Spring 2020 Programs


Our in-person workshops are suspended through July 15 and we will evaluate their resumption following that time in accordance with University and public health guidelines.

Online workshops will begin in June and details will be posted on our Schedule Page. In addition to these, we will offer free lectures and webinars throughout the summer. Please check our schedule page and SSA's Online Learning for updates.  

Thank you for your patience and understanding. We hope you remain safe and healthy during this difficult time.

The Professional Development Program at SSA is a licensed State of Illinois provider of continuing education for social workers, clinical psychologists, marriage and family therapists, and professional counselors. License numbers: 159.000140; 168.000115; 268.000004. It is recommended that professionals review rules for their licensing board prior to registering for a workshop to ensure that the content meets their renewal requirements.

Bridging the Couple Chasm: Gottman Couples Therapy Level I Training
Thursday, February 27 & Friday, February 28, 2020
9:00am - 5:00pm (Each Day)
Tuition: $525
CEUs: 14
Location: Evanston; Hilton Garden Inn: 1818 Maple Avenue, Evanston 60201

Instructor: Michael McNulty

Registration Deadline: February 21, 2020

This two-day workshop is an intensive overview of The Gottman Method, an evidenced-based approach to couples therapy. Participants will learn to identify key points in couples’ interactions when interventions will be most effective; strategies to help partners shift from attack to connection; methods to help couples solve their own problems; skills to empower couples to dialogue about their worst gridlocked issues; and tools to support couples’ friendship and intimacy.

Upon conclusion of this workshop, participants will learn:

  • How couples really sustain their marriages–in contrast to common myths and misconceptions.
  • How the quality of relationships affects the immune system, physical health and well-being.
  • How marital problems change over time, but never go away–even in happy couples.
  • Proven strategies and tools to help couples successfully manage conflict
  • Skills that empower partners to dialogue about their worst gridlocked issues
  • Methods to help couples process their fights and heal their hurts
  • Techniques for couples to deepen their intimacy and minimize relapse

CEUs will be provided by SSA. Certificates for completing Level I will be awarded through The Gottman Relationship Institute.

*Tuition includes a 300 page manual

Register Online

Download Registration Form to Pay by Check (if employer is providing payment please read our process for registration HERE)

Invisible Visits: Black Middle-Class Women in the American Healthcare System
Wednesday, March 4, 2020
5:30 - 7:00pm
1.5 CEUs
Location: Hyde Park; SSA: 969 E 60th Street, Chicago 60637

Presenter: Tina Sacks, PhD

SSA doctoral graduate and assistant professor in the School of Social Welfare at the University of California, Berkeley, Tina Sacks, will present on her new book which analyzes how middle-class Black women navigate the complexities of dealing with doctors in a system that continues to be dogged by persistent inequities in the treatment of people of color and women. It challenges the idea that race and gender discrimination--particularly in healthcare settings--is a thing of the past, and questions the persistent myth that discrimination only affects people of color with limited economic resources.

Register HERE

Psychotherapy with Black Women
Friday, March 6, 2020
9:00am - 4:00pm
Tuition: $160
CEUs: 6
Location: Hyde Park; SSA: 969 E 60th Street, Chicago 60637

Instructors: Donna Baptiste and Adia Gooden

Registration Deadline: Monday, March 2, 2020

Black women in the United States are a unique population and it is important to understand their personal, social, ecological, and historical experiences to effectively treat them. This workshop will explore the common and unique strengths, challenges and dynamics that Black women face in the U.S and the clinical implications of such experiences.  Emphasis will be on forging strong therapeutic alliances with black female clients of varying ages and backgrounds, and working collaboratively with them around their social identities and behavioral health concerns. We will examine constraints to building working alliances with Black women when therapists are of different racial/ethnic and gender backgrounds. We will use case examples, role playing and other experiential learning techniques for quick grasp of clinical knowledge and skills that can be integrated into individual, couple and family therapy with Black women.  The overall aim of the workshop is to expand multicultural competence and proficiency in clinicians and in clinical settings.  

