Wednesday, March 29th   See Conference Schedule 

Pre-Conference Workshop

1:00 pm- 5:30 pm  Pre-Conference Session I: Day Trip with Kay Adams:  Fabrics and Photos:  The Denver Art Museum

The Denver Art Museum is one of the crown jewels of the Queen City of the Plains. Stunning both for its architecture and its permanent and traveling exhibitions, the DAM rivals other, more well-known, metropolitan museums. We'll take a charter bus to the DAM and, once there, experience a docent-guided tour through one or two culturally diverse experiences: Rugged Beauty: Antique Carpets from Western Asia or (and)  Speaking with Light: Contemporary Indigenous Photography. We'll have time to write, share and reflect on our discoveries. Your guide, Kay Adams is a long-time NAPT member and a longer-time DAM member who has called metro Denver home from the age of 8. This is her 26th NAPT conference. Kay is the founder/director of the Center for Journal Therapy and the author of 14 books and the Journal to the Self Card Deck (in the conference bookstore!) (75% Experiential/ 25% Didactic) Clinical/Health Care Setting (3 peer hours).


Kathleen (Kay) Adams LPC, PTR-MM/S is a Denver-based pioneer in the growing field of journal therapy. She founded and directs the Center for Journal Therapy and its professional training division, the Therapeutic Writing Institute. Kay is the author of 14 books in the field, including the best-selling Journal to the Self and the textbook Expressive Writing: Foundations of Practice. She trained for the PTR under Peggy Heller and the late Ken Gorelick and has been a member of NAPT since 1992. Kay's latest publication is the Journal to the Self Card Deck. https://journaltherapy.com/

Thursday, March 30th   See Conference Schedule 

Pre-Conference Workshops & Events

9:30 am-12:00 noon  Pre-Conference Session II: Exploring Family Relationships through Poetry, Story, & Expressive Writing

This experiential workshop led by Geri Chavis, M.A., LP, PhD, CPT, CM, is designed for a wide variety of individuals--professionals and students in mental health professions; those working and training as applied poetry facilitators and poetry/biblio/journal therapists; and coaches specializing in writing for wellness. Through discussing a small selection of family poems, creating family time-lines, free writing micro-memoirs, and responding to expressive writing prompts, participants in this workshop will have the opportunity to increase awareness, both for themselves and in their role as helpers, of the ways in which family relationships affect self-concept, roles played, style of interaction with others, life choices, and wellbeing. Within this workshop, participants will expand their knowledge of creative ways to enhance self-understanding and sense of agency in the context of family relationships, in both developmental and clinical settings. (100% Experiential) Clinical/Health Care Setting (2.5 peer hours).                                             


Throughout the years, Geri Chavis, M.A., LP, PhD, CPT, CM, has melded her love and teaching of literature and writing at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN with her work as a licensed psychologist, certified poetry therapist, poetry/bibliotherapy mentor-supervisor and leader within NAPT. Geri has extensive experience as an educator, facilitator, and therapist and has taught workshops and courses on literature and writing for growth and healing in the U.S., England, Cornwall, Scotland, and the Republic of Ireland. Amongst her many publications are two books that are required reading for individuals pursuing poetry/bibliotherapy credentials: Poetry and Story Therapy: The Healing Power of Creative Expression and The Healing Fountain: Poetry Therapy for Life’s Journey, co- edited with Lila Weisberger. Her longtime interest in family and marriage is reflected in her other two books, Family: Stories from the Interior and Peril and Protection in British Courtship Novels: A Study in Continuity and Change.


1:00-3:30 pm Pre-Conference Session III: Marginalized Identity: Borders, Boundaries & Crossing

This workshop, led by  Sherry Reiter, PhD, LCSW, PTR-M/S will provide a strong framework to explore difference, individuality, and universality. Identity will be explored via interactive activities in which participants journal, reflect, discuss and engage with the literature and their own emotions. The goal is to enhance curiosity, self-awareness and understanding of social justice issues as well as psychological factors that lead to marginalization and fractured identity. This bibliotherapy workshop will encompasses journaling, storytelling, poetry, spoken word and song lyrics. Participants will be asked to engage actively in personal writing, reflection, and self-expression followed by voluntary sharing through dyads, small groups and the group as a whole. Because art works through the heart, the application of bibliotherapy is a powerful tool in therapy and education to achieve greater insight, cognitive growth, and emotional expression. (70% Experiential, 30% Didactic) Social Justice (2.5 peer hours).


Sherry Reiter, Phd, LCSW,PTR-M/S 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/

3:45 am-5: 45 pm  Pre-Conference Session IV: The 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 Marianella, MA, MEd and Michele Sefton, MEd  for a workshop that will tap into how poetry and expressive writing can help us explore our own power to find, write, and reframe our personal stories with resilience and well-being. We will review what neuroscience teaches us about our ability to create and recreate our own understanding of our stories. We will explore poems and story prompts with the goal of learning more about the power of our personal stories. Based on materials taught at Mayo Clinic, the presenter will guide participants in an exploration of poems, story, and writing prompts that are intended to enrich our personal lives as well as those of our clients, students, and fellow professionals. (70% Experiential, 30% Didactic) Social Justice (2.5 peer hours).                                          


Sandra Marinella, MA, MEd, is an award-winning teacher and author from Chandler, Arizona. She has taught thousands of students, writers, and professionals. When Sandra faced breast cancer, she turned to her personal writing to help with this difficult journey. The experience inspired her to teach writing to cancer patients and veterans. As she watched them transform their lives, she wrote The Story You Need to Tell -- Writing to Heal from Trauma, Illness, or Loss. Acclaimed as the go-to-guide for personal writing and healing, her pioneering work at Mayo Clinic shows us the power of using our personal stories and writing to not only write our stories but also to reauthor and transform our lives. Discover more at www.storyyoutell.com




Michele Lee Sefton, MEd, is a veteran high school English teacher, writer, poet, and blogger at MyInspiredLife.org. She is the published author of three illustrated poetry collections: Being a Woman – Overcoming, Being a Woman – Becoming, and Being a Woman – Forthcoming. Her forth publication, My Inspired Life – A Poetic Journey, celebrates a blogging milestone and includes her photography. Her first novel, a work of literary fiction written in poetic prose, is in the editorial stage of publication. Believing that writing is healing, she often assists Sandra Marinella with The Story You Need to Tell workshops.



4:00-5:30 pm  Film: Deej – facilitated by Karen “Ren” vanMeenen, Ph.d, MA 


Abandoned by his birth parents and presumed incompetent, DJ Savarese (“Deej”) found not only a loving family but also a life in words, which he types on a text-to-voice synthesizer. As he makes his way through high school and dreams of college, he confronts the terrors of his past, society's obstacles to inclusion, and the sometimes paralyzing beauty of his own senses. In his advocacy on behalf of other nonspeaking autistics, he embraces filmmaking and poetry, and discovers what having a voice can truly mean. A discussion will follow facilitated by Karen (Ren) vanMeenen, Ph.D, MA, CAPF.

