Category Archives: Workshop

2017 Fall Workshop


The Virginia Association for Marriage and Family Therapy


Walking the Delicate Balance: Working Systemically with Complex Developmental Trauma

2017 Fall Workshop

Attachment, Attunement, Aggravation

6 CE Hours

Mary Jo Barrett, MSW

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

8:00am — 3:30pm

George Mason University
Fairfax, Virginia

Click Here to Register


Download a copy of the brochure (.pdf)



Complex developmental trauma is associated with a range of experiences occurring at key points in human development. Important strides have been made in the ability of therapists to help clients overcome symptoms of complex developmental trauma. At least for the time clients are with us in the therapy room, clients are able to learn and access new ways of thinking, self-regulation, and even a sense of restored well-being. But, once they leave the safe, rarefied space of the therapy room, do they have the skills to address the difficulties or problems they will experience in relationships with intimates, family, friends and co-workers?

Using a systemic approach creates an opportunity for clients to understand their own and the other’s inner experience, and to learn and practice self-regulation and co-regulation. By creating a collaborative context in therapy, clients are encouraged to demonstrate and to witness change along with the most important people in their life. Thus, the therapist invites the couple, the family, and extended relationship network into the therapy room to enable those to be transformed into healing relationships.

Through therapeutic enactments, what happens at home or in the community can be experienced and shifted while in the therapy room. Triggers and patterns can be revealed and then interrupted. A corrective experience can be created through a process of validation, affirmation, and attunement. In front of the stimulus, people learn skills to alter distorted cognition, manage anxieties, hold affect, regulate emotion, navigate attachment, evolve self-concept, and experience a window of tolerance.

For therapists working with complex developmental trauma, this workshop will:

  • Illustrate how to integrate systemic models of family, couple and relational therapy into treatment
  • Explore the role of systemic intervention when violence or trauma is currently occurring in a family
  • Illuminate family of origin work with adult survivors
  • Show how to bring the family or relational network into the room in spirit even if they cannot be there in body
  • Teach specific interventions that can be used at each stage of the treatment process
  • Highlight essential ingredients for successful outcomes
  • Illustrate how to transfer benefits of therapy into the client’s natural life of relationships


About the Presenter

Mary Jo Barrett is Executive Director and founder of The Center for Contextual Change, Ltd. She holds a Masters in Social Work from the University of Illinois Jane Addams School of Social Work and has been on faculties of the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration, the Chicago Center for Family Health, and the Family Institute of Northwestern University. Previously, Ms Barrett was Clinical Director of Midwest Family Resource; she has been working in the field of family violence since 1974.

Ms Barrett’s latest book, Treating Complex Trauma: A Relational Blueprint for Collaboration and Change, co-authored by Linda Stone Fish, published in June 2014. Ms Barrett also co-authored two books with Dr Terry Trepper: Incest: A Multiple Systems Perspective and The Systemic Treatment of Incest: A Therapeutic Handbook. She co-created the Collaborative Change Model, a highly successful contextual model of therapy used to transform the lives of those impacted by abuse and/or traumatic events. Her passion is teaching and supporting clinicians to recognize their own resources so that they can help clients discover their own resources.

Ms Barrett founded the Family Dialogue Project, a mediation program striving to redefine relationships within families that have been impacted by allegations of abuse or differences that appear irreconcilable. Ms Barrett’s dedication is to help both clients and professionals to find peaceful nonviolent resources, in order to manage the complexity of their lives. Her trainings and published works focus on the teaching of the Collaborative Change Model, treatment for: family and couple violence; Complex Trauma; adult survivors of sexual abuse and trauma; eating disorders; couple therapy; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Compassion Fatigue.


Click Here to Register


Download a copy of the brochure (.pdf)



Registration is limited to licensed mental health professionals (LMFT, LPC, LCSW, LCP, Psychiatrists, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners), Residents/Supervisees, and Graduate Students currently enrolled in these disciplines. Enrollment is on a first come, first served basis.

Click here to register online or download the printed brochure, complete the registration information panel, and enclose payment to VAMFT for the correct amount. This covers workshop, handouts, CE certificate of attendance, continental breakfast, morning and afternoon coffee, and parking in Mason Pond Parking Deck (voucher provided at workshop completion). Lunch is on your own and you can choose from a variety of restaurants located in the atrium of the Johnson Center.

If you are paying by check, please make it payable to VAMFT, and mail both your check and a registration form to:

Scott Fowler
101 Nat Turner Blvd.
Newport News, VA 23606


Cancellation & Refund Policy

Any cancellation of attendance must be made in writing and received by VAMFT no later than 10/6/17; a refund less $35 processing fee will be provided. After this date refunds are not possible, regardless of personal circumstances. It is regrettable that personal circumstances prevent attendance, including medical conditions and emergencies, weather or transportation, however the logistics of event management prevent us from assuming responsibility for these contingencies. A registration may be transferred to another clinician in toto with prior notification to VAMFT.



The George Mason University official address is 4400 University Dr, Fairfax, VA 22030. Workshop is located in the Johnson Center at the heart of the University. Downstairs, in Dewberry Hall. The registration desk opens at 7:30 a.m. Workshop begins promptly at 8:00 a.m. and concludes at 3:30 p.m. to enable attendees to depart ahead of traffic in the region. Attendees must sign in. Certificates are awarded only on conference completion at 3:30 p.m. A voucher will be provided at workshop completion to enable free parking at the Mason Pond Parking Deck. Johnson Center is adjacent to the bronze statue of George Mason.

Arrangements for 25% discounted hotel rate have been made with Marriott Residence Inn, 3565 Chainbridge Rd, Fairfax. Phone hotel reservations at (877) 399 6027. Make reservations prior to 10/12/17 and cite VAMFT to receive this rate.


Contact Information

For questions about the conference please contact Scott Fowler (



Sponsored as a service to the profession by
the Virginia Association for Marriage & Family Therapy

Ronnie Zuessman, PhD LCP LMFT, Past President




Information about our Spring Conference


The Virginia Association for Marriage and Family Therapy


Doing Therapy with Couples & Families –

Ethical & Professional Issues


Michael Gillette, PhD

Jaime Hoyle, JD
Exec Dir VA Board of Counseling

Erika Grafsky, PhD
Asst Prof, Virginia Tech

May 5, 2017              8:30am-4:30pm

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The Virginia Association
for Marriage and Family Therapy

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Kenneth V. Hardy, PhD

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