A vital source of relational therapy within the community.

Relationship and Sex Therapy Conference 2017

Friday, October 27th, 2017

University of MN-Duluth

Breakout sessions along with full-day workshops will be provided by local therapists and presenters.  All will focus on therapeutic approaches, techniques, interventions, skill development, and best practices relevant to relationships and sexuality.

Earn 6 CEUs! CE credits approved by the MN MFT Board, MN BBHT, and MN BSW.

RSTC Pricing

(Click to enlarge pricing) Pre-registration ends on 10/19. There is an additional $25 fee for walk-in registrations.

Register before 10/14 to receive the early bird discount! You must be logged into the website to receive the member discount.  If you are an AAMFT member in another state, please email Sara at info@mamft.net before registering.

Register online below or click here for the printable brochure and mail-in registration form.

Click here for presenter bios.  Click here for the campus map/parking info.

Hotel Block Info: MAMFT has a room block at Canal Park Lodge.  The rate is $109 on Thursday, 10/26 and $139 on Friday, 10/27 and Saturday, 10/28 (2-night minimum required when staying on Friday or Saturday). Call 218-279-6000 to make a reservation and mention the MAMFT room block. Any cancellations for a room at the block rate must be done by 4 PM local hotel time, 1 days prior to arrival to avoid a cancellation penalty.

MAMFT Reimbursement Policy for Training Events: Cancellation requests must be made in writing. Refunds will be given on requests received 10 days prior to the training event. A 20% administrative fee per person will be deducted from all cancellations. No refunds will be given if received less than 10 days prior to the event, but registrants can transfer their registration to another person.

There are many opportunities for marketing your business at the conference! Click here for more info and to apply!

Date & Location

Fri October 27, 8:30am - 4:30pm

University of MN
Kirby Student Center
1120 Kirby Drive
Duluth, MN

View map!

Ticket Type

Dates Attending


Fri October 27, 8:30am - 10:00am

This is a multi-session workshop. Selecting this will disallow selecting from other sessions this workshop occupies.
Presenter(s): Steven Harris, PhD, LMFT and Bridget Manley Mayer, MS, LMFT
This workshop will identify common mistakes when working with mixed-agenda couples (one leaning towards divorce and the other wanting to save the marriage), and will teach you a new protocol for “Discernment Counseling” to help clients make a decision on a path forward that has integrity for all involved and that improves the odds of healing fragile bonds.

All Levels.
This is a multi-session workshop. Selecting this will disallow selecting from other sessions this workshop occupies.
Presenter(s): Kyle Zrenchik, Phd, ACS, LMFT
Sexual problems are not life-long afflictions to clients. In almost every case, sexual disconnection, dysfunction, and desires issues are highly treatable and preventable. Helping clients increase erotic confidence and intimate connection, and heal from sexual dysfunction, shame, or past sexual trauma does not necessitate years of specialization and study, but can be easily integrated into a therapists’ practice with this simple, step-by-step model. This program provides participants an accessible, evidence-based set of assessments, interventions, language strategies, and tools to assist clients in building passionate and satisfying erotic bonds.

All Levels. This is aimed at clinicians whom are interested in working with sexual issues in session but may not have enough confidence to do so effectively. This presentation is also to assist those that are struggling with conceptualizing and treating sexual issues.
Presenter(s): Jennie Hilleren, LMFT, CST and Anne Bauers, LAMFT
Couples often struggle to talk about sex with one another and can find it even more difficult to do so in a therapeutic setting. They commonly do not bring up the topic of sex in therapy unless you give them permission by bringing it up yourself. This breakout session will help you become more comfortable bringing up sex with clients, identify points where you can help couples with their sexual communication, and work through common challenges that couples encounter when they’re trying to talk about sex. We will also provide specific intervention techniques that you can use to help your clients become more comfortable talking about sex. This interactive session will give you the opportunity to practice these new skills.

