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WAMFT will be hosting our annual fall conference to support the continuing education of our members. This year so as not to miss out on this important learning and networking opportunity due to COVID, we will be hosting our entire annual conference virtually! The theme of this year’s conference is Crisis across the Lifespan: Systemic Assessment and Intervention in Marriage and Family Therapy, with a pre-conference workshop on the topic of Suiciduality.


With the current COVID-19 pandemic, we are more acutely aware and reminded of how crisis, including a global crisis, affects individuals, couples, and families. We hope to bring our community together to learn more about how crises, like COVID-19, affect people across the lifespan and how we as MFTs and other mental health professionals can work effectively with clients during these times.


The annual conference is a great opportunity for continuing education, especially for those who had anticipated earning CEs at spring events that were canceled due to the pandemic. You can earn up to 13 CEs during the event if you participate in the Pre-Conference workshop and Main Conference! We will also be hosting virtual networking events and other ways you can connect with your colleagues online throughout the event. 


Crisis Across the Lifespan: Systemic Assessment and Intervention in Marriage and Family Therapy
 Held virtually, Friday Sept 25th - Saturday Sept 26th

Pre-Conference Event

Suicidality: Systemic Assessment and Intervention in Marriage and Family Therapy (Approved by WA DOH as Suicide Prevention programming - 6 CEs)


Date: Friday, September 25th

Time: 9:00am - 4:00pm

Attendees are invited to join us for a Networking Happy Hour 4:30 - 5:30pm.

This day long workshop will provide mental health practitioners with empirically supported strategies for assessing and intervening with suicidal clients using a systemic framework. Participants will learn about the specific factors that are important to consider when assessing for risk and suicidal behavior from this lens, including how to assess for suicidal risk with multiple people in the room and understanding the unique environmental, social, and cultural considerations that may impact their risk. Additionally, the training will explore how these same risk factors can also be used as strategies for connecting clients to community and enhance resiliency. 


Jessica Leith, MS, LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and AAMFT Approved Supervisor in WA State. She has practiced in both public and private mental health settings for the past 13 years, including 7 years as a crisis intervention specialist for youth and families in King County. While in this role, Jessica was responsible for the assessment and intervention of families in crisis, including those with high suicidal ideation and family conflict. She is trained in a number of Evidence Based Treatments for both children and adults, including the DBT Skills Model. Jessica is currently Teaching Faculty in the Couples and Family Therapy Program at Antioch University Seattle and is the owner of Leith Counseling and Consultation, PLLC in Seattle. 

Main Conference

Crisis across the Lifespan: Systemic Assessment and Intervention in Marriage and Family Therapy (7 CEs)


Date: Saturday, September 26th

Time: 8:00am - 5:00pm


Crisis across the Lifespan will focus on how we provide effective relational therapy across the lifespan with an emphasis on effectively helping individuals, couples, and families manage wide-ranging crises.  Crises take many forms and affect people in various contexts and at different stages of life.  This conference will offer a learning experience for clinicians to develop more awareness, knowledge, and skills for working with clients facing various forms of crisis.

An ethics track will be included for participants to earn up to 6 ethics CEs.

Conference Agenda

8:00 AM - 8:15 AM        Welcome Remarks by WAMFT President-Elect

8:15 AM - 9:45 AM         KEYNOTE - Attachment-based Family Therapy for Youth at Risk for Suicide

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM     Break-Out Sessions

  • Engaging Families into Treatment for Youth at Risk for Suicide

  • Treating Asian Americans During the COVID Pandemic

  • Menopause and Sexual Health: Understanding the Journey

  • Systemic Family Treatment for Collective Trauma

  • How We Can (and Should!) Work with DV in the Family System (Ethics Track)

11:15 AM - 12:15 PM      Break-Out Sessions

  • Family Play Therapy and Storytelling in the Time of Covid-19

  • Recognizing Secondary Trauma Amidst Crisis Work

  • Crises in the School: Working as a Systems Thinker in a Multidisciplinary Setting

  • A Conversation: BIPOC Therapists' Experiences with Racism & Microaggression in the Psychotherapy Profession