Karen ("ren") vanMeenen, Ph.D, MA, CAPF  is a 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 twenty 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 has served on the NAPT Executive Board for over twenty years.


7:30-7:45 pm  Meet the NAPT Board

This is an opportunity to meet the current NAPT Board and find out about happenings in our organization and in our field. We look forward to meeting all our members and new friends and hope that you decide to become more of an active part of NAPT by joining as a member if you have not already done so. We encourage attendees to have more communication with our board members and to join one of the various committees.


7:45-8:30 pm  Welcome and Mix and Mingle: Getting to Know You with Haiku Poetry                                                           Catherine Tanguis, MA, NBCT, CAPF & Barbara Kreisberg, MS, CPT

During this warm up activity, we will be using the poetic form of Haiku to help attendees meet and get to know one another, serving as an introduction to the conference to follow during the next few days.


8:45-9:45 pm  Opening Event with Bobby LeFebre:  Poetras Praxis: An Exploration of Collective Discourse and Civic Health

Explore the role poetry plays in shaping a new collective consciousness rooted in understanding, hope, health, and healing.

Bobby LeFebre is an award-winning writer, performer, and cultural worker fusing a non-traditional multi-hyphenated professional identity to imagine new realities, empower communities, advance arts and culture, and serve as an agent of provocation, transformation, equity and social change. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Huffington Post, The Guardian, American Theater Magazine, NPR, and Poets.Org. LeFebre is a two-time Grand Slam Champion, a National Poetry Slam Finalist, an Individual World Poetry Slam Finalist, and a two-time TEDx speaker. He has performed at hundreds of cultural events, social actions, detention centers, conferences, and colleges and universities across the United States and abroad. Holding a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the Metropolitan University of Denver and a master’s degree in Art, Literature and Culture from the University of Denver, LeFebre is a Fellow of the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures Leadership Institute, the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures Advocacy Institute, and the Intercultural Leadership Institute. LeFebre received the Cesar Chavez Peace and Justice Community Award, the MSU Distinguished Alumni Award, the MSU Chicano Studies Award for Commitment to Education, the MSU Statement maker award, and was named one of Colorado’s Top Creatives by Westword Magazine. In 2019, Governor Jared Polis named LeFebre Colorado’s 8th Poet Laureate, making him the youngest and first ever person of color to be appointed to the prestigious position in the program’s 100 year history.  https://www.bobbylefebre.com/


Friday, March 31st  See Conference Schedule 

Conference Workshops & Events

7:00-8:00 am MORNING 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. You must be available to attend all three days. (75% Experiential, 25% Didactic)  (4.5 peer hours).                                        


Nancy S. Scherlong, LCSW, SEP, PTR/CJT, CM, is a licensed clinical social worker in the states of CT and NY, trauma-informed wellness coach, registered poetry and journal therapist and certified mentor. She is currently President of the International Federation for Biblio/Poetry Therapy. She has been part of the NAPT community for over 30 years and is a life-long learner, writer and lover of words! She has a multi-modal creative arts coaching and psychotherapy practice where she specializes in trauma and nervous system regulation as well as maintains active training cohorts in both journal and poetry therapy. Nancy is on the core faculty of the Therapeutic Writing Institute (TWI), a global on-line learning platform for journal/poetry facilitators and therapists. She also serves as lead faculty for Adelphi University's postgraduate certificate program in the Applied Expressive Arts in Counseling as well as on the faculty of Columbia University and Kint Institute. https://www.wellnessmetaphors.com




Elaine Brooks RN-BC, M.A., CAPF, CM is a board certified integrative nurse coach, certified applied poetry facilitator, certified mentor and certified transition writing specialist. She is on the faculty of the Therapeutic Writing Institute. She has a coaching and therapeutic writing practice in Florida, having recently relocated from CT. She was on the board of the International Federation for Biblio/Poetry Therapy for many years, most recently serving as co-president. https://mypathtochange.com

9:00-9:15 am Welcome & Overview – Nicholas Mazza, Ph.D., PTR, NAPT President 

9:15-10:00 am Keynote Speaker – Joy Sawyer, MA, MA  “And You Dreaming the Same": How Poetry Therapy Changes the World

“Given inches, I take yards,” says poet Naomi Replansky. “Taking yards, dream of miles, and a landscape, unbounded and vast in abandon.” As poetry therapists who seek to enter our culture’s myriad challenges, the empowerment we need…is actually right at our fingertips. By drawing upon our storied past, as well as linking arms as we face the changing future, we can—and are—impacting our communities in surprising and powerful ways.   

Joy Roulier Sawyer is the author of two poetry collections, Lifeguards (Conundrum Press) and Tongues of Men and Angels (White Violet Press), as well as several nonfiction books. Until entering treatment for leukemia in 2015, she was a longtime licensed professional counselor, registered poetry therapist, and approved mentor-supervisor with the National (now International) Federation for Biblio/Poetry Therapy, and received the National Association for Poetry Therapy’s Distinguished Service Award. Joy revised and updated the third edition Biblio/Poetry Therapy: The Interactive Process by poetry therapy pioneer Arleen Hynes and Mary Hynes-Berry, a seminal textbook in the field, and currently serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Poetry Therapy. For many years, she co-led week-long journal/poetry therapy trainings with her supervisor Kay Adams, as well as co-taught Writing and Healing classes with her in the masters of liberal studies program at the University of Denver. Joy currently teaches creative writing at Denver’s Lighthouse Writers Workshop, where she received the Beacon Award for Teaching Excellence. In addition to her classes, she also facilitates Hard Times, workshops for those experiencing homelessness and other life challenges, and was a facilitator for Writing to Be Free, a program for women transitioning out of incarceration. Along with trained poetry therapist Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, she also co-founded The Art of Facilitation, which teaches others how to facilitate dynamic workshops, meetings, coaching sessions and more: www.artoffacilitation.net. You can reach Joy at www.joyrouliersawyer.com


10:00-10:20 am Book Signing with Joy Sawyer  (Please have your purchased books with you for Joy to sign. You can order them here.

10:30-12:00 Noon Workshop Series A

A1 Use of Therapeutic Writing Workshop to Create Collaborative Music for Use in Recovery from Chemical Addiction 


This workshop led by Eric Kreuter, Ph.D, CASAC-t  will provide a detailed review of Dr Kreuter's  facilitated weekly workshop for use of creative writing  in the treatment of chemical addiction, specifically how collaborative prompts have been effective in stimulating creation of spontaneous poetry for conversion into lyrics to then be used in newly composed music. Through a process of discussion during the weekly Zoom sessions and use of the Chat feature, reflections of the sharing of participants have led to material suitable for use in songwriting. The result produced products that can be performed and has provided a means of unique therapy for the participants. (50% Experiential, 50% Didactic) Clinical/Health Care Setting.


