Wednesday, April 7th   See Conference Schedule 

Pre-Conference Workshops

9:45 am-12:15 pm  Pre-Conference Session I: Poetry Therapy: A Doorway to Understanding and Alleviating Loneliness   

After discussing the prevalent phenomenon of loneliness in today's world, participants of this workshop with Geri Chavis, LP, PhD, CPT, will explore various ways in which the poetry therapy field is uniquely suited to addressing loneliness. We will experience how facilitated discussion of selected poems and stories along with the sharing of expressive writing can foster empathy for those suffering from loneliness, can help build a much-needed sense of community, and alleviate loneliness caused by a variety of external and internal factors. Our “warm-up” writing activity will provide an illustration of how a sense of community can be generated, and participants will be introduced to a selection of poems, each of which addresses various life situations or experiences that often cause or deepen feelings of loneliness. (75% Experiential/25% Didactic) Clinical/Health Care Setting (2.5 peer hours).

As past president and board member of NAPT, licensed psychologist, certified poetry therapist, mentor-supervisor, and humanities professor, Geri Chavis, LP, PhD, CPT, has been fostering growth and healing through literature and writing since 1979. She has presented a wide range of workshops in the U.S., U.K. and Ireland and written numerous books and articles. She is the author of Poetry and Story Therapy: The Healing Power of Creative Expression and co-editor of The Healing Fountain: Poetry  Therapy for Life’s Journey, both of which are required reading for CAPF, CPT and PTR  trainees.  She also compiled  an anthology entitled Family: Stories From the Interior.

1:00-3:00 pm   Pre-Conference Session II: It’s All About Giving Our Heart To The Writing

We dig down, expose ourselves, explore with our senses the heart’s magical light, the spirit’s long dark night, we renew our vows to be honest with ourselves, travel to places in the imagination and stay there creatively, learn to love again…that’s my workshop framework, within that space we will know ourselves again….  (75% Experiential/25% Didactic) Spiritual (2 peer hours)                                                          

Jimmy is requesting that participants read When I Walk Through The That Door, I Am.  Purchase from Beacon Press here.                                                    

While in prison at a young age, Jimmy Santiago Baca taught himself to read and write and began composing poetry and publishing his work. He then went on to become a prolific and successful published writer. Immigrants in Our Own Land, Baca’s first major collection, was highly praised, and his semi-autobiographical novel in verse, Martin and Meditations on the South Valley,  received the American Book Award for poetry in 1987, bringing Baca international acclaim. In the subsequent years, Baca has published in a variety of genres including poetry, story, memoir, and screenplay. A self-styled “poet of the people,” Baca conducts writing workshops with children, and adults at countless elementary, junior high and high schools, colleges, universities, reservations, barrio community centers, white ghettos, housing projects, correctional facilities, and prisons  from coast to coast. His most recent publications include Laughing In The Light, from Museum Of New Mexico Press, When I Walk Through The That Door, I Am, from Beacon Press, and the latest, American Orphan, also from Beacon Press. https://www.jimmysantiagobaca.com/


3:30-6:00 pm Pre-Conference Session III: The Nuts and Bolts of Poetry Therapy Theory: The Poetry Therapy Equation and How It Adds Up to Healing

Now, more than ever, our clients need poetic prescriptions: stories, poems, and journaling for emotional regulation and stress reduction. Evidence-based research has proven that bibliotherapy techniques strengthen immunity and fosters healing. Metaphor and imagery provide clinicians and educators with powerful access codes to the psyche. Let’s move past panic and loneliness toward resilience with the beauty and kindness of words. (75% Experiential/25% Didactic) Clinical/Health Care Setting (2.5 peer hours)

Sherry Reiter, Phd, LCSW, is a poet, clinical social worker, and creative arts therapist. She is Director of The Creative Righting Center, mentoring poetry therapists nationally and internationally. Dr. Reiter is an Associate Professor of Speech and Psychology at Touro College and teaches Poetry and Drama Therapy at Hofstra University. In 2010, she was voted Teacher of the Year for Touro College & University. She is the creator of Poets-Behind-Bars. Dr. Reiter is editor and co-author of Writing Away the Demons: Stories of Creative Coping Through Transformative Writing and Twice Chai: A Jewish Road to Recovery. She is recipient of numerous awards for her pioneering work in the field of poetry therapy. Dr. Reiter is past President of The National Association for Poetry Therapy and The International Federation for Biblio/Poetry Therapy and is currently a NAPT Board Member. https://thecreativerightingcenter.com/

7:30-8:15 pm  Welcome & Introduction – Catherine Tanguis, MA, NBCT, CAPF; Presidential Welcome & Introduction to the Board – Marianela Medrano, PhD, LPC, CPT                                                                                                                                          

All are invited to meet Conference Chair Catherine Tanguis and President Marianela Medrano as well as the rest of the NAPT Board for the "official" opening of our 2021 Conference.


