Pre-Conference Workshops

2016 NASW National Conference

Immerse yourself in some of the most intriguing topics facing social work today, when you select one of the seven 3-hour intensive Pre-Conference workshops below.

All seven preconference workshops took place on Wednesday, June 22. By arriving early, you’ll not only get a head start on your training, but also earn 3 CE Contact Hours.

Advanced registration and additional fees are required for pre-conference workshops, and you must be registered for the 2016 NASW National Conference to register for a workshop.

Advance Care Planning With Older Adults

Social workers have long played an integral role in advance care planning. Multiple developments, such as National Healthcare Decisions Day and the 2014 Institute of Medicine report Dying in America have made clear that advance care planning is vital to person-centered care, especially as people age. 

This pre-conference workshop will emphasize the social work role in facilitating ongoing communication regarding advance care planning among older adults, families (whether legal or chosen), and health care teams. The session will engage practitioners in creative, culturally competent approaches to advance care planning that go beyond completion of advance directives and a one-size-fits-all model.


  • Laurel Tropeano, MSW, LCSW, Co-Founder and Director of Research and Education, The Holding Group, LLC, Denver, CO
  • Terry Altilio, ACSW, LCSW, Coordinator of Social Work, Beth Israel Medical Center, New York City, NY
  • Shirley Otis-Green, MSW, ACSW, LCSW, Founder and Consultant,, Toluca Lake, CA

Application of Harm Reductive Techniques in Substance Abuse

Harm Reductive Social Work Practice (HRSWP) is an amalgam of three major practice methods: cognitive-behavioral methods, motivational interviewing techniques, and harm reduction. 

This pre-conference session will help participants understand how this method can be utilized across fields of practice and learn about methods of social work to reduce client risk and improve clinical outcomes. Attendees will develop a comprehensive understanding and recognition of the multiple ways in which HRSWP improves commitment to treatment goals, clinical outcomes, and treatment follow through. The use of professional social work ethics to guide HRSWP and make critical decisions related to client care is highlighted.


  • Maurice Fisher, PhD, ACSW, LCSW, Mental Health Therapist, Roanoke Resources, Roanoke, VA

Caring for the Nation’s Most Vulnerable Veterans

Social workers lead major programs within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). As the largest employer of master’s level social workers, social work celebrates 90 years as a profession within VHA during 2016. This pre-conference workshop will provide attendees an opportunity to learn about two significant national programs within VHA, which have allowed for expanded services and supports for Veterans, their families, and caregivers. The VA’s National Homeless Program has permanently housed, rapidly rehoused, or prevented nearly 230,000 Veterans and their family members from falling into homelessness and the VA’s Caregiver Support Program has provided unprecedented services and supports to more than 30,000 family caregivers of Veterans. Participants will also hear directly from the social work leaders who championed their creation and nation-wide implementation.


  • Laura Taylor, National Director, Social Work, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC
  • Lisa Pape, MSW, National Director, Homeless Programs, Veterans Health Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC
  • Margaret Kabat, MSW, National Director, Caregiving Support Programs, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC

Cultural Competence in Social Work Practice: Standards and Indicators

Leadership and cultural competency skills are essential components of successful interventions with individuals, families, and communities. This pre-conference workshop provides participants knowledge and understanding of the revised 2015 NASW Standards and Indicators for Cultural Competence in Social Work Practice. This session will examine the challenges and complexities of culturally competent practice in a changing society; explore attitudes, beliefs and understandings of culture and cultural competency; and identify the challenges and opportunities in practice, organizations and community settings using specific examples. Participants will also be introduced to expanded concepts of culture; cultural humility and intersectionality; linguistic and communication issues: and leadership strategies to promote cultural competence from a micro, mezzo and macro- perspective.


  • Karen Bullock, PhD, LCSW, Professor, Department of Social Work, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
  • Vivian Jackson, PhD, LICSW, Adjunct Assistant Professor Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development, Washington, DC

Ethics and Risk Management in the New Era of Social Work

This pre-conference workshop, is sponsored by the NASW Assurance Services (ASI), and describes the most significant malpractice risks in social work today and numerous methods of mitigating and reducing one’s risk of being sued for malpractice. The session will cover key concepts in risk management (e.g., confidentiality and its exceptions, duty to warn, and informed consent) and will also reveal the major reasons why social workers are sued and what they can do to decrease those risks. This presentation is intended for social workers across all settings and positions, not just the clinical, therapeutic mental health setting.


  • Carole Mae Olson, ACSW, LICSW, Executive Director (ret.). Episcopal Community Services, Minneapolis, MN

Everyday Self Defense© for Social Workers

Social workers provide a range of services in increasingly complex environments and often engage in risky situations without the proper safety training and supports. This session, led by an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) expert, offers a balanced and ethical approach to self-care and workplace safety. Participants will learn techniques for remaining calm, verbal de-escalation and boundary-setting. Participants will also have the opportunity to practice various physical drills that can be used to protect themselves in everyday situations at work and in the field.


  • Janet Nelson, ACSW, LCSW, Founder, Everyday Self Defense© for Social Workers, Tallahassee, FL

Starting Your Social Work Private Practice

Starting a private practice is very attractive to social workers looking to be the primary decision-makers in an independent work environment. Although the services provided in a private practice are clinical, it is important to remember that it is also a business that requires preparation, organization, and a business plan to be successful. This workshop will focus on DMS 5, billing practices, business liabilities, malpractice insurance and other valuable resources needed. It will also provide fifteen essentials steps to running a successful Private Practice.


  • Camielle Call, MSW, LCSW, QCSW, Private Practice, Sitka, AK
  • Carol Seacord, ACSW, LMSW, BCD, Private Practice, Ada, Michigan