2015 Conference Concurrent Workshops

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1. Ask The Doctor

Robert G. Stern, MD, Staten Island University Hospital, Department of Psychiatry

Workshop Description:
Dr. Stern will discuss the issue of psychosis, including approaches to treatment before and after the first episode.

Speaker Biography:

Dr. Robert SternRobert G. Stern, MD is a board certified psychiatrist on staff at Staten Island University Hospital and Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Rutgers University Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, NJ. For the past 30 years, Dr. Stern’s clinical work and research have focused on the treatment of patients with severe mental illness, with particular emphasis on those with schizophrenia. Dr. Stern has published over 100 articles, book chapters and abstracts. Dr. Stern graduated from Sackler School of Medicine, University of Tel Aviv and completed his residency training and fellowships at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. Dr. Stern is the recipient of the 2012 NAMI Exemplary Psychiatrist Award.


2. Family Connections: How Dialectical Behavior Therapy Based Skills Can Change the Family Environment

Ann & Matt Costello, NEA.BPD Board Members & Family Connections Teachers

Workshop Description: In this presentation, Ann and Matt Costello will provide a look inside Family Connections©, the free twelve-week course created by National Education Alliance (NEA) for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). They will explore the core Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) based skills of the evidence based course — such as Validation, Mindfulness, and Radical Acceptance — that can change the family environment and allow family members to become the vital support that their struggling relatives need. They will also review the symptoms and nature of BPD, the ‘elusive’ disorder, and how that information begins to empower families with a relative with BPD. Ann and Matt are board members of NEA.BPD, and teach two courses a year at New York Presbyterian, White Plains.

Speaker Biographies:

Matt & Ann CostelloAnn Costello has been a retired elementary school teacher having taught in Bedford, NY and Irvington, NY for over 30 years. She is currently working at Katonah Elementary School, Katonah, NY for the last 12 years and also serves as a Board Member of NEA.BPD, the National Educational Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder since 2009. With her husband Matt, also a Board Member, they teach Family Connections classes at New York Presbyterian Hospital in White Plains, New York, and also run a monthly ‘Support/Tune-Up’ group for alumni of those classes where people can review and practice the course’s DBT-based skills. Ann also coordinates the NEA.BPD’s monthly ‘call-in’ for Family Connections leaders old and new.

Matt Costello is writer, teacher and Board Member of NEA.BPD, the National Educational Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder. He has created and taught Gifted and Talented programs for schools districts in New York State, and has mentored teams around the world working on all facets of media. Matt has also written novels, games and television for major global companies. He and his wife Ann, also a Board Member, teach Family Connections classes at New York Presbyterian Hospital in White Plains, New York, and they also run a monthly ‘support’ group for alumni of those classes where people can review and practice the course’s DBT-based skills.


3. Are We Worthy of Wellness?

Margaret E. Molnar, Special Assistant for Consumer Affairs, Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health & Addiction Services, Office of Prevention, Early Intervention & Community Services;
Ann Reilly, MA, MSW, CPRP, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions, Rutgers University

Workshop Description:
The premise of this presentation is that self-worth and self-care are integrally related. This workshop will examine some causes of feelings of low self-worth and will present strategies to improve self-worth and self-care; so that individuals can attain an improved quality of life. We will also identify how family members can enhance their loved ones’ self-worth as well as model positive self-care.

Speaker Biographies:

Margaret MolnarMargaret E. Molnar is the Special Assistant for Consumer Affairs at the New Jersey Division of Mental Health Services where she serves as both an internal systems change agent and leader in transforming New Jersey’s mental health system to a wellness and recovery-based model.  Through the use of her personal lived experience of working through her own recovery from serious mental illness and supporting the empowerment and involvement of other consumer leaders across the state, ensure that the consumer voice is represented at all levels of policy and decision-making throughout the state. Ms. Molnar is responsible for the programmatic oversight of peer-operated services on a statewide basis.  She works very closely with the 33 peer-operated community wellness centers throughout the state.  She has advocated and assisted in the development of new consumer-operated services in the state such as: a statewide Peer Recovery Warm-Line; Self-help centers on the grounds of our state psychiatric hospitals; the hiring of peers to work in designated screening centers and on ICMS Teams; and, most recently, the development of three peer-operated crisis respite programs. Margaret Molnar’s proudest accomplishment is her lived experience with serious mental illness, which has given her the insight and passion to be a tireless advocate and visionary.  She has compassionately educated others throughout her career.

