Wholehearted Symposium 2013

Wholehearted Symposium 2013

Friday, March 8th, 2013 • 8:30 am-5 pm
St. Johns College, Santa Fe, New Mexico

At the Great Hall in the Peterson Student Center
For driving directions and campus map, click here

Providing up to 6 hours for continuing education with three workshop tracks in the morning and three in the afternoon: Participants will select the CEUs of their choice.

All workshops will cover the areas of Ethics, Cultural Competency/Diversity and Supervision of Supervision.

Please note that you will be asked to select a total of 6 CEUs in any combination upon registration. Morning and afternoon workshop selections are labelled A, B and C.

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Time: 8:15 am-8:45 am Sign-in, light breakfast will be served.

Keynote Address

“Wholehearted Clinical Practice: Strengthening the Therapist to Bear the Unbearable”

Time: 8:45-9:45 am | CEUs: 1 CEU

Apryl Miller, LISW, was instrumental in the creation of the SKY Family Therapy Training Center in Santa Fe and currently serves as its Director. Her background includes working on various national research projects focusing on mood disorders, suicidal behavior in youth and the development of protective factors for youth at risk. She has had a special interest in removing barriers that limit access to treatment and promoting systemic family treatment models that build connections between family members. Additionally, she served on faculty for nearly a decade at the College of Santa Fe and teaches as adjunct for various graduate departments in the area. She maintains a small private practice while striving to maintain a wholehearted approach in her personal life as well as in her teaching and therapy practice.

Morning Workshops

Morning Workshop A

Time: 10:00 am-12:00 pm | Course Title: “Cultivating Compassion and Connection in Assessing Youth Suicide Risk”

CEUs: 2 CEUs | Instructor: NMSIP Staff

This workshop will focus on developing skills needed to assess youth suicide risk. We will review warning signs and a systemic understanding of risk factors that lead to suicidal behavior. Interventions that help youth reconnect with families in order to reduce hospitalizations will be practiced. An assessment tool that has been show to be reliable with multicultural youth and utilized in both schools and behavioral health settings will be introduced. This workshop brings together several research projects measuring the efficacy of interventions with depressed and suicidal adolescents in our community by NMSIP staff with Hispanic and Native American youth.


Morning Workshop B

Time: 10:00 am-12:00 pm | Course Title: “Listening with the Ear of Your Heart: A Workshop on Cultural Competence”

CEUs: 2 CEUs | Instructor: Melissa Leehan, MA, LMFT

Ideally, a therapist’s race and culture would mirror the client’s, but, in our multi-cultural world, it is not always possible to find a therapist who reflects the client’s ethnic/ cultural/ religious experience and values. What, then, are we to do? Knowing that it can take years to thoroughly understand a culture different from one’s own, how can we claim competence and deliver appropriate services to people who are different from us? Perhaps the key isn’t in what we “know” but, rather, in the quality of our presence, our genuine curiosity, and listening “with the ear of our heart.”


Melissa J. Leehan, MA, LMFT has been a practicing psychotherapist for 41 years and currently has a private practice in Santa Fe. She is a Clinical Fellow in the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists and an Approved Supervisor. After enjoying a longstanding practice in Indianapolis where she was the Clinical Director of an AAMFT approved training program for Marriage and Family Therapists, Melissa worked for several years in the Mental Health Clinic at the Ft. Defiance Indian Hospital on the Navajo Reservation. During her time serving the Navajo people, she gave up trying to be a cultural expert, and, instead learned once again how to listen.

Morning Workshop C

Time: 10:00 am-12:00 pm | Course Title: “The Strategic Disempowerment of Suicide: Engaging Families Toward a New Ethical Narrative”

CEUs: 2 CEUs| Instructor: Don McAvinchey, LISW

Through the application of Narrative Therapy, Strategic Family Therapy, and Whitaker’s theories around “permission-breaking,” attendees will learn about a therapeutic approach that has been successful in ending suicidal traditions in families’ lives, across diverse cultures. Overwhelming evidence points to the multi-generational nature of suicidal invasion in a family the moment it enters and claims a life. This therapeutic approach ends that tradition through withdrawing permission and support, declaring suicide’s end, and joining as a family and at times the larger community in support of life as a choice. You will walk out empowered to engage families with this life-changing method.