Thursday, April 8th   See Conference Schedule 

8-8:45 am Virtual Yoga Stretch                                                             

 

Join Diane Richard-Allerdyce, MA, PhD, CAPF, on the virtual mat for some early  morning yoga.

9:00-10:30 am  Workshop #1: The Musicality of Being your Creative Self

This inter- and multi-model workshop presented by Diane Richard-Allerdyce, MA, PhD, CAPF, Rob Merritt, Ph.D., and Jeremy Schraffenberger, Ph.D., engages participants in learning about, responding to, and creating poems in several formal traditions, including haiku, ghazal, and jazz. We’ll play with rhythm, rhyme and repetition to explore poems within a fun and accepting atmosphere. Live musical accompaniment will be provided to sooth and inspire.                                                                          (75% Experiential/25% Didactic (1.5 peer hours)

Diane Allerdyce, Ph.D., past president of NAPT, is Chair and Professor of Humanities & Culture in the Ph.D. Program in Interdisciplinary Studies at Union Institute & University and Co-Founder of the Toussaint L’Ouverture High School for Arts & Social Justice, a Florida charter school. She received  the NAPT Distinguished Service Award (2007), the NAPT Outstanding Achievement Award (2009), and the Jennifer Bosveld Award for Poetry & Social Justice (2015).






Rob Merritt, Ph.D., former Vice-President of NAPT is Professor and Chair of the English Department at Bluefield College. His most recent poetry collection is View from Blue-Jade Mountain. He writes about personal mythology and intersections between Chinese and Appalachian poetry. He uses poetry therapy methodologies in writing workshops and higher education.






Jeremy Schraffenberger, Ph.D., is editor of the North American Review and professor of English at the University of Northern Iowa. He is the author of two books of poetry, Saint Joe's Passion and The Waxen Poor, and his other work has anthologized in Best Creative Nonfiction, Best of Brevity, and elsewhere.


10:45 am-12:15 pm  Workshop #2: A Therapeutic Poetry Writing Intervention for Youth who have Experienced Trauma

Poetry Power is an innovative therapeutic poetry writing intervention for youth who have experienced trauma. This interactive workshop by Kevin Jones, Ph.D., LCSW, will introduce the theory behind the model and will give participants an opportunity to experience and provide feedback on guided poetry writing activities as facilitators and writers. A recent adaptation to online programming due to COVID-19 will also be discussed. By attending this session, participants will: 

  • Gain a deeper understanding of youth trauma, pediatric PTSD and its symptoms, the impacts of trauma on youth development and adult outcomes, and the concept of Post-Traumatic Growth (PTG)
  • Explore the potential for creative expression to promote healing and growth in young people who have experienced trauma
  • Experience and critique the components of the Poetry Power intervention from the perspective of the writing mentor and the youth participant
  • Develop the skills to facilitate therapeutic poetry writing with youth who have experienced trauma                                                        (70% Experiential/30% Didactic) Clinical/Health Setting

Kevin Jones, Ph.D., LCSW, is Assistant Professor of Social Work at University of Portland, where he teaches courses on counseling, trauma and healing, and interventions with youth. He conducts research on therapeutic poetry writing and his own poems have appeared in various poetry journals and on the occasional bathroom wall.



12:25-12:55 pm  An IFPBF Credentialing Information Workshop: Your Life Could Be Poetry  with Alison Johnson, DNP, PTR, Credentials Chair IFB/PT & Elaine Brooks, RN-BC, MA, PTR, M/S                                                                                             

Is the idea of poetry therapy training a thread that is “gently, / invisibly, silently / pulling” at you? If so, join this open discussion of credentialing opportunities in biblio/poetry therapy. Training in biblio/poetry therapy provides more than letters after your name; IFBPT approved training will inspire you, enhance skills, and build confidence while ensuring best practices for your profession. Come away knowing what to expect and how to take your next step! 

Dr. Alison Johnson is a psychiatric nurse practitioner and a registered poetry therapist. She works in the homeless shelters of Minneapolis, MN, providing medication management and poetry therapy to persons experiencing homelessness. She serves as the credentialing chair for the International Federation for Bibleo/Poetry Therapy.