This workshop satisfies the State of Illinois Cultural Competence requirement for social workers.

Learning Objectives

  • To identify culturally-informed approaches to doing therapy with Black female clients
  • To explore common barriers/challenges in doing therapy with Black women and strategies to overcome these barriers/challenges
  • To practice skills to improve therapeutic relationships with Black women

Register Online

Download Registration Form to Pay by Check (if employer is providing payment please read our process for registration HERE)

Clinical Supervision: Tending the Professional Self
Friday, March 13, 2020
9:00am - 4:00pm
Tuition: $160
CEUs: 6
Location: Downtown Chicago; Hilton Garden Inn Magnificent Mile: 10 E Grand Ave, Chicago 60611

Instructor: Jill R. Gardner


Professionals often advance to supervisory roles with little or no formal training in ways to conceptualize the supervisory process. In this workshop, we will approach clinical supervision as an activity focusing on the development, consolidation, and maintenance of the supervisee’s professional self. Emphasis will be on supervision as a relationship and on the importance of focusing on the inner experience of the trainee. Concepts from self psychology and other theoretical perspectives will be used to describe models of supervision. Through a combination of lecture and large-group and small-group discussion, we will address how to do the following: manage supervisees’ anxiety and self-esteem, deal with defensiveness, balance administrative and clinical demands, integrate empathy with limit setting, and engage in effective feedback. Participants will be encouraged to share and examine their current supervisory experiences in the context of the conceptual frameworks presented.

This workshop will emphasize work with students and recent graduates; however, participants will find much of the conceptual material applicable to supervisory relationships with employees as well. The workshop is appropriate for both new and experienced supervisors.

This workshop qualifies for the State of Illinois clinical supervision training requirement for clinical professional counselors.

This workshop is designed to help supervisors be able to:

• Create a collaborative supervisory alliance and structure.

• Reduce anxiety and defensiveness in the supervisee.

• Identify internal processes that lead to problematic clinical interventions.

• Provide effective feedback.

• Balance administrative and clinical demands.

• Set appropriate limits while maintaining a positive supervisory relationship.

Integrating Motivational Interviewing With Logo Therapy to Help Clients Change
Friday, March 13, 2020
9:00am - 4:00pm
Tuition: $160
CEUs: 6
Location: Hyde Park; SSA: 969 E 60th Street, Chicago 60637

Instructor: Mark Sanders


A primary goal of motivational interviewing with clients is to increase the client’s internal motivation to change. There are some clients who have such a high degree of hopelessness and apathy and are so devoid of goals, that motivational interviewing may be ineffective in motivating them to change. Some of these clients don’t hit bottom—they seem to “live on the bottom.” In this interactive, skill-building workshop, participants will be introduced to an approach that combines logo therapy with motivational interviewing to help clients change.

Logotherapy was developed by the renowned psychiatrist Victor Frankl, who was a concentration camp survivor. Its purpose is to increase clients’ hope and to help them find a sense of purpose in their suffering. Participants will leave with activities that integrate principles of motivational interviewing and logo therapy.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this workshop: 

  • Participants will be aware of the principles of motivational interviewing.
  • Participants will be aware of the principles of logotherapy.
  • Participants will be aware of strategies for integrating motivational interviewing and logotherapy in their work with clients.

Applying Contemporary Psychodynamic Theory to Clinical Work: Overview of Self Psychology


Contemporary psychodynamic theory emphasizes the use of self and an understanding of the intersubjective experience of both therapist and client, as well as an updated understanding of interpretation, transference and the importance of affective experience in the therapist-client interaction. In the morning, Denise Davis will provide an overview of Self Psychology, one of our contemporary psychodynamic theories, and bring the ideas to life through rich clinical illustrations. 

In the afternoon, Jill Gardner will explore the nuances of deep empathic listening by close examination of micro-process with the group. You will come away with the basics of Self Psychology theory and, most importantly, a sense of how to use the concepts in your own work with clients.

