Annual Conference










A SESSIONS – 9:30 – 11:30 am


A-1 Building a Working Alliance with LGBT Clients

Presenter: Katherine Campbell, PhD, LCSW


 Especially valuable for clinicians new to this population, this interactive workshop equips the clinician with a practical understanding of the path of identity development for gays and lesbians. Participants will focus on the challenges and opportunities to building a working alliance with gay and lesbian clients. The working alliance is the key factor for success in the counseling room, whatever may be the presenting issues of gay and lesbian clients.


  • Identify the key challenges of building a gay identity and their impact on therapy.
  • Identify and contrast the values that a non-gay/lesbian identified therapist brings to treatment along with those that a gay/lesbian identified therapist brings.
  • Understand how to determine whether a presenting issue is central, or marginally related or not at all related to the client’s sexual orientation.
  • Identify the impact of bias on treatment and understand approaches to correction.


A-2 The Rainbow in the Silver Tsunami: LGBT Senior Care

Presenter: Katy Yankie, LCSW and panel


 Florida has always been a prime destination for the retirement years for seniors. As the American population ages, that influx will continue.  LGBT seniors are a significant part of this group, and recent surveys indicate that they are seeking more competent services from care providers. The panel of senior care providers will expand participants’ awareness of this unique population, address the complex layers of needs and illuminate the particular kinds of resiliency that are characteristic of South Florida’s LGBT seniors. Knowing these contexts will enable mental health and addictions treatment specialist to have a richer perspective on the clients they serve. Participants in this session will be enabled to:


  • Identify the key  unique life course factors that have contributed to the concerns that LGBT seniors bring to caring professionals
  • Understand the social and interpersonal dynamics of LGBT seniors in South Florida
  • Identify useful approaches to establishing a quality counseling alliance with LGBT seniors


A-3 Breaking Barriers To LGBT Substance Abuse Treatment

Presenters: Ami Hooper-Knox. PhD., LMHC and Breanna Crowley, MA


With the inclusion of non-discrimination policies at more workplaces and agencies and guidelines for affirmative care for sexual and gender minority individuals in behavioral health services increasing, it is alarming to see the number of cases of clients still reporting difficulties with access to care, discriminatory services from treatment providers, and clients withdrawing from services early. LGBT affirmative competencies have been explored as a means to standardize the quality of services provided to all individuals at all levels of care. Additional measures are being considered to remedy significant disparities in access to care and quality of treatment for LGBT individuals. This presentation will include an overview of recommendations relevant to substance abuse treatment for LGBT individuals. Participants will have time to consider the challenges and benefits of introducing best practices to their own work with LGBT clients at various levels of care.


  • Identify Learn and discuss current best practices for an individual and group treatment program.
  • Understand common risk and protective factors for LGBT individuals and substance use.
  • Identify  barriers to care and steps to increase access for both mandated and voluntary clients.



A-4 Principles, Practices and Facilitator Characteristics That Foster Cohesion

Presenters: Kris Drumm, LCSW, CHt


Cohesion is to group working as the working alliance is to individual counseling. It is a necessary condition for groups to do their work and to progress in accomplishing the members’ goals for being in a group. Fostering cohesion depends on a personal stance for group leaders; it means having eyes and ears attuned to what is happening between group members on many overt and covert levels of communication all at the same time. And, simultaneously,  it means having the skills to use that awareness in ways that deepen connections and address barriers to connection.


  • Identify Skills that lead to the creation of cohesion in a group
  • Identify factors and dynamics that impede group cohesion
  • Understand the key characteristics of a group leader/ facilitator that foster cohesion



A-5 Acceptance-Commitment Therapy for LGBT Clients

Presenter: Raul Machuca, PhD, LMHC


This presentation explores the use of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) principles as an instrument in facilitating cognitive, behavioral, and emotional wellness among LGBT clients. Specifically, this presentation will focus on the particular way in which Acceptance and Commitment Therapy techniques can be used to address issues associated to the client’s sexual and/or gender identity. It represents an alternative route to the classic cognitive therapy approach to dealing with cognitions, behaviors and emotions. 

  • Understand general principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and its processes, as well as its benefits in clinical practice with LGBT clients.
  • Identify particular and distinctive way in which ACT techniques can be used to address self-stigma, internalized homophobia, and similar issues associated with client’s LGBT identity.
  • Understand the process of implementation as well as the applicability of ACT through case studies.



B SESSIONS – 12:30 – 2:30


B-1 Transgender Care Essentials (DSM-5 and WPATH-7 Standards of Care)

Presenter: James Lopresti, PhD, LMHC


In this seminar we will focus on the role of the mental health professional in assisting clients who experience distress about gender identity and expression.  We will examine the clinical assumptions about “Gender Identity Disorder” in the DSM IVTR vs. “Gender Dysphoria” in DSM 5. And we will critically reflect on the major standards of care documents for working with clients who are seeking some form of “transitioning” as that is understood by those who seek counseling.


