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Saturday Educational Sessions

8:30 am -10:30 am (2 CE credits)

Saturday Plenary:  Every Moment Learning: Transforming Work and Life into a Continuous Learning Experience

As mental health professionals, we are dedicated to lifelong learning. Knowledge, yes, but is there a way to also build our capacity for qualities that are important for psychotherapy and life such as awareness, insight, equanimity, and wisdom? There is a way, and it centers on the ancient discipline of karma yoga – the yoga of work and action in the world. Dr. Roger Walsh will introduce us to the practice of karma yoga, and link it to contemporary concerns such as interpersonal and psychotherapeutic skills, mindfulness, addiction, lifestyle, and psychological well-being.

After attending this session, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the elements of Karma Yoga and how it is distinct from other forms of yoga in how it can help us in our everyday life.
  • Describe how a practice like Karma Yoga can improve therapeutic skills in ways that benefit clients.
  Roger Walsh, MD, PhD, DHL is professor of Psychiatry, Philosophy and Anthropology, and a professor in the Religious Studies Program at the University of California - Irvine. His publications include the books Paths Beyond Ego, The World of Shamanism, The World’s Great Wisdom, and Essential Spirituality: The Seven Central Practices. His research and writings have received over twenty national and international awards, and his teaching has received one national and seven university awards. He is a long-term student, teacher, and researcher of contemplative practices…and a former circus acrobat. 

11:00 am -12:30 pm (1.5 CE credits)

Master Lecture: Relational Group Psychotherapy

Relational and Intersubjective approaches state that in every meeting there are two subjective experiences that meet, each of them with a need for recognition of their subjectivities. Applying the approach to groups emphasizes enactment instead of interpretation. Dr. Weinberg will explore the participants' experience and difficulty acknowledging other members' different experience, the therapists' limitations and their impact on the group, enactments and reparation in the group.

After attending this session, participants will be able to:

  • Use intersubjectively-informed interventions in groups.
  • Work with enactments and reparations in group therapy.
  • Explain and utilize their limitations as group therapists.

Haim Weinberg, PhD is in private practice in Sacramento, California, with more than 35 years of experience. He is also a group analyst and Certified Group Psychotherapist. He is past President of the Israeli Association of Group Psychotherapy and of the Northern California Group Psychotherapy Society. He is on the clinical faculty of Psychiatry at UC Davis Medical Center and Fellow of the American Group Psychotherapy Association and of the International Group Psychotherapy Association, as well as a Distinguished Fellow of the Israeli Group Psychotherapy Association. He has received several awards including the Harold Bernard Group Psychotherapy Training Award and the Ann Alonso Award for Excellence in Psychodynamic Group Therapy.

What's Music Got To Do With It? Music, Well-Being, and the Aging Brain

Karen Rae Sanchez, Psy.D., MBA, BM, MT-BC, Director/Founder, In Harmony Music Therapy Services, Stockton, CA; Psychological Assistant, Valley Neuropsychological Services, Sacramento, CA

Music has been proven to make a difference in the lives of elderly populations. This session will provide a review of research regarding the use of music as therapy with older adults and provides an experiential opportunity to better understand the power of music as part of a treatment approach.

After attending this session, participants will be able to:

  • Describe how music affects emotion, cognition, movement, and memory with older adults.
  • Identify three ways psychologists and/or caregivers can use music in working with elderly family members.
  • Describe an experience with older adults in a music therapy group following a live demonstration.

Trauma Sensitive Early Intervention with Court-involved Families

Lyn R. Greenberg, PhD, ABPP, Private Practice, Los Angeles, CA
Leslie Drozd, PhD, Private Practice, Newport Beach, CA

Children exposed to trauma or conflict are at risk, and need  coping abilities  to develop and adjust successfully. Early intervention with these families is critical, but methods often must be adapted to the legal context and the inevitable ethical and clinical complexities. Recent appellate decisions and breakdowns in civility may result in therapists being placed at greater risk than ever before, and may lead therapists to make ethical mistakes, or to decline treatment of families in critical need of services. Through active, case focused discussion, this session will provide both ethical treatment strategies and procedures to help therapists manage legal and professional risks. Suggestions for effective collaboration, interface with legal professionals, and even potential legislative strategies will be discussed.

