Jaime Goff's Archive

What I Wish I Would Have Known: A Millenial’s Tale

4 Commentsby   |  02.20.14  |  Uncategorized

By Mathis V. Kennington, Ph.D., LMFTA

And here I was thinking all I needed were some clever tweets, a great website, maybe a Tumblr page, and an active blog, and I’d have clients banging down my door competing with each other to get on my calendar.  After all, this is the way the world communicates now, right?  We have exchanged handshakes for pokes and phone calls for texts.  But for all of our culture’s posturing about the value of social media and search engines, we don’t put a lot of stock into helping professionals we find on Yelp.  After nearly seven years of practice and two degrees later, I’ve just realized that no social media campaign can compare to the power of a friend, relative, or family physician believing in your services enough to refer someone to you.  Unfortunately, my generation (those of us who just got out of college before social media conquered the world) and those younger than us will enter markets saturated with helping professionals under the assumption that the quality of their social media should correlate with the vibrancy of their business. But this is the coldest and limpest of lies.  In my time as an ACU student, I gained the best family therapy education you can receive in the nation. Even after a doctoral education and rubbing elbows with family therapy students from across the country, I still believe this.  Yet, for all my education, I was ignorant about how to start a private practice. The journal articles into which I was immersed were impotent to help me.  Thus, I relied on what I knew: social media, because that is where the people are.  Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, Linkedin, and on and on we go.  I was and am still proud of what I crafted, yet all my pride did not change the fact that I received scant little return for my time. What was going wrong? I fashion myself a rather intuitive self-starter, yet all of my ideas and fervor limited my capacity to reach clients. I told my story, but was anybody listening?

It was not until about six months later (I can be quite dense) that I realized that maybe I was going about this whole thing the wrong way.  So, like a good observer, I studied the habits of successful therapists whose practices boomed with clients.  What I discovered was just what I needed to kick-start my millennial mind out of social media complacency. Despite my years of training to become a relational expert, I failed to activate the most basic of therapeutic truths into my marketing plan. Referrals are given where trust is earned.

Warm referrals thrive within the community, from a trusted professional, a health provider, a family attorney, or a local school counselor. Where social media provide introductions, community referrals give depth and safety.  Shocking? Not really.  But it was enough to make me realize that this private practice thing is as much about my integrity outside my office as in it.  To be successful is to proclaim your message authentically, which demands more than social media are equipped to handle.  Because as a person dedicated to the professional care of others, my task is to reach out and touch someone who might be scared to make contact.

This required that I be in the community. Not as a walking billboard, but really IN the community. I had to volunteer, join Meetups, give talks, ask for clients, get rejected, ask again, get rejected again, go somewhere else, ask for clients, get a client, say thank you, and repeat.  People needed to know who I was, which meant that even after years of classroom education, I had to wait a little longer. My generation doesn’t like that. We like now. We like immediate.  And if we stroll into this profession with that attitude, our community members will smile at our clever Facebook posts as they hand their referrals to the computer illiterate professional who has taken the time to make sure you know what she is about.

Now don’t get me wrong, social media are important. Your online presence buffers your credibility.  Social media are trying to catch up by adapting to the need to actually be socially connected, rather than disjointed individuals projecting perfect lives.  But for now, the most valuable way to build a solid clientele is a steady diet of patience, persistence, and authentic connection with community members. If you want to create a business that asks clients to give so much of themselves, then you should expect to be vulnerable enough to be seen, really seen, within the community as a behavioral and relational health expert.  It is an exercise in authentic vulnerability, courage, and persistence. Sound familiar?

Dr. Mathis Kennington is a 2009 graduate of ACU’s MFT Program. He completed his Ph.D. at Virginia Tech in 2013. He is currently a family therapist associate in Austin, TX. Visit his website at www.mathiskennington.com/about.htm

Congratulations Class of 2013!

0 Commentsby   |  08.27.13  |  Uncategorized

On the evening of August 8, 2013, the MFT program honored it’s newest group of alumni. Twenty-one graduating students along with family members, friends, faculty, and staff celebrated the completion of two years of classes, at least 500 hours of client contact, and their personal and professional growth through the course of the program.

