Alliance 2020 Virtual Training Institute Report
This year the Alliance Training Institute was offered virtually due to the ongoing COVID pandemic. Although it was disappointing not to be able to meet in person, the rapid learning the Board had to undertake regarding how to provide an institute over the Internet will have many benefits going forward in disseminating Alliance materials and reaching people around the world. In fact, this year’s conference had registrants watching from Hong Kong, Singapore, the Phillipines, Australia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and Germany. The 2020 conference was a combination of live and pre-recorded presentations.
Live sessions were held the evenings of Thursday and Friday, September 24 and 25. Our Thursday live keynote speaker was Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D., who is a recently retired Professor of Sociology at the Catholic University of America. Dr. Sullins spoke reviewed research that brings into question a strictly “born that way” view of same-sex sexuality and minority stress theory as a dominant explanation for sexual orientation health disparities. He also shared his reanalysis of data from a recent study purporting to show harm from change-allowing therapies. His examination controlled for pre-therapy levels of distress and, in doing so, turned the findings of the study upside down, suggesting instead participants actually benefited from their experience.
Sheri Golden, Ph.D., began our Friday evening live sessions with her talk about the negative impact of digital media and social isolation on the gender and sexual development of adolescents. She described relevant case material and noted how her experiences with these adolescents is mirrored in the recent book by Abigail Shirer, Irreversible Damage. The second live speaker of the night was Bryan Shen, MMSAC, a professional counselor and supervisor registered, who spoke to us from his home in Singapore. He outlined his experiences in working to help both the church and the greater culture in Asia speak compassionately and truthfully to the issues surrounding persons with unwanted same-sex sexuality.
Seven additional workshops were pre-recorded and all presentations were made available to institute registrants for on-demand viewing through December 20, 2020. Pre-recorded workshops were given on topics ranging from childhood gender confusion, medical and psychiatric issues associated with minority sexualities, beneficial clinical practices, and understanding research designs and questionable research practices. The presenting faculty for these workshops were Julie Hamilton, Ph.D., Keith Venuum, M.D., Anthony Duk, M.D., David Pickup, LMFT, Michael Cox, LCSW, Bryan Shen, MMSAC, and Christopher Rosik, Ph.D.
If you missed the workshops and seminars of the 20209 institute and wish you could have attended, there is good news! You can still purchase access to all the presentations and many more through the Alliance Training Institute Seminars section on the website.
We plan to be meeting in person again on September 24 and 25, 2021, in Orlando, Florida. Save the dates now. We look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones face-to-face again as we continue to prepare counselors of all varieties to professionally serve persons who wish to pursue sexual attraction fluidity exploration in therapy.
Call for Workshop Presentations for 2021
The Alliance for Therapeutic Choice holds an annual training institute in the fall of each year where licensed counselors, therapists, academics and other para-professionals can participate in a professional training program - open to all conference attendees -that leads to an Alliance Preferred Provider status for referral therapists and a similar recognition for students, new professionals, and non-referral clinicians. The faculty for the professional training program are selected by the Board of Directors from established Alliance member therapists, physicians, academics and researchers.
In addition, we invite all Alliance for Therapeutic Choice members to participate as a workshop presenter or discussion leader at the annual Training Institute on clinical, legal, sociological, research, health and other related issues concerning various aspects of human sexuality, addictions, pornography, homosexuality, etc.
To apply to be a 2021 Training Institute presenter (May, 31, 2021 deadline):
1. You must be an Alliance Partner member in good standing.
2. Provide a proposed workshop topic, an outline of the workshop content, and the proposed learning format (lecture, video presentation, panel discussion, etc.) along with any audio visual needs.
3. Include a brief professional biography and personal photo.
4. Describe briefly the learning objectives (what would someone learn, understand or gain) for those who attend.