Annual LGBT Quality Care Conference

New Times, New Challenges:



Unparalleled longer-term rehab and behavioral healthcare services for adults, young adults, and relapse patients






Co-presented by Barry University Schools of Social Work and Education


Friday, November 8, 2019

Barry University, Miami, FL


What This Conference is All About:


While there has been great progress in social acceptance for any who identify as LGBTQ in recent years, especially since the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision affirming marriage equality, considerable inequities remain in force in healthcare delivery, including specialized mental health treatment. The knowledge gap among providers of care contributes to that wall of obstacles. This conference works to lessen that gap by providing up-to-date information about the life experiences of this often marginalized community, and to model best practice approaches to clinical care. Whether clinicians are new to the LGBTQ community, or seasoned professionals within that community, the Annual Conference affords CEU training on topics of critical importance. There are tracks on foundations for quality care for each segment of this diverse community as well as specialized focus areas, including “Expressing LGBTQ Sexuality” and a host of topics on “Complex Issues and Emerging Trends.”


At the close of this conference participants will be able to:


1) Demonstrate an understanding of the foundation of LGBQ clinical care.

2) Demonstrate an understanding of the foundation of clinical care for transgender and gender expansive clients

3) Understand the diversity of LGBTQ sexual expressions.

4) List key complex issues, emerging trends, and strategic approaches in clinical care for the LGBTQ community.

5) Recognize the impact of the social political landscape on LGBTQ clinical care.





8:00 – 8:45 Registration Landon Student Union Building

8:45 – 9:00 Welcome Landon Student Union Building

9-10 – Keynote Landon Student Union Building


Breakout session locations identified in printed program

10:15-11:15 Breakout session #1

11:30-12:30 Break out session #2


12:30-1:30 Networking Lunch: Landon Student Union Building


Breakout session locations identified in printed program

1:45-2:45 Breakout session #3

3:00-4:00 Breakout session #4



COSTS: (includes continental breakfast and lunch)


$85 full fee registration

$40 for SunServe Collective Members, Barry University faculty and field instructors

$20 for graduate students in social work, counseling or nursing

To inquire about group rates for staff members at non-profit agencies (2 or more registering at the same time) email





Keynote LGBTQ Care: New Times, New Challenges

Nik Harris, JD, LGBTQ Consumer Advocate, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs


Nik Harris previously served at the Florida Department of Health's Prosecution Services Unit as an Assistant General Counsel responsible for litigating administrative cases before the Department of Administrative Hearings, investigating and recommending proceedings to Board concerning medical professionals requiring assistance with substance abuse issues, letters of reprimand, suspension, revocation, fines, and more. Harris is a graduate of the Florida State University College of Law and the Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University.






Presenters and moderators for these breakout sessions have all been chosen because of their extensive clinical, and/or research experience with the LGBTQ community, including specialized involvement in LGBTQ community building and advocacy work in their various professions. Many currently serve, or previously served, in care giving roles at SunServe, South Florida’s comprehensive community-based LGBTQ social service agency.


While participants are encouraged to consider attending all four sessions within one track to gain the benefit of a cohesive training experience in a specific topic area, participants are free to choose sessions from any track in any time period.






Presenter: Robert MacWhirter, LCSW, Staff therapist and Coordinator of Student Program, SunServe

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.



Presenter: Michael Alexander-Luz, LCSW, Lead Youth Therapist, SunServe

Gay? Lesbian? Queer? Pansexual? Asexual? Bi-sexual? Something else? Questioning all this? This highly interactive training will provide an opportunity for participants to hear what experienced therapists have learned from working daily with gay, lesbian, bi-, queer,  youth and their experiences of coming to terms with their wide variety of experiences of sexuality in their lives with family, friends, in schools and social settings.

This is not your grandfather’s “birds and bees” conversation any more!



Presenter: Mark Smith, Ph.D., LCSW, Barry University School of Social Work

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:



(Session Four) Working, Living And Loving In The Same Community Special Issues For Lgbt Therapy Regarding Boundary ISSUES

Presenter: Lyle Davis, LCSW, Clinician in Private Practice, Wilton Manors, FL

After moderating a discussion to articulate a common understanding about ethical standards and professionally accepted principles that apply to dual relationship management, presenters facilitate a consultation process on case vignettes. Participants discuss a variety of dual relationships and boundary crossing challenges faced by therapists in the LGBT community.



foundations for transgender clinical care


In this series of four one-hour seminars, participants will focus on the role of the mental health professional in assisting clients in their evolving appropriation of gender identity and expression into their lives. Participants will engage in a deeper reflection on the evolving meaning and experience of gender in today’s world and examine the clinical assumptions about gender dysphoria in DSM 5. Participants will critically reflect on the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s (WPATH) Standards of Care documents for counselors working with clients who are seeking some form of “transitioning” as that is understood uniquely by each in their own way. And participants will be guided to understand the challenges and impacts of a pervasively rejecting and hostile socio-cultural environment.


