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Formerly the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP)

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Managing Clients in High Conflict Divorce for Lawyers and Mental Health Professionals

Mar 01, 2013 09:00am -
Mar 01, 2013 04:30pm

Event Description

Managing Clients in High Conflict Divorce for Lawyers and Mental Health Professionals

This program is sponsored by the Center of Excellence for Children, Families and the Law and the Center for the Study of Psychology and Divorce at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology.

Robin Deutsch, PhD, Sanford M. Portnoy, PhD and Robert Kinscherff, PhD, JD, instructors

Separation and divorce can severely challenge clients. Feelings of humiliation, betrayal or shame can result in decisions and behavior that make some clients difficult to manage or to effectively support professionally. Participants will learn about the types of “difficult clients” and techniques to more effectively respond to them in the course of providing professional services. Methods are discussed for screening clients for mental illness, substance abuse, or domestic violence, and distinguishing "difficult clients" whose challenges are largely situational in response to divorce from those with more enduring and severe interpersonal problems. Professionals also need to possess the skills necessary to provide the boundaries and structures that can hold such clients in place, and allow them to be more responsive. There will be a discuss of such techniques, interventions and the range of psychological, legal and alternative dispute resolution processes available to families in crisis with a particular focus on families with children. This range includes mediation, collaborative practice, parenting coordination, settlement conferences, custody evaluations and reunification strategies. The crucial roles of legal and mental health professionals in guiding the family to understanding their range of choices are discussed as are strategies for managing “difficult clients” and minimizing professional practice risks.

Upon completion of the program the student will be able to:

·         Describe different types of “difficult to manage” clients.

·         Screen for complicating psychological issues such as mental illness, substance abuse and family violence..

·         Identify the range of effective interventions available to manage high conflict families.

·         Differentiate types of interventions for the challenges presented by different “difficult to manage” clients

Program Code: D675 
6 CE Credits
Location: at MSPP, Newton

Robin M. Deutsch, PhD, is a psychologist and the Director of the Center of Excellence for Children, Families and the Law at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP). She is the former director of Forensic Services of the Children and the Law Program in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital where she remains a consultant. She is Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Deutsch is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison from which she also received her Ph.D. in counseling psychology. As a therapist, consultant, custody evaluator, mediator, and parenting coordinator, her work has focused on the application of child development research to children’s adjustment to divorce and parenting issues, the evaluation of families involved in family change and management of high conflict divorce. Dr. Deutsch frequently speaks to interdisciplinary groups on complex issues in child custody disputes. She has provided training for Parenting Coordination throughout the country, Canada and Sweden, including the first Massachusetts training. Dr. Deutsch has published articles on the effects of high conflict divorce, the evaluation of domestic violence, Parenting Coordination, developmentally appropriate parenting plans, attachment considerations, interventions for alienated children, ethical issues, and management of cases of Munchausen by Proxy. She is the co-author of 7 Things Your Teenager Won’t Tell You (and How to Talk About Them Anyway) (Ballantine, 2005 and 2011). She is past President of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) and the former president of the Massachusetts chapter of AFCC. Dr. Deutsch was a member of the AFCC Task Force that developed Guidelines for Parenting Coordination (2005), and the Massachusetts task force that wrote Planning for Shared Parenting: a Guide for Parents Living Apart, and she served on the American Psychological Association Task Force that developed Guidelines for Parenting Coordination (2011). Dr. Deutsch is the former Chair of the American Psychological Association Ethics Committee (2007) and she is a 2006 recipient of the American Psychological Association Karl F. Heiser Presidential Award for Advocacy.

Sanford M. Portnoy, PhD, has taught at MSPP since 1977 and teaches Clinical Seminar II. He is a partner of a private group practice in Needham, MA. His interests are in assessment and treatment of individual adults, adolescents, families and couples with specializations in couples therapy and divorce. He is a consultant on impasse resolution to divorcing individuals and consults to matrimonial attorneys on lawyer-client relationships during divorce. He was on the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Psychological Association, from 1997-1999; was President of The Divorce Center, Inc. from 1993-1995 and served as the President of the Massachusetts Psychological Association from 1999 to 2000.

Robert Kinscherff, PhD, Esq., is a forensic and clinical psychologist and an attorney who has been a member of the MSPP faculty since 1999. He is Senior Associate for the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice and a member of the Massachusetts Governor’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee. Dr. Kinscherff has previously served as Director of Clinical Services for Easter Seals of New Hampshire, Assistant Commissioner for Forensic Mental Health (Massachusetts Department of Mental Health), Director of Juvenile Court Clinic Services (Administrative Office of the Juvenile Court, MA Trial Court), and Director of Adult Forensic Services (Psychiatry and Law Program, Massachusetts General Hospital). For over a decade, he taught Forensic Mental Health Law and Psychiatry and Law at Boston University Law School. For the American Psychological Association, he has served as a past two-term Chair of the Ethics Committee (EC), Chair of the Committee on Legal Issues (COLI) and Member of the Committee on Professional Practices and Standards (COPPS). He is a past member of the Board and the Editorial Board for the Society on Terrorism Research and has been an invited participant on FBI and RAND Corporation working groups involving the intersection of behavioral sciences, law enforcement and national security. His research and professional practice areas include ethical and professional practice issues in clinical and forensic mental health practice, violence risk assessment and management, juvenile and adult sexual offenders, serious delinquency and juvenile homicide, aggressive and sexually problematic behaviors among youth and adults with developmental disabilities, and severe and unusual forms of child maltreatment. His most recent publication is a co-authored book entitled, APA Ethics Code: Commentary and Case Illustrations. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association Press, 2009.

Event Type:Continuing Education Program
Category:Forensic Psychology & Divorce
Early registration ends on Jan 06, 2013.
Regular registration starts on Jan 07, 2013 and ends on Feb 18, 2013.
Late registration starts on Feb 19, 2013.


Registration Fees
Fee TypeEarlyRegularLate
 Managing Clients in High Conflict Divorce (D675)
Member Fee: $135.00$135.00$135.00
Non-Member Fee: $135.00$135.00$135.00

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