Denise Davis is an instructor in SSA’s Advanced Fellowship in Clinical Practice, where she teaches the Self Psychology section and consults in the Fellowship's ongoing case conference. While this workshop stands on its own, if you are considering application to the Fellowship program, it also provides an opportunity to interact with and learn from Denise.

An Overview of the Revised NASW Code of Ethics


The amended Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers took effect on January 1, 2018.  Some of the amendments are the most significant since the Code of Ethics was first adopted in 1996.  This workshop will analyze revisions that were incorporated into the 2018 Code of Ethics so as to enable social workers to understand and comply with the amended ethical standards, particularly as they relate to contemporary social work practice.  Ethical decision-making issues will be addressed in the context of these standards.

This workshop satisfies the state of Illinois Ethics requirement for social workers.

Anti-Bias Approaches for Minority Clinicians Who Experience Prejudice From Clients in Their Care


This workshop will provide a minority-dedicated space for minority clinicians who experience prejudice from clients to reflect on experiences of prejudice both within and outside of clinical services, assess for potential connections between client prejudice(s) and presenting clinical issue(s), apply concepts of transference and countertransference to inform anti-bias interventions, and integrate the application of anti-bias strategies within existing clinical interventions.

Despite the common experience of prejudice, bias, and microaggressions in day-to-day life for many individuals who identify as racial, ethnic, religious, sexual, (dis)ability, and/or gender minorities, there is very little guidance on how to respond to experiences of prejudice from clients in the course of clinical services.

Please Note: While allyship is valued, this is not a workshop that is designed for deepening allyship. Non-minority allies are invited to attend other offerings at SSA’s PDP that focus on effectively supporting minorities and anti-bias practice.

Learning Objectives:

As a result of participating in this session, participants will be able to:

  • Identify methods to assess the potential connection between a client’s prejudice(s) and their presenting clinical issue(s)
  • Describe how experiences of transference and countertransference can be used to inform the application of anti-bias interventions
  • Develop a foundational understanding of how  the application of anti-bias strategies can be applied to clinical methods already in use by the clinician
  • Share strategies and support tools for clinicians experiencing bias in their clinical work.

The Trauma Informed Workplace


Behavioral health providers often experience trauma within the workplace and while providing support to clients. How in today's fast moving workplace can we provide trauma informed communication, supervisory practices, conflict resolution, and cultivate a healthier organization?  This training will provide new frameworks for understanding workplace dynamics and evidence-based tools to develop a trauma informed workplace.  Together we will examine the ways organizations and the providers within them are impacted by trauma, and learn how to apply the principles of trauma informed care to create wellness at work.  

Learning Objectives

  1. Learn how primary and secondary trauma affect behavioral health professionals in the workplace
  2. Learn best practices to provide trauma informed supervision 
  3. Utilize case studies and shared examples to apply TIC principles to hiring, management, quality assurance, and conflict resolution
  4. Develop a plan for implementing TIC principles in your organization

Gender Responsive Services for Girls and Women involved in the Criminal Justice System


This workshop will cover key components and examples of gender responsive services for girls and women involved in the criminal justice system, including trauma-informed practices to benefit girls and women. Participants will better understand policies and practices that promote health and wellbeing, as well as successfully meeting criminal justice goals, and how to build a collaborative, community support network for girls and women.

At the conclusion of this workshop, participants will learn how to:

  • Incorporate an understanding of gender and trauma into service provision
  • Develop policies and practices that promote health and wellbeing, as well as successfully meeting criminal justice goals
  • Promote safety and healthy coping for girls and women
  • Address multiple concerns for girls and women
  • Build a collaborative, community support network for girls and women

This workshop satisfies the State of Illinois Cultural Competence requirement for social workers.