  • (Session One) Expanding Your Understanding About the Meaning of Gender

Presenter: Landon “ LJ” Woolston, MSW, trans community advocate and educator


  • (Session Two) WPATH Primer for Therapists

Presenter: Michael Anderson, LMHC, Clinician in Private Practice


  • (Session Three) The Essential Clinical Challenge: Being a Care Team Member, not a Gate Keeper

Presenter: Ashley Austin, PhD, Faculty, Barry University School of Social Work


  • (Session Four) Providing Clinical Care in a Non-Accepting or Hostile Environment

Presenter: Ieshai Bailey, LMHC, CST, Clinician in Private Practice







(Session One) Affirming Sexual Diversity

Presenter: Steven Davidson, PhD, LCSW, CST is a clinician in private practice

Do you affirm individuals who engage in sexual practices that are different from your own? Do you judge that some sexual behaviors are healthier or more appropriate while others are dangerous and immoral? Do you coach clients toward one relationship model while minimizing the legitimacy of other models for relationships? Many therapists claim to be LGBTQ affirmative yet practice in ways that are non-affirmative and even shaming for their LGBTQ clients. Let's see just how affirmative you really are.


(Session Two) Developmental Impact of Religious Shaming

Presenter: Rev. Leslie Rutland-Tipton, Senior Minister, Church of the Holy Spirit Song, Wilton Manors, FL

There is great life-long formative power in the words spoken by revered community leaders. That is especially true when those words generate unquestionable assumptions about what is good vs bad, or worthy vs. unworthy and inform the consciousness of whole communities. That power is multiplied exponentially when messages spoken from the pulpit are carried from there to the home. These imprinted judgments engender toxic shame that cuts to the core of one’s sense of personal value and self-worth. Our young who sense at an early age that something about them diverges from the cultural norm about sexuality and gender are especially vulnerable to shame and all the life-limiting hiding behaviors they may well choose in order to cope with it. Participants will explore these dynamics in this session


(Session Three) Sexuality, & Recovery

Presenters: Phoenix Adams, DSW, LCSW is Executive Director of Executive Programming at Caron and Ryan Hanson, MA, CAP is Executive Director of Caron Renaissance in Boca Raton, FL

It’s well documented that the LGBTQ community has increased prevalence of substance abuse and process driven disorders. There are additional barriers to accessing recovery resources that may exist, related to one’s sexuality, that culturally competent clinicians should consider when working with this population. This presentation followed by a panel discussion will address some key challenges and ways therapists can support their clients in accessing recovery resources.


(Session Four) Neurodiversity & Sex

Presenter: David Landsman-Wohlsifer, Ph.D. LCSW, faculty, FAU School of Social Work

Broadening the dominant neurotypical hold on thinking about all aspects of sexuality, this workshop will be serve as an opportunity to examine LGBTQ sexual expression, sexual identity, and relationships from a perspective of neuroatypicality. Special attention will be paid to the experience of people who identify as being on the autistic spectrum.






(Session One Option A – Transgender Care Focus) Creating a New Identity Through Transition

Presenters: Elena “Ele” Naranjo, LMHC is Clinical Director at SunServe and Cole Timonere, JD, is in a clinical placement at SunServe for a master’s degree in mental health counseling from Northwestern University.

While many mental health clinicians are open to working with Transgender identifying individuals, their openness alone does not translate to competence. This presentation will discuss transgender client expectations and what they feel they need from a counselor, use of effective language and themes in working with transgender clients, common maladaptive schema present in the population, and the ways in which to navigate that schema. It is through learning more about the transgender experience that clinicians can gain the skills necessary to work competently with the transgender population.  


(Session One Option B – LGBT Focus) Queer Enough?

Presenter: Lisa Shapiro, LMHC, is the Coordinator for the Prevention Program at SunServe

With the emergence of higher visibility and, either deeper acceptance that values the diversity that LGBTQ persons bring to a community, or the quest for political power by LGBTQ persons in more restrictive communities, the issue of queer identity often comes to the foreground. Some persons in the LGBTQ community find themselves “left out” or marginalized if they do not assent to a more militant queer identity or “go stealth” for greater acceptance. Participants in this session will consider the counseling implications of such experiences


(Session Two Option A – Transgender Care Focus) Digging Deeper into Trans Care Complex Issues: Re-transition? De-transition? Other?