Three awards are given to students by the faculty and staff at the banquet each year. This year’s Outstanding First Year Student was Matthew Stephens. Since he began in the program last fall, the faculty have been impressed with Matthew’s maturity, professionalism, and his eagerness to learn. If a faculty member mentions a book that isn’t necessarily required for class, Matthew will read it on his own.

Outstanding Intern award recipient, Zach Austin, with Dr. Sara Blakeslee

Outstanding Intern award recipient, Zach Austin, with Dr. Sara Blakeslee


The Outstanding Intern award goes to the graduating student who performs at an exceptional level in both his academic and clinical work. Zach Austin was selected for this award. Zach was the first student who was selected to complete an internship at CitySquare over the summer, and the faculty have been continually impressed by his cultural competence and sensitivity that go far beyond his level of experience. Additionally, Zach is a gifted therapist, and one of the faculty noted on a number of occasions that as Zach’s supervisor, he had the opportunity to witness some of the best clinical work he had ever observed being done by a student.

Meredith Platt received the Spirit of the Counselor award. This award is reserved for the student who most fully demonstrates the incarnational aspects of the therapeutic relationship. Meredith is also seeking a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry from the Graduate School of Theology at ACU and hopes to spend her career in formal ministry with a local church. Meredith demonstrated the ways in which professional therapy can be ethical and respectful of each client’s values and beliefs while also believing that she is ministering to their spiritual needs, even when not overtly discussed.

Spirit of the Counselor award recipient, Meredith Platt, with Dr. Jaime Goff

Spirit of the Counselor award recipient, Meredith Platt, with Dr. Jaime Goff

Matthew, Zach, and Meredith are just three examples of the outstanding students we are blessed to have in the MFT program at ACU. Each year, as another group of students graduates and goes out into the world in community mental health, private practice, church ministry, or doctoral work, I am filled with a renewed sense of hope for the reconciliation and healing that will come about through their work.

At the end of each banquet, it has become my tradition to share this Franciscan blessing with them, and I hope it will bless you as well:

May God bless you with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships, so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.

May God bless you with holy anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all people.

May God bless you with the gift of tears to shed with those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.

May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you really can make a difference in this world, so that you are able, with God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.

Students Present Research at TAMFT

0 Commentsby   |  03.19.13  |  Uncategorized

 The 2013 TAMFT Annual Conference in Austin was a major success. In addition to great presenters, engaging workshops, and wonderful opportunities to network, the MFI class of 2013 presented their research posters on the second to last day of the conference. The research teams consisted of six groups studying various topics related to marriage and family therapy.

Paul Mathis helped conduct research to determine the correlation in attachment to human beings and God, and said presenting with his research team was very encouraging. “The people who came by expressed a lot of interest in our topic. It was affirming to hear that other people thought what we were working on had value,” said Mathis.

Another second year, Jenn Cote, said doing research on sexual and religious attitudes of evangelical college students was a great experience to have. “I really liked the opportunity to help Dr. Goff in her longitudinal study. It’s neat to think that the research we did will be used for an overall product several years from now,” said Cote.

Matthew Hale studied emotionally focused therapy (EFT) and hypnotherapy techniques on distress remittance in couples’ therapy. “It was really beneficial to receive extra training in hypnosis to further our research”, said Hale. According to Jordan Smith, “there were a lot of things we could modify in the future, like moving in the direction of mindfulness instead of hypnosis, and we picked that up here at the conference”.

Overall, the research posters were the result of extensive hard work from all the students involved, and the second years represented ACU with class and professionalism. Coincidentally, their hard work also encouraged the first years, who will be presenting their own research posters at next year’s conference.

The titles of all posters presented included:

  • Hold Me Tight: The Efficacy of an Emotionally Focused Model of Couple Enrichment – Ryane Clayton, Mike Ford, Abigail Hill, and Hannah Burke (mentored by Dr. Sara Blakeslee)
  • Sexual Attitudes of Evangelical College Students – Olivia Keyes, Madison Bishop, McKenzie Goad, and Jenn Cote (mentored by Dr. Jaime Goff)
  • Solution Building and Symptom Distress: A Correlational Analysis – Meredith Platt, Taylor Chambers, and Brenton Kirschner (mentored by Dr. Jaime Goff)
  • Adult Attachment to God and Personal Relationship: A Correlational Study regarding Intimacy and Isolation – Kendra Arsenault, Paul Mathis, Raelle King, and Eleasha Walker (mentored by Dr. Dale Bertram)
  • Hypnotherapy Techniques: Effects on Distress Remittance in Couples Therapy – Matthew Hale, Candace Watson,  Amy Passmore, and Jordan Smith (mentored by Steve Willis and Dr. Sara Blakeslee)
  • I Am What I Am: Comparing the Experiences and Perceptions of Gay and Lesbian University Students at Two Christian College Campuses – Zach Austin, Loren Morcomb, Michelle Overman, and Reagan Smith (mentored by Dr. Sara Blakeslee)

Alum Hal Runkel Speaks to Current Students

1 Commentby   |  02.21.13  |  Uncategorized

Hal Runkel, LMFT, 2000 graduate of the Marriage and Family Therapy program at ACU, was on campus on Monday, February 4, as the featured speaker for the campus-wide Healthy Relationships Week. Hal was recently honored as one of ACU’s Distinguished Alumni. Soon after his graduation from the MFT program, Hal authored the New York Times Bestselling Book, ScreamFree Parenting: Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool. Hal next created the ScreamFree Institute, a nonprofit organization working to strengthen families and organizations around the world by providing them with the tools they need to build peace-filled homes and societies. Hal recently released a follow-up book, The Self-Centered Marriage: The Revolutionary ScreamFree Approach to Rebuilding Your “We” by Reclaiming Your “I.”

During his time on campus, Hal was able to share his experiences of being entrepreneurial and “creating a space to do the work you love” with current MFT students. Hal encouraged the students to broaden their minds about “getting a job,” focusing instead on their own personal mission to use the skills they’re gaining in the MFT program. He shared a realistic perspective about the hard work necessary to become successful in a world that’s filled with noise. Hal spoke about the sacrifices he made early on, such as providing free seminars on which he lost money and initially self-publishing ScreamFree Parenting. Hal ended his time with the students by saying, “Ninety-nine out of 100 ideas aren’t good. Find an idea you’re willing to die for. That’s living.”


Introducing Dr. Dale Bertram

8 Commentsby   |  06.01.12  |  Uncategorized

The Marriage and Family Therapy program welcomes Dr. Dale Bertram as a Full Professor beginning in the Fall 2012 semester. Dr. Bertram received his Ph.D. in Family Therapy from Nova Southeastern in 1995. He also holds an M.Ed. in General Counseling from Albertson College of Idaho, an MA in Religion from Eastern New Mexico University, and a BA with a double major in Religion and Communication from Eastern New Mexico University. Dr. Bertram holds MFT licenses in Kentucky, Alabama, and Ohio. He is a Clinical Member and an Approved Supervisor with the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT).

Dr. Bertram most recently served as Dean of the School of Human Services and Program Director for the MFT PhD program at Amridge University in Montgomery, AL. He has previously held faculty positions at Southern Christian University, University of Louisville, and Louisville Bible College. In addition to his academic positions, Dr. Bertram has held a number of clinical positions and been involved in successful private practices.

Dr. Bertram’s primary research interest focuses on the rhetorical aspects of family therapy, and he has published several articles in this area. They include “Joining With All Members of a Family System: The Rhetoric of Antilogic in Family Therapy Dialogue” and “Rhetorical Theory and Family Therapy Practice” both published in Contemporary Family Therapy and “Missing Links: The Enthymeme and its Utility in Systemic Family Therapy Dialogue,” published in Family Process. In addition to these publications, Dr. Bertram has presented his work at numerous conferences, regularly providing workshops and seminars on topics related to ethics, supervision, and Ericksonian therapy.

Dr. Bertram has been highly active at the national level, serving on several committees with the AAMFT. He currently serves as the Chair of the COAMFTE Standards Review Committee and a member of the Approved Supervisor Handbook Review Task Force. Dr. Bertram serves regularly as a COAMFTE Site Visitor and has chaired 21 site visits.

Dr. Bertram’s varied professional experiences will be extremely beneficial as both a colleague and a professor in ACU’s MFT program. We are excited that he has chosen to join our faculty and look forward to our partnership.