Updates to the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act


As of January 1, 2020, amendments to the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act (ANCRA) regarding mandated reporters have gone into effect that modify certain requirements for reporting suspected child abuse and neglect to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and for complying with mandatory training requirements. This workshop will analyze these changes in the law and address other mandated reporting obligations under ANCRA that are imposed on mental health professionals in Illinois. 

This workshop satisfies the state of Illinois Ethics requirement for clinical psychologists and social workers.

Racism's Impact: Mental Health, Treatment & Healing
Friday, May 1, 2020
9:00am - 4:00pm
Tuition: $160
CEUs: 6
Location: *NEW* Tinley Park ; Tinley Park Convention Center: 18451 Convention Center Drive, Tinley Park 60477

Instructor: Krista Woods


In this interactive workshop, participants will learn how acts of racism, discrimination and oppression negatively impact the mental health of people of color and persons from marginalized groups over time; and how we can and should promote healing and recovery understanding the impact of trauma on individuals.

As therapists and/or social workers, we are required to dismantle discrimination and remove barriers to mental treatment and service delivery. Join the conversation and gain new insights and learn specifics as to how providing services in and to clients of color and other minority/oppressed individuals and groups varies from traditional clinical models and service delivery.

This workshop will benefit those working in leadership, social service agencies, private practice, inpatient mental health/PHP/IOP, community mental health or other organizations. Learn ways we can improve the lives of people of color/racial minorities; while improving mental health and how to build stronger programs to ensure we are meeting the needs of the clients.

This workshop directly connects to Social Workers revised Code of Ethics, and our responsibilities to challenge discrimination in social work and social service delivery This workshop will be interactive; and includes case scenarios/Q & A with audience members regarding mental health treatment for children, teens/youth and adults.

This workshop satisfies the State of Illinois Cultural Competence requirement for social workers.

Verbal Behavior: Saying as a Type of Doing in Psychotherapy
Friday, May 1, 2020
9:00am - 4:00pm
Tuition: $160
CEUs: 6
Location: *NEW* Tinley Park ; Tinley Park Convention Center: 18451 Convention Center Drive, Tinley Park 60477

Instructor: Paul Holmes


The ability to organize behavior in response to contrived symbolic relations is a uniquely human endeavor.  Because of it, we imagine worlds that have not existed and aspire to be persons we are not yet.  Once acquired, language processes infuse every aspect of human life and open up vistas of experience inconceivable for other species.  A functional perspective on language suggests that language is simply an extension of overt behavior, yet an infinitely more complex way of interacting with others and our environment.  If this is the up side of language, alas, it has its down side; these very same processes are responsible for the infinite ways in which we generate pain and suffering not possible without them. 

If language processes are responsible for human suffering, how can they be part of the solution.  In this workshop, participants will be introduced to a functional approach to the therapeutic dialogue.  Rather than examine what is occurring in the exchange between two persons called “therapist” and “client,” in terms of “persuasion” or “meaning making,” it is evaluated by considering what it is that each person in the conversation is attempting to accomplish by saying the things they do.  Thus, verbal behavior is considered in light of the degree to which what is said and thought moves one in the direction of what is important in life or not.  The goal is to assist treatment seekers in making a shift in perspective from one focused on their past and their problems to one oriented toward their future and the person they aspire to be.

Mindfulness in Clinical Practice
Friday, May 8, 2020
9:00am - 4:00pm

Tuition: $160
CEUs: 6
Location: Evanston; Hilton Garden Inn: 1818 Maple Avenue, Evanston 60201

Instructor: Brit Homberg


The term mindfulness is everywhere – from the cover of Time Magazine to MBA courses to mental health settings.  Research shows that mindfulness practice can support therapeutic progress and benefit overall clinician well-being. In this interactive workshop, participants will have multiple opportunities to broaden their capacity to incorporate mindfulness into both their personal and professional lives.  It is designed to function as part retreat, part didactic forum in order to maximize the experimental component of mindfulness practice. Come to learn and be restored.