Ann ReillyAnn Reilly, MA, MSW, CPRP, is an Assistant Professor at Rutgers University; Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions, teaching Psychiatric Rehabilitation courses on an undergraduate level.  She is currently involved in teaching all NJ supportive housing provider agencies Psychiatric Rehabilitation/strengths based approach to assisting individuals in becoming members of their communities.  The focus is on methods of communication, goal setting, and skills teaching.  Ms. Reilly has presented at state and national conferences on these and other topics; including Community Support Services, Wellness Coaching, Person Centered Planning; and Illness Management and Recovery.  She is particularly interested in promoting the inclusion of Peer Providers in all phases of support for individuals working toward recovery.


4. Cognitive Enhancement Therapy

Ray Gonzalez, Executive Director, Center for Cognition and Recovery, CETCleveland

Workshop Description:

Cognitive Enhancement Therapy (CET), is a SAMHSA Evidence Based Practice that significantly reduces cognitive deficits and improves social cognition for persons recovering from mental illnesses. During 48 once-a-week sessions of computer exercises, social cognition groups and individual coaching, consumers learn how to be socially wise and vocationally effective. CET groups average 80% attendance and graduation rates.  Lessons learned from the 11 years of disseminating CET to 36 sites in 12 states will be presented.

Speaker Biography:

Ray GonzalezRay Gonzalez has 37 years of direct services (casework for a wide range of clients), administration (CEO of state psychiatric hospital; founded and led PLAN of Northeast Ohio for 21 years and since 2009, is the Executive Director of the Center for Cognition and Recovery) and program development for persons recovering from mental illnesses.  He has a MSW from Ohio State University.  Mr. Gonzalez has been a NAMI member for 28 years; has co-lead four CET groups; has presented on CET at over 105 local, regional and national conferences; and has helped established 36 CET Programs in 12 states.



5. Double the Stigma: Mental Health in the LGBTQ Community

Michael LaSala, PhD, LCSW, Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey;
Reverend Kevin Taylor, Unity Fellowship Church Movement;
April Wilson, President, NAMI Essex/Passaic

Workshop DescriptionThe lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community faces mental illness just like the rest of the population, but may experience more negative outcomes due to prejudice and other biases. LGBTQ individuals do not often talk about mental health and may lack awareness about mental health conditions, preventing people from seeking the treatment and support that they need to get better. The community is at a higher risk for suicide because of lack of peer support, harassment, mental health conditions and substance abuse. Panelists will discuss the topics such as self-acceptance, the role of religion, family and social acceptance, as well as the impact of race and culture.

Speaker Biographies:

Michael C. LaSala, PhD, LCSW is associate professor at the School of Social Work at Rutgers University and has been a practicing psychotherapist and teacher/trainer for 30 years. His research and clinical specialties are the couple and family relationships of gay men and lesbians. Dr. LaSala’s book entitled: Coming out, coming home: Helping families adjust to a gay or lesbian child (Columbia University Press) describes the findings and practice implications of a National Institute of Mental Health funded qualitative study of 65 gay and lesbian youth and their families. Other examples of Dr. LaSala’s work can be found in over 25 journal articles and his blog for Psychology Today (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/gay-and-lesbian-well-being). Dr. LaSala is a much sought after speaker on gay and lesbian couple and family issues and has recently presented workshops, keynotes, and plenaries in Sweden, Canada, Finland, Estonia, Italy, and throughout the U.S.  Further information on Dr. LaSala’s work can be found on his website http://drmichaellasala.com

Rev. Taylor

Elder Rev. Kevin E. Taylor is the co-pastor, along with Rev. Janyce L. Jackson Jones, of Unity Fellowship Church NewArk, which they founded in December 2012 after bringing their separate NJ works together in the metropolis that is Newark, NJ.  Taylor is also an accomplished TV producer, creating projects for BET Networks–Notarized, Access Granted, Lifted, Lyrically Speaking, VideoLink and Parallel Paths to name a few–as well as writing for the likes of Natalie Cole, Regina Belle, Karyn White, Terence Jenkins of E! News and many others.  Taylor is also a best-selling author with JADED, ENVY, BECAUSE HE LIVES and MEET THE HENDERSONS being his novel offerings and UNCLUTTER, IT’S TIME FOR SOME ACTION and GET OFF YOUR ASS + DO SOMETHING his empowerment tomes.  Pastor Taylor has been in the pastorate for 15 years and in ministry for nearly 2 decades, with a lifetime of social justice works with political campaigns, The Whitman Walker Clinic and the DC Coalition of Black Lesbians, Gay Men, Bisexuals and Transgenders among his works as a young man in his native home of Washington, DC.  Taylor is a proud father and grandfather.