Eric Kreuter, Ph.D, CASAC-t has a masters' and doctorate degrees in psychology and a Master of Arts degree in Christian Leadership from the University of Dubuque. He is a weekend chemical dependency counselor at St. Christopher's Inn where he conducts group therapy sessions as well as facilitates the creative writing program. He is Treasurer of the National Association for Poetry Therapy and is on the editorial staff of the Journal of Poetry Therapy.




A2 The Tension of Opposites: How We Grow Through Poetry 

This workshop, led by Jon Sayers, will look at the way poems beautifully generate and sustain tension between conscious and unconscious material and between opposing ideas, thoughts and feelings without seeking immediate resolution. And at how being in their company can help personal growth by encouraging us to tolerate ambivalence and wait for the grace of a 'reconciling third', which Jung called the Transcendent Function, to aid our advancement on the path towards wholeness and individual meaning. A range of British and American poems will be presented that illustrate and help navigate the three stages of the individuation process - insight, endurance, and action - and that should be found useful in writing, facilitation, and personal growth. There will be some quick-fire writing exercises, so participants are requested to bring a notebook, pen and a dilemma. (70% Experiential, 30% Didactic) Spirituality.


Jon Sayers is a poet, transformative life coach and journal facilitator based in London. As a journal facilitator, using a biblio/poetry therapy model, Jon has worked with a variety of populations, from older teens transitioning out of the care system, unpaid older women care givers and church and secular communities in London to newly qualified life coaches, members of the British Guild of Travel Writers, and inmates of His Majesty's Pentonville prison. Jon draws on a wide range of psychological models in his coaching and facilitation work, with a particular interest in the ideas of Carl Jung. Jon's poems, translations and reviews have been published in leading UK magazines and anthologies, and his radio play, A World Full of Weeping, a supernatural thriller whose plot revolved around a poem by WB Yeats, was twice broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Jon has served as a Trustee for a number of key poetry organisations, including The Poetry Society and Magma poetry magazine, for whom he was chair and co-editor. Jon is the UK representative for NAPT. www.everypencil.com


A3 Suicide, Despair and Poetry Therapy – Alison Johnson, DNP, PTR 

Death by suicide, and suicide attempts are on the rise. Acknowledging, discussing, comforting and instilling hope after suicidal action is a difficult situation for family and friends and caregivers. This session, led by Alison Johnson, RN, DNP, PTR, will briefly review information about suicide, and then focus on specific poems to help open and direct conversations about suicidal thoughts and actions The workshop starts with a brief review of known information about suicide. Five to seven poems suitable for opening a discussion about suicide will be presented. We will discuss 3-5 of them, with a focus on the “modest magical qualities’ of treatment and prevention, and the ‘half-stitched scar’ born by those left behind. Participants will use one of the discussed poems to write their personal strategy for talking with suicide survivors. The session ends with a calming and centering meditation.(70% Experiential/30% Didactic) Clinical/Health Care (1.5 peer hours)

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Alison Johnson, RN, DNP, PTR, is a psychiatric nurse practitioner working in the homeless shelters of Minneapolis, MN. She is a Registered Poetry Therapist, providing poetry therapy to persons experiencing homelessness. She is the Credentials Chair for the International Federation for Biblio/Poetry Therapy.





A4 Creating Story Spine Poetry – Shaun Perkins, MA 

Creating Story Spine Poetry is an interactive narrative poetry-making workshop, led by Shaun Perkins, MA, that gives participants the tools to create stories individually and as a collaborative process with a group. Telling our stories and allowing others to compose theirs and share them, particularly in a poetic format, is a powerful tool for healing and growth.

The workshop explains the story spine and poetic techniques that enhance the schematic to produce poetry that can be entertaining, enlightening, empowering and educational. Participants will learn about the story spine process and will have the opportunity to work together to create stories and then also compose their own. In addition, the workshop will include an arts/crafts component to show how the story spine poetry can be shared and presented to others. (70% Experiential,30% Didactic) Educational Setting.

Shaun Perkins, MA, is the director/founder of the Rural Oklahoma Museum of Poetry. Her poetry has been published in many books, journals, magazines and anthologies. She holds a degree in English from Oklahoma State University and a master’s degree in liberal studies from the University of Oklahoma. She was a high school and college teacher for decades and is currently a teaching artist with the Oklahoma Arts Council and a lecturer/speaker and workshop presenter nationwide.

As a performer, Perkins has presented a one-woman show called POEM LIFE and is also a professional storyteller who runs the website for the Territory Tellers. She is the co-host of the podcast Wacky Poem Life, which has weekly episodes that share how poetry is for the people. She has presented workshops at a variety of festivals and conferences, including past National Association for Poetry Therapy conferences, the National Storytelling Network conference, Popular Culture Society conference, Woody Guthrie Festival and many others. Information about her books can be found at thebookwith.com and poemlife.org. The museum website is ROMPoetry.com, and the podcast website is WackyPoemLife.com.

A5 Empathetic Translations and Contextual Corroborations: How Spiritually Integrated Arabic Lyrics and Language Introduces Psychotherapeutic Potential 

Language is the conduit between the metaphysical component of the human heart and the infinite storehouse of knowledge. It is what connects our deepest self with something unseen, and results in the equifinality-like experiences of arriving at something universally recognized through our own individual paths. Needless to say, it is imperative for mental health practitioners to first understand then utilize both verbal and nonverbal communication in the therapeutic space to achieve depths with the therapeutic alliance and with the client’s underlying emotions.

But what if we could bypass explicit language to directly understand the implicit? This workshop seeks to elucidate the role of language and the human heart through the modality of spiritually integrated Arabic linguistics — traditionally celebrated as a kind of cosmic script. After a series of sensory exercises, an Arabic lyric will be played that is believed to be able to allow the human heart to bypass the customary pattern of comprehension through explicit language, allowing universal understanding to take place through our infinitely diverse paths, regardless of the level of Arabic comprehension.

This technique can be used with a variety of diverse populations. It has been tested with young Muslim adults and late teens who had almost no knowledge of Arabic, to which the results were absolutely staggering. (50% Experiential,50% Didactic) Spirituality.

Graduating from the University of Michigan, Tariq Elsaid, MSW, is a Psychotherapist at Khalil Center, a psycho-spiritual community wellness center where traditional Islamic principles and Western standards of psychology are harmonized to serve underrepresented faith based communities. Tariq considers himself a poet in learning. He was published in the annual Reasons To Be Cheerful publication, and won Hopwood and Meader Family poetry awards for his original poems and translations under his mentor, Nancy Roberts. His graduate certificate in critical translation studies, under the supervision of Dr. Yopie Prins, has galvanized his efforts towards his most recent project in codifying an intervention that encapsulates poetry translation, Islamic Mysticism, and psychotherapy. In addition to his Western credentials, Tariq has had fortunate opportunities to study Classical Arabic and Traditional Islamic studies all across the world, at Zaytuna College, Cambridge Muslim College, Khalil Center, Ibn Haldun, and most recently in Chicago at DarulQasim, from whose intellectually fertile grounds sprouted an endeavor towards Islamic Psychology and Islamic Bioethics.


