8:30-9 Registration

9:10-10:30 Karen Fried, Psy.D., M.F.T.: Learning and Emotions-exploring the use of the Oaklander method to address children with learning and attentional challenges

Children with learning differences and weaknesses in attention often struggle in school. Struggles include their ability to learn, as well as regulate their emotions and executive functions. Even when these children have been remediated and improve academically, difficulties with their sense of self and contact functions remain. The Oaklander method is then an excellent complement to addressing their needs to allow these children to develop a strong sense of self. This presentation will explore the use of the Oaklander method to address children with learning and attentional challenges. A blend of theory, case history, as well as an experiential exercise will be included.


10:45-12:15 Claire Mercurio, Ph.D. : “A Walk on the Wild Side” how to keep the sense alive, and how to be self aware by being aware of oneself in the environment

Children need a relationship with nature to be rooted in the world. This involves more than being outside on playgrounds and soccer fields. It is nature’s undeveloped regions that truly invigorate the imagination and sense of self. The Oaklander Model will be integrated with the concepts of ecopsychology to present how nature can be utilized in psychotherapy with children and adolescents. There will be an experiential component where participants will spend time in the beautiful natural setting of the Serra Retreat.


1:15-2:45 Sue Ellen Talley, MA, MFT: A Rose is a Rose

Rosebush Drawing (Vintage Violet). Utilizing the power of projection with the Oaklander Model to improve contact and strengthen a child's sense of self.


3-4:20 Lillian Freeman, LCSW: Treating Children of Divorce with the Violet Oaklander Model

The trauma of divorce brings forth some unique difficulties. I will expand on some of these unique areas of concern in my presentation using the drawing of the Self and the house, tree, person as a tool for understanding a child and building a relationship together. I open this arena by having the child draw a picture of their family before the divorce. Next the child is encouraged to draw a picture of the child’s two families or more. For children of divorce, drawing their room in both houses is very essential. As we talk about the pictures and the child has a space to share their feelings about their new reality, healing happens. Going back and forth is often the most difficult aspect of the divorce. They have two of everything. Two houses, two beds, and sometimes two sets of clothes. Children are resilient and with time can adjust to the outer changes. What remains difficult is that they can never have the two parents together at the same time. They are left always missing one of their parents. The child must reinstate both parents into their inner world while the two adults divorce one another.

The entire family system has been affected. Through drawings, clay, sandtray and puppet play we work to create reconciliation. We build bridges as the family reorganizes in visitation schedules, family dinners, holidays, and celebrations. Each of the above issues presents a possible fallout until new habits as well as feelings are worked through. Finally, I also help the child see their options more clearly. Even though they have no choice over the divorce they can learn to make good choices in their new circumstances. Working with drawings or clay we are able to play out these scenes and rehearse new behaviors.


4:20-4:30 Saying Goodbye, CEU certificates