  • Self-Care Tune Up for Therapists in the Midst of Trauma (Ethics Track)

12:15 PM - 1:30 PM      Networking Opportunities

  • Students

  • PreClinical

  • Clinical

  • Supervisor/Supervisee Connect

  • Substance Use Disorder Counselors

1:00 PM - 1:30 PM      Poster Presentations

  • “Self-Differentiation in the Face of Trauma” by Erin Dolan & Noemi Correa

  • “Apart but together: Telehealth During a Pandemic” by Allison Davis

  • “Parental Experiences of Self-Identity and Family Identity after a Child acquires an Acquired Brain Injury” by Jameson Natwick, MS, LMFT

  • “Integrative Treatment Model for Childhood Sexual Trauma” by Allie Peyton, Cary Plewka, & Emily Elsasser

1:30 PM - 2:30 PM       Break-Out Sessions

  • Sex, Solace, & Sanity: SFBT with Postpartum Parents

  • Mixed Reality Simulation: Relational Hours & COVID

  • Person of the Therapist (POTT): An Ethical Training Path (Ethics Track)

  • A Panel Discussion on Creative Teletherapy Interventions for Children, Adolescents, and Families

  • Ethics in Advocacy for MFTs

2:45 PM - 3:15 PM       Conference Announcements & Awards

3:15 PM - 3:30 PM       Closing Remarks by WAMFT President

3:30 PM - 5:00 PM      KEYNOTE - 'The Talk': Addressing Anti-Black Racism in Couple & Family Therapy

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM      Networking: Saturday Night Live

Sunday, September 27th

8:30 AM - 9:30 AM        Networking: Sunday Morning Community Cafe

Morning Keynote Speaker

Attachment-based Family Therapy for Youth at Risk for Suicide

Dr. Guy Diamond will provide an overview of Attachment-based Family Therapy (ABFT), which is an evidence-based model of family therapy for adolescents experiencing depression, suicidality, and trauma. He will cover the theory, empirical support, clinical structure of ABFT, and specific interventions for how to effectively work with this population from a systemic, attachment-based, and compassionate stance. Video demonstration of the therapy will be shared.

Guy Diamond, Ph.D. is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania and Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Family Intervention Science at Drexel University.  His work focuses on prevention and intervention for youth who struggle with depression, trauma and suicide. He is the developer of Attachment-based Family Therapy, a trauma focused, process oriented, empirically supported treatment for these populations. 

Afternoon Keynote Speaker

‘The Talk’: Addressing Anti-Black Racism in Couple and Family Therapy


Ashley A. Hicks, PhD, LMFT will discuss the impact of Anti-Black Racism on the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being of Black persons living in the United States. She will highlight how the systemic nature of couple and family therapy can be utilized to address issues of Anti-Black racism with clients and in larger society. Examples of how clinicians might engage in anti-racist clinical work, advocacy, and public participation will be discussed.

Dr Hicks is a licensed marriage and family therapist, AAMFT Approved Supervisor, and Associate Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Her current work focuses on the influence of racial trauma and oppression on the overall well-being of African American women and families oriented, empirically supported treatment for these populations. 

Summary from the 2019 Conference

Summary from the

2019 Conference

WAMFT hosted its 2019 Fall Conference to support the continuing education of our members. The theme of the conference was “Expanding Relationship Paradigms: Practicing Inclusivity in Couple and Family Therapy.” The conference included a pre-conference workshop, in addition to the full conference event.

The event included 7 CEs for the main conference event, including two “tracks” for attendees- an ethics track and a sex therapy track. The conference planning committee applied for CE approval from the American Association for Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT), which allowed the CE credits to count toward AASECT Sex Therapy Certification and Renewal.

The keynote presenters were Dr. Steve Harris, who spoke on the topic of discernment counseling, and Dossie Easton, LMFT co-author of The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships and Other Freedoms in Sex and Love. 


We received such positive reviews from our members and we are thankful for everyone’s participation. 

Our goal is to continue to offer a pre-conference option and curate content that our members can immediately apply in clinical practice.

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