Beginner/Intermediate. This is conceived as an introductory session regarding talking about sex in the couples therapy context. Participants are conceived as having some to a lot of experience with couples therapy and little experience in talking about sex with couples in this context.
Presenter(s): Laura Rademacher, MA, LMFT, CST
Most therapists get little-to-no training in how to address sexuality in their practice. This workshop will build your competence in working with sexual pleasure in a way that meets your clients’ needs. Even if you are not a sex therapist your clients will have questions and concerns about sexual health issues, satisfaction in relationships and their own bodies. Whether you work with couples or individuals, your clients care about increasing pleasure in their relationships and with themselves. This workshop will cover why pleasure is an important topic in the therapy room (spoiler alert-it increases positive health outcomes, self-esteem, and relationship satisfaction) and specific skills for handling these topics without embarrassment for you or your clients. All skills presented are welcoming and inclusive of people of all genders, orientations, and relationship styles.

Beginner. This content would be appropriate for therapists who do not have any experience or training in sexuality issues. This workshop builds on skills MFTs frequently use in therapy such as joining and reframing, and puts them in the context of pleasure and sexuality. It has been designed to be helpful to therapists working in a wide variety of settings and with various populations. For professionals who have familiarity and competence with sexuality issues, this workshop could be helpful in shifting the focus to pleasure rather than dysfunction and through providing research findings that demonstrate the benefits of this shift in focus.
Presenter(s): Renee Divine, MA, LMFT
Understanding sexuality is a crucial part of therapy. Dominant therapeutic sexual models focus on performance and functioning. While men can relate to this model many women do not. The emphasis in this workshop will be around the female perspective with take away knowledge that can be easily implemented into your practice. The focus will be on leading experts in the field, Emily Nagoski, Ph.D and Gina Ogden, Ph.D. The scientific research and the experiential experiences of both of these experts will be combined for you to explore and better understand your female client's sexuality.

Beginner/Intermediate. This workshop would be beneficial to therapists that have limited experience working with sexual issues or those with a stronger base that want to expand their understanding and practice. Attendees that have experience working with sexual issues will find the content helpful to expand their understanding of women’s sexuality in the therapy room beyond the traditional dysfunction lens.

Fri October 27, 10:15am - 11:46am

Presenter(s): Lisa Yee, MS, LMFT, CST
Sexless Marriages are on the rise in our country, comprising 20% of all marriages. With this trend growing, therapists are seeking out techniques to identify and treat this condition. Sexless marriages impact the couple in several ways including an increase in infidelity, divorce and physical and emotional isolation. Identification of the causes promoting sexless marriages is key to developing effective treatment plans. Competency regarding the pivotal role for the assessment of health issues and past sexual trauma often creates the need for appropriate referrals. Treatment of sexless marriages is dependent upon the mechanism for this condition but most often includes incorporating non demand physical touch into the relationship, expanding the couple's view of sex from a linear model to a circular model of sex and developing effective communication through each other's sexual language.

Intermediate. The presentation is geared for Marriage and Family Therapists who already treat and are comfortable working with couples. They do not need to be specialists in sex therapy nor do they need to have practiced sex therapy routinely. Participants do not to be familiar with the topic of sexless marriages.
Presenter(s): Ben Snyder, PhD, MEd, MSW, LICSW; Angela Callais
Many people, far more than most believe, engage in a wide variety of sexual play. As clinicians, it can be easy to assume that our clients’ sexual interests are “normal.” Many people who engage in alternative forms of sexual play have encountered horror stories of well-meaning therapists who stigmatized, shamed, and harmed them. This is often true for people who eroticize sexual power. This workshop will expose participants to critical elements of clients who eroticize power exchanges, such as BDSM. Participants will learn how partners negotiate consent, interpersonal dynamics involved, and biopsychosocial elements of these relationships. Participants are also invited to ask specific questions of the presenter and of a panel of people who engage in erotic power play in their own lives.