Don McAvinchey, LISW, has been working as a counselor, family therapist, supervisor, trainer and coach since 1974. His focus in Narrative Therapy has led him to develop creative approaches to some of life’s most difficult problems, and come out the other side with humor, compassion, humility and a huge sense of fun. He currently serves as a Clinical Supervisor at the SKY Family Therapy Training Center, Clinical Supervisor for Family Services at TeamBuilders Counseling in Santa Fe, Director of Reflective Process for REEL FATHERS and maintains a private practice. He is the proud father of four wonderful young adults and grandpa to one young grandson.

Time: 12:00-1:00 pm Catered lunch on the premises.

Afternoon Workshops

Afternoon Workshop A

Time: 1:30 pm-3:30 pm | Course Title: “The Resilient Heart: Cultivating Protective Capacity for Youth and Their Families”

CEUs: 2 CEUs | Instructor: Mikahla Beutler, LPCC

This workshop will explore a systemic approach, integrating therapeutic process and psycho-education, to enhance well-being and decrease negative stress in youth and their families. Workshop participants will be able to identify a range of skills critical to the management of internal and external adversity. They will observe methodologies for integrating these skills into group and family sessions and have an experiential interaction with the content. Attention will be given to clinical implications of working with culturally diverse populations. If you like to move around a little, interact with your cohorts, and have tools to travel with, this workshop is for you!

Mikahla Beutler, LPCC, currently serves as a clinical supervisor at the SKY Family Therapy Training Center and as mental health counselor at Santa Fe Preparatory School. She has worked on several CDC-funded research projects measuring the efficacy of interventions with depressed and suicidal adolescents from culturally diverse populations. She has developed curriculum for use with student groups and presented trainings for school based health providers primarily focusing on strengthening resiliency skills through resource development.

Afternoon Workshop B

Time: 1:30 pm-3:30 pm | Course Title: “The Ethics of Presence: Developing an Alliance of Wholehearted Minds”

CEUs: 2 CEUs | Instructor: M. Kate Reynolds, LPCC

If our intention is to help clients become more integrated in their brains, coherent in their minds, empathetic in their relationships, and resilient in their lives, as ethical clinicians we must simultaneously be training to do the same. As research suggests, the presence of the clinician influences the therapeutic process, just as the presence of parents influences the well being of their children. We will examine the systemic nature of the therapist’s ability to model and teach mindfulness to parents/guardians who in turn are able to model and teach mindfulness to their children. This workshop will present the theoretical underpinnings and ethical considerations of a mindfulness-based family therapy approach, as well as several experiential tools for both therapists and families.

M. Kate Reynolds, MA, LPCC, has been involved with The New Mexico Suicide Intervention Project for 14 years. Currently, she is a clinical supervisor at the SKY Center and leads their comprehensive, agency-wide Mindfulness Project. She is the co-founder and director of the Santa Fe Center for Mindfulness where she teaches Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. She researched and created a mindfulness-based stress reduction approach for working with parents, having taught the “Joy of Mindful Parenting” for several years in both Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Kate has a family-based private practice in Santa Fe.

Afternoon Workshop C

Time: 1:30 pm-3:30 pm | Course Title: “From Broken Heart to Transformation: Guiding Families through the Grieving Process”

CEUs: 2 CEUs | Instructor: Jan Stanley, LISW

Therapy and the grief process are so bound up together as to be inseparable. Poets, mystics and healers have alluded to this phenomenon over the past several thousands of years and we will look at some of the origins of this thinking. In this workshop we will give a brief look at grief and loss and how working through loss can bring maturity, transformation and glimpses of enlightenment. Whatever families bring to us as their surface focus, they are struggling with loss and grief as the underlying cause behind much of their pain. Many writers have said that the work of parenting is to bare their children’s grief with them and this is most difficult when the parents have never resolved their own grief issues. Loss and grief will be examined through the lenses of supervision, ethics and cultural diversity.

Jan Stanley, LISW, is a Licensed Independent Social Worker with his Master of Science in Social Work from The University of Texas, Austin. Since 1961 he has worked in the fields of Children’s Protective Services, Children’s Residential Treatment Centers, New Mexico’s state wide adoption program and Clinical services for families involved in the juvenile justice system. He has been on the faculty at The University of Texas and at Highlands University. He has 9 years experience providing family therapy and was certified as a Functional Family Therapist. He currently serves as a clinical supervisor at the Sky Family Training Center and maintains a small private practice.

Closing Address: Apryl Miller, LISW

“Engaging Wholeheartedness in Families: Strengthening Families to Bear the Unbearable”

Time: 3:45-4:45 pm | CEUs: 1 CEU

Time: 4:45 pm Q and A, Evaluations