Elaine Brooks, NC-BC, PTR, CAPF, M/S, is a board-certified psychiatric and mental health nurse and    integrative nurse coach, certified applied poetry facilitator and mentor supervisor. She is also a certified  transition writing specialist. She is currently co-president of the International Federation for  Biblio/Poetry Therapy. She has a coaching and therapeutic writing practice in CT. She specializes in  guiding people through life transitions. www.mypathtochange.com

1:00-2:30 pm  Workshop #3:  Group Poetry and Writing Therapy with Adolescents


This workshop is based off of the recent chapter by Laura Santer, LCSW, PTR, and Nancy Scherlong, LCSW, PTR, M/S, “Group Poetry and Writing Therapy with Adolescents” that was published by Routledge Taylor and Francis Group in Creative Art-Based Group Therapy with Adolescents Theory and Practice, edited by Craig Haen and Nancy Boyd Webb. This workshop will have a didactic portion reviewing the benefits of poetry therapy with adolescents as well as methods of working in groups with a focus on utilizing the RES model. There will be an experiential portion where participants will have a chance to write in categories including identity and voice, defenses and coats of armor, conversation with grief, and resilience. Through poetry’s metaphors and the complexity of its juxtapositions, we will explore ambivalence, enhance self-esteem, and increase positive coping and distress tolerance during difficult times. Some attention will be given to group process issues and use of interactive mixed modal warm ups and closures as well as clinical practice application.This workshop is appropriate for clinicians though educators may receive usable techniques within their scope of practice.  (75% Experiential/25% Didactic) Clinical/Health Care (1.5 peer hours)

Nancy Scherlong, LCSW, PTR, M/S, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states of NY and CT and is an adjunct  faculty for Columbia and Adelphi Universities as well as core faculty for the Therapeutic Writing Center (TWI). She is a PTR, CJT and a Mentor Supervisor for both. Nancy has been in the field of expressive arts for 30 years and in clinical private practice for almost 20, combining expressive writing methods with the action techniques of psychodrama. She has a long history of work in the foster care system, emergency services for youth and with adolescent crisis intervention and post-vention services. She is  a trauma therapist utilizing EMDR, Somatic Experiencing and Internal Family Systems approaches  as well as serves as faculty at Kint Institute, a trauma-focused expressive arts certificate program. She is current co-President of the International Federation for Biblio-Poetry Therapy (IFBPT). Nancy has training cohorts in both poetry and journal therapy and provides consultation, training and  educational workshops through her business  Change Your Narrative LCSW PLLC.


Laura Santer, LCSW, PTR, is a Licensed Clinical Social worker in the state of New York and holds a temporary license in NJ. She is a Registered Poetry Therapist and completing her training as a Mentor-Supervisor. Laura Santner has published research in the Journal of Social Psychology and a published chapbook available on Amazon. She is also the co-author with Nancy Scherlong of a chapter in the textbook Creative Arts-Based Group Therapy with Adolescents. Theory and Practice. Laura Santner has been a clinical therapist and supervisor for almost 15 years in addition to her private practice which she began in 2019. She has presented poetry therapy at her work place to staff, psychology externs, social work interns, and undergraduate volunteers in addition to past Poetry Therapy conferences, retreats, and local colleges. She is on the board of the National Association for Poetry Therapy.


2:45-4:15 pm  Workshop #4: Trials and Triumph of Transformation

How do we change and grow? How do we learn from pain? Is there a recipe for successful transformation? This workshop by Lorrieann Geyer, MA, BCSW, CAPF, will inspire self-care through several poetry therapy techniques, including journaling, the collaborative poem and music. Applicable in educational and therapeutic settings.                                                                                           (75% Experiential/25% Didactic) Clinical/Educational (1.5 peer hours)

Lorrieann Geyer, MA, BCSE, CAPF, serves on the NAPT board as Academic and Outreach Chair. She is a lifelong learner who inspires others with words. She has combined her skills to address the emotional and academic needs of young people at a private therapeutic high school for the past nine years. The use of bibliotherapy in the classroom and Poetry Cafe has provided a bridge to their mental health and well being. She has facilitated poetry groups with women in recovery and incarcerated. She belongs to numerous professional organizations and recently became a Diplomate of the American Academy of Special Education Professionals. Lorrieann also works freelance for Light Miracle Workers and Creative Kinections.

 


4:30-6:00 pm  Workshop #5: The Relationship Museum: A Writing and Art Expression Workshop


This writing and art expression workshop presented by Zelda Lockhart, PhD, is designed to help you consider the relationships you have had (family, romantic, friendships, professional) and reach for the relationships you want. Participants will use Dr. Lockhart's storytelling technique, personal plot, to write two short scenes as 10-minute-writes: one from a pivotal relationship of the past or current, and one of a future, desired relationship. To extend the expression, participants will create visual art that offers literal or abstract representation of their future desired relationship. Through this exercise, participants will offer themselves a personalized written and visual reminder of how to make the types of human connections they find to be healthy, supportive, and reflective of who they are.  (80% Experiential/20% Didactic) Educational/Social Justice  

Zelda Lockhart, PhD,  is Visiting Associate Professor of Creative Writing at UNC Wilmington. Her books include Diamond Doris: The True Story of the World’s Most Notorious Jewel Thief  by Doris Payne  w/Zelda Lockhart, The Soul of the Full-Length Manuscript, Fifth Born, Cold Running Creek, and  Fifth Born II: The Hundredth Turtle.  https://zeldalockhart.com/



7:30-8:00 pm  Meet & Greet Regional Reps – Robin Rosado, CASAC-T, Membership Chair & Regional Representative Chair

We welcome all to meet Robin Rosado, CASAC-T, our Regional Representative Chair, and our Regional Representatives. Find out about current happenings in our organization and in our regions, and learn about regional grant opportunities! We look forward to "seeing" you and hope that you decide to become more of an active part of NAPT, particularly by joining as a member if you have not already done so!