12:00-1:00 pm Luncheon 


1:00-1:45 pm Certification & Awards Event – International Federation for Biblio/Poetry Therapy

All are invited to attend this ceremony of recognition and presentation of Credentials to PTRs, CPTs or CAPFs who have successfully completed their training, and Endorsements of those who have completed Certification as Journal Facilitators or Therapists through the Center for Journal Therapy. Meet current mentor/supervisors and current trainees and congratulate your peers.

2:00-2:45 pm IFPBF Credentialing Information Workshop: Your Life Could Be Poetry

Nancy Scherlong, LCSW, PTR, CJT, CM, IFBPT President and Anjana Deshpande, LCSW, CPT, CJT, CM-P, IFBPT Vice-President 

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! https://ifbpt.org/


3:00-4:30 pm Workshop Series B

B1 Tatas Tales/Los Cuentos de las Tatas: The Intersection of Poetry, Transformative Writing, and Drama in Bilingual Communities – Irania Macías, MA, CAPT & Beth Murray, Ph.D.


This presentation/workshop facilitated by Irania Macías, MA, CAPT & Beth Murray, Ph.D. shares the process journey of Tatas Tales/Los Cuentos de las Tatas, an original theater script based on the facilitated creative writing and communities of both Spanish-speaking and English-speaking breast-cancer survivor groups across the Charlotte, NC metro region. These creative writing groups–representing a nexus of racial, age, cultural, socio-economic, and geographical identities–gathered around tables in clinical and non-profit settings united by breast cancer. The session will include readings from the created playscript that includes poems, images, stories and ideas from these diversely united voices, descriptions of past and future programming and partnerships, and a practical demonstration/exploration of the responsive writing session approach used to generate the written, drawn, spoken and enacted source material. Please note this session will run from 3:00-5:30 as the workshop will be followed by a one-hour performance & discussion. (70% Experiential/30% Didactic) Clinical/Health Care, Educational Setting, Social Justice (1.5 peer hours).


Irania Macías MA, CAPT, Cofounder of Criss Cross Mangosauce and Gates for Healing is a Biblio- Poetry Therapy Facilitator, author and educator who specializes in the subjects of arts integration in multicultural- bilingual populations, and the connections with literacy and mental health. For the past 24 years she has worked as an outreach program specialist for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library facilitating and creating programs for clinical, and educational settings. http://ccmangosauce.com/blog/       https://www.gatesforhealing.com/







Beth Murray, PhD. is an Associate Professor of Theatre Education at University of North Carolina-Charlotte. There she coordinates and teaches in the teacher preparation program, and also teaches courses in applied theatre and theatre for young audiences. Beth conducts and both traditionally and creatively disseminates qualitative research that is community-centered, arts-based, justice-oriented and collaborative.





B2 Marble Me Free: Pain & Poetry – Diane Kaufman, MD, Starlit Swan, AS, & Lucia Martinez Rojas, MFA 


Emotional and physical pain can be devastating. Marble Me Free, facilitated by Diane Kaufman, MD, with Starlit Swan, AS, and Lucia Martinez Rojas, MFA, tells this personal yet universal story through word, image, sound, and animation. We will describe Starlit Swan’s experience of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). Marble Me Free emerged through a series of serendipitous poetic events and became through creative collaboration an inspiration for hope and healing. This workshop will increase knowledge of CRPS and describe the impact of physical and emotional pain on mental health well-being. Marble Me Free is a multi-media poetic therapeutic experience for everyone. It fosters personal reflection on moving through one’s own pain and suffering by creating a safe place for vulnerability and deep sharing. Recently, Marble Me Free was recognized as “Best Women’s Short” at the 2022 Watch Out International Film Festival. The Marble Me Free website with its mental health resources will also be shared. (75% Experiential/30% Didactic) Clinical/Health Care.


Diane Kaufman, MD is a poet, artist, child psychiatrist, humanism in medicine awardee, and founder-director of the Arts and Healing Resiliency Center. She is dedicated to transforming trauma and despair into life affirming creativity. Prior to moving to Oregon in 2014, Dr. Kaufman worked 28 years at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (Newark, now Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences). She was Medical Director of both Preschool Services and the Crisis Intervention Mobile Outreach Program. She initiated Poetry in Medicine Day and was guiding leader of Creative Arts Healthcare. Dr. Kaufman received grants on child abuse prevention and arts & healing projects. Her story, Bird That Wants to Fly, inspired an opera, and is narrated by actor, Danny Glover. Dr. Kaufman is the author of 15 Poems to Healing & Recovery, Missing Mommy on a child’s bereavement, and Three Objects Spoke to Me on being lost and found on life’s journey. Her poem lyrics turned into co-creative songs, Don’t Give Up and Lift You Up, have won international awards. Upon hearing Starlit Swan’s, The Marble Block, she immediately envisioned the poem as a film animation, and knew the powerful good it would bring to the world.




Starlit Swan is a writer at heart. She writes poems, short stories and is writing her first novel. She uses writing to create wondrous worlds to escape the pain from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). She uses poetry to work through the difficult emotions from a past of abuse and a present of pain. Marble Me Free is an example of the latter. CRPS is considered by many to be one of the most painful illnesses in the world. It can drive a person to suicide. Working to bring to the forefront the lack of protocols to prevent and address suicide in patients with CRPS is a priority for her. As it is to bring awareness about this rare disease to healthcare professionals and lay people alike, so a treatment and/or a cure can be found.





Proudly born in Colombia in 1987, Lucia Martinez Rojas holds a Bachelors in Industrial Design from the University of the Andes in Bogota, Colombia where she co-founded a design studio called Dos de Picas and has worked as a freelance designer. She also has a Master’s Degree in Media Art and Design from the Bauhaus University of Weimar in Germany. Now she dedicates her time to work on projects that have a deep purpose and is in pursuit of becoming a prolific videographer, illustrator, designer, and human being.




B3 Finding Peace and Harmony During Troubled Times – Barbara Kreisberg, MS, CTRS, CP


As we try to navigate our lives through the challenges we face living in today’s world, it is vital that we carve out special times to rejuvenate ourselves. This workshop, led by Barbara Kreisberg, MS, CTRS, CPT is designed to explore different ways to recharge and replenish the mind, body and spirit. By using selected poems, journal prompts, music, meditation, movement and photos as tools, we hope explore ways to achieve a sense of inner peace. Participants are encouraged to bring a personal photo with them that brings them peace and tranquility. (80% Experiential/20% Didactic) Clinical/Health Care (1.5 peer hours).


