NEAFAST 2024 Spring Conference:
Family Therapy in Community-Based Settings

Friday, May 17, 2024, 8:30am-4:30pm ET
6 CEs | Live on Zoom

Target Audience: Emerging professionals in the field of therapy

The Family Therapy Conference is a one day, 6 CE conference that combines components of systemic therapy practice with the practical application of family and relational therapy tools to in-home and community-based therapy settings. This conference will provide education and training in efforts to improve the quality of care delivered to clients, support the professional development of emerging therapists, and increase the use of systemic therapy amongst providers of in-home therapy services. This year's keynote presentation will address the distinctions between family therapy centered around working with relational dynamics and family structure, and family therapy centered around individual therapy with multiple people in the family system. This will be followed by four workshops, from which participants will select two to attend, addressing the use of systemic therapy in community-based and in-home settings. 

The keynote presentation is designed to provide an introduction to family therapy where practitioners are encouraged to work with relational dynamics and family structure, ultimately so that family members can use their own communication strategies to solve problems in ways that aligns most appropriately with their values. 

Each workshop session contains two goals. The first goal is to provide practical tools to improve outcomes when delivering therapy services in community-based and in-home settings. The second goal is to increase participant ability to utilize a systemic therapy approach in their clinical work and throughout their professional development. Each participant will have the opportunity to engage in two workshops as shown in the schedule below. The conference will close with a panel discussion hosted by the workshop presenters on working with families in family therapy. 

At the conclusion of this program, participants will be better able to:

  1. Name three techniques for engaging with the relational dynamics within the family structure.
  2. Identify three strategies for developing clinical self-awareness, assessing bias and blind spots, and exploring values and beliefs and how they might impact the therapy provided to clients.
  3. Describe three strategies to help families collaboratively navigate processes of grief and transition at multiple stages of the developmental process, including early childhood and adolescence.
  4. Identify multiple theoretical/practical approaches to practicing family therapy in the homes of clients.
  5. Apply three methods for engaging family members who are not typically invited into the family therapy process, including fathers, grandparents, and important outside relatives.

Schedule (all times in ET):
8:30-8:45am: Introduction
8:45-10AM: Working with Relationships in Family Therapy Part 1 — Donna Harris Richards (she/her) and Jeremiah Gibson (he/him)
10-10:15am: Break
10:15am-12:15pm: Course 1:

  1. Leveraging Systemic Family Therapy: Interdisciplinary Collaboration for Enhanced Client Care — Dr. Rebekah Reyes Adams (she/her)
  2. Telehealth and Play Therapy: A Practical Guide to Teleplay — Katie Thomas (she/her)

12:15-1:15pm: Lunch
1:15-3:15pm: Course 2

  1. From Burdensome to Belonging: Using Permanency Tools to Treat Suicidality in LGBTQ Youth — Ash Arbuckle (they/them) and Beatrice Antoine (she/her)
  2. The Silent Influencer: Understanding the Impact of Trauma and the Nervous System in Family Therapy — Monica Bhatara

3:15-3:30pm: Break
3:30-4:30pm: Working with Relationships in Family Therapy Part 2 — Facilitator: Donna Harris-Richards; Panelists: Beatrice Antoine, Ash Arbuckle, Monica Bhatara, Jeremiah Gibson, Rebekah Reyes Adams, and Katie Thomas

The In-Home Therapy Conference includes the opportunity to learn from, network, and collaborate with other family and systemic therapists, and is incredibly affordable: $80 for Non-Members; $40 for Members; $20 for Student Members, with a generous donation from the Emily Mitchell Scholarship Fund. Organizations who register 5 or more participants get a $20 discount.

Become a NEAFAST Member here!

Register Here

Beatrice Antoine (she/her), LCSW, is a dedicated Clinician at The Home for Little Wanderers Children's Community Support Collaborative in Boston, MA. Joining as a clinical intern in 2020 during her final year at Simmons University School of Social Work, Beatrice discovered her passion for intensive community-based and group care treatment. With a restorative justice and trauma-informed approach, she tailors evidence-based practices to meet the diverse needs of her clients and families. Beatrice's social work practice empowers clients and families, instilling agency within themselves, their families, and their treatment. Her expertise extends to hospital settings, where she maintains a compassionate and supportive clinical framework. Devoted to serving under-resourced, underserved, and underrepresented populations within the mental health system, Beatrice actively engages in dismantling systems of oppression that perpetuate these disparities.

