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Friday, April 6, 2018, from 8 am to 5 pm EST
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Thursday, April 5, 6 pm to 9 pm
Pre-Conference Evening Reception
Wellesley College Club
Wellesley, MA 02481

Friday, April 6, 8 am to 5:15 pm

8 am                  Registration & Continental Breakfast
8:30 am             Presentation by Dr. Patricia Papernow 
10 am                Break
10:30 am           Dr. Papernow's Presentation, cont.
1 pm                  Lunch
1 pm                  Annual Meeting
1:30 pm             Afternoon Session A
3 pm                  Break
3:30 pm             Afternoon Session B
5 pm                  Evaluation and Certificates


Wellesley College Club
Wellesley, MA 02481

Driving Directions 


Meeting the (Big) Challenges of 'Blended Families':
What Couple, Family, and Individual Therapists Need to Know
Co-Sponsored by Therapy Training Boston


A limited number of scholarships are available to students and Pre-Clinical Fellows of MFT programs who are MAMFT members. Please contact us at with your contact information, school/internship/employment status and a brief explanation of why you are seeking a scholarship. If you would like to contribute for this fund, please do so on the registration page.

The MAMFT 2018 Annual Conference will feature Dr. Patricia Papernow as the keynote speaker, presenting on the unique challenges in dealing with blended families. Dr. Papernow is an internationally recognized expert on stepfamilies who integrates a deep understanding of the research with four decades of clinical practice and a wide variety of modalities and theoretical models.

Afternoon breakout sessions will cover various topics in family therapy, including a) helping children in blended families adjust to their new situations; b) an overview of Systems theory, how it began, and the way it informs a multi-phase approach to therapeutic intervention; c) promoting harm-reduction with abusive or neglectful caregivers; d) training in developmental assists that support differentiation and risk taking in building stronger and more loving kinds of interactions; and e) immigration’s impact on individuals and families.

Thursday, April 5, 6 pm to 9 pm: Evening Reception

MAMFT members and conference attendees are invited to enjoy refreshments and fellowship at our annual pre-conference reception. We have invited past presidents to share their experiences in the practice of family therapy over the last four decades. Join us as we celebrate our story and look ahead to the future of family therapy in Massachusetts. There will be an opportunity to renew friendships or make new ones and to engage your board members and conference presenters. And we invite you to help us recognize our 2018 award winners:
  • Individual Lifetime Achievement or Marriage and Family Therapy in Massachusetts. 
  • Outstanding Student in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Friday, April 6: Morning Program

Meeting the (Big) Challenges of 'Blended Families': What Couple, Family, and Individual Therapists Need to Know, Patricia Papernow, Ph.D. Stepfamilies can be healthy, happy places for children and adults. However, for both adults and for children of all ages, becoming part of a stepfamily can be confusing, overwhelming, and dysregulating. Stepcouples often feel thrilled to have found each other, but very soon find themselves facing “resistant” children, conflicts around discipline, and ongoing issues with ex-spouses, not to mention differences over everything from what constitutes an “expensive” pair of sneakers to how birthdays should be celebrated. The good news is that four decades of research and clinical practice tell us a lot about what works, and what doesn’t, to meet these challenges.

Dr. Papernow will describe the five major challenges stepfamilies create for intimate relationships so that you can begin to see the patterns in the apparent chaos. She will introduce a three-level model for clinical intervention: Psychoeducational (what’s normal, what works and what doesn’t), interpersonal (tools for creating understanding and building secure attachment in the face of stepfamily challenges), and intrapsychic (healing old bruises that drive reactivity). Whether you work with couples or families or individuals, with adults or with children or with both, this plenary will give you a map and practical pointers navigating this complex territory. 

