2019 Institutes for Advanced Clinical Education in Singapore

Join us in Singapore and earn up to 13.25 hours of continuing education credit with the most advanced marriage and family therapy training available!   

Date: Wednesday, July 10 - Friday, July 12, 2019

Location: Concorde Hotel Singapore


Wednesday, July 10

Approved Supervisor Refresher Course

Time: 800 - 1530

Presenter: John Miller

AAMFT Approved Supervisors must take a comprehensive refresher course prior to the renewal of their designation. This session is designed specifically to meet that requirement, and to keep practitioners up-to-date on clinical MFT supervision practice. This course will include case examples, didactic and interactional instruction methods. It will focus on current resources available to supervisors, management of ethical and legal issues likely to arise during supervision, utilization of supervision contracts, cultural competence in supervision and therapy, and discussion of the current AAMFT Approved Supervisor requirements. 

Opening Ceremony

Time: 1700 - 1900

Thursday, July 11

Keynote: The State of Marriage and Family Therapy

Presenters: John Miller, Takeshi Tamura, Viviana Cheng. Wentao Chao
Time: 0830 - 0930

Social Withdrawal of Today's Youth in Asia; Culture and Family Perspectives

Presenter: Takeshi Tamura
Time: 0945 - 1615

Social Withdrawal (called Hikikomori in Japanese) is one of the major mental health issues among young people in Asian countries such as Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. Similar phenomenon can be seen in the Western culture, but to a much lesser extent. This session will focus on this culturally specific syndrome and its family dynamics, to introduce the Asian cultural framework of the basic concept of family system theory; i.e., nature of the family relationship, concept of differentiation and generational boundary. This course is useful for American family therapists to extend their world view and new repertoire working with families in various cultural contexts.

Capturing Children's Response to Parental Conflict and Making Use of it in Family Therapy

Presenters: Viviana Cheng and Irene Kam
Time: 0945 - 1615

It is well established that children are affected by interparental relationship, but there are few clinical tools to demonstrate how exactly they are affected. The Biofeedback Family Assessment protocol devised by our team leader, Wai Yung Lee, Ph.D., at Asian Academy of Family Therapy, was designed to capture children’s response to parental conflicts and making use of it in the therapeutic process. By measuring children’s physiological responses while exposed to parental interaction, the depicted arousal scores are then used to activate children’s voices in responding to the parents’ impasse. This protocol had been applied to 200 children. It has proven to be very effective in eliciting children’s inner voices in the healing process. In this 5-hour intensive, Dr Irene Kam and Dr Viviana Cheng, prominent members of Dr Lee’s team, will use video segments of actual family interviews to provide evidence of the therapeutic effect in applying this protocol to children with various emotional and behavioral problems, including children from divorce families.

The Sweat and Tears in Differentiating from Asian Parents" Reflections on Stories of Taiwan Familes

Presenters: Wentao Chao
Time: 0945 - 1615

Parents in nature hope for the best for their children, and children in return live up to their parents’ expectations. This is particularly so in Asian cultures, in which parents and children often form strong, intricate bonds, to the point differentiation becomes a process of torment and agony. Asian children usually refer to their parents when facing pivotal life decisions, such as college major, marriage, and career among many others. In these decisions the tension between parents and children manifest, and the by-far sweet and close relationship falls into peril. These conflicts can cause severe sabotage on physical and mental health to both parties.

Although Bowen’s theory of self differentiation has been widely studied by local researchers and therapists for the past three decades with abundant published papers, the application of the concept in therapy with Asian families may still be a tricky task. How to conceptualize differentiation process between Asian parents and children without pathologizing it? How to adapt the concept to better fit the local culture of relational complexity?

In this presentation therapy cases in Taiwan will be shared to illustrate the intricate entanglement between children (age from 15 to 50) and their parents, and the possible linkage with their ordeals. The presenter proposes to reflect this relational entanglement in less pathological but more cultural perspective, and invites participants to figure out together alternative ways to work with Asian families.


