Who We Are and What We Do
The Ontario Association for Marriage and Family Therapists (OAMFT) is the professional association for the field of Marriage and Family Therapy in Ontario. We represent the most highly trained and qualified systemic therapists in Ontario who have specialized education and training in working with individuals, couples, and families. OAMFT is committed in supporting diversity, practicing inclusivity, and advocating for equity amongst our members, clients, and communities.
Discernment Counseling Webinar
When: Friday, September 15, 2023 from 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM (EST)
Presented by: Steven M. Harris, PhD, LMFT
Where: Zoom Live Video Communications
*NOTE: Only Live Participants are eligible to received their 1.5 Hours Continuing Education Credits.
Attendees will receive a brief introduction to research on the topic of divorce ideation to set the stage for why couple therapists need a new way of thinking about engaging couples where one is leaning into, and the other is leaning out of, the relationship. Being able to identify a mixed-agenda couple and how to approach them clinically, so both partners feel heard and respected, is key to this approach. Unlike couples therapy, where the goal is to help the couple bond, connect, or increase their intimate connection, discernment counselling recognizes that a mixed agenda couple is unlikely to engage in this kind of work.
The goal of discernment counselling is to help couples get greater clarity and confidence in their decision making about the future of their marriage/relationship based on a deeper understanding of why divorce/break up is seriously being considered and each person’s role in creating and maintaining the relationship patterns. Participants will be introduced to this model and learn how to help each person in the couple develop a Personal Agenda for Change that taps into the clients’ individual roles in the relational dance and sets the stage for making lasting change if the couple chooses to work on their relationship.
About Steven M. Harris, PhD, LMFT:
Steven M. Harris, PhD, LMFT, is a Professor of family therapy at the University of Minnesota. He is originally from Kitchener, Ontario. He has authored over 90 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, has written five books, and has contributed a variety of other publications to the field of family therapy throughout his career. Dr. Harris is the current Editor of the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. He also serves as the Associate Director of the Minnesota Couples on the Brink Project. He and his co-author, Dr. William Doherty, released the first textbook on Discernment Counselling in April 2017.
OAMFT Bonus Conference 2023 Presents:
“Family Healing and Recovery: Family Systems Now”
When: Saturday November 4th, 10am to 12pm and 1pm to 3pm (EST)
Where: Virtual Zoom Video Communications
*NOTE: Only Live Participants are eligible to received their 4.0 Hours Continuing Education Credits.*
There will be opportunities for Theoretical Understanding, Applications and Skillful Practice, Networking Opportunities, a Q & A and much more…
Families need our help more than ever! In a time of increased distress and challenge, family therapy can be an invaluable resource to promote healing and recovery. Family relationships can be especially powerful in providing safety, support, guidance, and care, yet many family systems are strained and disconnected.
This session will begin with an overview of family systems theory, highlighting the foundational elements of systems theory in establishing a therapeutic relationship. Specifically, systems theory offers a structure to understand context, communication, culture, and change that can ground and organize the therapy practice.
Following this overview, systems theory will be applied in through the lens of three therapeutic approaches: Behavioral, Emotional, and Multigenerational. Systems theory offers a unique and highly effective way of integrating these three perspectives, creating a collaborative approach to systems change.
Finally, case material will be used to illustrate the application of this integrative approach. Break-out rooms and exercises will be used to allow participants to engage directly with the material. The ultimate goal of the session is to provide a conceptual structure and practical tools to support the work of contemporary family therapists.
About Our Speaker: Shelly Smith-Acuña PhD
Shelly Smith-Acuña, Ph.D., is a professor the Graduate School of Professional Psychology (GSPP) at the University of Denver (DU), where she has been on faculty for 31 years and was Dean for 10 years. She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Loyola University of Chicago, completed an internship at Northwestern Hospital, and received post-doctoral training at the Family Institute at Northwestern University.
Dr. Smith-Acuña’s areas of research and teaching include couple and family therapy, with a particular emphasis on gender, culture, and multigenerational issues. Her scholarship focuses on the application of psychological systems theory to improve the human condition, as seen in her book, Systems Theory in Action. She is a member of the American Psychological Association (APA), the National Councils of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology (NCSPP) and the Colorado Psychological Association (CPA). She also maintains a private practice, working with couples, families, and individuals with relationship issues.
Places to Get Started
Our FAQ page is our common questions and answers! Can't find your answer contact us!
Find a Therapist
Looking for a Therapist near you? Just click the city nearest you and reach out to the therapist. OAMFT is not a therapy provider.
Books & Articles
Looking for resources on marriage and family counselling or help? Just click on the link and see what our therapists recommend!