University of Southern Indiana


Looking for more information on the conference? View the conference agenda.

Breaking Stigma: What if We Treated Substance Use Disorders Like Other Chronic Illnesses?

George Brenner 

This presentation will take a multifaceted approach to breaking stigma regarding Substance Use Disorders (SUD) including Opioid Use Disorders. We will begin with an exercise to address how personal experiences and language affect our perception of the brain disorder. We will briefly look at historical perspectives that clouds our view of Substance Use Disorders. This stigma both affects how we deliver care and why persons with these disorders do not access treatment at the same rate of other chronic illnesses. To the extent that knowledge changes attitudes and stigma we will briefly explore the science of Substance Use Disorders as brain disorders. We will examine the accepted definition of Substance Use Disorders and basic neuroscience. In this process, we will compare SUD to other chronic illness. Knowledge is often not sufficient for change as we look to a model of how we might provide care for others. Motivational Interviewing is an Evidence Based Practice that improves outcome for those with SUD. Within the practice of Motivational Interviewing is the SPIRIT of Motivational Interviewing. Adopting the SPIRIT challenges us to reduce stigma. The elements of the SPIRIT of Motivational Interviewing are Partnership, Acceptance, Compassion, and Evocation. Time permitting, we will engage in an exercise regarding our values exercise. The last portion of this session will be based on how stigma affects many aspects of the care that is provided with individuals with SUD. We will discuss the treatment that is available and what may be in limited supply because of stigma. We will briefly explore how stigma possibly affects NAS, access to Medication Assisted Treatment, and practice of harm reduction strategies.

Learning objectives:

  1. The person will have the opportunity to explore and resolve their own personal bias and stigma.
  2. The person will have improved knowledge of the Science of Substance Use Disorders including Opioid Use Disorders as a way of breaking stigma though knowledge.
  3. The person will have an opportunity to explore the SPIRIT of Motivational Interviewing as a way of resolving stigma and providing care in a client centered fashion.
  4. The person will have an opportunity to explore ways that stigma potentially affects our delivery of Evidence Based Practices.


Utilizing Motivational Interviewing To Manage “Discord” In Client Interaction

George Brenner

The workshop will be a facilitated learning process. It will combine Power Point didactic information with skills training. The participants will be asked to participate in the practice of these skills as a way to be able to implement then in their daily care.

Learning objectives:

  1. The participant in the workshop will be able to identify to conflict in the relationship between the client and provider including the nature of the conflict.
  2. The participant in this workshop will gain knowledge of ways to manage their own and their client’s generated “Discord”.
  3. The participant will have practice of conversational skills that might be utilized to reduce the “Discord” and reduce the conflict in their interactions.


Social Workers in Action

Kathy Byers, Jean Caplan and Beryl Cohen

This panel will discuss the practical delivery of the System of Care within our region with a focus on providing a trauma informed delivery system. Evansville, Indiana has hosted the Southwestern Regional System of Care for the last 6 years. Called FACES (Families and Communities Embracing Successes) the consortium of more than 25 community organizations meets monthly to uniquely support family needs, addresses communication silos and supports community professional development and education relevant to child and adolescent mental health.

Learning objectives:

  1. Participants will be able to articulate and embrace the mandate in our code of ethics to advocate for social justice and communities that support all people.
  2. Participants will be able to describe and implement the basic principles of grass roots activism.
  3. Participants will be able to identify and articulate the issues they are passionate about, their motivations to take political action, the barriers that impede their taking action, and the supports that would help them take action.


Brain Injury is a Family Affair: Supporting Families of People with Brain Injuries

Jean Caplan 

Brain injury can affect a person cognitively, physically and emotionally, leading to vocational, relational and financial impacts.  But families are also affected and often have no support to understand and adapt to the changes in their family member. Proper supports improve family adaptation to brain injury and long term outcomes.

Learning objectives:

  1. Attendees will understand the effects of brain injury on the individual and how these changes in the individual affect family functioning.
  2. Attendees will be able to recognize the multiple dynamics and stressors within a family system when one member has a brain injury and be able to employ helpful interventions to support the healthy adaptation of the family to the changes after brain injury.
  3. Attendees will become aware of the resources and supports for families to help them cope with and adapt to the changes they experience after one member sustains a brain injury.