Working with Low Income Families: A Global Perspective

Presenter: John Miller
Time: 0945 – 1615

Contemporary family therapy originated in Western cultures, and is now being exported throughout the Eastern world where it has proven to very popular. Indeed, family therapy is one of the most popular treatment strategies in the Eastern world, where much of life revolves around family and community. Only recently has the Eastern world opened up to Western psychology, social work, and family therapy practices. Many international initiatives have been launched to encourage international clinical and scholarly collaboration between the East and West in an effort to effectively apply established Western methods in Eastern contexts. Yet these models were developed based on Western mores and cultures. What is the appropriate ethos for the application of Western models in non-Western contexts? What are the common dilemmas of theory and practice that the global therapist must consider? What parts of clinical intervention can be meaningfully transplanted to another cultural context without much modification? What clinical intervention strategies are unique to the culture under consideration (indigenous) and must remain unique to that culture? Can certain modes of therapy be careful adapted to other cultures and what are some guiding principles for the exportation for this endeavor? This presentation will discuss these and boarder issues toward a theory of exporting Western modes of family therapy to non-Western contexts.


Friday, July 12

Existential Chinese Family Therapy

Presenter: Albert Chan Tsun-Hung
Time: 0830 - 1000

The focus of this session is constructing a theoretical framework on Existential Chinese Family Therapy through examining the Chinese culture and clinical practice on Chinese clients. The general family system theory will be used as the theoretical backbone which encompasses the Chinese existential givens in therapeutic intervention. Both researched Harmonious Values of Forbearance, Loyalty, Respect, Obedience and Role Acceptance will be examined and the proposed Chinese Existential Givens of To Live, Meaning of Love (Ch’ien), Family will be introduced. Common Chinese family issues and typical Chinese family enmeshment will be inspected. How theoretical concepts apply in clinical practice will be elucidated.

The Bowen-Oriented Intergenerational Supervision Model and its Cross Cultural Reflections and Applications

Presenter: Ching-Ching Ruan
Time: 0830 - 1000

The presentation will discuss the use of the intergenerational Bowenian model in supervision and its cross cultural applications for Chinese Mental Health Professionals. First, several major theoretical concepts of Bowen’s theory will be introduced and highlighted as they relate to supervision. Subsequently, the role of Bowenian supervisors and the clinical issues that they monitor during supervision will be discussed. Third, goals for Bowen-oriented supervision will be illustrated. In particular, supervisors help supervisees’ to address their own differentiation of self with their clinical families by encouraging them to explore their family-of-origin issues pertaining to the clinical issues brought to supervision. As such, supervisees will gain personal benefits such as increased mental health and improved effectiveness in their own personal relationships, which will in turn enhance their professional effectiveness. Thus, supervision based on Bowenian theory provides supervisees an opportunity for both personal and professional development. It is also crucial for supervisors to have addressed their own family of origin issues. This presentation will include the reflections of the presenter, who is originally from Asia and has been a practitioner and an educator in the field of MFT, on the process of integration of the West and the East. Particularly, the presenter will indicate several cross cultural applications on how Bowenian theory can be a fit for working with Chinese families in Asia for both therapy and supervision.

Working with Couple Relationship Issues in Addictive Disorders

Presenter Bonnie Lee
Time: 1015- 1145

Addiction is a complex disorder that has now claimed its own classification in the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical and Manual of Mental Disorders (2013). The opioid epidemic in North America and the inclusion of “gaming disorder” into the International Classification of Diseases (WHO, 2018) alert us to the trend in substance and behaviour addiction globally. Adverse childhood experiences are ubiquitous in addictive disorders as are couple relationship problems. Yet effective relational models and interventions with an at the couple level are lacking. Congruence Couple Therapy has been cited as one of the few systemic therapies with an evidence base including follow-up for addictive and mental disorders. Its cogent conceptual framework and manualized stages serve as a roadmap for intervention. Videos and demonstrations will illustrate how to connect four key dimensions in couple therapy with “linkage moments”. Positive changes in addiction symptoms, depression, anxiety, PTSD and emotion regulation will be cited from a randomized controlled trial. Potential risks of working with couples in addiction and safe practices will be discussed. The presenter will share her strategic use of implementation science to install couple therapy training, research and practice as a component in addiction and mental health services in a provincial health system in Canada.