April Wilson

April Wilson, MS, CPRP, CPC, is the president of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in Essex and Passaic Counties and the former Mental Health Coordinator of the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training program in Essex County.  She is employed by Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey (CSPNJ) as the Program Coordinator of The Passaic County Wellness Respite Services and the Mental Health Association of Essex County (MHAEC) as the Health and Wellness Coordinator.  April has been with CSPNJ for seven years where she has served as a Recovery Trainer within New Jersey State Psychiatric Hospitals and Community Liaison at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in Morris Plains. She also works part time as the Health and Wellness Coordinator for the Mental Health Association of Essex County.   She is a Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner and a Certified Professional Life Coach.   April currently serves as the coordinator of the Consumer Panel Coordinator of the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training Program in Essex County and is the founder and president of Believe in You Coaching LLC.   She has also served as a Youth Minister at Agape House in North Plainfield and the former Assistant Cub Master of Pack 8 Cub Scouts in East Orange.  April is a Doctoral candidate at Montclair State University. In her free time she enjoys swimming and bicycling. April is the proud mother of a son who she absolutely credits for her survival in her dark days.  She also enjoys spending time with her niece, nephews and great niece. April is a lifelong resident of Essex County and new homeowner in the City of Newark.  When asked how and why she is involved in so many areas, she responds “To whom much is given, much is required.”  She credits her faith and family for her success.


6. Getting Back to Work – Real World Stories and Solutions

William Butler, NAMI NJ Consumer Council Representative;
Jill Trimboli, Employment Specialist, APL Associates;
Jay Yudof, NAMI NJ Recovery programs Coordinator

Workshop Description: In this workshop aimed at peers and family members, the audience will hear about ways in which people dealing with mental health issues get help getting back to work utilizing self-help, supports, and treatment and gain the ability to socialize and accrue more stable lifestyle. With the help of caring professionals and fellow patients, stability can be achieved and the possibility of finding employment becomes more of a reality. With the help of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, which provides the necessary supports needed to find a job, one can find and maintain stable employment and all of the challenges and rewards that come along with it. Along with the monetary benefits, supportive employment also provides the feeling of being a part of a team and building social relationships.

First, A NAMI NJ leader and his job coach will present on the actual experience of being helped/helping someone to choose, get, and keep competitive employment. The discussion will then move to:
• Some reasons beyond income why it makes sense for people dealing with mental health issues to resume educations and careers
• Sources and resources for help achieving these valued goals
• Ways to get extended presentations on the topic into your local NAMI

A suggested pre-read for this workshop is “If Work Makes People with Mental Illness Sick, What Do Unemployment, Poverty, and Social Isolation Cause? “.

Finally, there will be ample opportunity for questions and answers.

Speaker Biographies:

Bill ButlerWilliam Butler is the former Systems Advocacy Coordinator of CSPNJ. In 2011, he was named Professional of the Year at Cambridge “Who’s Who” registry. Currently, Mr. Butler is a part time maintenance worker at Wegman’s supermarket and the NAMI NJ Consumer Representative to the NAMI Consumer Council.




Jill TrimboliJill Trimboli has been working as an employment specialist with APL Associates for the past 4 years. She has over 7 years of experience working with individuals who have disabilities. As an employment specialist, Jill works one-on-one with people who are looking to find work but may struggle with the job searching process. She also provides support to the individuals once they have obtained a position. Jill holds an Associate’s degree from Brookdale Community College in Social Sciences, and is currently working on her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Rutgers University.



Jay Yudof

Jay Yudof is a Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner, holding an MS in Psychiatric Rehabilitation from UMDNJ and several courses towards his PhD. Jay serves as NAMI New Jersey’s Recovery Programs Coordinator. He has both training and experience providing, assessing, and supervising Psychiatric Supported Employment, has published materials on the topic, and presents widely on the topics of employment and education in the community. His private practice includes both supported employment services and providing trainings for Consumer Providers (people dealing with mental health issues going to work in the mental health and social services field). He is active in both the Consumer Provider Association in NJ and the NJ Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association.


7. Improving the Judiciary’s Response to Mental Health Needs

Scott Fine, NAMI Family-to-Family Teacher, NAMI Smarts presenter;
Steven M. Fishbein, MS, CRC, LRC, Manager, Justice Involved and Veterans Services, DMHAS

Workshop Description: Under the auspices of New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner the Interbranch Advisory Committee on Mental Health Initiatives was formed to study the Judiciary’s responses to individuals with a mental illness in New Jersey who have become entangled in the justice system. In December of 2012, the Committee submitted its report to the New Jersey Supreme Court with 17 far-reaching recommendations. The Interbranch Implementation Committee was formed to bring to fruition the 17 recommendations on how to coordinate better among law enforcement, service providers, consumers and their family members to improve the Judiciary’s response to mental health needs. This workshop will discuss the implications of the Advisory Committee’s recommendations.