8:15 -9:00 pm  Evening Program: Two Poets...One Voice

A provocative meeting of the minds featuring activist poet Gowri Koneswaran and slam poet Gayle Danley. Watch the sparks fly as these two women of the word share original poetry and figure out the intersections between their work. The audience is encouraged to question and engage in this extraordinarily out of the box presentation.

 Gayle Danley, B.A. Howard University, M.S. Syracuse University, is a championship poet and grief   writer.  She has won both the national and the international poetry slam titles. Gayle performs   slam poetry around the country, and has been featured on CBS’s 60 Minutes. She is the Maryland   Library Association's Poet of the Year, Young Audiences of Maryland Artist of the Year, and Young   Audiences National Artist of the Year. She is also the author of four books of poetry including, Naked: Poems that Uncover My Soul, Soulfull: A Study of Slam Poetry,  and Passionate—Poems You Can Feel.  http://gayledanleypoet.com/


 Gowri Koneswaran is a queer Tamil American poet, performing artist, teacher, and lawyer whose     family immigrated to the U.S. from Sri Lanka. Her advocacy has addressed animal welfare, the     environment, the rights of prisoners and the criminally accused in the U.S., and justice and   accountability in Sri Lanka. Her publication credits include two peer-reviewed scientific journal     articles and poetry appearing in Split This Rock’s The Quarry, Drunk In A Midnight Choir, Beltway   Poetry Quarterly, Bourgeon, Lantern Review, Washington City Paper, and On Being. She was a   member of DC’s 2010 Southern Fried Slam team and has performed at Lincoln Center Out of   Doors, the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, and numerous other venues. At the 2014 Atlas Intersections Festival, she produced and performed in “Yasmeen,” an original work co-written and co-produced by Huda Asfour, a Palestinian composer and musician.  She is a Kundiman fellow and serves as poetry coordinator at BloomBars. Previously, she served as a poetry events host at Busboys and Poets, senior poetry editor at Jaggery, and associate editor of Beltway Poetry Quarterly. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @gowrimozhi.   https://notherelong.wordpress.com/


Friday, April 9th   See Conference Schedule 

8:15-9:00 am Virtual Yoga Stretch

  

 Join Diane Richard-Allerdyce, MA, PhD, CAPF on the virtual mat for some early  morning yoga.



9:30-11:00 am  Workshop #6:  Mindfulness and Immediacy: The Poetry of Place

In this workshop led by Charles Rossiter, PhD, CPT, participants will focus on the importance of mindful tuning into the immediate in order to facilitate writing. For this workshop, “place” includes the physical, psychological and spiritual. The workshop will include a writing component.  All are welcome.(75% Experiential/25% Didactic) Spiritual (1.5 peer hours)

Charlie Rossiter, PhD, CPT is a past Vice-President of NAPT who trained at St. Elizabeths. He is an NEA Fellowship recipient for poetry and much published as a poet. His podcast series, Poetry Spoken Here, is followed by poetry lovers world-wide and his latest book Green Mountain Meditations, available from http://foothillspublishing.com/ exemplifies the poetry of place. 


9:30-11:00 am  Workshop #6:  Mindfulness and Immediacy: The Poetry of Place

11:30 am-12:15 pm  KEYNOTE SPEAKER – Sandra Marinella, MA, MEd :  Finding the Light—How Our Words, Poems, and Stories Lift Us Up

In these challenging times, do you have a story that needs to be told? Most of us do! Based on her pioneering work with thousands of students, veterans, and cancer patients, Sandra Marinella will share inspiring stories that demonstrate how writing our personal stories and poems can help us move past physical or emotional hardships and toward resilience and renewal. Sandra will share the latest findings and a few touchstone activities from her book The Story You Need To Tell—Writing to Heal from Trauma, Illness, or Loss that show how poetry and personal writing can enrich any life with hope, caring, and connection.

Sandra Marinella, MA, MEd, is an award-winning writing teacher and author. She has taught    writing and story-sharing to thousands of students and professionals. When she faced cancer,  she wrote The Story You Need to Tell, an acclaimed guide to transformational storytelling. She  teaches at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix where studies have established the success of her methods. Learn more at www.storyyoutell.com.