All Levels. This presentation is designed both for beginning clinicians and advanced clinicians who have limited knowledge into power play and alternative forms of sexual expression.
Presenter(s): Martha Kauppi, MS, LMFT, ACST (AASECT Certified Sex Therapist)
I will use powerpoint, role play, group practice, and a printed infographic handout to present my original brief assessment for sex issues. Skillfully layered assessment is key to safe, effective treatment starting from the very first session, whether in individual or couples therapy. It can be difficult for therapists to make sense of clients’ often convoluted stories, identify medically pressing issues requiring immediate intervention, decide when and to whom to refer, and proceed logically to an appropriately prioritized treatment plan. Despite the importance of identifying critical issues at the first session, therapists often lack training in quickly identifying medically relevant cues or sorting overwhelming amounts of information while managing the time constraints of the intake session. This workshop introducing and teaching my brief assessment tool addresses these challenges. Participants ranging from completely inexperienced to quite adept will enjoy adding this extremely practical and well-tested tool to their repertoire. The infographic can be taken into the therapy room and used as a guide, so memorization is not needed.

All Levels. This material is equally accessible to therapists who have never worked with sex issues before and those with a lot of experience with therapy about sex. It covers the use of a simple and scripted tool, yet also presents an unusual way of tying seemingly disparate aspects of sexual experience together, allowing for more effective treatment planning.
Presenter(s): Lucas Volini, DMFT, LMFT
I often remind couples that parents don't have sex—partners do. The statement introduces an epistemological shift in ways individuals experience being part of a larger couple and family system. This presentation explores how therapists can evolve such relational experiencing in ways that honor both individuality and togetherness across multiple ego states. By intentionally introducing language that acknowledges the various roles embodied by individuals within a couple system (e.g., parent, partner, and individual), couples learn to balance relational responsibilities while nurturing individual needs. In doing so, partners strengthen individual well-being and relational connection. Following an interactive dialogue that deconstructs the multiple ego states within a couple system, techniques for assessment and intervention will be introduced and collaboratively applied to both common and multifaceted clinical vignettes.

Beginner. Attendees will be able to benefit from the workshop without any prior knowledge of transactional analysis or the systemic functioning of multiple ego states occupying an enduring intimate relationship. The workshop will generalize across various approaches to couple therapy and apply to any systemic encounter, serving as a supplement to current practices.

Fri October 27, 1:15pm - 2:45pm

Presenter(s): Katie Bloomquist, MS, MA; Eric Sprankle, Psy.D., LP

The goal of this presentation is to increase therapist cultural competency and decrease therapist bias as it relates to working with individuals in the sex industry. This presentation will review the Minority Stress Model as it applies to the sex work population - individuals who sell or trade sexual services including strippers, cam-workers, porn actors, pro-dommes, escorts, etc. The literature shows that said individuals are at risk for experiencing a wide range of negative consequences from the minority stress of sex work, which is does not come inherently from sex work but from social stigma, prejudice, bias and discrimination against those in the sex industry. Approaches to counteract chronic and systemic stress facing sex workers include appropriate self-care (including seeking sex-worker neutral therapy), community and relationship building, and the systemic decriminalization and destigmatization of sex work will be discussed. Additionally, sex workers face many unique difficulties in interpersonal relationships due to the stigma of their work. Interventions for working with relational issues the sex work population may face will be addressed.

Beginner. Introductory and appropriate for both students, therapists, researchers, etc. Attendees are presumed to have little familiarity and knowledge on the subject of the presentation as the sex work population has not been given adequate focus or attention by the therapy world. As such, the presentation will begin with very basic information (sex work 101) to ensure that all participants have the required knowledge to apply to the population.
Presenter(s): Hannah Rogak, MS; Jennifer Vencill, PhD, LP; Jennifer Jo Conner, PhD, LMFT
Session will begin with an experiential exercise designed to help participants gain a greater understanding of the marginalization that kinky clients/couples face, including identity concealment and fear of stigma. A didactic component will follow this exercise and cover basic concepts and terminology (e.g., consent, power play) related to working with the BDSM/kink subculture. Presenters will discuss original research focused on relationship satisfaction within couples practicing BDSM/kink. Finally, a couples case study will be presented for participant exploration and discussion.

