The University of Colorado Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center
is pleased to present
Aimee Sullivan, Ph.D
“Clinician Training in Family-Focused Therapy for Bipolar Disorders”
Tuesday, February 25, 2020
8:30am – 5:30pm
Lilly Marks Boardroom
CU Medicine Building
13199 E. Montview Blvd.
Aurora, CO 80045
This workshop is free of charge.
Psychologists, LCSWs, and LPCs can earn 6 CE credits for participation in this training.
Training in Family-Focused Therapy is generously supported through funding from
The Caring for Colorado Foundation (www.caringforcolorado.org)
To register or ask questions : email Depression.Center@ucdenver.edu
Program Description: Bipolar disorder (BD) is a highly recurrent, chronic illness associated with significant impairment in psychosocial functioning and quality of life. Research suggests that effective treatment improves social and vocational/academic functioning, quality of life, and reduces individual suffering for BD patients. Youth with BD, or those at high risk for BD, may particularly benefit from appropriate intervention, as effective treatment will not only reduce current symptoms but also benefit their future development.
Family-focused therapy (FFT) is a psychoeducational treatment for patients with BD focused on alleviation of mood symptoms, relapse prevention and enhanced psychosocial functioning. The protocol consists of three modules: psychoeducation; communication enhancement training; and problem-solving skills . The FFT treatment protocol includes session-by-session instructions for each of these modules, as well as supplements clinicians can use to address suicidality, anxiety disorders, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, and behavioral problems. Research indicates that FFT can be used effectively with adults, adolescents, and high-risk youth and their families.
Unfortunately, FFT is currently largely unavailable to patients with BD in Colorado. Through a generous grant from The Caring for Colorado Foundation, the CU Johnson Depression Center is hosting free workshops in FFT to improve clinician access, and ultimately patient access, to this evidence-based treatment.
8:30am – 9:00am: Check In (a light breakfast will be provided)
9:00am –10:15am: Working with Bipolar Patients
10:15am – 10:30am: Break
10:30am – 11:30pm: The Importance of the Family Environment
11:30am – 12:00pm: Introduction to Family-Focused Therapy
12:00pm – 12:45pm: Lunch Break (lunch will be provided)
12:45pm – 2:15pm: Psychoeducation Module
2:15pm – 2:30pm: Break
2:30pm – 3:45pm: Communication Skills Training and Problem-Solving Skills Modules
3:45pm – 4:00pm: Break
4:00pm – 4:30pm: Research Support
4:30pm – 5:00pm: Adjunct and Emerging Therapies
5:00pm – 5:30pm: Feedback and Questionnaires
Intended Audience: Behavioral health and medical providers who deliver clinical services to patients with bipolar disorder. Psychologists are eligible to receive CEs for participation in this training workshop.
Level of Programming: Intermediate
Learning Objectives: This day-long workshop will provide attendees with a thorough review of the FFT model, including:
• Learning Objective 1: Be able to describe appropriate assessment practices for bipolar disorder, including a review of the ways symptoms can present across populations (i.e., racial, sex, and developmental groups).
• Learning Objective 2: Be prepared to complete accurate assessments for bipolar disorder, with an emphasis on differential diagnosis.
• Learning Objective 3: Recognize the role of the family environment in the development and course of bipolar disorder, as well as the rationale for use of family treatment in working with this population.
• Learning Objective 4: Be prepared to recognize high vs low levels of Expressed Emotion in their case load.
• Learning Objective 5: Determine which families may be appropriate vs inappropriate for the Family-Focused Therapy (FFT) model, and review ways of increasing family motivation and adherence to the model.
• Learning Objective 6: Be prepared to provide the FFT Psychoeducation Module to their patients (emphasis on skill instruction and use of handouts)
• Learning Objective 7: Be prepared to provide the FFT Communication Enhancement Training Module to their patients (emphasis on skill instruction and use of handouts)
• Learning Objective 8: Be prepared to provide the FFT Problem-Solving Module to their patients (emphasis on skill instruction and use of handouts)
• Learning Objective 9: Practice FFT skills from each module in small groups during the training.
• Learning Objective 10: Compare FFT to other evidence-based practices for bipolar disorder, based on overview of completed and ongoing research.
• Learning Objective 11: List new and emerging alternative treatments for bipolar disorder
• Learning Objective 12: Describe how FFT can be modified based on patient, clinician, or clinic needs.
• Learning Objective 13: Discuss use of the FFT model in one’s own practice.
Presenter: Aimee Sullivan, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist and Senior Instructor at the University of Colorado Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center. Dr. Sullivan received her B.S. in Honors Biopsychology and Cognitive Sciences from the University of Michigan. She earned her doctorate in Clinical Psychology with Dr. David Miklowitz at the University of Colorado Boulder, and completed her predoctoral clinical internship at UCLA. She specializes in the use of Dr. Miklowitz’s Family-Focused Treatment (FFT) for adolescents and adults with bipolar disorder, and youth at high risk for bipolar disorder.
Dr. Sullivan has been a member of the Colorado Family Project for more than 10 years, an organization providing clinical services through nationally-funded research of FFT. She has assisted with the completion of randomized controlled trials investigating use of FFT, and has served as a lead study psychologist for four years. Dr. Sullivan has trained advanced graduate students in the FFT model and provided dozens of research presentations and invited lectures to clinicians and educators reviewing the components of FFT.