  • Understand the limitations of binary gender identity models (male v female) especially when addressing the needs of gender variant clients
  • Identify and critically understand the basic roles and expectations for therapists in the WPATH Standards of Care..
  • Identify resources available for therapists working with gender variant clients as well as resources for their clients


B2 – From East To West: Integrating Specialties Into Your Therapy Practice

Presenter (panel chair); Gayle Nelson, MSW and panel of practitioners of Complementary Alternative Modalities


Use of Complementary Alternative Modalities (CAMS) has been on the rise since the 1960’s, when the baby boom cohort emerged looking for more holistic ways of healing. According to a new study by Harvard medical school researchers, 5 out of 10 boomers and 7 out of 10 post boomers have used Complementary Alternative Modalities (CAMS) are still utilizing these therapies up to 20 years later. Many of these practice modalities have been around for thousands of years and are already being incorporated into more conventional therapeutic practices. It is currently estimated there are over 2.4 million LGBT citizens over the age of 55 in the US and while these LGBT baby boomers have the many of the same physical and mental health concerns as their heterosexual counterparts, many have additional challenges. This panel will introduce Complementary Alternative Modalities that can be integrated into current psychotherapy practices with the LGBT population. 


  • Describe some of the most frequently used CAM modalities
  • Understand the increased social demand for CAMS and how it applies to the LGBT population
  • Identify ways CAMS can be integrated into psychotherapy practice with clients



B3 – Not Just A Women’s Problem: Working With Body Image And Eating Disorders In Gay, Bi- And Queer Men

Presenter: Alicia Bosley, PhD, LMFT


While eating disorders are generally thought of as a “women’s problem”, research has shown that a significant number of gay, bisexual, and queer men qualify as having eating disorders. Sexual minority men have been consistently found to show more symptoms of body image problems and eating disorders than heterosexual men; almost half of all men diagnosed with these disorders identify as gay, bisexual or queer. However, men suffering from these disturbances often hesitate to seek help because of the stigma associated with being a male with an eating disorder, and men and boys with eating disorders may not present stereotypical disordered eating behaviors. Thus, these disorders in men are easily missed by therapists and counselors. This session will explore the current knowledge in the field on sexual minority men with eating disorders, potential contributing factors, and indications for mental health professionals working with these issues.


  • Understand commonly accepted theory on the occurrence of eating disorders in gay, bisexual, and queer men.
  • Identify risk factors for eating disorders in gay, bisexual, and queer men.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of research-supported clinical implications for work with gay, bisexual, and queer men with eating disorders


B4 – Diversity in Group Membership: Principles, Practices and Facilitator Skills

Presenter: FIGF Faculty Member TBD


Levels of diversity in group membership always set up challenges for group leaders. Certain issues arise for group leaders when members closely mirror each other in social-cultural and familial backgrounds, ages and life experiences as well as in communication styles.  And other issues arise when there is great diversity in each of these domains of human experience. Successful group leaders know how to navigate their way through these complexities to elicit the best opportunities for members to acquire the best outcomes from being in a group

Learning Outcomes: Participants in this session will be enabled to:


  • Understand principles of group composition for heterogeneous vs. homogenous groups
  • Understand the benefits and challenges for each kind of group: heterogeneous and homogeneous.
  • Identify skills for negotiating conflict between members who come from different populations, affinity groups, or sub-groupings (e.g. younger vs. older, male vs. female, straight v. gay, black v white, etc.)


B5 - Narrative Therapies With LGBT Clients

Presenter: Mark Smith, PhD, LCSW


Self-identities arise through narrative interactions and identifications. Outsider identities, such as LGBT identities, develop in contrast to dominant narratives and often involve internalized negative self-appraisals. Narrative therapeutic approaches offer an affirmative means for unpacking unrealistic, unhelpful, or oppressive self-messages and confirming positive orientations and identities. Clients engaged in narrative processes recognize that in re-writing the stories they have constructed about themselves, their experiences, and their possible futures, they have in fact changed their worlds.

Participants in this workshop will be able to:

  • Articulate basic narrative theory regarding identity and interpretation of experience.
  • Apply narrative understanding in structuring therapeutic interactions
  • Utilize typical narrative questioning strategies in helping clients adopt preferred self-narratives.



C SESSIONS – 2:40 – 4:40


C-1 Teens Coming Out: A Primer on Gay, Lesbian and Questioning Youth 

Presenters: Kris Drumm, LCSW with Mandi Hawke and LGBT Youth Group Members


This highly interactive training will provide an opportunity for participants to hear first hand from gay and lesbian youth about their experiences of coming to terms with their sexuality with family, friends, in schools and social settings.