Beginner. Beginner/introductory focus on working clinically with kinky couples and couples exploring BDSM/kink.
Presenter(s): Rachel Martin, MS, LAMFT
Cultural forces shape our experiences of power in relationships in ways that link to larger societal patterns. Workshop participants will learn tools from Ken Hardy’s (2016) Privileged and Subjugated Task (PAST) Model to help clients identify when they are operating from a place of privilege or subjugation and how to take healthy risks to shift oppressive power dynamics in their relationship.

Presenter(s): Carise Rotach-Beard, MA, LMFT
People who practice ethical non-monogamy experience a unique set of relationship dynamics. In this workshop, we'll learn how to use elements of jealousy to benefit relationships, rather than threaten them.

Intermediate. Participants should have some amount of base knowledge of what constitutes an ethically non-monogamous relationship. Some baseline information will be given but overall the focus will be on building up and supporting the relationship model. Interventions taught will be geared towards people working with the relationship dyad yet the information can also be applicable for those working with individuals.

Fri October 27, 3:00pm - 4:30pm

Presenter(s): Anney Lyons, MA, LAMFT, Doctoral Candidate
This presentation focuses on the challenges that can arise in relationships when one or more partners in a relationship have a history of sexual trauma. Attendees will learn about the impact of sexual trauma, including trauma-related symptoms that impact intimate relationships, secondary traumatic stress, and strategies for partners and couples to work through the impact of trauma.

Beginner. Attendees do not need to have familiarity with the topic to attend.
Presenter(s): Abby Girard, MA, PsyD; Beatrice "Bean" Robinson, MN Licensed Psychologist, MN Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, MN State-Approved Supervisor

We will use lecture and interactive exercises to help therapists work with couples with distressing sexual desire discrepancy. Based on our clinical experience with sexual dysfunctions in individuals and couples at the Program in Human Sexuality, University of Minnesota Medical School, we will discuss the conceptualization, assessment, and treatment of sexual desire issues. We will discuss several models of couples-based interventions in the treatment of this common relational problem.

Intermediate. Participants should have a basic understanding of couple/family therapy models and a basic understanding of sexual dysfunctions, especially sexual desire/arousal disorders.
Presenter(s): Anthony Mielke, MA, LAMFT, Doctoral Student
This presentation will provide an in-depth perspective on identifying and addressing destructive masculine ideology within couple’s therapy from an attachment perspective. Framed within a clinical case study, skills to identify negative interaction cycles and attachment injuries in the couple will be taught. Barriers to the couple’s therapy process specifically related to destructive masculine ideology will be highlighted. the Ecosystemic Masculinity Paradigm will then be integrated with attachment-based strategies for assessment and intervention purposes. The session participant will gain conceptual knowledge and practical skills to overcome barriers related to destructive masculine ideology in couple’s therapy.

Intermediate/Advanced. This presentation is ideally suited for clinicians with some familiarity with attachment-based couple’s therapy and experience working with couples in a clinical setting. The concepts, strategies, and language used in this presentation is very systemic, so the ideal participant will have a solid working knowledge of systemic dynamics, particularly between partners. The presentation will provide sufficient information regarding destructive masculine ideology and the Ecosystemic Masculinity Paradigm for those with minimal exposure to these topics. Students and clinicians who have encountered barriers in couple’s therapy related to masculine ideology will find this presentation particularly benefit.
Presenter(s): Martha Kauppi, MS, LMFT, ACST (AASECT Certified Sex Therapist)
Polyamory is in the news, in the movies, and in the therapy room. As media attention for this open relationship style grows, more and more people are giving it a try. Working skillfully with this marginalized group requires gaining cultural competence specific to their struggles. Learn who chooses polyamory and why, how long their relationships last, how many relationships they have, what their family groups look like, and how challenges specific to polyamory might present in your therapy room. Learn how to identify and disrupt maladaptive relational strategies without perpetuating negative cultural bias. Gain insight into working with alternative family structures through case presentations from Martha’s practice, and take advantage of question-and-answer segments so you can leave feeling confident about putting the information into practice.

All Levels. Totally applicable for people with no exposure to polyamory at all. Also relevant to therapists who have a lot of experience with this population.