12:30-1:30 pm   TRIPLE WORKSHOP: Experience a Poetry Therapy Group First Session 

For the newcomer or dedicated trainee, experience poetry therapy in action along with Nancy Scherlong, LCSW, PTR, CJT, M/S, & Elaine Brooks, RN-BC, MA, PTR, M/S! Join us each day for this interactive and didactic workshop that spans over three days (Fri, Sat and Sun). Experience the beginning, middle and end of a real poetry peer group. Integrate your conference experience, meet new colleagues, and write new material in a supportive community. Participants will be divided into two small groups.  (4.5 peer hours) 

Nancy Scherlong, LCSW, PTR, M/S, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states of NY and CT and is    an adjunct faculty for Columbia and Adelphi Universities as well as core faculty for the Therapeutic  Writing Center  (TWI). She is a PTR, CJT and a Mentor Supervisor for both. Nancy has been in the field of  expressive arts for 30  years and in clinical private practice for almost 20, combining expressive writing  methods with the action techniques of psychodrama. She has a long history of work in the foster care  system, emergency services for  youth and with adolescent crisis intervention and post-vention services. She is a trauma therapist utilizing EMDR, Somatic Experiencing and Internal Family Systems  approaches  as well as serves as faculty at Kint Institute, a trauma-focused expressive arts certificate  program. She is current co-President of the International Federation for Biblio-Poetry Therapy (IFBPT).  Nancy has training cohorts in both poetry and journal therapy and provides consultation, training and  educational workshops through her business Change Your Narrative   LCSW PLLC.       



Elaine Brooks, NC-BC, PTR, CAPF, M/S, is a board-certified psychiatric and mental health nurse and    integrative nurse coach, certified applied poetry facilitator and mentor supervisor. She is also a certified  transition writing specialist. She is currently co-president of the International Federation for  Biblio/Poetry Therapy. She has a coaching and therapeutic writing practice in CT. She specializes in  guiding people through life transitions.  www.mypathtochange.com

1:30-3:00 pm  Workshop #7:  Mind-Full and Mind-Empty Writing Techniques

This workshop with Beth Jacobs, PhD, will give a depth view of mindfulness and the connections between mindfulness and writing. The complexity of the topic will be explored through its history and range of applications and exercises will bring the ideas to life. Participants will discuss the original Buddhist ideas that defined mindfulness and use writing to illustrate the difference between perception and thought. We will write with ‘choiceless objects’ of awareness to search for the empty mind and then we will write with objects that serve to focus attention. We will also discuss obstacles to mindfulness and think of writing techniques that use these obstacles themselves to further awareness. Participants will gain a well-rounded view of mindfulness and learn several writing exercises that train different mindfulness skills.   (65% Experiential/35% Didactic) Spirituality  


Beth Jacobs, PhD, is a writer, clinical psychologist in private practice, and transmitted lay  teacher in the Soto Zen Buddhist lineage. She is the author of Writing for Emotional Balance, Paper Sky, The Original Buddhist Psychology and A Buddhist Journal. She facilitates expressive   writing groups for children, teenagers, and grandparents.  http://bethjacobsbooks.com

3:00-4:30 pm   Workshop #8:  Facing the Myths of Aging with a Dash of Humor

With “Baby Boomers” coming into retirement, there are a plethora of books and articles available on how to age gracefully, but aging is a conundrum for everyone. Who didn’t think of themselves “over the hill” by 30? This workshop with Perie Longo, PhD, LMFT, PTR, M/S, will offer a variety of poems (as well as book titles on the subject) for clinicians and facilitators to use in their groups on aging, but most importantly, to reflect through discussion and writing several issues that arise for each one personally on the subject. Themes addressed will be loss, joy, hope, fear and humor, but also dealing with the death of loved ones and friends. One of the essential themes will be to find meaning in our lives beyond the work place, or what has given us value at this point. What do we still want to do? Who do we want to be? What will we want others to say of us? (75% Experiential/25% Didactic) Clinical/Health Care (1.5 peer hours)

Perie Longo, PhD, LMFT, PTR, M/S, received the NAPT Pioneer Award in 2017 and was President 2005–07. She facilitates weekly writing workshops for Hospice of Santa Barbara and poetry therapy groups for  Sanctuary Centers of Santa Barbara as well as in private practice. She has authored four books of poetry  and was Santa Barbara’s Poet Laureate 2007–09.  http://www.perielongo.com


4:45-6:15 pm   Workshop #9:  Poetry in the Classroom: Facilitating a Healing and Learning Community

In our current times, the world is filled with spaces fraught with division and contestation. The classroom community is a sacred space for learning and healing – a space for civil discourse, critical reflection and emotional healing. Poetry in the classroom can help to create a safe holistic space for both learning and healing by developing trust, a sense of belonging and respect for differences amongst students and teachers. In this session, led by Laurie Anderson Sathe, EdD, participants will look to poetry about community from diverse perspectives to learn about what community means in different contexts and how we can nurture it in the classroom setting through the use of and engagement with poetry. Participants will also explore the relationship between learning and healing in community—can we foster both in the classroom in a culturally sensitive way? (70% Experiential/30% Didactic) Education

Laurie Anderson Sathe, EdD, is Associate Professor and Program Director for the Master of Arts in Holistic Health Studies at St Catherine University. She is interested in exploring the ways that the use of poetry, story, and creative expression can be used in the classroom to create learning and healing experiences. She is currently on the board of the National Association for Poetry Therapy.

