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.

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.

1:30-3:30 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.

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

Michele Lee Sefton, MEd, is a veteran high school English teacher, writer, poet, and blogger at 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 – 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:  Poetry as 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.

"NAPT" The National Association for Poetry Therapy

is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization 

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Green Valley, AZ 85614

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