Dr. Patricia Papernow is an internationally recognized expert on stepfamilies. She integrates a deep understanding of the research with four decades of clinical practice
and a wide variety of modalities and theoretical models. She has written two of the
classic books in the field as well as numerous articles, book chapters, and guest blogs.
She is known as a highly engaging teacher, an excellent speaker, and an attuned and caring clinician and supervisor. She recently received the award for Distinguished Contribution to Family Psychology from APA’s Couple and Family Psychology Division. Dr. Papernow is a psychologist in private practice in Hudson, MA, and Director of the Institute for Stepfamily Education.

Afternoon Workshops, Session A 

Parenting, Stepparenting, and Discipline in Stepfamilies, Patricia Papernow, Ph.D. This workshop presents a “tool box” of practices to use in your office that will be useful in all of your work. We will look at key skills and at how to shape interactions in the session that increase compassion and build mutual understanding and empathy. In this workshop we will put these practices to work in stepcouple and parent-child relationships.

Where Do I Belong? Blended Families and Facilitating Children’s Adjustment to Family Breakdown, Anna Svetchnikov, LMFT Blended families are becoming increasingly common, with many children finding it difficult to adjust to new parents and roles. These children may experience confusion, guilt, loss of identity, and a lack of acceptance throughout the process resulting in frustration and behavioral emotions. However, family breakdown is generally not considered predictive of poor outcomes and with co-parenting, behavior management and consistency it is possible to reassure children that relationships can be re-built over time.

Anna Svetchnikov, LSW, LMFT, is the founder and executive director of Longwood 
Care, a registered 501(c)3 non-profit focused on empowerment, advocacy, inclusion, collaboration and education via accessible child centered, parent focused behavioral
health services. With more than 10 years of experience working with high-need, multi-stressed families and at-risk populations, she launched the Positive Parenting Initiative to expand and extend the reach of her organization and to transform child and family
support networks by providing effective therapeutic care to individuals, couples,
parents, children and families.

Systems Theory:  Strategies for Inner and Outer Systems Interventions (IFS), Dr. Donald L. Paine, LICSW, D.Min.Psy. This workshop will focus on Systems theory, how it began, and the way it informs a multilayer assessment and promotes a multi-phase approach to therapeutic intervention. The workshop will differentiate from an ego-system problem focus to an eco-system solution focus by cultivating strengths, resources, and resiliency of the system from which the problem has emerged. The workshop will present an internal and relational focus on systems inclusive of the neuroscience of systems orientation (International Society for System Sciences A new format for formulating assessment and intervention will be presented.

Rev. Dr. Donald L. Paine, LCSW, LMFT, is a clinician working in West Stockbridge, MA, and Albany, NY. He has been in private practice as a Marriage and Family Therapist for 20 years. For the past 12 years he has studied with Dr. Richard Schwartz, Internal Family Systems. He has completed all three levels of training and is currently a program assistant in Charlotte, NC, training (his sixth such teaching role). Except for a hiatus of two years (2013-2015) due to a bout of “empathy fatigue,” he has been an active Fellow Member of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and committed to the alignment and innovative integration of psychology and theology. He is also an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, where he offers consultation, conflict interventions, and couple/family training workshops.

Afternoon Workshops, Session B

It’s Not All in the Past: Promoting Harm-Reduction and Building Safety with Abusive, Neglectful, or Impaired Caregivers and Their Children, Annabelle Shestak, M.S., NCC, and Tsvetina Kamenova, M.A. Despite mandated reporting, children often remain in unsteady, troubled family systems. This presentation offers legal and procedural background, as well as concrete assessment and intervention strategies that prepare family therapy providers to work with families in which the children’s caregivers struggle with abusive or neglectful behaviors. Case studies and interactive, reflective discussion are included to facilitate consideration of countertransference and clinician self-care needs, as well as to support practical application of the various tools shared.