7:30-10:00 pm  Virtual Open Mic Poetry Reading, Anthology Sign-Up, & Happy Hour

Emceed by Zachary Katz, MSEd, MHC-LP

Our Open Mic is open to anyone who is registered for any conference event! We welcome poems, short stories, songs, and any other spoken word entries of no more than 2 minutes total length at this virtual open reading. Here is your chance to share your own writing and creativity with our group! Participants will be asked to sign up in advance to read at this event. You will be requested to supply a digital copy of your poem if you wish to have it published in the Anthology.


Saturday, April 10th   See Conference Schedule 

8-8:45 am Coffee Circle 

Grab a cup of joe and join us! You will also have the opportunity to learn more about those who live  in your own geographic area as well as other national and international attendees. This is an    opportunity to both have fun and meet some new people.


9:00-10:30 am  Workshop #10: Partners in Rhyme: Using Poetry to Bring Generations Together

Partners in Rhyme is an intergenerational poetry program that uses poetry to intentionally bring generations together. Based on twelve years facilitating the program in Massachusetts schools and community centers, this experiential workshop will highlight some tried-and-true facilitation plans -- warm-up activities, poems, and writing prompts --  to use with teens and older adults. In addition, we will review the goals and benefits of intergenerational programming, program evaluation methods, and how to address some of the challenges in getting an intergenerational program up and running. 

 (75% Experiential/25% Didactic) Educational (1.5 peer hours)

Patti Russo, MS, CPT, is a certified poetry therapist in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She created Partners in Rhyme, an intergenerational poetry program, and has been facilitating it for the past twelve years in Massachusetts schools and community settings. Patti also works with older adults and is a regular guest artist at Memory Cafes.


10:45 am-12:15 pm  Workshop #11: Writing from the Heart: The Pongo Method for Therapeutic Poetry with At-Risk Youth and Other Vulnerable Populations

The Pongo Poetry Project is a 25-yearold nonprofit that uses personal poetry as a healing response to trauma, for youth and adults who are incarcerated, homeless, or in other ways leading difficult lives. At the heart of the program is the Pongo Method, a uniquely successful trauma-informed technique for teaching poetry that was documented in a book by Pongo’s founder, Richard Gold. Among Pongo’s accomplishments, they have directly served 6,500 youth, offered 80 trainings in our methodology, inspired at least 90 projects on their model nationally and globally, been the subject of five pilot studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of their work. This workshop, presented by Richard Gold, MA, Shaun McMichael, MAT, and Elnur "El" Gajiev, PsyD, achieve the following goals:


• Participants will gain appreciation for the therapeutic impact of poetry on populations challenged by social injustice


• Participants will learn the context and outcomes of Pongo’s work


• Participants will learn and practice hands-on skills that utilize the Pongo Method                                                                                             (70% Experiential/30% Didactic) Social Justice 

Richard Gold, MA, founded Pongo Publishing, a 24-year-old nonprofit that provides therapeutic poetry  programs inside jails, shelters, etc. He wrote Writing with At-Risk Youth (Rowman & Littlefield  Education). He has taught the Pongo methodology nationally and supported Pongo-inspired projects worldwide and has been honored by Bill and Melinda Gates, among others.






Shaun McMichael, MAT, is Program Manager of the Pongo Poetry Project. He oversees projects in  juvenile  detention, the state psychiatric hospital, and other sites. Shaun is responsible for community  trainings and for nurturing Pongo’s volunteers. Shaun is a credentialed teacher, a former Pongo  volunteer, and a passionate advocate for this work.






Dr. Elnur "El" Gajiev is a clinical psychologist, poet, and educator. He specializes in bringing together empirically-based, creative therapies to foster greater connection, purpose, and growth for individuals, groups, and organizations. Dr. El serves on the faculty at the University of Hawai’i, as well as the Board of the Hawai’i Psychological Association, and is one of the key pioneers of spoken word poetry therapy—a novel modality incorporating the elements of spoken word and poetry therapy for a broad array of clinical and nonclinical contexts.






11:45 am-12:45 pm  TRIPLE WORKSHOP: Experience a Poetry Therapy Group Second Session 

For the newcomer or dedicated trainee, experience poetry therapy in action along with Nancy Scherlong, LCSW, PTR, CJT, M/S, & Elaine Brooks, RN-BC, MA, PTR, M/S! Join us each day for this interactive and didactic workshop that spans over three days (Fri, Sat and Sun). Experience the beginning, middle and end of a real poetry peer group. Integrate your conference experience, meet new colleagues, and write new material in a supportive community. Participants will be divided into two small groups.  (4.5 peer hours) 


1:00 -1:45 pm: KEYNOTE POET- Jimmy Santiago Baca, International Poet and WriterInvoking the Divine Power of Poetry

Jimmy will be reading from A Place to Stand, Healing Earthquakes: Poems, and Spring Poems Along the Rio Grande, all available from Amazon.

