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International Association for Social Work with Groups

NC Chapter – 2017 Spring Symposium

“Mindfulness Across the Lifespan”


When: Saturday, March 4, 2017 9:00 – 3:15

Meet and Greet/Coffee and Bagels 8:30 – 9:00

Where: NC State University, North Campus 1911 Building, Room #129, 10 Current Drive Raleigh, NC 27695 (*see parking info below)

Fee:  $55: Non-IASWG members

Free for IASWG members and students – apply the discount code at checkout: IASWG17

(To become an IASWG member click on:


Registration: online pre-registration (Click here)

Please pre-register by 3/01/17 so that we can get an accurate continental breakfast count.


This program will consist of three workshops, coffee and bagels before the workshop included, and lunch on your own. Please dress comfortably so that you can participate in mindfulness exercises.

CEUs: 5.0 Contact hours


Workshop One: Presenter: Chris Toenes, LCSW, LCAS

9:00 – 10:30- “Practicing Mindfulness for Substance Use Disorder Relapse Prevention and Long-Term    Recovery”

This presentation will attempt to mix education about impulsive behaviors that can lead to relapse in substance use disorders, an examination of the current level of urgency around the opioid crisis, and uses for basic mindfulness practices and exercises in preventing relapse in the short and long term. Both didactic instruction and experiential mindfulness exercises will be utilized.


10:30- – 10:45-   Break


Workshop Two: Presenters: April S. Parker, MSW, LCSW and David Orovitz, MSW, LCSW

10:45- 12:15- Mindfulness Practice Implications with Child and Geriatric Groups”

A significant research base with the 18-65 year old adult population suggests that there is strong evidence that mindfulness-based approaches promote improved psychological and physical health. Can we assume mindfulness-based approaches will also be helpful for the child, adolescent and geriatric populations? This workshop will discuss current research efforts with children and older adults, examples of successful group interventions and suggestions for adapting mindfulness-based interventions for these specific populations. Co-presenter David Orovitz will lead “Seated, Standing, Moving and Lying Mindfulness” an experiential session, demonstrating how to adapt mindfulness movement for various ages and physical abilities.


12:15-1:15 – Lunch on your own (Enjoy a variety of eateries in walking distance on Hillsborough Street.)


Workshop Three: Presenter: Karen Bluth, Ph.D.

1:15 – 3:15- “Teaching Mindfulness and Self-Compassion with Adolescents”

Research has demonstrated that strengthening one’s ability to be mindful and self-compassionate can be enormously beneficial in improving adolescents’ mental health and emotional wellbeing. Over the past decade, a number of group-based programs for teens have been created and empirically tested that cultivate these traits. After briefly learning about the research behind mindfulness and self-compassion with adolescents, attendees will have the opportunity to engage in meditations and hands-on activities from various programs. Favorite exercises from the programs will be elucidated, and resource information on how to learn more about these programs will be shared.


Presenter Bios:

Dr. Karen Bluth, PhD holds a faculty position in the Program on Integrative Medicine at the UNC School of Medicine. As a self-compassion and mindfulness researcher and teacher, Dr. Bluth’s research focuses on the roles that self-compassion and mindfulness play in promoting well-being in youth. She runs many groups with adolescents and has been studying the effects of mindfulness interventions on physiologic stress responses. She is co-creator of Making Friends with Yourself: A Mindful Self-Compassion Program for Teens, which is an adaptation of the Neff and Germer Mindful Self-Compassion Program for adults. Dr. Bluth has been a mindfulness practitioner for almost 40 years and frequently gives talks and conducts workshops in self-compassion and mindfulness in educational settings and in the community. Dr. Bluth is an Associate Editor of the academic journal Mindfulness, and the author of “The Self-Compassion Workbook for Teens: Mindfulness and Compassion Skills to Overcome Self-Criticism and Embrace Who You Are” to be released December, 2017.


David Orovitz, MSW, LCSW has practiced various Meditative Arts for over 40 years, including Qigong, Tai Chi, and Meditation.  He started meditating when he was 18 years old learning from teachers and monks from India. His Tai Chi and Qigong training began in his 30’s taking classes in California and locally in the Triangle when he moved to NC. David recently retired at age 62 from his job as Social Work Director at a large NC state psychiatric hospital. During his 30 year career as a social worker, David has taught clients and staff Meditation and Tai Chi techniques. David has developed Tai Chi Flow, a movement process that integrates Tai Chi, Qigong and Meditation. His retirement goal is to offer individual and group sessions in Tai Chi Flow for physical and mental well-being.


April S. Parker, MSW, LCSW received her BA in psychology at UNC Chapel Hill and completed her MA in the UNC School of Social Work in 2011. She has worked in both outpatient and inpatient behavioral health settings and is experienced in working with adults, families and children with mental health and behavioral issues. Currently she works full time at Central Regional Hospital, a NC state psychiatric hospital, with the geriatric population. She also has a private practice in Chapel Hill, NC, providing individual therapy for those managing depression and anxiety related disorders. April’s special interest is working with women who are experiencing postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety. She developed and facilitated a monthly New Mothers Support Group in Durham, NC. She is also a clinical supervisor for LCSWAs. April is a North Carolina native, currently residing in Durham County with her husband of 13 years and 8 year old son.


Chris Toenes, LCSW, LCAS is a clinical social worker in Durham, NC. He works as a psychotherapist and substance use counselor and avid group worker, with interests in emerging modalities of substance use treatment, socioeconomic barriers to long-term recovery, and mindfulness. He has led groups on DBT skills, relapse prevention, anger management and grief and loss in recovery. He is a co-director of the documentary film: “Mission Critical: Ending the School-to- Prison Pipeline in Wake County,” (2014) and is co-author of “What Then? The Cultural Forum of The Wire” in the book Teaching The Wire: Frameworks, Theories and Strategies for the Classroom (2016) about teaching in higher education using the award-winning television show.


*Parking info:

Parking is free on campus on the weekends.  People can enter campus, if they are driving east on Hillsborough, by turning right at Horne Street onto campus, and then making an immediate left onto Founders Drive which is the entrance to the parking lot at the north end of the 1911 Building (Founders Drive dead-ends at Current Drive).  People can enter the north door on the Hillsborough end of the 1911 Building, and the conference room is on the ground floor.  (Campus map link


For more information: April Parker,; Marilyn Ghezzi,; Willa Casstevens,; Anne Jones,