Thursday Afternoon Breakout Sessions II

About This Event

Breakout #1: The Shore Room

The (Potentially Dangerous) Myth of Independence:
Skills for a corrective relational experience with emerging adults and their families
Co-Presenter: John Souza, Jr., LMFT, DMFT; Family Program Therapist – Pacific Quest
Co-Presenter: Mike Sullivan, LMHC, MA; Alumni & Family Services Director – Pacific Quest

We exist not because of “independence”, but rather because we are “in dependence” with an other (i.e., a relationship). For emerging adults (particularly in the United States), this is problematic. The USA was founded on a Declaration of Independence-- an ideal deeply embedded in the psyche of Americans, yet impossible to achieve. When the ideology of “independence” conflicts with the reality of being “in dependence”, more than any other age group, emerging adults (and their caregivers) experience existential stress that can lead to higher rates of depression, substance abuse, and psychiatric issues. To help with this conflict, presenters will offer an original model of family work with emerging adults called the Corrective Relational Experience (CRE). This model may be used in virtually any setting to enhance a given system’s relational functioning and ability to intentionally be “in dependence”. Attendees will learn what skills to employ (and in what order) to create the likelihood families will have their own CRE. Additionally, research methods will be discussed, with data suggesting improvements in family functioning are being achieved, maintained, and generalized.

Learning Objectives:
1. Dispel common myths about family therapy with emerging adults.
2. Summarize the “Corrective Relational Experience” model as outlined by the presenters.
3. Describe the three domains of the Global Assessment of Relational Functioning (GARF).
4. Practice (at least) two strategies for improving and measuring a corrective relational experience with emerging adults and their families.

Breakout #2: Kidd Island Bay

Hidden in Plain Sight: Women’s Camouflage of Autism
Presenter: Jillian Allen; Director of Staff Development – Brightstone Transitions

The presentation Hidden in Plain Site: Women’s Camouflage of Autism explores the strategies that women with autism use to mask their social deficits. This camouflaging allows women with autism to adapt to societal social pressures, however, can also lead to misdiagnosis and thus inadequate support. This presentation describes the reasons why women use compensatory strategies, how to identify these strategies, and how to provide appropriate support.

Learning Objectives:
1. Better identify gender bias in diagnosis.
2. Recognize signs of camouflaging in women.
3. Help provide appropriate support.

Breakout #3: Bay 2

Why Mattering Matters
Co-Presenter: Danny Recio, PhD; Program Director/Co-Founder – The Bridge ~ Costa Rica
Co-Presenter: Daniel Acuna, Therapist – The Bridge ~ Costa Rica


When we think of the young adults we work with, how important is “mattering” to them? In other words, how much are they focused on making a difference in the world around them? How much are we facilitating the development of internal resources so they can be relied upon to satisfy other people’sneeds and not just their own? Mattering is the degree to which we are focused on making a difference in the world around us, and as a result how significant we feel to others. This concept has only emerged in recent decades in the social sciences, but already numerous studies have strongly correlated it to the development of resilience, and to the reduction of depression, anxiety, and avoidance. For young adults, mattering appears to be of utmost importance, as the world seems to need them increasingly less, because of the automatized, anonymous, and objectifying ways it appears to be moving towards. In this presentation we take a deep look at the importance of mattering in young adults’ transition to adult life. We ask ourselves how we can overcome the paradox of providing support without removing agency and citizenship; how we fight the uphill battle against confusing fleeting attention from others and superficial belonging, with being important to others and relied upon. We wish to collaborate openly with the audience to look at our blind spots in perpetuating lack of mattering in our youth and ways we can enhance it in our programs.

Learning Objectives:
1. Understanding the concept of mattering, its different dimensions, and its implications to mental health.
2. Recognizing the “big picture” of the historical and social context that makes mattering an urgent area of attention for young adults.
3. Learning different concrete practices that may increase the sense of mattering on our clients.
4. Experiencing a sense of mattering during the presentation itself, by having openly and selflessly shared experiences and wisdom that others may use to provide a better growth opportunity to their clients.

Breakout #4: Bay 1A & 1B

Are We Keeping Up? A research-based measuring stick for evaluating program relevance
Presenter: Clark Hammond, PhD, LMFT; Executive/Clinical Director - STRiV


Young adult programs facilitate or in some way support the journey toward independence for their young adult clients. Therefore, it is critical that our programmatic and therapeutic strategies align with current research on today’s young adults. Top scholars on young adult development and success strive to make sense of the emerging and unique challenges young adults face today. For example, the MIT Young Adult Development Project was formed to gather and disseminate new research about young adulthood, and to make new insights available to those that need them (like young adult programs). The Consortium on School Research at the University of Chicago was tasked to identify keys to young adult success, and develop a framework of foundational concepts for young adult development. Both of these research teams performed exhaustive reviews of hundreds of articles – from classic developmental theories, to the latest empirical studies – and have fueled ongoing research. The growing trend toward more complex challenges begs the question, “Are we keeping up?” In the spirit of collaboration and continuous improvement, this presentation provides a relevant overview of the findings and recommendations in the research. It highlights the current understanding and frameworks applicable to young adult programs, hopefully providing either one of two results: 1) to provide researched-based evidence that a program’s approach is in line with the needs and realities of today’s young adult; or 2) highlight areas where we can evolve to get up to speed in addressing these issues to increase our effectiveness.

Learning Objectives:
1. Attendees will become familiar with some of the current research on the unique issues impacting today’s emerging adults.
2. Attendees will become familiar with a practical framework for understanding the key elements of young adult success and facilitating the work toward its attainment.
3. Attendees will participate in a collaborative process for exploring strategies on how to incorporate relevant research into their programming.

October 24, 2019
2:30 pm
4:00 pm
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Member Price

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Join over 50 professionals and learn more about young adult residential transitional schools and programs