1:00 -1:45 pm  FILM: A PLACE TO STAND


A Place to Stand is the amazing story of how Jimmy Santiago Baca, a man with seemingly no future, became a celebrated teacher, poet, novelist, and screenwriter. Based on the critically acclaimed memoir of the same name, A Place to Stand takes viewers into Jimmy’s past and present to uncover how the power of the written word lifted him from the violence and pain that had defined his early life. With powerful revelations from family, friends, and fellow inmates, as well as incredible insight into the early writings that first captured Jimmy’s imagination, audiences learn why it is never too late to turn your life around as long as you have a place to stand. Written by Catamount Films. A discussion will follow with Jimmy himself, facilitated by Karen (Ren) vanMeenen, MA, MA, CAPF, PhD Candidate.

Karen (Ren) vanMeenen, MA, MA, CAPF, PhD Candidate, is a Senior Lecturer in the English Department at Rochester Institute of Technology. She has served as Editor of Afterimage, the international journal of media arts and cultural criticism, for more than 25 years, and has edited and/or copyedited several anthologies and books of poetry, as well as written for several journals and gallery catalogs. She is the longtime Editor of NAPT’s The Museletter and the Book Review Editor for the Journal of Poetry Therapy, and has served on the NAPT Board since 2001.


4:30 -6:00 pm  Workshop #12: The Poetry of Forgiveness

Like so many experiences of spiritual encounters that defy discursive language, forgiveness, this workshop by Iris Gildea, MA, PhD, suggests, can blossom forth in poetic invitations and manifestations. Applying a phenomenological approach, the facilitator presents expressive-arts pedagogy to support poetic engagement with the forgiveness through an exploratory lens. Focus remains on poetic encounters rather than personal story. This workshop aims to support a nuanced relationship with embodied experiences of forgiveness that may intersect, overlap or exist outside of intellectual and/or theological debates regarding what forgiveness is or isn’t. Goals for participants include the development of one’s own poetic encounter with forgiveness through experiential learning. The methodology used will be discussed such that participants leave able to adapt and apply this practice of poetic inquiry to their own communities and contexts. Discussion between prompts and the sharing of reflections on the emerging metaphors of forgiveness will contribute to engagement with experiences of poetic cognitivism. (70% Experiential/30% Didactic) Spirituality 

Iris J. Gildea, MA, PhD,  is an Associate Professor in the Teaching Stream in the Book & Media Studies Program at the University of Toronto and an Expressive Arts Facilitator with a practice in community education and healing from trauma.


7:30-7:45 pm Presidential Closing – Marianela Medrano, PhD, CPT

 7:45-8:30 pm  Celebratory Closing Event: An Evening of Rhythm & Song from the Land of Enchantment  – Giselle Felicia Vivian, Founder, and One Heartbeat Rhythm Circles Facilitator

Join Giselle Felicia Vivian of One Heartbeat as we orchestrate poetry in motion and sound, bridging the ancient universal heartbeat rhythm of local native culture to the global and organic rhythms that invite celebration of diversity, empowered self-expression, deepen community, and give voice to the authentic spirit of the Self. 

Giselle Felicia Vivian, BM, CHT, of ONE HEARTBEAT, Albuquerque, New Mexico, is a Clinical Music Therapist, Hypnotherapist, Performance Coach, and Professional Rhythm Event Facilitator who has been sharing the joy and power of rhythmic metaphor, group drumming, and empowered rhythmic  music-making with diverse audience populations locally, and with those visiting the Land of  Enchantment.



Sunday, April 11th   See Conference Schedule 

Post-Conference Workshops

9:30 -11:00 am  Post-Conference Session INavigating the Multi-Cultural Self

Through the use of narrative, metaphor, spoken word, and performance techniques, led by Zachary Katz, MSEd, MHC-LP, participants will examine aspects of their cultural identity in order to understand how culture, background, and lifestyle has shaped who they are today. This workshop will allow free expression of one’s multicultural self in order to embrace diversity, promote unity among all individuals and spark dialogue on how reflection of identity can bring individuals toward growth and empowerment.                         (80% Experiential/20% Didactic) Social Justice                

Zachary Katz , MSEd, MHC-LP, is a Mental Health Counselor, psychotherapist, performance poet, and educator from Staten Island, NY. He has taught English at inner-city schools in New York City. He is currently a mental health clinician working in both the non-profit sector and in private practice. His poetry has been published in anthologies from NYSAI Press and Eskimo Pie. Zachary holds a BA in English Adolescent Education and an M.S. Ed. in Mental Health Counseling, both from CUNY Hunter College.