Annabelle Shestak, M.S., NCC., is the clinician for the Middlesex District Attorney’s Project CARE, an intervention program addressing the needs of children and families in the aftermath of an opioid overdose. She is an experienced presenter and trainer, with particular focus on complex traumatic stress and forensic issues. Shestak is an adjunct faculty member at Southern New Hampshire University, and the co-author of several publications, including a recent chapter on trauma and stressor-related disorders (Chapter 7) in Russo, King, & Coker (Eds.), “DSM-5 and Family Systems.” This year, Shestak has presented at the Second Annual Law and Ethics in Counseling Conference (New Orleans), New England Psychological Association, and American Society for Criminology (Philadelphia) conferences. She is slated to present a roundtable program at the Third Annual Law and Ethics in Counseling Conference on a similar topic.

Tsvetina Kamenova is an outpatient clinician and care coordinator who has worked
with many families with ongoing abuse or neglect. She is slated to present at the
Third Annual Law and Ethics in Counseling Conference in New Orleans on the clinical,
legal, and ethical intricacies of counseling families who are involved with child protective services.


Immigrant Narratives: Stories of Transition, Jacqueline Gagliardi, M.Ed., LMFT; Natalie Gajda, B.A.; Karam Hanna, B.A.; Yana Kazekamp, B.S.; Yafit Zilberberg, B.A. The theme of the presentation is Immigration, transition and the impact on the individual and family. There will be four immigrants from Iraq, Israel, Ukraine, and Poland, whose various narratives will cover their journey from their country of origin to the United States. The purpose of this presentation is for participants to acquire an understanding of and sensitivity to the factors that impact immigrant individuals and families. This presentation will focus on four immigrants who will share their stories of immigration, transition to life in the U.S. Each presenter’s narration will be 15 minutes, followed by the moderator guiding a conversation regarding the impact on the family, and a team reflecting on the narratives and conversation between the narrators and the moderator.

Jacqueline Gagliardi, M.Ed., LMFT, is Director of the Couples and Family Therapy Program at William James College. Professor Gagliardi is a licensed marriage and family therapist, clinical supervisor, consultant and co-author of Study-Guide for the Marriage and Family Therapy National Licensing Examination. She holds a ME.d. in Counseling and a CAGS in Family Systems from Northeastern University. She has a private practice in Cambridge, Mass., specializing in individual, couple and family therapy. She has run numerous parent groups and teacher workshops over the past 25 years as well as consulting to school systems, family owned businesses and community agencies. Gagliardi is a clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, an AAMFT approved supervisor, a member of the Massachusetts Board of Allied Mental Health and a past board member of the Massachusetts Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

Helping Couples Differentiate With Developmental Assists, Katherine Waddell, LMFT This presentation offers clinicians six specific interventions targeted at interrupting negative couples patterns, encouraging each member of the couple’s differentiation and other-differentiation (toleration of the other’s separate thoughts feelings and desires). It also features a number of interventions clinicians can easily use to begin building appreciation and positivity between members of the couple, even with their most frustrating clients. There will also be discussion of the importance of the therapists’ own differentiation in utilizing these interventions. The work being presented is an based on the concepts and work of Ellyn Bader and Peter Pearson, founders of the Developmental Model of Couples Therapy, experts on couples work whose model is taught all over the world.

Katherine Waddell, LMFT, is a Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Couples Center of the Pioneer Valley. Having worked with couples for over 20 years, Katherine teaches and trains therapists, offering workshops and supervision in the Developmental Model of Couples Therapy (Ellyn Bader/Peter Pearson) across the USA. She also brings a long history of trauma work with EMDR and the Adaptive Information Processing model into her work with individuals and couples. She practices in Northampton, MA.

Post-Conference Ceremony
After the conference at 5 pm we will be hosting a brief ceremony to celebrate all the accomplishments of MAMFT over the years and making a significant announcement for the future of our profession moving forward. There will be toast to the past, the present, and the future. Make plans now to join in this very exciting gathering of systemic relational therapists immediating follwing the final MAMFT Annual Conference.


A limited number of scholarships are available to students and Pre-Clinical Fellows of MFT programs. Please contact us at with your contact information, school/internship/employment status and a brief explanation of why you are seeking a scholarship.