Ash Arbuckle (they/them) is passionate about youth and family driven practice and began this work in 2016 with The Home. Through their work across residential, group home and community-based settings, they have been grateful for the wisdom of those around them who kept the focus on youth permanency and family therapy. Ash has amplified family voice as a permanency consultant and trainer both within programs at The Home and state agencies and has extensive experience with in-home family therapy. Currently, Ash works as the Program Director at the Connected Families Respite Program, a new, grant funded program working to expand a family’s community as proactive risk management and stress reduction. Ash appreciates a good joke and is quick to share laughter with those around them.

Monica Bhatara, MA, MTC, RCS is a Certified Synergetic Play Therapist, and Focusing-Oriented Therapist. She has over 28 years of experience working in front-line, clinical and leadership roles providing her expertise in the areas of complex intergenerational trauma and trauma-informed practice. Monica’s counselling practice, in Chilliwack, BC, focuses on trauma recovery work with children and adults using somatic, play and expressive therapies. Her work is informed by Interpersonal Neurobiology and Polyvagal Theory. Monica’s presentations make hard conversations and concepts relevant, relatable and accessible.

Jeremiah Gibson, LMFT, CST, is the co-founder of the New England Association for Family and Systemic Therapy (NEAFAST), a professional association dedicated to the expansion of quality training and education in family and relational therapy in Massachusetts. He is a certified sex therapist through the American Association for Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT), and works with couples at the South Shore Sexual Health Center in Quincy, MA, where he is also on the faculty for their year-long training program for sex therapy. Jeremiah is a former clinical supervisor at South Bay Community Services in Dorchester, and  has spoken in numerous contexts, including the Harvard Medical School, about the intersection of couples therapy, sexuality, and religion.

Donna Harris-Richards, LICSW, CST is a family and systemic therapist, a licensed independent clinical social worker and AASECT Certified Sex Therapist specializing in sexual health and intimacy, couples, relational and family therapy in private practice. Practicing since 2002, she currently runs a full-time solo private practice, Sex and Couples Therapy in New Bedford, MA utilizing a family systems approach. Donna is a former supervisor at Seven Hills Behavioral Health in New Bedford, MA for community programming serving populations coping with HIV/AIDS and substance use challenges. She also collaborated closely with Child and Family Services in New Bedford, MA and their IHT program, serving to support and strengthen families in South Coast communities. She serves on the board of NEAFAST and has published articles in the NASW Focus and NEJRSP (The New England Journal of Relational and Systemic Practice).

Rebekah Reyes-Adams, PhD, currently serves as assistant professor of Marriage and Family Therapy for Friends University. She has various clinical, supervisory, and teaching experiences, which include working in home-based family therapy settings, serving clients at community mental agencies, and providing clinical care in medical settings related to primary care and endocrinology. Dr. Reyes Adams is clinically licensed in both Kansas and Missouri, and serves as an AAMFT Approved Supervisor. Her clinical, research and teaching specialties focus on the advancement of integrated care, systemic coping with chronic illness, and the impact of family functioning on health.

Katie Thomas, LMHC, is a licensed mental health clinician in Massachusetts. She has spent her career woking with young chlildren and their families after traumatic events. Ms. Thomas pivoted to telehealth in 2020 and has been working to support other clinicians to embracing this platform.

This activity is pending certification by the New England Association for Family and Systemic Therapy (NEAFAST) on behalf of the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health & Human Services Professions for LMFT professional continuing education.

This activity is pending certification by the National Association of Social Workers Massachusetts Chapter on behalf of the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health & Human Services Professions for LICSW professional continuing education.

Please note: It is the participant’s responsibility to check with their individual state boards to verify CE requirements for their state.

This program is being offered independent of any commercial support or conflict of interest. Clinicians with any level of experience are welcome to participate.

Cancellation Policy: Please email us at [email protected] if you are unable to make it. We will give a full reimbursement for cancelations one month prior to the training.

Accessibility Statement: Participants will receive access to the Zoom link after signing up for the conference. Closed captioning can be provided through request.