  • Understand the key psycho-social issues affecting the development of personal identity for youth who are questioning their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
  • Understand the key elements in the process of development of a gay/lesbian identity
  • Identify clinical strategies for assisting youth and families in coming to terms with questions about sexual orientation



C2 – New Issues and Approaches To LGBT Couples And Family Care

Presenters: Alicia Bosley, PhD, LMFT, James Lopresti, PhD, LMHC and Kim Ehly, LCSW


Since the repeal of DOMA and the US Supreme Court decision that affirms marriage equality, the landscape for LGBT couples has shifted and therapist do well to understand the implications. In the first half of this session, Dr. Bosley will discuss practical implications of her doctoral research on this topic. Simultaneously, research on what really works to address family tensions and attachment disruptions have led to the identification of emerging best practices for working with families in crisis over the discovery that their child is lesbian or gay. In the second half of this session we will inventory key principles of two such interventions. “LEAD with Love” equips families with best practice guidelines for eliciting protective factors for families with LGBT youth. And “Attachment Based Family Therapy” is an evidence based practice proven effective in repairing parent-child relationships for LGBT teens at high risk for depression and self-harm

  • Understand implications from research and practical experience working with couples post DOMA repeal and the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality
  • Identify the four core resiliency focused guidelines for families in “LEAD with Love.”
  • Identity the five core therapeutic goals in “Attachment Based Family Therapy.”


C3 – New Synthetics On The Streets: FLAKKA, Psychedelics And “Industrial Strength” Meth

Presenter: David Fawcett, PhD, LCSW


Flakka, K-2, Spice, bath salts and a variety of other new synthetic drugs are increasingly available and, because of their low cost and easy access via the internet, are overwhelming emergency rooms, psychiatric units, and law enforcement. Originally created to bypass drug screens, these drugs are manufactured by changing molecular structures to stay one step ahead of the law. Such manipulation often has unintended medical consequences. This workshop will outline these new synthetic drugs, their individual and social impact, and what every mental health professional needs to know about this epidemic.

  • Identify epidemiological trends and the social context of the new synthetic drugs in Florida, with particular emphasis on Broward County, “ground zero” of the epidemic.
  • Be familiar with both the acute and chronic physiological and psychological effects of the various classes of new synthetic drugs.
  • Identify  the best practices interventions for these drugs and the community efforts currently underway to address them.



C4 Trauma And Drama In Group: Impact Of Past Trauma And Use Of Substances On Group Process.

Presenters: Mark Smith, PhD, LCSW, Tom Wasik, LCSW


Research evidence convincingly suggests that the neuro-biological processes that respond to intense stressors directly impact the “social” and interpersonal sectors of brain. As a result the impact that traumatic life experiences can have on attachments, social relationships, and overall life satisfaction can be quite profound. Additionally, many persons trapped in a pattern of addictive behaviors, have used substances as a means to escape, numb or deny the damage that trauma has done to them. Some treatment groups are designed to address these matters head on, but even those groups that are not about treatment of these disorders are affected by such histories in their members. Mandated groups, for example, are likely to have a larger proportion of persons who have been deeply hurt by trauma and least successful at dealing with its effects on their lives.

  • Identify skills for group management when working with mandated clients
  • Understand key factors for management of trauma-genic behaviors that can impact group members and group process
  • Understand key factors for management of substance use issues that impact group members and group process


C5 – Cognitive Processing With LGBT Clients

Presenter: Raul Machuca, PhD, LMHC, NCC


This presentation illustrates the use of a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy, specifically oriented to assist LGBT clients who have experienced trauma related experiences, particularly those associated to their sexual orientation and gender identity. Case examples will be used to illustrate specific interventions oriented to address post-traumatic stress related symptoms and depression symptoms, as well as low self-esteem, helplessness and high degrees of internalized homophobia.

  • Understand the use of Cognitive Processing Therapy and its specific model of intervention with LGBT clients experiencing trauma related symptoms.
  • Understand the usefulness of CPT interventions in addressing specific trauma reactions associated to anti-gay assaults, hate crimes, and other traumatic experiences.
  • Identify the therapeutic process experienced by LGBT clients exposed to CPT, including assessment techniques, interventions, skills, as well as specific outcomes. 


- - - - - -  ABOUT OUR PRESENTERS  - - - - - - -


Each presenter in this conference is a clinician or community expert with extensive experience in addressing LGBT concerns



(Program lead trainers and group co-facilitators)


Kris Drumm, LCSW ACHT, former Group Program Coordinator at SunServe, has over 25 years of experience of working with the LGBT community.  Now in private practice at A Healing Space in Wilton Manors where she specializes in creating and facilitating transformative healing processes with individuals and groups, she has led treatment groups in various clinical in-patient and out-patient settings with special emphasis on LGBT care


David Fawcett, PhD, LCSW, a nationally recognized author on HIV and sexuality, was a founder and Chair of the South Florida Methamphetamine Task Force and is a member of the National Steering Committee for National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. He has led HIV specialty support groups for various Florida social service and health care organizations.