Barbara Kreisberg, MS, CTRS, CPT is a Certified Poetry Therapist and has served for many years on the National Association for Poetry Therapy Board as Vice President and Conference Chair. She has over 30 years of experience working as a journal and poetry therapist in both Boston and Miami at inpatient psych, day treatment, outpatient and substance abuse facilities. She has offered workshops to local hospital staff on the value of writing for caregivers, presented workshops in her community at libraries, universities and synagogues. She is currently offering Reflective Writing Groups in her community in Miami on an ongoing basis. She has been honored by receiving the following awards from NAPT: In 2014, she received The Outstanding Service Award, In 2019, she received the award For the Appreciation of Over Five Years as Vice President and Conference Chair, and most recently, in 2022, The Luminary Award for Lifetime Achievement. She believes that writing poems and keeping a journal is vital to personal growth and healing.



B4 Exploring Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Through Poetry – Mari Alschuler, Ph.D., LISW-S, CM/PTR, MPTP 

Clinicians are expected to provide service to all people, including those who identify as members of the broad LGBTQIA+ community. This workshop will enhance participants’ competence in working with people who identify as lesbian, gay, transgender, or non-binary through poetry therapy. Mari Alschuler, MFA, LISW-S, Ph.D. will present components so participants may develop skills in gay- or trans-affirmative clinical practice; identify their own intersecting identities; and use affirming language. Participants will be provided with a variety of poems and prose pieces written by lesbian, gay, transgender, or nonbinary people to read and discuss. (70% Experiential/30% Didactic) Social Justice (1.5 peer hours).


Mari Alschuler, MFA, LISW-S, Ph.D., CM/PTR, MPTP, is an Associate Professor of Social Work at Youngstown State University (Ohio, USA). In 2012, Dr. Alschuler earned her doctorate in Leadership and Education/Higher Education Administration from Barry University (Florida, USA). Mari has been involved with NAPT since 1991 and earned a CPT/CAPF, RPT/PTR and is a Certified Mentor; she also was Conference Chair for three years. Mari is also credentialed through the International Academy of Poetry Therapy. Mari trains clinicians and educators internationally on transgender and LGB issues, mindfulness meditation, social work supervision, creative writing, and poetry therapy. She is a published fiction and poetry writer with an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University, and has published articles in Journal of Poetry Therapy and elsewhere. An invited chapter on social work group supervision was published in the International Social Work Supervision Handbook (2021). An article on using an integrated approach of poetry therapy, cognitive therapy, and mindfulness meditation training for a client with acute anxiety is forthcoming in LIRIC (2022). Mari is in private practice in Canfield, OH and specializes in working with transgender/nonbinary people, anxiety disorders, and clinical and training supervision.


B5 Promoting Empowerment by Discovering Inner Strengths: A Co-Facilitative Poetry Therapy Curriculum for Groups in Rural Communities – Scott R. Sorensen, LCSW & Danielle Dubrasky, Ph.D. 

This presentation, led by Scott R. Sorensen, LCSW and Danielle Dubrasky, PhD., will share a flexible co-facilitative group curriculum that therapists and professional poets can use to facilitate groups with the most needy of populations in their rural communities. Presentation attendees will experience a brief demonstration of the co-facilitative clinical intervention, including excerpts from the curriculum. Attendees will also experience some of the curriculum writing prompts and a sharing activity. They will also engage in a discussion regarding how this approach can be used in traditional poetry therapeutic groups and in a variety of other wellness groups to support the mental and social well-being of group attendees. There will also be a review regarding how this curriculum can be incorporated into clinical academic settings and how it addresses social justice issues for specific group populations. (50% Experiential/50% Didactic) Clinical Health Care.



Scott Sorensen, LCSW, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and in addition to a private practice, he currently teaches social work courses at Southern Utah University and at Regis College. The development of a poetry therapy group course is the outcome of discovering ways for trauma victims to find additional effective outcomes in their treatment.





Danielle Beazer Dubrasky, PhD.,  is the author of the full-length poetry collection, Drift Migration, the chapbook Ruin and Light, and the limited-edition/letterpress art book Invisible Shores. She is a professor of English and Creative Writing at Southern Utah University where she directs an Eco-poetry and Place writing conference. Danielle has also developed a curriculum of poetry writing exercises to be used in poetry therapy groups, published in Journal of Poetry Therapy. Her poems have appeared in several journals including Chiron Review, Ninth Letter, Terrain.org, and South Dakota Review. Her essay, “Juliet,” won the 2020 Mississippi Review Nonfiction Prize. She has been a three-time fellow at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, a two-time recipient of the Utah Arts Council first place award in poetry, a recipient of an artist scholarship from the Utah Division of Arts & Museums, and is currently the director of the Grace A. Tanner Center for Human Values at Southern Utah University. Danielle grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia, but has lived the last 30 years in southern Utah.



4:30-6:00 pm Mentor/Supervisor Round Table Discussion

6:00-7:45 pm Dinner – Hotel Restaurant or Dinner on your own


8:00-9:30 pm Open Mic Poetry Sign-Up & Reading  Emceed by Jenna Robinson, MA, LMFT  




We welcome any poems, short stories, songs and any other spoken word entries of no more than 2 minutes total length to read at this open poetry reading. Here is your chance to share your own writing and creativity with our group! 


Saturday, April 1st   See Conference Schedule 

Conference Workshops & Events

7:00-8:00 am Morning Triple Workshop: Experience a Poetry Therapy Group (Second Session – 2 Groups)

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. You must be available to attend all three days. (75% Experiential, 25% Didactic)  (4.5 peer hours).

7:30-8:30 am Registration 

8:00-9:00 am Breakfast 

9:00-10:30 am Workshop Series C

C1 Good Pain: The Art of Being Hurt – Michael Namkung 

Michael Namkung performs ‘Good Pain: The Art of Being Hurt’, a one-man show of poetry and storytelling that culminates in a strenuous and dramatic performance of physical art-making called a Wall Sit Drawing. The show works with the themes of both physical and emotional pain and navigates a path through art and poetry to demonstrate how creative self-expression has the power to heal and to reveal to us the most resilient parts of ourselves. (approx. 45 minutes) As an experiential exercise, Michael will guide you through making your own Wall Sit Drawing, as well as facilitate a discussion, debrief and integration with the group. (approx. 45 minutes) “I was absolutely broken open and healed by Good Pain.” — Gray Hunter “Michael's poetry held up a mirror to my own pain and showed how to hack a path through it to kindness, empathy, and love.” — Avi “It felt like a good therapy session.” — Gina Fong Seidler(50% Experiential/50% Didactic) Educational Setting.


Michael Namkung is a performing artist, poet, writer, meditation teacher, and multiple world champion athlete. He has received awards from the San Francisco Arts Commission, The Center for Cultural Innovation, the Tanne Foundation, and the James Rosenquist Artist Residency. He is best known for 'Drawing Gym', a hybrid of art and extreme sports and for his one-man shows of poetry and storytelling, 'Seeing The Invisible' and 'Good Pain: The Art of Being Hurt'. He has exhibited and performed his work in galleries, museums, universities, and public spaces worldwide, including SFMOMA, Museu de Arte Contemporaneo Niteroi (Brazil), The Asian Art Museum San Francisco, Stanford University, Locust Projects, The Drawing Center New York, and Grace Cathedral San Francisco. He holds a Master of Education degree from the University of California Santa Barbara and a Master of Fine Arts degree from San Francisco State University. He has served as Assistant Professor of Art at Florida International University, and as Visiting Assistant Professor at Lewis and Clark College. Michael lives in Portland, Oregon with his two children.


