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WEBINAR: Clinical Competency with First/Birth Families – CEU Eligible

Start time/date: Dec  13, 2017 10:00 AM
End time/date: Dec  13, 2017 12:00 PM
Place: Webinar
Call-In Instructions Will Be Emailed After Registration


Clinical Competency with First/Birth Families – CEU Eligible

This course will orient professionals to the experiences and needs of first/birth parents who have voluntarily placed children for adoption, as well as their extended families, so as to provide effective, sensitive, adoption-competent services to them in private practice and agency settings.

First/birth families hold a position in the adoption triad that is the least understood, the least researched, and the most stigmatized. While that is changing, clinicians and social workers often need to overcome their own pre-conceptions about first/birth families in order to provide appropriate treatment.

Licensed and license-eligible participants will increase their ability to clinically conceptualize the impact of adoption on the lives of first/birth families, and provide sensitive interventions to help them move through the Seven Core Issues of adoption. Participants will improve their understanding of the life circumstances that may have contributed to their decision to place a child for adoption, and understand how to support first/birth family members to move from a place of regret, shame and guilt, to a place of acceptance, peace and empowerment.

Educational objectives:


  1. List key aspects of respectful adoption language and preferred terms when talking about adoption so as to establish trust and rapport with first/birth families.
  2. Identify some of the most common issues that have led first/birth parents to place a child, and how those life circumstances may be continuing to affect their mental health and life functioning after placement.
  3. Give examples of how power differentials, privilege and marginalization in regards to adoption triad position, race and socio-economic status impact the experience of first/birth families seeking treatment.
  4. Summarize general clinical issues to consider when working with first/birth family members and the ways that adoption may be contributing to or exacerbating mental health issues
  5. Identify the Seven Core Issues in Adoption and apply those issues to working with first/birth families.
  6. Describe the concept of ambiguous loss (1999 Boss) and apply the concept to providing services to first/birth families.
  7. Summarize clinical interventions to use when providing services to first/birth families to address these Seven Core Issues and ambiguous loss


Instructor: Susan Dusza Guerra Leksander, MA, LMFT #47992

Position: First/Birth Family Specialist

Experience: Susan Dusza Guerra Leksander, LMFT is a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in the adoption and foster care triads. She is both a first/birth mother, as well as a transracial adoptee. Susan has been providing individual and family therapy to all members of the foster / adoption constellation since 2008 in private practice and agency settings. She has delivered workshops and keynotes addresses to adoption professionals and adoptive families at regional, state, and national conferences on adoption. She is the First/Birth Family Specialist at Pact, where she focuses on the needs of expectant parents considering adoption, and first/birth families who have placed children for adoption.



CEUs: This course meets the qualifications for 2 hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. All activities in the course are offered for continuing education credit. CAMFT-Approved Continuing Education Provider Number 131157


Pact is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs and LEPs. Pact maintains responsibility for this course and its content.


Pricing Description:

$35 per person non-member

Special pricing Pact member receive 30% discount.

Please choose carefully when registering for Pact events. Pact is not in a position to refund workshop or event registration fees.

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