Workshops & Lectures

MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy: “Our Experiences as Subjects in an FDA-Approved Clinical Trial”

April 17th from 6:30-7:30pm in Montieth Room 104

Sponsored by UConn Students for Sensible Drug Policy

Will Siu, MD, DPhil (NYU Psychiatrist) and Sara Reed, MS, MFT (UConn Health Center Study Coordinator) are both clinicians and were participants in a clinical trial where they received the drug MDMA. MDMA is commonly referred to as "molly" or "ecstasy" and is often associated with rave and music festival culture. However, research is demonstrating that MDMA shows incredible potential to assist those healing from PTSD. Will and Sara took MDMA as part of the therapist training program for an upcoming MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy trial at UConn Health Center. During this fascinating talk, they will discuss their personal experiences taking the drug and how those experiences will shape their research into the potential of MDMA-Assisted psychotherapy to help heal individuals suffering from trauma. Refreshments will be served.

More info at

From Microaggressions to Hate Crimes: #RacialTraumaIsReal

April 4, 2018 by Dr. Monnica Williams, 6 pm, Chemistry A203

Sponsored by UConn Students for Sensible Drug Policy

Universities all over the nation are grappling with difficulties surrounding race relations, which have only been exacerbated in the current divisive political climate. This talk will include material on the various forms of racism that impact people of color, including microaggressions (subtle, everyday racism), structural issues that lead to greater incarceration rates for people of color (i.e., the War on Drugs), and the rise of hate crimes in our country. Dr. Williams will also be discussing new approaches to reducing racism and helping those impacted by it, including the MDMA-Assisted psychotherapy trial for PTSD taking place at the UConn Health Center.

Read about it in the Daily Campus!

Reducing Microaggressions & Promoting Racial Harmony in Clinical Practice

Date: Sept 29, 2017 by Dr. Monnica Williams

Sponsored by the Connecticut Psychological Association, Wallingford, CT (3 CEs)

Given the increasing diversity of clients seeking cognitive behavioral treatments (CBT), there is a growing need to enhance the cultural sensitivity of therapeutic interventions with ethnoracial minority populations. One critical form of contemporary racism is the experience of microaggressions:  brief, everyday exchanges, in the form of seemingly innocent and innocuous comments, and subtle or dismissive gestures and tones that send denigrating messages to people of color because they belong to a minority group. Microaggressions in mental health settings are a cause of poor therapeutic alliance and drop-out, representing a barrier to treatment for people of color.  Repeated exposure to microaggressions can cause psychological unwellness and even trauma symptoms in victims. Increasing awareness of microaggressions, and how to address the problem, is a critical target of clinical training and therapeutic intervention.  Dr. Williams will discuss new research surrounding the impact of microaggressions and review assessment strategies for uncovering the effects of race-related stress and trauma in clients.

More information...

The Changing Face of Racism: Why We Are All Racists and What To Do About It

Date/Time: Friday 3/24/17 12:00 noon

Presented by Jonathan Kanter, Ph.D. Director of the Center for Social Connection, University of Washington

Location: UConn, Department of Psychology

With a contemporary and dynamic understanding of racism and discrimination in our society, it is no longer enough to point a finger at others and label them the problem. Many white people, raised to value fairness and equality, to not harm others, and to be sensitive and caring toward all members of our society, are finding the current climate to be confusing and alarming. Racism is no longer so simple and explicit, such that most white people can safely say, “I am not the problem.” Today, modern science has identified implicit biases that make all of us racist to some degree, and has raised awareness of environmental, systematic and structural issues that benefit white people. These realities imply that simply doing nothing while benefiting from unfair systems is an act of racism. Our modern understanding of racism challenges the mainstream to not be color-blind, to acknowledge its privilege, to challenge the status-quo and to become pro-active allies in the continual fight for social justice and a truly fair and equal society. How do we do this? What are the obstacles, and how can we overcome them? Dr. Kanter, clinical psychologist and Director of the Center for the Science of Social Connection at the University of Washington, has been working in multiple settings and contexts with people of color and other disenfranchised minority groups for over a decade. He will share his personal experiences, scientific knowledge, and a concrete understanding of the problem and what to do about it.

Understanding & Connecting with African American Clients (6 CE's)

Workshop by Monnica Williams, Ph.D.