Motivational Interviewing:  Engaging Clients in a Conversation about Change

Chad Connor 

Motivational interviewing (MI) is a method for exploring and enhancing readiness for change with clients. The congruence of social work values and MI is discussed. Participants will observe a demonstration of MI, understand its applications, briefly practice some of its concepts and learn how to develop proficiency in MI.

Learning objectives:

  1. Participants will understand the values and basic techniques used in Motivational Interviewing (MI).
  2. Participants will understand MI’s application to social work practice across various client populations and presenting problems.
  3. Participants will know where they can go to further their training/development in the proficiency of using MI.


Introduction to Social Work Practice and Client Sexual Issues

David Cousert

This presentation offers a one-hour session providing social workers an increased understanding and appreciation of human sexuality and sexual issues with clients. The session is introductory in nature and is focused toward an intermediate level of practice.

Learning objectives:

  1. Improve the knowledge of participants related the issues and challenges in understanding of client dynamics related to sexual identity and functioning.
  2. Increase the knowledge of participants related to general types of sexual issues/dysfunction.
  3. Introduce ethical considerations related to Social Work and client sexual issues.


Community Collaboration and Best Practices with Traumatized Youth

Donna Culley, Lori McIntire and Davi Stein-Kiley 

System of Care agency involvement in assisting youth with trauma practically and sensitively will be discussed. The panel will discuss roles and the processes essential to supporting families with trauma history and steps needed to ensure appropriate care. Best practices essential to SOC, working with multi problem families and methodology used to avoid a duplication of services as well as enhance service matching and communication between professional will be addressed.

Learning objectives:

  1. Participants will learn about the Systems of Care model and its effective implementation in helping youth who have experienced trauma.
  2. Participants will learn about the process of sharing information across agencies in order to serve a family.
  3. Participants will learn about barriers to successful implementation of trauma informed care that includes multiple agencies serving a family and youth.


Ethical Issues in Multiculturally Competent Practice

Stephanie Cunningham

This presentation will focus on multicultural competency, the relationship between multicultural competency and social justice, and the relevance of these issues for avoiding causing harm to those whom we serve. Participants will be encouraged to consider core values and reflect on how these relate to ethical practice, particularly regarding care provided to historically marginalized groups.

By completing the program, participants will able to:

  1. Describe a conceptual framework for multiculturally competent mental health care practice.
  2. Summarize the basis of the claim for a fundamental connection between multicultural competency and social justice.
  3. Apply practical strategies for ethical practice and decision-making in working with diverse clientele.


Using Technology and Social Media in Social Work Practice

Jara Dillingham and Elissa Mitchell 

Are we preparing students for the field?  This interactive workshop will provide information on current trends in the use of technology and social media in social service agencies.  Participants will have opportunity to discuss current technological and social media needs, as well as learn how technology and social media are being integrated into the social work classroom. 

Learning objectives:

  1. Identify trends in technology and social media use in social service agencies.
  2. Gain insight into how technology and social media is being integrated into social work classrooms.
  3. Discuss current technological needs of social services agencies and expectations of newly hired social work graduates.


The NAS Epidemic: Preserving the Dignity and Worth of Mother and Baby

April Mallory and Cayce Watson

This interactive workshop is appropriate for practitioners at the micro and macro level. It will provide best-practice information to novice clinicians and challenge firmly-held beliefs of those with many years of experience to think critically about meeting the needs of pregnant and parenting clients. Current policies will be reviewed as well as advocacy strategies for clinical and community-based practitioners.  

Learning objectives:

  1. Identify the scope of opioid use and misuse among women, risks during pregnancy, and available treatment options for clients.
  2. Describe opportunities for creating integrated systems at both the individual and community practice levels when working with opioid dependent pregnant clients.
  3. Explore barriers to effective treatment including access to care, conflicting treatment approaches, and punitive social welfare policies


Mindfulness and Cognitive Defusion Skills for Managing Difficult Thoughts

John Paulson

This workshop will explore evolving views from the third-wave contextual Cognitive-Behavior Therapies (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy) on the nature of thinking and its role in psychotherapy. Participants will practice strategies for working with challenging self-talk and core beliefs.