Speaker Biographies:

Scott FineScott Fine has been an Atlantic County resident for the past seven years.  He has worked as a Stainless Steel distributor for 31 years, and has been married for 37 years to Fern Fine, who is a board member of NAMI Atlantic County. Fern and Scott have two sons and two grandsons. His youngest son was diagnosed with a serious mental illness in 2010. Faced with this, Scott took the NAMI Family-to-Family Education program in 2010, and found it so effective that he decided to become trained as a Family-to-Family education teacher himself. It has been very satisfying for him to see so many Atlantic county  families attending and graduating from the Family-to-Family program. In 2013, Scott was trained by NAMI National to present the advocacy program, NAMI Smarts, and has successfully delivered the presentation several times. In 2014 Scott went to Washington DC on behalf of NAMI NJ and met with Congressman and Senate liaisons to advocate for urgent need for Child and adolescent psychiatrists. He is a member of the Inter-branch advisory committee on Mental health initiatives, and has delivered presentations on Mental Illness and the Courts to Atlantic County Court Administrators.

SteveFSteven M. Fishbein, MS, CRC, LRC is currently the Manager of Justice Involved and Veterans Services, Office of Treatment & Recovery Support, Division of Mental Health and Addictions Services (DMHAS). In this capacity he is responsible for all of the division’s criminal justice programs. This includes Drug Court; coordinating substance abuse treatment (SA) services and sits on the Drug Court Advisory Committee. Other SA services for justice involved consumers include the SPB and DOC Mutual Assistance Program. On the mental health side, he oversees jail diversion and re-entry services for persons with mental illness and co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders in 15 counties. He assists in fostering police based interventions such as Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) throughout the state via the DMHAS and Office of the Attorney General (OAG) funded CIT Center for Excellence in Camden and is involved in other OAG collaborations. He was a member of the Supreme Court Interbranch Advisory Committee on Mental Health Initiatives and is the current co-chair of the Interbranch Implementation Committee. Previously he was on the Governor’s Task Force on Reducing Recidivism. He was an active appointed member to the Study Commission on Violence. He monitors the Cop to Cop helpline program contract and works to increase police suicide awareness. He is trained by The National GAINS Center, PRA to conduct Sequential Intercept Mapping of the Criminal Justice, Mental Health and Substance Abuse system. He is also the liaison for veteran’s services and sits on New Jersey’s Veterans Services Enhancement Team. He collaborates with the NJVAHC system. Previously he managed the DMHAS Supported Employment (SE) in twenty one counties and more recently supported education in eleven. He had been the division’s liaison with DVRS for the past 34 years. He oversaw other mental health services including include Illness Management and Recovery, Integrated Treatment for Co-occurring Disorders through a learning community and Wellness Coaching. Steve has an MS. in Rehabilitation Counseling, is a certified and licensed Rehabilitation Counselor and has over 40 years of experience as a practitioner, supervisor, administrator and trainer in vocational and psychiatric rehabilitation. He is an Adjunct Clinical Instructor in the Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation & Behavioral Health Care of Rutgers-SHRP. He has a number of awards, articles and publications including a Dean’s Citation from Rutgers, The Mort Gati Award form NJPRA, Rebecca McDonald Leadership Award from NJAPSE and the New Jersey State Parole Board’s 2009 Partnership Award.


8. Growing, Healing & Transformation

David Axelrod, PhD, Adjunct professor of Economics, Montclair State University

Workshop Description:

Healing, Growth and Mental Health: An Economists Perspective. This presentation considers mental health at the nexus of behavioral economics and holonomics. Behavioral economics recognizes the gap between rational decision making and actions actually chosen. This arises from both the time-pressures to act, as well as the limits to the availability and processing of information. It is here that similarities to mental health issues as limitations to brain functions relative real-world stressors are the clearest. Holonomics recognizes that the well-being of an individual is based not only on the material and financial resources owned and produced, but also in relationships, personal identity and how one makes decisions. These are part of the external and internal environments that all humans face.

The distinction between healing and growth can be understood as follows. Growth is the process by which we act beyond our imagined capacities. Healing is the process by which we calm into our memorized capacities. The implications for mental health is in understanding where in the healing-growing cycle a person is. The analogy is that of recovery from an injury: first is healing by avoiding the use (calming) of the injured body part, followed by physical therapy to strengthen it (acting beyond).

There are also implications for caregivers and family members. Since limitations exist for everyone, it is important that they too do what is necessary for their own healing and growth. Another analogy is an airplane emergency where a parent is to put on their mask first, so as to better attend to putting on the mask of their child.

Speaker Biography:

David AxelrodDr. David Axelrod is an adjunct professor of Economics with Montclair State University. He received his PhD in Economics from Rutgers University in 1990. He has worked in the field of finance for Falcon Management and Volvo Finance. Other research has included topics in time preference, health economics, labor economics, and behavioral economics. David also provides private classes, workshops and consulting from a holonomic perspective.