James Lopresti, Ph.D., LMHC,  SunServe’s Director of Clinical Education and Senior Clinical Supervisor, is a frequent presenter on gay and lesbian issues for professionals, and has taught at various graduate level programs including Barry University, Loyola University of Chicago and the Johns Hopkins University. He has led group programs and mentored group leaders in clinical settings in Washington, DC and South Florida serving the LGBT community


Cindy Sterne, LCSW, CAP, Clinical Director at Inspirations for Youth and Families, an inpatient treatment facility for adolescents with substance abuse and mental health challenges, has worked in a variety of settings with multiple populations. She also serves as adjunct faculty in the School of Design and Social Inquiry at FAU.






Alicia Bosley, PhD, RMFTI , is the staff clinician for SunServe’s mental health service programs at AHF’s three medical facilities in Broward County. Her doctoral dissertation at NSU addressed the impact of the repeal of DOMA on lesbian and gay couples relationships


Katharine Campbell, PhD, LCSW, Clinician and consultant in private practice, is the former Director of Clinical Services at SunServe, and past chair of the Broward Unit of the Florida Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.


Breanna Crowley, MA is a registered mental health counselor intern, who has worked in both in-patient and out-patient settings with adults and adolescents. She started a transgender counseling group for young adults in Tallahassee. She currently works in Tampa, FL with adults in crisis and in substance abuse facilities


Kris Drumm, LCSW, CHt, (see above)


Kim Ehly, LCSW staff therapist at SunServe, works primarily with youth and families of the LGBTQ community. Her specialties include WPATH guided care for transgender youth and Attachment Based Family Therapy, an evidence based practice that assists families of at risk  LGBT youth restore connection and communication.

David Fawcett, PhD, LCSW (see above)


Mandi Hawke is the Youth Services program coordinator at SunServe and author of the newly released “Proud Empowerment for LGBTQA Youth.”


Ami Hooper-Knox, PhD, LMHC is a Private Practice clinician from Tampa with 10 years of experience providing both mental health, substance abuse, and LGBT affirmative counseling to individuals, couples, and families.  She hold numerous certifications related to the field and is presently an adjunct faculty member teaching courses in Social & Cultural Diversity and Group Counseling for Substance Abuse Counselors. 


James Lopresti, Ph.D., LMHC,   (see above)


Raul Machuca, PhD,  LMHC, NCC is an Assistant professor of Counseling at Barry University, and a Diplomate of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. He is a Certified Cognitive Behavioral Therapist and serves as the Clinical Supervisor for counseling services at the Barry University Family CARE Center. He is a member of the planning team for SunServe’s clinical education programs.


Gayle Nelson, MSW, CHTP specializes in supporting others in their own self-healing and draws on her extensive training in energy based modalities to facilitate mental, physical, emotional and spiritual integration. Her Healing Touch practice is in Wilton Manors, FL.


Mark Smith, PhD, LCSW, associate professor in Barry University’s School of Social Work, co-leads the Florida Chapter of the International Association of Social Work with Groups (IASWG)


Tom Wasik, MFA, LCSW is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker working with individuals, couples and groups in private practice and is a member of SunServe’s Therapist Collective. Trained in psychodrama, he is especially interested in the group process and its potential to create community and support while fostering change.


Katy Yankie, LCSW, Director of Clinical Services at SunServe, has also served as the FACT team leader for Henderson Mental Health and was the owner of a senior care agency in Albuquerque NM.





Workshop rooms will be assigned to provide sufficient space in each workshop for all pre-registered participants. Please make your selection with that in mind. Your advance selection of a particular workshop, however, does not mean that you cannot change your mind and choose a different workshop at the Conference. But we do use the advance choice list to assist us in determining room assignments.



We will make every reasonable attempt to accommodate special needs. Please communicate those needs directly to SunServe by e-mail to or by calling 954-764-5150 ext 111



Full cancellation less a $10 processing fee is available through November 1, 2015



The conference schedule is subject to change without notice. SunServe is not responsible for losses experienced due to schedule changes, weather or travel restrictions, loss or injury due to theft or negligence. Your registration indicates agreement with these terms.



SunServe uploads CE credit information to the Florida CEBroker website for psychologists, school psychologists, clinical social workers, mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, ARNPs, RNs and LPNs. In order to receive CEs, participants must sign in at the beginning of each session and complete an evaluation form at the end of each session. Certificates will be distributed at the end of the session in exchange for a completed evaluation form. Partial credit is not available for any of these workshops. Addictions Professionals, however, must submit their proof of attendance to the Florida Certification Board on their own.






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