Upon completing this workshop participants will be able to:

  1. Describe differences between traditional CBT views of thinking and contextual CBT views.
  2. Report better understanding of mindfulness and cognitive defusion techniques.
  3. Identify at least two mindfulness and defusion strategies for working with challenging thoughts.


Trauma Related Disorders: Treatment Considerations and Strategies

Marie Pease 

Trauma is the emotional response a person has to an extremely negative event. Although trauma is a normal reaction to a horrible event, the effects can be so severe that they interfere with an individual’s ability to live a normal life. Individuals who have experienced events as traumas may develop intense or unpredictable feelings, changes to thoughts and behavior, sensitivity to environmental factors, strained interpersonal relationships and stress-related physical symptoms (American Psychological Association, 2016). This presentation will explore the impact of trauma and ensuing related disorders and will provide participants with evidence based treatment options & prevention strategies. 

Learning objectives:

  1. Name at least six trauma related disorders.
  2. Describe at least four evidence based treatment strategies for trauma related disorders.
  3. Describe at least three evidence based strategies for prevention of trauma related disorders.
  4. Describe at least three cultural related considerations when working with an individual who has experienced trauma.



Understanding Law Enforcement Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Programs

Sam Preston

Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) officers play a vital role in the safety and well being of consumers who are in acute or chronic crisis. Because of their unique role it is important for other service providers to understand this role and have a working knowledge of their abilities and limitations.

Learning objectives:

  1. Application of state law as it relates to a) Immediate detention B) Emergency Detention C) Voluntary/Involuntary Mental Health Commitments.
  2. Overview of CIT Training.
  3. Resources that a law enforcement office and CIT Officer can provide.
  4. Limitations of a CIT Officer.


Whats NEW in Addiction Treatment for 2018 and the Future- Everything Old is NEW Again

Lisa Seif

This workshop will be interactive and informative. We will be discussing new "best practices" as well as strengths based interventions and trends. Addiction has earned its seat at the table; and, we need to not only know but understand how to address, treat, and empower the individual and their family. This has become its own culture!

We will discuss strategies, experiences and outcomes. A diverse panel of recovering folks and their families will share their experiences of what works and what hurts!

Prepare to Laugh! Listen! and Learn!

Learning objectives:

  1. Apply theoretical models and effective techniques to increase engagement and motivation for CHANGE.
  2. Devise strategies and skills that can influence and promote self-acceptance, self- awareness, and self-care.
  3. Introduce the integrated model of mental health and addiction services.
  4. Meet and hear the real stories to help dispel the common misconceptions and biases. 


Engagement and Ongoing Work with Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Victims

Whitney Weir 

Motivational Interviewing like with many other areas has proven to be effective when working with young women who have experience sex trafficking and exploitation. This presentation will review MI and Stages of Change and offer concrete examples for use with DMST victims.

Learning objectives:

  1. Define Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking.
  2. Define Motivational Interviewing.
  3. Identify the Stages of Change.
  4. List practical uses of Stages of Change with DMST victims.


Human Trafficking in the TriState: Victimology & Identification

Whitney Weir

Human trafficking is a growing crime here in the Tristate, across the country, and around the world. In the last several years more victims of trafficking are being identified by law enforcement, service providers and community members due to increased education. This presentation will discuss what human trafficking is, victimology and how to identify and then report cases of human trafficking.

Learning objectives:

  1. Define Trafficking.
  2. List and describe vulnerabilities of victims of trafficking.
  3. Identify ways victims are recruited.
  4. Describe red flags of human trafficking.


Ethics, the First Amendment, and Social Justice Advocacy after Jemele Hill’s Suspension

Scott Wylie

ESPN reporter Jamele Hill is just one of the high profile users of social media who have encountered trouble with their employer for engaging in social justice advocacy. This session will consider the ethics of social media use as well as the cdonstitutional protections for speech and advocacy.

Learning objectives:

  1. Attendees will better understand how to balance the rules of the workplace with their constitutionally protected speech rights in the context of social justice advocacy.
  2. Attendees will gain insight into the ethical issues presented by the use of v arious social media platforms as it pertains to their particiapation in social justice advocacy.
  3. Attendees will better understand how use social media in ways that do not raise employment issues.

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