11:15 am-12:45 pm  Post-Conference Session IIThe Story You Need to Tell – Writing and Resilience 

Our lives are filled with changes and challenges, but these can foster resilience and renewal. Join Sandra Marinella. MA, MEd, for a workshop that will tap into how poetry and expressive writing can help us explore our own power to overcome the inner critic and find and reframe the stories that will help us live with increased resilience and well-being.  We will review what neuroscience teaches us about how we struggle with, find, and need to embrace poems and personal stories that lead us toward an understanding of our unique voice, our meaning, and our sage or heroic self.  Based on materials tested at Mayo Clinic, the presenter will guide participants in an exploration of storytelling and writing prompts and activities from The Story You Need to Tell. These activities are intended to enrich our personal lives as well as enrich the lives of our clients, students, and fellow professionals.                                                            (75% Experiential/25% Didactic) Clinical/Educational (1.5 peer hours)

Sandra Marinella, MA, MEd, is an award-winning writing teacher and author. She has taught writing  and story-sharing to thousands of students and professionals. When she faced cancer, she wrote The  Story You Need to Tell, an acclaimed guide to transformational storytelling. She teaches at Mayo Clinic  in Phoenix where studies have established the success of her methods. Learn more  at  www.storyyoutell.com.


1:00-2:30 pm  TRIPLE WORKSHOP: Experience a Poetry Therapy Group Third Session 

For the newcomer or dedicated trainee, experience poetry therapy in action along with Nancy Scherlong, LCSW, PTR, CJT, M/S, & Elaine Brooks, RN-BC, MA, PTR, M/S! Join us each day for this interactive and didactic workshop that spans over three days (Fri, Sat and Sun). Experience the beginning, middle and end of a real poetry peer group. Integrate your conference experience, meet new colleagues, and write new material in a supportive community. Participants will be divided into two small groups.  (4.5 peer hours) 


1:00 -2:30 pm  Post-Conference Session IIIEvolution of Consciousness: Going from Me to You, from We to All

This workshop with Marianela Medrano, PhD, LPC, CPT, and Deborah McCarsons, CAPF candidate, is guided by a desire to open a dialogue about what it means to be an “evolved” adult in a fast-changing world with its attendant chaos, violence, and seemingly irreparable divisions. We’ll discuss conflict and our ability to rise above it, using Tagore’s universalist vision as a guiding light. At the core of this workshop is the recognition that language and creativity are the cornerstones for the evolution of consciousness. We will also examine the way in which silence, meditation and other contemplative practices help in our progress towards heightened awareness. We will spend time reflecting and writing on some key questions: What is keeping me from taking creative leaps? Is my story aligned with my values and actions? Am I letting myself be defined and limited by confining labels of class, religion, gender, status and trauma?   (80% Experiential/20% Didactic) Social Justice/Spirituality (1.5 peer hours)


Marianela Medrano, PhD, LPC, CPT, is a Dominican writer and psychotherapist living in Connecticut since 1990. Medrano holds a Ph.D in psychology. She is the founder of Palabra Counseling & Training Center,  LLC, a center that offers individual, family and couples therapy as well as ongoing trainings for psychotherapists. She is the author of six books of poetry. Dr. Medrano is currently serving as the President of the National Association for Poetry Therapy. https://palabracounseling.org/





Debbie McCarson is an English teacher and CAPF candidate. After recognizing the value of expressive writing in her classroom as a vehicle for growth and healing, she sought training in biblio/poetry therapy in order to extend the reach of therapeutic writing. She offers workshops in various community settings and currently works with couples, women in spiritual recovery, and the assisted living community.



2:45 -4:15 pm  Post-Conference Session IV: The Body as Poem, the Poem as Prayer

Engage with your body as metaphor and miracle with Joey Garcia! In this experiential workshop, we will use poems, guided meditation, and gentle movement to release tension and mental clutter. After clearing ourselves out, we will fill the space by re-membering (a ritual of putting back together) through simple but beautiful acts that honor the body. We will also practice methods of deeper listening to poems and to ourselves. The facilitator, a poet, will draw on her training as a meditation and yoga teacher, along with her studies with healers in her native Belize and elsewhere, to share ways of embracing the body as a beloved friend. Participants may find a renewed sense of appreciation for their bodies, may feel more grounded in their body and more deeply connected to their own spiritual wisdom. With poetry as our guide, together we will recover the poetry of our bodies. (75% Experiential/25% Didactic) Spirituality  

Joey Garcia has read her poetry at Shakespeare & Co in Paris, Litquake SF and The Mexican  Institute in Belize City. She is also certified in Hatha yoga and meditation. Joey writes a relationship  advice column read by 300,000 people weekly. See her in, The Cure, a documentary about healers. www.joeygarcia.com


"NAPT" The National Association for Poetry Therapy

is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization 

PO Box 98259
DesMoines, WA 98198

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software