Presenter: Katharine Campbell, PhD, LCSW, a former Clinical Director at SunServe, is a clinician in private practice

This workshop is designed to initiate an exploratory conversation about gender on a deeper level. Our focus is to challenge beliefs about the binary concepts of gender, the transitioning process and the expectations or disappointments of the concept of transitioning. Digging deeper is moving beyond the concept of transitioning as an end point and exploring the various potential journeys


(Session Two Option B – LGBT focus) Tools for Fostering Resilience in LGBTQ Youth

Presenter: Raul Machuca, PhD, LMHC, is Director of the Doctoral Program in Counseling at Barry University

This session will present a model of youth resilience as a starting point for the formulation of strategies to build LGBTQ youth’s capability to deal with adversity. As a basic premise, this education session will offer participants the opportunity to explore, identify and foster naturally occurring protective factors in the lives of LGBTQ youth. It will also present participants with specific strategies to facilitate the development of new resilience characteristics in LGBTQ youth as a preventative measure for dealing with future adversity.


(Session Three  Option A – Transgender Care Focus) Trauma Informed Practice with Transgender Survivors in a Transphobic World

Presenters: Sarah Bartley, RSWI, is a volunteer therapist at SunServe and co-facilitator for the agency’s support group for families of transgender individuals. Emma Levine-Nevel, MSW, completed her clinical placement at SunServe for Smith College

This break out session will explore the intersections of various systems of oppression as they manifest in the unique experiences of transgender survivors of sexual violence. We will draw upon a trauma-informed and trans-competency framework to contextualize the individual experience of sexual trauma and discuss its implications on clinical practice. Through interactive activities and discussion we will gain tools and skills to sensitively and comprehensively tailor our services to the particular needs of transgender survivors


(Session Three  Option B – LGBT Focus) Taking on Intersectionality in the Counseling Room

Nikki Salzburg, PhD, is a psychologist in private practice and Board Member at SunServe

LGBTQ persons of color sometimes experience hostility, rejection and micro-aggression from all sides. They are ostracized by their own communities for being LGBTQ and a threat to the solidarity or values of their cultural heritage. And, at the same time they are objects of hatred and/or discrimination both for being LGBTQ and as members of a racial or ethnic minority. Many of the same processes of exclusion are at work as well for other sub-groupings in the LGBTQ community that are made invisible or considered “less than.” Counseling practices with such clients requires attention to both matters. Simultaneously, LGBTQ persons who have not had occasion to question any privileged status may be unaware of ways that they continue oppression they experience as LGBTQ towards persons without such privileges in their own community. Participants in this breakout will explore these layers of social-cultural influences.


(Session Four Option A – Transgender Care Focus) Transgender Dating and Coupling

Panel Moderator: Misty Eyez, Director, Transgender Services, SunServe Especially when the process of transitioning involves significant social and medical differences, pre-transitioning intimacy relationships can be deeply affected for newly emerging cis-trans couples. And for those who have undergone such transitions while single, the challenges of sexual encounters and dating can be uniquely stressful. A panel of trans community members will assist participants in understanding these issues based their personal experiences



(Session Four Option B – LGBT Focus) Taking on Spirituality Topics in the Counseling Room

Moderators: Rev. Heidi Alfrey, Center for Spiritual Living of Ft. Lauderdale and Jim Lopresti, PhD, LMHC, founder of the mental health program at SunServe. Many religious traditions have codified sanctions on LGBTQ members, from lower status to outright expulsion. Yet many LGBTQ persons have absorbed basic spiritual principles that guide their life choices, either affirming their identity as good or burdening them with shame and revulsion. Especially because of the power these spiritual principles exert on personal development, counselors often cannot be truly effective with LGBTA clients if they are not conversant in certain universalities about spirituality. In this breakout session participants will explore these issues with session facilitators who are both therapists and trained guides in spiritual direction.




Continuing education credits for all workshops: LCSWs, LMHCs, LMFTs, CNAs, RNs, ARNPs: 5 CEUs for full conference attendance, Florida Board of Psychology (Exp. 5/31/2020), Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy& Mental Health Counseling Provider (Exp. 3/2021) and Florida Board of Nursing Provider (Exp. 10/31/2020). CEBroker #50– 5251. Addictions Professional CEUs cannot be uploaded to CE Broker.  Participants need to submit certificates of attendance on their own for credit



 SunServe is CEBroker Provider #50-5251. SunServe uploads CE credits to CEBroker