After attending this session, participants will be able to:

  • Identify three evidence-informed methods for intervention with conflicted families and the type of evidence supporting each
  • Identify two risks facing psychologists working with court-involved families
  • Identify three issues to consider in structuring consents and services to court-involved families

Making the Impossible Possible: Advanced Psychotherapy Approaches in Child & Adolescent Treatment

Katherine Nguyen Williams, PhD, Director, Strategic Development & Clinical Innovation, UCSD Department of Psychiatry, La Jolla, CA
Janina Scarlet, PhD, CEO Superhero Therapy, San Diego, CA
Huong Diep, PsyD, Private Practice, San Diego, CA

Despite rapid advances in technology and significant societal shifts in communication (e.g., social media, smartphones), treatments usual in child and adolescent therapy have largely remained the same. This session will demonstrate the critical need for 21st century therapists to adapt to these changes by incorporating advances in psychotherapeutic approaches to child/adolescent treatment in their clinical practice.

After attending this session, participants will be able to:

  • Identify at least 3 significant changes in child and adolescent culture.
  • Describe at least 3 advances in psychotherapeutic approach to child and adolescent therapy.
  • Outline in depth one comprehensive example of how to implement an advanced psychotherapeutic approach to child and adolescent therapy.

2:00 pm - 3:30 pm (1.5 CE Credit)

Conducting a Religion and Spirituality Assessment at the End of Life

David Jull-Patterson, PhD, Clinical Pofessor, UCSF School of Medicine, San Francisco, CA

Psychological concerns about religion and spirituality arise for many palliative care patients. Effective assessment of religious and spiritual beliefs and behaviors of a patient can help you provide culturally competent service. This workshop gives participants the opportunity learn an assessment model and tailor it to their own style and professional setting.

After attending this session, participants will be able to:

  • Identify and deconstruct their own beliefs about conducting a religion and spirituality assessment at the end of life.
  • Analyze three areas of religious and spiritual belief that may be culturally salient for patients facing a life-threatening illness.
  • Incorporate a six-step spirituality/religion assessment interview into clinical services for palliative care patients.

Assessing for ADHD Across the Lifespan

Michelle Cuevas, PhD, Pediatric Psychologist, Kaiser Permanente Department of Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, San Diego, CA
Krista Freece, PhD, Clinical Neuropsychologist, Kaiser Permanente Department of Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, San Diego, CA

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is often a challenging disorder to assess in light of the various psychiatric disorders, medical conditions and medication side effects that share symptoms. This session will provide practitioners attending this session necessary  competencies in assessing ADHD in an effective and culturally competent way.

After attending this session, participants will be able to:

  • Various neuropsychological/psychodiagnostic screening measures across the lifespan from pre-academic to geriatric populations
  • How to provide consultation and support for medical professionals regarding treatment and differential diagnoses in light of familial, racial, religious, and medical considerations
  • Ways to include family/caregivers/support teams throughout this assessment process

Using Motivational Interviewing Skills to Navigate Patient Challenges and Facilitate Lasting Behavioral Change

Monica Ellis-Blied, Ph.D., HPDP Program Manager, VA Loma Linda, Redlands, CA
Elizabeth Wolpern, PsyD, Postdoctoral Fellow, VA Loma Linda, Redlands, CA
Ronald Freche, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, VA Loma LindaCharissa Hosseini, MS, Predoctoral Intern, VA Loma Linda, CA

Through interactive engagement with video clips, role playing exercises, and case examples, this session will demonstrate how to use Motivational Interviewing (MI) techniques to facilitate health behavior changes. Attendees will have the opportunity to integrate and apply the spirit, principles, and skills of MI to a wide variety of patient presentations. Explore why some patients resist making health behavior changes, and observe strategies for helping these patients explore and overcome ambivalence to change

After attending this session, participants will be able to:

  • Articulate the benefits of using motivational interviewing to facilitate positive changes in health behaviors and lifestyle, in order to assist clients/patients with preventing, managing, and coping with chronic physical and mental health conditions.
  • Describe and demonstrate the clinical application of MI techniques and vernacular for motivating, initiating, and sustaining health behavior changes.
  • Apply the principles of motivational interviewing to a variety of client/patient presentations, including the more "challenging" clients/patients that are resistant to health behavior change.

