Teal Background

Join us for our 40th Annual
Meeting and Open Conference
in Austin, TX
June 21-24, 2018

Hosted at the AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center

Relational Activism:

Supporting Just Relationships in Family Therapy

June 21- June 24, 2018

AT&T Hotel and Conference Center

at the University of Texas at Austin

The conference will officially open on Thursday, June 21st, with an inspiring keynote address "An Invitation to Post-Oppositional Practice" from Ana Louise Keating whose work draws on traditions of radical U.S. women-of-color feminist/womanist thought and queer studies. Grounded in these traditions, Keating invites us to transform how we think about identity, difference, social justice and social change, reading, and teaching.

2018 Plenaries

Friday: Contemporary Issues


Ruben Parra-Cardona, Ph.D.

The Urgent Need to Embrace Advocacy in Family Therapy Practice and Prevention: Lessons Learned in Parenting Prevention Research with Low-income Latino/a Immigrants

Topic description
The United States is witnessing a tumultuous time in which issues of diversity, power, and privilege have become highly contentious and controversial. For example, rather than addressing historical immigration as a human rights issue, conservative movements have increasingly disseminated narratives identifying immigrants as a threat to the US on several levels. Where should we stand as family therapists in our daily practice in the midst of this reality? Dr. Parra-Cardona will reflect on lessons learned from a 10-year program of applied prevention research informed by family therapy theories, evidence-based and cultural adaptation models, and social justice and advocacy principles. In addition to describing the positive effects of culturally adapted interventions, he will reflect on the critical role of advocacy throughout the implementation of this program of prevention research, as well as the urgent need for family therapists to adopt this stance not only in clinical and prevention settings, but also in the larger socio-political context.  
Dr. Parra-Cardona is an Associate Professor in the Steve Hicks School of Social Work (SHSSW) at the University of Texas at Austin. At the SHSSW, he also serves as Coordinator for Mexico and Latin American initiatives and Co-Director of the Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. He earned his master’s degree in couple and family therapy at Syracuse University and his doctorate in couple and family therapy at Texas Tech University. His research is focused on the cultural adaptation of evidence-based parenting interventions for low-income Latino/a populations. This program of research has been funded by NIMH and NIDA. He also conducts research focused on examining the cultural relevance of services for Latina survivors and Latino men who batter. Dr. Parra-Cardona has used the experience gained in these US-based studies to collaborate with Mexican institutions and state governments in the implementation of prevention programs of research. Dr. Parra-Cardona serves on the editorial boards of three leading journals in the fields of family therapy and family studies (Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, Family Process, and Family Relations). He is also the Vice-President of the Family Process Institute. 
Jean Malpas, LMHC, LMFT
Plenary topic coming soon
Biography coming soon

Friday Discussants


Amy Tuttle, Ph.D., LMFT

Shawn Giammattei, Ph.D.

Saturday: Relational Activism


Marcela Polanco, Ph.D.
Family Therapy Activism from Latin American Decolonial Perspectives: Inter-Cultural and Inter-Linguistic Solidarity
Topic description
An activist vocation in family therapy ought to include the revision of the very same theories and practices from where personal, social, political, historical, etc. transformation is engaged.  Supporting the development of just relationships from perspectives that are predominantly centered in single, Western, European cultures and language, may inadvertently undo some of the well-intended efforts of justice. marcela situates activism from the perspective of knowledge production and dissemination. As a mestiza (coexistence of her Africana, Indigenous and European influences), she borrows from the work of Latin American activists on decolonial perspectives to reflect critically upon neocolonial structures that support knowledge development. She discusses a knowledge fair trade proposal for family therapy based on an inter-cultural and inter-linguistic ethics of solidarity to redistribute the current social order of knowledge production of a center and a periphery. She emphasizes a need to construct new terms of dialog across cultures their languages, aesthetics, and ethics.
Marcela Polanco, Mestiza (Indigenous, Africana and European) from Colombia, immigrant in the U.S., is a family and narrative therapist, in English. She is part of the team of graduate faculty members at Our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio, TX. She leads their family therapy master’s program and bilingual training certificate, the Psychological Services for Spanish Speaking Populations (PSSSP). In Spanish, Marcela's work borrows from decolonial practices and ethics of solidarity. She is currently studying Aymara´s decolonial thinking and anti-racist feminism with GLEFAS, Grupo Latinoamericano de EstudioFormación y Acción Feminista. 
Kameelah Mu'Min Rashad, MEd, MRP, MS
Plenary title coming soon
Kameelah is the Founder and President of Muslim Wellness Foundation (MWF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing stigma associated with mental illness, addiction and trauma in the American Muslim community through dialogue, education and training. Kameelah is the Fellow for Spirituality, Wellness and Social Justice at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn). In this capacity, Kameelah supports students in their exploration of faith-based activism, spirituality, emotional well-being and healing.  Kameelah served three years as the Muslim Chaplain at UPenn and continues to facilitate discussions on religious identity development and challenges faced by American Muslim youth. She is also a resource to the wider Penn community and administration on Islam and Muslims. Kameelah graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Psychology and MEd in Psychological Services. She has pursued further graduate education, completing a second Masters in Restorative Practices & Youth Counseling (MRP) from the International Institute for Restorative Practices and obtaining a post-Masters certificate in Family Therapy from the Philadelphia Child & Family Therapy Training Center. She is pursuing her doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, PA.

Saturday Discussants


Jill Freedman, MSW

CharlesEtta Sutton, MSW, LCSW, BCD

2018 AFTA Award Slate

Brief Presentations and Interest Group Descriptions

BPs and IGs update