C2 Writing Through Grief: Reflections on a Poetry Workshop at Hospice – Janelle Adsit, Ph.D. 

For the past seven years, Janelle Adsit, PhD. has co-facilitated, while working with a licensed grief counselor, writing workshops for the bereaved through Hospice of Humboldt. In this session, she will share the workshop practices that they've found to be successful. Participants in this session will have the opportunity to engage with readings and writing exercises specifically tailored for the processing of grief. Drawing upon research from the fields of Arts in Health, Narrative Medicine, and Creative Arts Therapies, the session will emphasize the range of experiences and emotions that may be part of the journey we call grief -- and the role poetry can have in this journey. (50% Experiential/50% Didactic) Clinical/Health Care Setting.



Janelle Adsit, PhD is associate professor of creative writing at Cal Poly Humboldt. She has written, co-written, and edited three books on antiracist and inclusive practices in creative writing. She also has published an elegiac collection of poems, titled Unremitting Entrance (Spuyten Duyvil, 2015), a meditation on grief in relation to place and environment. Since 2015, she has co-facilitated community writing workshops for health and wellbeing, and she is currently pursuing a certificate in Arts in Public Health. https://english.humboldt.edu/people/janelle-adsit




C3 The RES Poetry Therapy Model: New Directions for Educators, Therapists, and Poets – Nicholas Mazza, Ph.D., PTR 


Nicholas Mazza’s multidimensional R.E.S. model of poetry therapy will be reviewed and applied within the context of education, psychotherapy, and poetry writing. The model consists of three major dimensions: 1) R-Receptive/prescriptive involving the introduction of literature into practice, 2) E-Expressive/creative involving written expression, and 3) S - Symbolic/ceremonial involving the use of metaphors and rituals.

Specific techniques for each dimension will presented and demonstrated in this largely experiential workshop include the following:

Receptive/Prescriptive:

*Introducing a poem/song/story and inviting reactions

Expressive/Creative:

* Cluster poem

*Poetic stems/prompts

*Collaborative (family, group) poem

*Dyadic poem

*Narrative

*Six-word story

Symbolic/Ceremonial:

*Creating metaphors

*Rituals

New directions for poetry therapy include: 1. Using poetry therapy in promoting literacy. 2.The interrelationship of spirituality, poetry, and poetry therapy. 3.The place of the poet during troubled times. 4.Poetry writing as a solitary act with an interpersonal context. 5.The professional issues (e.g., limitations, legal and ethical issues, self-care, credentials) relating to the use of poetry therapy will also be examined. (70% Experiential/30% Didactic) Clinical/Health Care Setting (1.5 peer hours).


Nicholas Mazza, Ph.D., PTR, is Professor and Dean Emeritus at the Florida State University, College of Social Work, Tallahassee, FL. Dr. Mazza holds Florida licenses in psychology, clinical social work, and marriage and family therapy. He has been involved in the practice, research, and teaching of poetry therapy for over 50 years. Dr. Mazza is the founding (1987) and continuing editor of the Journal of Poetry Therapy: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Practice, Theory, Research, and Education and the author of Poetry Therapy: Theory and Practice, 3rd edition (2022). He is the president and board member of the National Association for Poetry Therapy (NAPT). In 1997, Dr. Mazza received the “Pioneer Award” from NAPT.


C4 Embodied Compassion through Self-Regulation: Embracing Our Imperfections through Poetry, Writing, and Action– Nancy S. Scherlong, LCSW, PTR/CJT, CM 

It can be hard to feel resourced and grounded in today’s challenging times. Past trauma or nervous system overwhelm can dampen our access to joy and calm and keep us from feeling our best. In this experiential and didactic workshop, led by Nancy S. Scherlong, LCSW, PTR/CJT, CM, participants will have the opportunity to experiment with a variety of concrete techniques to self-regulate our central nervous systems. Through principles of trauma-informed somatic psychology as well as the action methods of psychodrama, participants will experience grounding, containment, expansion and titration. Through use of journaling techniques and various poetic devices, learners will experience the role of writing and metaphor in restoring flow. Clinicians and educators welcome, no prior knowledge required. This workshop is an introduction only and does not substitute for training in Somatic Experiencing, trauma-informed coaching or psychodrama, all of which are more complex methods with their own certification process. (70% Experiential/30% Didactic) Clinical/Health Care Setting (1.5 peer hours).


Nancy S. Scherlong, LCSW, SEP, PTR/CJT, CM, is a licensed clinical social worker in the states of CT and NY, trauma-informed wellness coach, registered poetry and journal therapist and certified mentor. She is currently President of the International Federation for Biblio/Poetry Therapy. She has been part of the NAPT community for over 30 years and is a life-long learner, writer and lover of words! She has a multi-modal creative arts coaching and psychotherapy practice where she specializes in trauma and nervous system regulation as well as maintains active training cohorts in both journal and poetry therapy. Nancy is on the core faculty of the Therapeutic Writing Institute (TWI), a global on-line learning platform for journal/poetry facilitators and therapists. She also serves as lead faculty for Adelphi University's postgraduate certificate program in the Applied Expressive Arts in Counseling as well as on the faculty of Columbia University and Kint Institute. https://www.wellnessmetaphors.com


C5 Poetry as an Empowerment Tool and Catalyst for Support for First-Generation Latina Professional Mothers – Sandra Gutierrez, LCSW, EMDRIA Approved Consultant, NM Board Approved Supervisor 

The workshop presented by Sandra Gutiérrez explores the option of utilizing poetry as an empowerment tool and catalyst for support among First-Generation Latina Professional Mothers. Latinas have long endured systems of oppression associated with their intersecting identities. Gender identity is one example of a venue used to devaluate and exclude women from important micro, mezzo, and macro level decisions. For First-Generation Latina Professional Mothers, the challenges faced are not merely the addition of the number of oppressed identities at play. Because positionality matters, and is complex, Sandra will shed light on the lived experiences of First-Generation Latina Professional Mothers through the use of poetry. This will be achieved through a combination of didactic (15 %) and interactive (85%) approaches. Attendees should come prepared to be called in about privilege sustaining systems, narratives, and blind spots. (85% Experiential/15% Didactic) Social Justice.

Sandra Gutiérrez, LCSW, EMDRIA Approved Consultant, resides in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Originally from Aguascalientes, Mexico, she arrived at the border region at the age of 12, speaking only Spanish. Sandra currently works as a Clinical Social Worker and holds EMDRIA Approved Consultant status. She is also the founder of Strength and Hope Therapy Center. She has served as a University Professor for the NMSU Social Work Graduate Program. She is also a Board Approved Social Work Supervisor in the State of New Mexico and is currently a doctoral level student at two separate educational institutions; Aspen University and Modern Sex Therapy Institutes. Her doctoral level disciplines of study are Clinical Sexology and Educational Leadership with a Specialization in Healthcare Administration and Leadership. Sandra holds an interest in topics related to equity i.e., feminism, cultural diversity, immigration, mental health, sexology, and higher education. She has always enjoyed writing and has resorted to poetry in times when conveying complex and controversial messages cannot be achieved by traditional means of communication. As part of Sandra’s doctoral project, she hopes to develop a culturally relevant poetry inclusive curriculum that can serve to empower and support First Generation Latina Professional Mothers.