Beyond Mindfulness: Varieties of Meditative Practices and Therapies

Roger Walsh, MD, PhD, DHL

Meditation has rapidly become the fastest growing and most extensively researched psychotherapeutic approach, and has the widest array of demonstrated benefits for both clients and therapists. Most focus has been on mindfulness. Yet this is only one of numerous beneficial practices, each offering specific benefits ranging from self-insights to the cultivation of love, compassion, or equanimity. This session will map these practices and their benefits, and offer a direct experience of some of them.


After attending this session, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the differences and similarities of a variety of meditative practices
  • Describe the highlights of research on the effects of relevant meditation practices
  • Explore the direct experience of one or more distinct meditations

4:00 pm to 5:00 pm (1.0 CE Credits)

Practical Insights for Psychologists Who Want to Work in the Tech Industry

Erika Torres, PhD, Psychologist & Product Manager, Sunnyvale, CA

The complex world we live in requires that psychologists leverage their skill-set in new and innovative ways. With the rise in the use of technology within healthcare, the health tech industry is in dire need of highly qualified and motivated individuals with psychology and behavioral science backgrounds. This session will explore key technical concepts and highlight key skills that will help you as a behavioral science professional transition into the health tech industry.

After attending this session, participants will be able to:

  • Describe two career paths from behavioral science to tech and the basics of self-marketing and branding to make the transition
  • Identify at least three niche areas withing the thriving and growing industry of health tech
  • Identify and describe at least three tech industry concepts that leverage psychology/behavioral science principles

Resilience Among Female First Responders: An Analysis of Posttraumatic Growth

Mark Kamena, PhD, ABPP, Instructor, Wright Institute, Berkeley, CA; Director of Research, First Responders Support Network

In the context of treating post-traumatic stress among emergency responders through a residential program, this session will include a discussion of the literature on resilience, review the results of client measures and surveys, delineate findings regarding posttraumatic growth among female responders, and provide recommendations for the prevention of vicarious traumatization among clinicians serving this community.

After attending this session, participants will be able to:

  • Explain at least three tools to reinforce resilience among emergency responders
  • Expand clinical skills in becoming a culturally competent clinician to treat first responders
  • Identify additional stress experienced by female emergency responders in a male dominated profession

Building Therapists' Capacity to Provide Effective Treatment to Individuals with Co-occurring Mental Health and Autism Spectrum Disorders

Cari Yardley, PsyD, Clinical Supervisor, Regional Center of the East Bay, San Leandro, CA
Patrice Yasuda, PhD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Keck School of Medicine of USC

One in 59 individuals has a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. According to the DSM-5, up to 70% of people with ASD may meet criteria for an additional mental health diagnosis and 40% may meet criteria for two. Despite these numbers, people with ASD are at high-risk for having unmet mental health needs. Therapists report lack of training or specialty as a barrier to providing treatment for individuals with co-occurring ASD and MI. This session will provide information, tools, and resources on evidence based practices for ASD that clinicians can incorporate into treatment of the co-occurring mental health condition in order to improve client participation, skill acquisition, and symptom reduction.

After attending this session, participants will be able to:

  • Identify 3 different evidence based practices (EBPs) that they can incorporate into their treatment of individuals with co-occurring ASD in order to generate buy-in and promote skill acquisition.
  • Navigate the National Professional Developmental Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders Training tools and resources to increase awareness and use of EBPs in treatment.
  • Identify and apply 2 strategies for working with caregivers and other entities providing daily support in order to help facilitate generalization of skills across settings.


Are We Really Multiculturally Competent? Best Practices Dissected

Linda Bortell PsyD,Private Practice, South Pasadena, CA
Gitu Bhatia PsyD, Private Practice, West Los Angeles,and Woodland Hills, CA

In August 2017 APA adopted new guidelines for establishing multicultural competence. This interactive session will demonstrate through clinical vignettes and video clips how to work as a multiculturally competent psychologist and will explore unconscious biases that enter our work.

After attending this session, participants will be able to:

  • Identify the key elements of the APA guidelines for multicultural competence
  • Integrate different facets of multicultural competence into clinical practice
  • Describe how implicit biases can impact clinical work.


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