In this seminar, Dr. Williams will distinguish between colorblind and multicultural approaches. She will talk about Black and White racial identity and the impact of cultural stereotypes. She will identify the impact of discrimination and racism on mental health. This webinar will also focus on practical skills in working with African American clients, looking at cultural mistrust, diagnostic issues, and Afrocentric values. Finally, Dr. Williams will highlight the literature on race and IQ and psychopathology assessment. She will help participants in defining culturally sensitive therapy.

How to Participate

This presentation will take place at the University of Connecticut, and will be simultaneously broadcast online.

Attend this workshop live at UofL.

Or you can register to attend this workshop online through TZK Seminars.

Dates: Monday 9/15/2016 10:00 AM - 5:45 PM EST

Enhancing Clinical Skills with Ethnically and Racially Diverse Clients (up to 6 CE's)

Workshop sponsored by CMHD in partnership with KPA

Given the increasing diversity of clients seeking mental health care, there is a growing need to enhance the cultural sensitivity of therapeutic interventions with ethnoracial minority populations. This workshop will provide clinical perspectives on how to incorporate cultural factors into therapy. The presenter will discuss strategies for making treatment more relevant when working with underserved and marginalized populations. An assessment of functional and non-functional behaviors of both therapists and clients will be examined from the behaviorally-based Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP) perspective. Additionally, the presenter will address how therapies can be adapted when working with clients with diverse backgrounds, particularly as many empirically supported interventions were developed among relatively homogeneous research populations. Topics will include: culturally informed assessment; strategies to build alliances across difference; psychoeducation to include the role of racism and discrimination; identifying ethnoracial biases in the therapist; and how to identify and prevent committing microaggressions against clients, which can rupture the therapeutic alliance. Research findings surrounding the role of discrimination and racism upon mental health will also be reviewed. Additionally, a large part of this workshop will be for participants to ask questions and discuss cases.

About the Speaker

Monnica T. Williams, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and Director of the Center for Mental Health Disparities at the University of Louisville in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. She coordinates several research projects at the CMHD and provides research and clinical training to students.

Dr. Williams completed her undergraduate studies at MIT and UCLA. She received her Master's and Doctoral Degrees in clinical psychology from the University of Virginia, where she conducted research in the areas of psychopathology, tests and measurement, and ethnic differences. She completed her clinical internship at McGill University Health Centre, Montreal General Hospital Site, where she completed rotations in mood disorders, major mental illness, and sexual identity issues. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Louisville, Dr. Williams was an Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia for four years, where she instructed medical residents, practicum students, and undergraduates.

Dr. Williams has published over 75 book chapters and peer-reviewed articles focused on anxiety-related disorders and cultural differences. She has received grant funding from local, federal, and international organizations. She has served on the board of directors of the Delaware Valley Association of Black Psychologists, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Main Line chapter, and the OC Foundation of California. She is currently a member of the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF), where she serves on the Scientific Advisory Board, and the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, where she serves as the Special Interest Group (SIG) leader for African Americans in Behavioral Therapy. She is on the editorial board of the Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders (JOCRD), and Associate Editor of BMC Psychiatry and The Behavior Therapist.

Dr. Williams is a licensed psychologist who provides cognitive-behavioral treatment for adults and adolescents with OCD, PTSD, and other anxiety disorders. She specializes in treatment of the most severe cases of OCD and hoarding using Exposure and Ritual Prevention (Ex/RP) at the Behavioral Wellness Counseling Clinic & Louisville OCD Clinic. Dr. Williams provides supervision and training to other clinicians and has published several didactic articles on treatment issues. She has provided clinical lectures for mental health professionals at local organizations and national conferences (ABCT and IOCDF).

Workshop Details

Date: Friday May 22, 2015, 9:30 am - 5:00 pm.

Location: Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky (free parking)
640 Lyndon Farm Ct #100, Louisville, KY 40223


Part 1: Understanding Cultural Issues in Therapy: Stereotypes, Race, and Mental Health, 3 CE

Part 2: Making a Connection in Ethnically and Racially Diverse Therapist-Client Dyads, 3 CE

You will:

  1. Learn the difference between colorblind versus multicultural approaches to differences
  2. Understand how discrimination and racism impact mental health
  3. Know how to identify and avoid committing microaggressions against clients
  4. Understand how to build a strong therapeutic alliance with clients who are ethnoracially different than the therapist
  5. Learn how to address and integrate cultural issues in therapy.

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