10:45-11:00 am Honorary Awards Presentation 

11:00-11:45 am Keynote Poet – Naomi Shihab Nye  Steady On: How Poetry Helps Us in Times of Confusion and Grief

Naomi Shihab Nye describes herself as a “wandering poet.” She has spent more than 40 years traveling the country and the world to lead writing workshops and inspiring students of all ages. Nye was born to a Palestinian father and an American mother and grew up in St. Louis, Jerusalem, and San Antonio. Drawing on her Palestinian-American heritage, the cultural diversity of her home in Texas, and her experiences traveling in Asia, Europe, Canada, Mexico, and the Middle East, Nye uses her writing to attest to our shared humanity. Naomi is the author and/or editor of more than 30 volumes. Her new book is The Turtle of Michigan (Greenwillow Books, March 15, 2022) a sequel to The Turtle of Oman. In 2022 she edited, with David Hassler and Tyler Meier, an anthology of poetry reflecting on the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine through poetry titled Dear Vaccine: Global Voices Speak to the Pandemic (Kent State University Press, April 5, 2022).

Naomi Shihab Nye has been a Lannan Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Witter Bynner Fellow (Library of Congress). She has received a Lavan Award from the Academy of American Poets, the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, the Paterson Poetry Prize, four Pushcart Prizes, the Robert Creeley Prize, and "The Betty Prize" from Poets House, for service to poetry, and numerous honors for her children’s literature, including two Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards. In 2011 Nye won the Golden Rose Award given by the New England Poetry Club, the oldest poetry reading series in the country. Her work has been presented on National Public Radio on A Prairie Home Companion and The Writer’s Almanac. She has been featured on two PBS poetry specials including “The Language of Life with Bill Moyers” and also appeared on NOW with Bill Moyers. She has been affiliated with The Michener Center for writers at the University of Texas at Austin for 20 years and also poetry editor at The Texas Observer for 20 years. In 2019-2020 she was the editor for New York Times Magazine poems. She is Chancellor Emeritus for the Academy of American Poets, a laureate of the 2013 NSK Neustadt Award for Children’s Literature, and in 2017 the American Library Association presented Naomi Shihab Nye with the 2018 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award. In 2018 the Texas Institute of Letters awarded her the Lon Tinkle Award for Lifetime Achievement. She was named the 2019-2021 Young People's Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. In 2020 she was awarded the Ivan Sandrof Award for Lifetime Achievement by the National Book Critics Circle. In 2021 she was voted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Nye is Professor of Creative Writing - Poetry at Texas State University.

11:45 am -12:15 pm Book Signing with Naomi Shihab Nye (please have your purchased books with you for Naomi to sign)

12:30-1:30 pm Luncheon

1:45-2:30 pm Naomi Shihab Nye Conversation facilitated by Karen ("ren") vanMeenen, PhD, MA, CAPF

Karen ("ren") vanMeenen, Ph.D, MA, CAPF  is a 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 twenty 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 has served on the NAPT Executive Board for over twenty years.

3:00-4:30 pm Workshop Series D

D1 Can I get some space? Playing with aesthetic distance in multi-modal performance poetry workshops– Jenna Robinson, MA, LMFT & Sherry Reiter, PhD, LCSW, PTR-M/S, RDT-BCT 

When we are too close to a trauma, there are no words. Our voice is buried in the past somatic experience. In a field dependent on words, poetry therapy facilitators can feel lost about how to help people describe their experience. Using a multi-model performance poetry approach, we can create distance to heal and reclaim our bodies and stories. Aesthetic distance is a crucial tool in all stages of trauma recovery. Are we providing distance when needed, and eliminating distance when a client is disconnected? In this workshop, facilitators  Jenna Robinson, MA, LMFT, and Sherry Reiter, PhD, LCSW, PTR-M/S, RDT-BCT, use a multimodal approach to present a new paradigm, using 5 different lenses through which writing material can be explored for greater meaning, discovery, spirituality, and social support. (75% Experiential/25% Didactic) Clinical/Health Care Setting (1.5 peer hours).


Jenna Robinson, MA, LMFT, is a queer biracial expressive arts therapist and performance poet located in the Bay Area. A nationally ranked slam poet, she has been performing and teaching spoken word workshops to youth and adults since 2011 in Hawaii and the Bay Area. Jenna worked at Hawaii Girls Court facilitating therapeutic spoken word poetry workshops with foster youth, youth bereavement groups, K-12 schools, adjudicated youth and their families. She received her M.A. in Expressive Arts Therapy from CIIS, where she developed a methodology melding narrative therapy, expressive arts and spoken word poetry. In 2017 she founded Revisions, an intergenerational therapeutic writing program for families and community groups. Jenna specializes in clinical intervention for people impacted by family violence, LGBTQ+ folks, families impacted by incarceration, and those experiencing systemic oppression. She is an adjunct professor in the Expressive Arts Therapy department at CIIS and at the Wright Institute.



Sherry Reiter, Phd, LCSW,PTR-M/S 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/



D2 Techniques Poets Can Use to Make Their Poetry Sing – Zorina Exie Frey 

Reading poetry can sometimes come off boring, even for poetry lovers! “Techniques Poets Can Use to Make Their Poetry Sing," led by Zorina Exie Frey, teaches educators how to attract and retain their audience’s attention with a vibrant oratory presentation. Just as music is therapy, so is poetry and our speech is also a vehicle to amplify poetic messages. Since poetry is music and music is poetry, this class will teach presenters how to integrate poetic properties into their speech to enhance the learning experience of poetry’s healing message. This class will also teach improvisation styles and poetic writing tips to help intensify the audience's comprehension of poetry. These tips will enhance the rhythmic flow of the poetry and phonetics and improve presentations. This workshop includes an interactive writing and speech session where volunteers can apply their learning. Participants will receive encouragement and positive performance critiques. By the end of this workshop, participants will walk away with a lyrical first draft. This class is for educators, performance artists, and public speakers of any genre or industry. (70% Experiential/30% Didactic) Educational.



Zorina Exie Frey is an essayist, screenwriter, spoken word poet, content writer and digital designer. She is an Adjunct English Instructor at Converse University and a writing instructor for Writing Class Radio. She is a semi-finalist for the TV pilot, America’s Next Great Author. She’s the Editor-in-Chief for 45 Magazine Journal and Poetry Editor for South 85 Journal. Her writings are featured in Shondaland, Shoutout Miami, Chicken Soup for the Soul: I’m Speaking Now, The American Journal of Poetry, and Pen in Hand Journal. She is the recipient of the Palm Beach Poetry Festival Langston Hughes Fellow, Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing Voices of Color Fellow, one of the feature poets for the 2022 National Association for the National Association for Poetry Therapy Conference, and featured presenter for The Maryland Writers’ Association 2022 Brain to Bookshelf Conference.



