Announcing our 6th annual spring workshop

“The Joy of Practicing What We Preach: Embracing Self-Care in Psychotherapy” by Sharon Gold-Steinberg, Ph.D., and The Partners in Healing “Community Band” (because we all need a little help from our friends!)

Program Description:

Psychotherapists, professionals who devote themselves to caring for the emotional well-being of others, often miss the joy of providing the same level of care and nourishment for themselves. While growing up, many therapists discovered that they had a sensitivity and perceptiveness about the needs and emotions of others. Families often appreciate, reinforce, or co-opt these gifts and unwittingly contribute to a pattern in which the budding therapist develops a habit of prioritizing the needs of others over her or his own. Gender and cultural socialization, as well as the demands of juggling family life and career, can further exacerbate this imbalance. Similarly, working in solo practice, or in a busy clinic setting behind closed doors, can inculcate a sense of isolation while doing work that is intensely relational.

Providing optimal psychotherapy services to clients, without burning out or succumbing to vicarious traumatization, requires consistent and effective self-regulation, energy modulation, support, and boundary setting. Practicing psychotherapy relies on the use of one’s self as a primary instrument for resonance, attunement, containment, compassion, play, and the cultivation of inspiration and hope. Therefore, we need effective tools and a sense of community to help us to be resourced in our work and to know how to set aside our work so that we can refresh our own spirits and nervous systems.

This refreshing half-day workshop will review the research on therapist self-care and vicarious traumatization while providing reflective and experiential exercises to resource psychotherapists. We’re not just going to talk about therapist self-care, we are going to embrace it through borrowing the wisdom of contemplative practices and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy as taught by Pat Ogden, Ph.D. and Janina Fisher, Ph.D. Therapists will learn and practice evidence-based interventions, including mindfulness, breath work, art, music, and gentle movement to enhance affect regulation and their ability to set boundaries with their clients and around their work hours. Therapists can benefit directly from these strategies and model them for their clients. No previous experience with any of these modalities is required—come as you are, dress comfortably for the day, and prepare to integrate new strategies in a supportive setting amongst colleagues!

About the Presenter:
Sharon Gold-Steinberg, Ph.D. is a psychologist in private practice in Ann Arbor and is a co-founder—along with Carrie Hatcher-Kay, Ph.D. and César Valdez, LMSW–of Partners in Healing, an organization dedicated to providing support and training to psychotherapists. She is a certified practitioner of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy. Along with her colleague, Carryn Lund, LMSW, RYT, she offers a weekly class, “Friday Refresh,” that incorporates contemplative practices to support therapists in resourcing and balancing their nervous systems and in building community. Sharon and Carryn are creating a website, Therapist Refresh, to expand the reach of this local program.

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Announcing our 5th annual spring workshop

“To Err is Human: Therapist Mistakes as Therapeutic Opportunities” by Janina Fisher, PhD

Program Description:

Like parenting, psychotherapy can be only “good enough.” Therapeutic mistakes are inevitable, but they occur in the privacy of an office with no one but the client with whom we could process them fully. We may pause to critique ourselves or try to ignore the shame we feel, but we rarely have the chance to turn them into opportunities.

This workshop explores how what drives us to take on the work of psychotherapy can also contribute to “mistakes of the heart.” We make mistakes because we care so much, because we want to help—not because we don’t. Whether the mistakes we make are clinically misattuned or the result of our own internal conflicts, there is much to learn both about the power of “repair,” what happens when therapist and client resolve to recover from the rupture to the relationship caused by empathic failure, small administrative mistakes, or even ethical errors.

Early attachment is built upon the cycles of infant distress and parental ‘repair.’ The emphasis is less on understanding and more on intuiting what the child needs so that feelings of distress are soothed, comforted, or transformed from painful to pleasurable, and tears turn to laughter. In this workshop, we will learn how to use the therapeutic relationship to heal the wounds of childhood by repairing the inevitable ‘misses’ that accompany our best efforts as therapists.

About the Presenter:
Janina Fisher, PhD is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and Instructor at the Trauma Center, founded by Bessel van der Kolk. Past president of the New England Society for the Treatment of Trauma and Dissociation, a faculty member of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, and a former instructor, Harvard Medical School, Dr. Fisher has been an invited speaker nationally and internationally on topics related to the integration of neurobiological research and new trauma treatment paradigms into traditional therapeutic approaches. You can read more about her work at

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Announcing our 4th annual spring workshop

“Harness the Natural Cycles of Change with Couples and Families: The Collaborative Change Model for Treating Complex Trauma” by Mary Jo Barrett, MSW from the Center for Contextual Change

Program Description:

This workshop will present a practical three-tiered strength-based contextual model which simplifies the understanding and treatment of the complex nature of intergenerational trauma and neglect. We will explore the repetitive cycles of trauma and will learn how to harness the natural cycles of change when working with individuals, couples, and families through the Collaborative Change Model.

In Stage One of the Collaborative Change Model, therapists create a context for treatment through assessing strengths and vulnerabilities, emphasizing safety and the importance of acknowledgment. In Stage Two, the action mode, the focus is on techniques and interventions to use for particular symptomatic patterns of behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. Emphasis will be given to working with couples when one of the partners has a trauma history or to helping an individual client who may have a partner or loved one who has a trauma history. We will explore the integration of different theoretical approaches, such as IFS, EMDR, CBT, DBT, Family Systems etc. Stage Three will bring us to the most effective ways to help clients consolidate their gains and prevent relapse.

As a result of this course, participants will be able to:

  • apply the Collaborative Change Model to complex trauma cases.
  • incorporate psycho-education for and treatment of loved ones of those with trauma history.
  • demonstrate interventions utilized to create a non-traumatic therapeutic environment.
  • articulate the guidelines for effective trauma treatment.
  • apply the concepts of ethical attunement to their practice.
  • support themselves in the midst of working with difficult cases.


About the Presenter:

Mary Jo Barrett, MSW is the founder and director of the Center for Contextual Change in Chicago, IL., a clinic specializing in The Collaborative Change Model, a component phase model for working with individuals, families, and groups.  This nationally prominent expert in the treatment of trauma, especially within the family context, is known for being an innovator and collaborator as a teacher and as a therapist. She is a popular presenter at Psychotherapy Networker and other conferences nationally and internationally and is on the faculties of the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and the Family Institute of Northwestern University.

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