September 8, 2015

Family Science Department (FMSC) Professor and Director of the Couple and Family Therapy (CFT) Dr. Norman Epstein, doctoral students Haedong (Shawn) Kim and Jenni Young, and CFT alum Le (Clio) Zheng conducted a workshop on cultural competency and family therapy at the 2015 American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) conference in Austin, Texas. The annual conference is the world’s leading education and networking event for marriage and family therapists. It gives students, faculty, and professionals an opportunity to learn from leaders in the field, network with peers, and discuss cutting edge research and techniques over four days filled with educational and professional development activities.

The workshop, titled “Therapy with Chinese Couples and Families”, described cultural adaptations needed to apply Western-derived MFT models with Chinese families sensitively and effectively, both in China and the U.S. Considerations of cultural values and traditions, family structure and roles, communication styles, expectations of therapy, and effects of the educational system and economic development on family functioning in China were described.

Second year doctoral student Jenni Young conducted a second workshop with Johns Hopkins nursing student Demetrius Marcoulides, titled "Applying Harm Reduction to Drug Use and Family Therapy". Harm reduction is a client-guided, practical, and flexible framework that is traditionally implemented at the community and policy level (ie. needle exchange, overdose prevention). Harm reduction was presented as a non-judgmental alternative approach to traditional Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) models that can help family members collaborate on goal setting while creating buy-in and engagement in therapeutic processes.

FMSC is proud of our faculty, student, and alumni contributions to the field of family therapy.

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Norman B. Epstein