D3 Making Poetry Easy for All Ages – Beth Jacobs, Ph.D. 

To access the healing power of writing poetry, many people need the process to be demystified. Sadly, people of various ages and backgrounds have been taught that poetry is a difficult, complicated, or elite art form. In 16 years of writing groups, including participants from the ages of 6 to 76, Beth Jacobs, PhD,  has discovered some tools, techniques, and poems that help clear blockages to unique voice and deep expression. She will share these experiences, forms that have worked, and some of the resulting poems. The group will experiment with some easy poem techniques and discuss what inhibits or encourages the joy of making a poem happen. (65% Experiential/35% Didactic) Educational.


Beth Jacobs, Ph.D. is a writer, poet, and facilitator of expressive writing groups for children, teenagers, and grandparents for 16 years. She is the author of Long Shadows of Practice: Poems, Writing for Emotional Balance, Paper Sky, The Original Buddhist Psychology and A Buddhist Journal. bethjacobsbooks.com



D4 Caregiver Well-being: Personal/Professional/Bibliotherapeutic Reflections – Ted Bowman, MDiv. 

The quality of life for care-receivers is influenced by caregivers. Attention to the well-being of caregivers can be minimized by care approaches used by family, friends, volunteers and professionals. Drawing on 14 years facilitating a caregiver support group and perspectives of bibliotherapy, caregiver well-being will be presented, discussed, written about, and demonstrated by Ted Bowman, MDiv. Implications for a variety of settings will be emphasized. For this session, caregivers will refer to family caregivers…AND volunteers and professionals in a spectrum of settings. (70% Experiential/30% Didactic) Clinical/Health Care Setting.


Ted Bowman is an educator, and consultant.  He specializes in change and transition. For over 40 years, he has been a frequent trainer, consultant, and speaker with many groups throughout Minnesota, the United States, and other countries. Ted was an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota (Family Education) 1981-2012; at the University of Saint Thomas (Social Work) 2006 until 2019; and 1989 to 1996 at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities.

Ted is the author of over 125 articles and chapters appearing in books, journals, newspapers, and magazines. His booklets, Loss of Dreams: A Special Kind of Grief, and Finding Hope When Dreams Have Shattered are widely used in grief care. His newest book, Ambiguous Parables: Poem and Prose of Loss and Renewal, was published in November of 2021.


D5 What’s Your Credo?: Being Mindful about “Why I Write” – Rob Merritt, Ph.D. 

Many of us write habitually. We write to help ourselves and others heal.  We write to remember. We write to connect. We write to conceal.  We write for beauty’s sake.  We write for truth’s sake.  We write for the land. Yet, do we mindfully ask why we are driven?  What do you believe when you sit down to compose? How could considering a wider range of reasons unlock creativity?  How do writers such as Terry Tempest Williams or George Orwell approach this question?  Or why DON’T we write, as Naomi Nye asks in “Problems with the Story.” How can we probe the realm of memory? What do we want to remember and for whom? Participants in this workshop led by Rob Merritt, PhD., will:

       *think intentionally about goals for writing
     *consider how the personal and communal intersect
               *examine other writers’ “credos” to expand creative repertoire
       *create a personal credo: “Why I Write” and “What I Want to Write”.  

    (50% Experiential/50% Didactic) Educational.




    Rob Merritt, Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus and Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at Bluefield University. His is a former Vice-President for conferences for NAPT. Born in North Carolina, he lives in the mountains of West Virginia. He is the author of Early Music and the Aesthetics of Ezra Pound and the poetry collections View from Blue-Jade Mountain, The Language of Longing, and Landscape Architects.  He has recently published poems in Red Clay Review, Psaltery & Lyre, and The James Dickey Review. He is interested in discovering personal mythologies, intersections between Chinese and Appalachian poetry and poetry therapy methodologies in higher education. He has taught poetry in Nanjing, China. He believes in poetry that points the way out of ego via rituals (time-tested) and ceremonies (new). “Let the Mystery Be.” 





    5:00-5:15 pm Closing Remarks – Nicholas Mazza, Ph.D., PTR, NAPT President 

    5:15-6:00 pm Closing Event: Jovan Mays, inaugural and emeritus Poet Laureate of Aurora  Nana’s Boxes: More Bridges, Less Walls


    Jovan Mays is the inaugural and emeritus Poet Laureate of Aurora, Colorado, a National Poetry Slam Champion, and the Youth Voice Coordinator of Aurora Public Schools. As an arts educator, Mays has worked with over a million students throughout the Denver Metro and beyond through poetry outreach in his program, Your Writing Counts. He has also worked as the community engagement coordinator for Lighthouse Writers Workshop. Mays is the author of three books: Pride, The Great Box Escape and This Is Your Song. His work has been published by The Pilgrimage, Button Poetry, and Write About Now. He is a graduate of Chadron State College where he played football, wrestled, and earned a degree in Secondary History Education.  

    6:00 pm Dinner on your own

    Sunday, April 2nd   See Conference Schedule 

    Post-Conference Workshops & Events

    8:00-9:00 am Breakfast 

    9:00-11:30 am Morning Triple Workshop: Experience a Poetry Therapy Group (Third Session – 2 Groups) 

    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. You must be available to attend all three days. (75% Experiential, 25% Didactic)  (4.5 peer hours).

    9:00-12:00 am Post-Conference I – Ingrid Tegner, MSW, CAPF, CM Poetry, Writing & Weaving to Foster Strength, Resilience, and Community

    A weaving is always stronger than any of the individual components that comprise it. In this interactive 3-hour workshop led by Ingrid Tegner, MSW, CAPF, CM, participants will combine poetry, writing, and tactile materials to explore of the meaning and benefits of community in relation to wellness. This can be used in both educational and clinical settings. Poems will be shared, writing prompts offered and a weaving project will be presented to access inner resources of embodied resilience and community-building. Starting with centering and grounding activities, to create safety and define the kinds of communities that are most meaningful and valuable to us. We will also look at how to create an action plan based on this process for use with others. Everyone will be invited to share their writing, but how and what gets shared will be a personal choice. No prior writing or weaving experience necessary, just a sense of curiosity. (80% Experiential/20% Didactic) Educational (3 peer hours).




    Ingrid Tegnér, MSW, CAPF, is an artist and certified poetry therapy mentor. With over 30 years of working with individuals and groups as an educator, personal coach, social worker and facilitator of poetry, she assists others in doing their deepest creative work. She is a past board member of the National Association for Poetry Therapy and is a current board member of the International Federation of Biblio/Poetry Therapy. www.ingridtegner.com



    12:00-1:00 pm Lunch on your own


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