Mercy Home’s Speaker Series recently hosted two workshops that enabled us to enhance the therapy skills of our own clinicians, as well as mental health professionals and social workers within the community. Both sought-after events saw the need for wait lists, as sessions brimmed with 50 people, 30 of whom were participants outside of Mercy Home.

Both sought-after events saw the need for wait lists, as sessions brimmed with 50 people, 30 of whom were participants outside of Mercy Home.

Tim Devitt, a clinical professional counselor and certified alcohol and drug counselor (CADC), lead the first workshop. He has committed the past 30 years to the study, research, and practice of therapy for people experiencing mental health and substance use problems. Devitt is Mercy Home’s current CADC and works with youth on both campuses, so this was an opportunity for our therapists and coworkers to learn from his expertise.

Devitt oriented attendees to the key principles and applications related to motivational interviewing. This workshop provided opportunities to practice skills and discuss approaches for helping clients utilize enhanced motivation techniques to work through ambivalence and make difficult changes. The session also included an overview of stages of change, as well as the processes and strategies of motivational interviewing in clinical practice.

Jeff Levy, a psychotherapist, consultant, and trainer for mental health professionals, lead the second workshop. Levy founded the Wingspan Project, a nonprofit whose mission is “to make mental health and related services available to underserved, marginalized, and/or disenfranchised people through organizational and individual capacity building.”

The organization is dedicated to supporting services to people who have experienced discrimination and stigma and to those whose identities are particularly vulnerable to systems of oppression.

Levy’s workshop, “Being an Ethical Rebel 2.0,” challenged attendees’ thinking about what constitutes as ethical practice in today’s clinical landscape, where ethical practice is called upon to be responsive to technological, social, and political shifts. The session explored the tensions that exist as mental health professionals navigate moral, ethical, policy, and legal practice dilemmas.

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