Teaching and Practicing “Cultural Curiosity” in Asian Societies

Presenters: P.C. Hsiung, Y.J. Chun, T. Tamura
Time: 1015 - 1145

Presenters will discuss how the shift of concept from being “cultural sensitive,” “cultural competent,” to “cultural humility/curiosity” affects their teaching and practicing MFT in Asian societies. Presenters have developed specific strategies in engaging students and professionals to explore the essence, relevance and importance of “cultural curiosity” in their personal and professional life. Students and professionals are encouraged to identify their own “cultural uniqueness” and at the same time to interact with individuals who are culturally different from them. The 11 dimensions of “social location,” including: gender, race, religion, age, abilities, class, culture, ethnicity, education, sexual orientation, spirituality, are also used as a concrete framework to sensitize students and professionals in examining cultural specificity. Presenters will discuss their personal cross-cultural experiences in learning, teaching and practicing MFT.

The Same Yet Not the Same: Tracking Cultural Differences in Systemic Therapeutic Processes

Presenters: Rosa Chia-Jung Lin and Anna A. Berardi
Time: 1345 - 1515

This session will explore a series of best-practice strategies for engaging in cross-cultural mentorship. The isomorphic process at work between client and therapist as it relates to our sameness and differentness, and how those contextual issues influence patterns of perception and interaction sequences, apply to the cross-cultural supervision process as well. This session will equip therapists with greater insight into identifying these contextual variables and designing a response in order to maximize the benefits of cross-cultural engagement.

Closing Ceremony

Time: 1700-1900

Fee Structure

  By April 30, 2019 Regular
Member $525 $625
Non-member $625

 Approved Supervisor (add-on)  $260 $275

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations and any subsequent request for refund must be made in writing by May 15, 2019. Upon cancellation, you have the right to request that your fee (in full) be held (for up to one year) and used toward application to another AAMFT event registration. If you prefer a refund, cancellations made prior to May 15, 2019 will receive a 50% refund. No refunds will be offered after May 15, 2019. 

Hotel & Travel

Reserve your room

Stay at the beautiful Concorde Hotel while in Singapore. Fees listed in Singapore currency. If you experience any issues with making a reservation, please email Dawn Berry, Director of Events.

Be sure to have a valid passport - review the United States requirements before traveling internationally. Both countries require your passport is valid for at least three months before your planned date of departure.


Tour Reservation form – fees listed in Singapore currency.

Windows to Singapore
Experience first-hand the culture and traditions of Singapore’s multi-racial communitites. Weave your way through the colorful streets of Little India to seek spices and various curry bases. Within Kampong Glam, along Arab Street, be dazzled by the sights, sounds and smells of the various street shops selling age old trades which sustained early immigrants. A key building is Sultan Mosque, the Largest mosque in Singapore. Explore Chinatown by foot where interconnected streets lined with lovingly restored conservation shop houses call silently out to passers-by. This tour is scheduled for Wednesday, July 10 from 9:00 to 13:00 and will leave from the Concorde Hotel.

Flow Power at Gardens by the Bay
Join your colleagues in touring this national garden spanning 101 hectares. This showpiece of horticulture and artistry that presents the plant kingdom in a whole new way, entertaining with educating visitors with plants ranging from cool temperature climates to tropical forests and habitats. This tour is scheduled for Saturday, July 13 from 9:00 to 12:00 and will leave from the Concorde Hotel.