Key areas to be covered include:

  • the 7 core principles of mindfulness
  • current research on the value of mindfulness for recovery and symptom management
  • resources for deepening group discussions and practice
  • case examples of the power of mindfulness in clinical settings
  • Suggestions for how to use smart phone apps to support mindfulness practice

Play Therapy Interventions for Dysregulated Clients
Friday, May 8, 2020
9:00am - 4:00pm
Tuition: $160
CEUs 6
Location: Hyde Park; SSA: 969 E 60th Street, Chicago 60637

Instructor: Sophia Ansari


As humans we are born to love. Our health and ultimate survival depend on close relational ties with others. Advancements in neuroscience support the importance of play and relationships to healthy brain development. Play therapy can be utilized to promote healthy child development and attachment by integrating bottom-up and top-down (regulate to reason) functioning through fun, interactive, connection-building interventions.

This workshop will offer clinicians a framework for understanding theories and concepts such as the Polyvagal Theory, neurosequential brain development and the Interpersonal Neurobiology model (IPNB). Participants will apply this knowledge into play therapy to rewire the brain and create a sense of trust and safety for their clients. Participants will leave with immediately usable play therapy interventions that support and teach children and caregivers self-regulation and co-regulation skills.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify at least 10 new play therapy interventions to implement with your clients who are dysregulated.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the Polyvagal Theory and neurosequential brain development.
  3. Utilize play therapy interventions to help children and adolescents understand and track their autonomic nervous system states.
  4. Describe how brain-based strategies in play therapy can reframe trauma experiences, increase self-regulation and co-regulation.
  5. Apply sensory and movement strategies in play therapy to help promote self-regulation and co-regulation.
  6. Describe strategies for engaging children and their parents in play therapy while maintaining a therapeutic environment. 

6 CEs (APT contact hours) will be awarded to those who attend the entire presentation and return an evaluation​.

Social Work License: Preparation Review Course
Friday, May 29 & Saturday, May 30, 2020
9:00am - 4:00pm (Each Day)
Tuition: $260
CEUs: 12
Location: Hyde Park; SSA: 969 E 60th Street, Chicago 60637

Instructor: Sophia F. Dziegielewski 


This comprehensive course covers test-taking strategies and relevant clinical content in order to prepare for the social worker or clinical social worker exams. Course materials are updated for new DSM-5™ content and will cover topics such as: test-taking strategies; social work values and ethics (three hours to satisfy the State of Illinois ethics CE requirement for social workers); human growth and development issues; assessment, diagnosis, and intervention strategies; models and methods of social work practice; and clinical supervision.

This course consistently fills to capacity. Early registration is encouraged.

This review course will cover:

Overview of test construction and test-taking strategies

Identify how to break down questions and identify key words

Practice how to take social work practice information and address it in a standardized format)

Social work values and ethics

Recite and synthesize the dynamics of abuse and neglect

Review and interpret the NASW Code of Ethics

Human growth and development issues

Summarize major theoretical approaches to understanding human development with individuals, groups, and families

Sketch the theories and stages of normal psychosocial, cognitive, moral, and behavioral development in the life cycle of individuals, families and groups

Assessment, diagnosis, and intervention strategies

Identify and interpret psychosocial history and collateral data, and how it relates in the social work practice setting

Assess client problems along with behavioral/psychosocial strengths and weaknesses

Identify diagnosis, assessment and practice intervention utilizing the DSM-5

Define the components of intervention strategies with individuals, groups, families and communities

Identify factors in the therapeutic relationship that facilitate building and retaining relationships

Models and methods of social work practice

Recognize the major theoretical approaches, models and methods of practice in the social work profession

Cite the different types of research designs utilized in social work practice

Translate the most common policies and procedures that govern service delivery

Clinical supervision

Restate the roles and functions related to professional supervision and educational expectations

*Tuition includes a review course manual with sample test questions and related materials, as well as the opportunity to contact the instructor with questions following the course.

This course satisfies the State of Illinois Ethics CE requirement for social workers.