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Formerly the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP)

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What Every Therapist and Lawyer Should Know about Divorce

Nov 09, 2012 09:00am -
Nov 09, 2012 04:30pm

Event Description

What Every Therapist and Lawyer Should Know about Divorce:

Psychological, Emotional, Social and Legal Issues

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.

Sanford M. Portnoy, PhD, Robin Deutsch, PhD and Honorable Christina Harms, JD, (Ret.), instructors

Virtually all mental health practitioners work with individuals or families who are experiencing divorce. Few have a deep understanding of what occurs during the legal process of divorce. Lawyers who work with divorcing individuals know the legal process, but neither therapists nor lawyers understand how that process interacts with the emotional upheaval and significant psychological dislocation that divorce produces. The literature on therapeutic interventions during divorce indicates that competent therapists fall into common patterns of response that affect their clients adversely, and lawyers are not always clear about the psychological and social aspects of the divorce process. This workshop will review the research on the effects of divorce on the adults and children who experience it, and how traditionally litigated divorce impacts the client and the client’s family. We will also discuss more family-oriented forms of legal separation and divorce that seek to avoid the damage of adversarial divorce and that lay the groundwork for successful post-divorce family function, including divorce mediation and collaborative divorce. Mental health and legal practitioners who take this workshop will more fully understand their divorcing clients’ presenting needs and emotional states. In addition they will learn how to avoid actions that do harm, while becoming wiser advisors to this group of clients. They will gain a working, practical knowledge of both the adversarial and collaborative models of divorce that will enable them to more knowledgeably coach their clients through the divorce process as part of the therapeutic process.

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

·         Discuss the psychological experiences of their divorcing clients

·         Describe the psychology of divorce and of the legal events that are part of it

·         Explain how to avoid ethical dilemmas and pitfalls common to this group of clients

·         Intervene effectively in ways that are grounded in research with this population

·         Apply wiser advice to their divorcing clients

Program Code: D625 
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.

Christina Harms, J.D., is a graduate of Wellesley College and Harvard Law School. She has worked in the area of children and families for her entire career. For six years she was General Counsel in the MA Department of Social Services (now DCF) and was then appointed as a trial court judge for the MA Probate and Family Court where she served 23 years. Judge Harms was the trial court judge who heard the case of Guardianship of Mary Moe, a controversial and challenging case involving a pregnant woman diagnosed with schizophrenia.

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.

Event Type:Continuing Education Program
Category:Forensic Psychology & Divorce
Early registration ends on Sep 16, 2012.
Regular registration starts on Sep 17, 2012 and ends on Oct 29, 2012.
Late registration starts on Oct 30, 2012.


Registration Fees
Fee TypeEarlyRegularLate
 What Every Therapist and Lawyer Should Know about Divorce (D625)
Member Fee: $135.00$135.00$135.00
Non-Member Fee: $135.00$135.00$135.00

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