsitz decided to transition from a position as full professor of political science to student of social work, both at UNC-CH. As a psychotherapist, he is particularly interested in the emotional impact of father/child relationships and issues of grief, anger and comradeship in men’s lives. He has been active in the men’s movement and a member of the leadership council of the Triangle Men’s Center in Raleigh. His poetry has been published widely; he is currently working on a book of poems about the process of psychotherapy as experienced by both patient and therapist. His literary work can be found; his psychotherapy website is

Monday, November 13, 2006
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with Difficult to Treat Clients
Cathy Forneris, PhD, ABPP

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on three levels of thought to promote behavior change: automatic thoughts, underlying assumptions, and core beliefs. In this presentation, Dr. Forneris will provide an overview of each of these cognitive structures and describe methods for helping clients access them. Emphasis will be placed on working with clients with long-standing or recurrent problems to help them develop and strengthen core beliefs to promote sustainable emotional and behavioral change.

Catherine A. Forneris is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and is the Director of the CBT and the Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) programs and training clinics for psychiatry residents and psychology graduate students. She is a diplomat with the American Board of Professional Psychology, and an active member of the North Carolina Psychological Association and the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. She has co-authored several research articles and been lead author on several papers and presentations on personality disorders, CBT, DBT, trauma, PTSD, and health care utilization.

Monday, January 22, 2007
Using CBT to Treat Psychotic Symptoms
David Penn, PhD

In this presentation, Dr. Penn describes how to use cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to help clients reduce stress and build skills to deal with difficulties of living with psychotic disorders. This includes ways to treat “positive symptoms” by combating auditory hallucinations and addressing distorted beliefs as well as “negative symptoms” by building self esteem and self efficacy. Dr. Penn also discusses how CBT can be used to help individuals identify and cope with triggers for psychosis. He will also discuss research in this area. Throughout, Dr. Penn draws on his extensive work as a clinician and researcher.

David Penn, a clinical psychologist and Professor of Psychology, shares his time between the departments of psychology and psychiatry at UNC Chapel Hill, where he is an active teacher, clinician, mentor, and researcher. Dr. Penn’s focus is the treatment of psychotic disorders. At the Schizophrenia Treatment and Evaluation Program (STEP) in the department of psychiatry, Dr. Penn trains psychiatric residents and graduate interns from a variety of disciplines in cases involving individual, family, and group modalities. He has also developed extensive research projects on psychosocial treatments for individuals with schizophrenia, social cognition and schizophrenia, and methods for reducing stigma toward individuals with these conditions. Among his current work is an investigation of group CBT for medication-resistant auditory hallucinations, CBT for first episode psychosis, and social cognition and interaction training.

Monday, February 19, 2007
Using Personality Adaptations in Couples Therapy
Vann Joines, PhD

In this workshop, Dr. Joines demonstrates how knowledge about partners’ personality adaptations can be a useful tool in couples work. By understanding personality adaptations, practitioners can guide partners to connect, communicate, and problem-solve with each other more easily and to steer clear of “stuck places.” Dr. Joines also describes how knowledge about personality adaptations predicts when couples will do well and when they are more likely to struggle, and the reasons for this. Throughout, Dr. Joines illustrates this approach by drawing on specific examples from his work.

Vann Joines, a clinical psychologist, licensed marital and family therapist, certified group therapist, and certified transactional analyst, is President and Director of the Southeast Institute for Group and Family Therapy. His work includes co-authoring Personality Adaptations: A new Guide to Human Understanding for Psychotherapists and Counselors and the creation of the Joines Personality Adaptation Questionnaire and the JPAQ Administration, Scoring and Interpretive Manual. Dr. Joines was the winner of the 1994 Eric Berne Memorial Award for Integration of TA with other theories and approaches. Dr. Joines has lectured and taught workshops throughout the United States and has been the Keynote Speaker at conferences of the Transactional Analysis Association of Japan and Brazil. His work has been featured on videotapes, including by the International Transactional Analysis Association. 

Monday, March 26, 2007
Inside Ethics Violations
Ravita T. Omabu Okafor, LCSW

When we come across a list of clinicians whose licenses were suspended or revoked for ethical infractions, we can’t help feeling curious. What did they do? We may try to seek comfort in the idea that their behavior must be very different from our own. But each of them, like us, has likely been trained in the values of social work and has the NASW Code of Ethics as a guide. In this illuminating presentation, Mrs. Omabu Okafor uses real case examples to reveal specific actions that precipitated practitioners’ descent from sound ethical practice into professional misconduct. Moreover, she helps us to evaluate and strengthen our own ethical practice by providing ways to assess and monitor ethical aspects our professional conduct.

Ravita T. Omabu Okafor practices psychotherapy with children, adolescents, and adults through her private practice in Knightdale, NC. Previously, Mrs. Omabu Okafor worked with community mental health agencies. She is Chair of NASW-NC’s Ethics Committee and is an Editorial Board member for the Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics. Mrs. Omabu Okafor is a UNC-CH’s School of Social Work alumnus.