8:30 to 9:00 - Check in
9:00 to 9:10 - Welcome: Sue Ellen Talley, MA, MFT, VSOF President

9:10 to 10:30 - Peter Mortola, Ph.D. & Cassiana Castro Figuratively speaking: How images help us talk in the Oaklander approach.

Words are everywhere in the life of a growing child: lengthy verbal assignments for homework to process. Five paragraph essays to write. Difficult conversations to have with parents. Additionally, many therapeutic interventions are oriented around words and clear verbal communication, contracts and agreements. Of course children need to be fluent in the world of words and all their helpful uses. But words are abstractions, are too often divorced from actual experience, and are not always the best tools to use to express a complicated reality. Oaklander herself used an image, a metaphor, a figure of speech to give a title to both of her books. The use of images to mediate verbal communication is at the very heart of her work. In this presentation, we will honor the world of the visual and figurative and we will demonstrate how images help create a "window" into a child's experience, and then help us, and them, put words to that experience. Examples from our work in school settings in Portland, Oregon and in clinical settings in Curitiba, Brazil will be included.

10:30 to 10:45 - Break

10:45 to 12:30 - Giandomenico Bagtin, Ph.D.: Telling a good story about ourselves--A way to use Gestalt in children's loss and grief: The Gestalt Timeline

One respectful and effective way to copy with "loss" is telling a good story about it. We can't do this just with cognition --we must be in contact experiencially: in our emotions, senses, body too. Telling a good story means writing creatively about ourselves, or an intense drawing, and SEEING something that, subjectively, has a deep sense.

The purpose of this presentation is to introduce a technique I often use to process and integrate loss and grief both in children and, with some differences, adults. It's based on the classic timeline work, but doing it in a gestalt way. It's a time machine journey into life that requests to the therapist strong presence and personal involving.

But it usually leads to useful insights, new perspectives and satysfying ways to say those two magical words: Thank you (that leads to gratitude, the main lubricant for processing griefs), and "Addio" (that means goodbye in italian, but in a more definitive way).

12:30 to 1:30 - Lunch

1:30 to 2:45 - Seema Omar: Bringing the Oaklander Model to therapists and children in Sri Lanka and South India

I see a very strong influence that my introductory trainings are having on the work of counselors and teachers and parents here in Sri Lanka and India - they learn the exercises and then go out and apply them and come back the following week open mouthed at how effectively they help in connecting with children and getting to know their inner world. I use Violet's exercises in teacher training workshops, parenting trainings, workshops with younger children (4 to 6 years) and also with adolescents, and I also use the same exercises with adults!

I follow the steps in the chapter on enhancing the sense of self from Hidden Treasure - from establishing a rapport; to working with the body and the senses and the voice and the breath; to expressing emotions and aggressive energy; and polarities and self-statements; to self-nurturing

I have a lot of influence from other creative therapies like art and drama and movement; and also Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy; Narrative Therapy; and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy - these get interwoven into my Oaklander model

My presentation will include talk, an experiential process and time for discussion and questions.

2:45 to 3:00 - Break

3:00 to 4:15 - Lillian Freeman, LCSW: Integrating the Hero in child psychotherapy using the Oaklander Model

This workshop will focus on the integration of the hero concept. Using the Violet Oaklander Model, its use in play therapy will be explored through explanation, demonstration, group participation, and discussion. Emphasis will be on when to use this intervention.

4:15 to 4:30 - Closure

4:30 to 6:00 - Wine & Cheese Social

6:00 to 7:00 - Dinner for Serra Overnighters