Dr. Blakeslee Quoted in Abilene Reporter News

0 Commentsby   |  09.21.11  |  Uncategorized

Here’s the complete story:

Abilene, Wylie schools let parents view grades online

Students’ progress now easier to track


Parent Sarah Zell willingly sifts through her son’s grades at Wylie Junior High online, even though she understands why some students might find the capability frustrating.

But for her, the ability to check on his progress is wonderful, she said, whether or not it creates occasional tension.

“I think waiting for the big ‘surprise’ grade at the end of the six weeks would cause a lot more tension then seeing one bad grade that might be able to be corrected if it is caught in time,” Zell said. “This lets me keep up with how he is doing throughout the six-week grading periods so I can encourage him to keep up with his assignments and his studying.”

Both Wylie and Abilene’s school district offer tools for parents to check on students’ academic progress, and those at both districts say the tools have proved popular.

Wylie ISD superintendent Joey Light said parents and teachers appreciate the added level of transparency the district’s “Family Access” system brings.

“The philosophy behind this is that the parent and the school are partners in the education of their child,” he said. “The more a parent knows about the progress of their child, the better.”

Such tools keep “everyone accountable,” Light said, and tend to give parents a chance to look at a variety of information, not just grades.

For example, parents in AISD can look up assignment calendars, check disciplinary actions and even see the number of tardies and absences students have logged.

But information on class grades, report cards and course completion is a big part of what’s available in the district’s “FrontRunner” system.

Secondary campuses have provided a more or less real-time grade book option for several years, said Phil Ashby, AISD spokesman. Elementary schools added the capability this year.

Kimberly Turnbull, a health science instructor at Holland Medical High School, uses the system as both as a teacher and a parent.

“As soon as the students turn in their work and it is graded, I record these grades so the student and parents can see the progress,” she said, noting that she can also use the tools to explain assignments and inform parents of missing work.

Kim McMillan, a fifth-grade math teacher at Wylie Intermediate School, said such tools, ideally, allow teachers to work as a team with families.

“Good communication with our parents is an essential tool we depend on to ensure student success,” she said, noting that the online tools also allow teachers to easily access parents’ contact information.

“The technology makes it much easier to communicate with parents on a daily basis,” she said.

Parent Michael Murphy has used Wylie’s Family Access to track the progress of his four sons.

“For parents, the Family Access option to check grades can be a very valuable tool,” he said. “Of course, like all such tools, it is only as good as the input.”

Murphy, who is chief executive officer of Abilene Regional Medical Center, said most teachers take the time to keep grades updated on a timely basis — making it frustrating “when you do encounter the occasional teacher that can’t or won’t keep the grades current.”

Such technology, when properly used, allows parents a chance to engage children in discussions about a variety of problems, ranging from test anxiety to learning disabilities to other issues, such as bullying, that may factor into low performance in the classroom, said Sara Blakeslee, an assistant professor with Abilene Christian University’s department of marriage and family therapy.

But parents should remember to offer their children acceptance and love, regardless of grades, she said.

“Healthy relationships are formed and maintained when children are confident they can approach their parents with no fear of rejection or emotional abandonment,” she said.

However, this does not mean parents should accept poor grades that are clearly below their child’s capabilities, Blakeslee said, noting that parents and children should ideally use the tools to collaborate on ways to improve academic performance.

MFT Department Welcomes Dr. John Cattich

1 Commentby   |  05.09.11  |  Uncategorized

We are excited to announce that Dr. John Cattich will be joining ACU’s Department of Marriage and Family Therapy in a post-doctoral position for the 2011-2012 academic year. Dr. Cattich has an M.Div. from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (1999), an MS in Marital and Family Therapy from Fuller Theological Seminary (2004), and a Ph.D. in Marital and Family Therapy from Loma Linda University (2010). Most recently, he has been working as an adjunct professor in the MA in Christian Counseling program at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in North Carolina, where he holds licensure as an MFT. Dr. Cattich’s research interests focus on the use of spiritual coping in therapy. He and Dr. Carmen Knudson-Martin recently published an article in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy entitled Spirituality and Relationship: A Holistic Analysis of How Couples Cope with Diabetes. He has an article based on his dissertation under review by Pastoral Psychology entitled Three Models of Clergy Systems: An Analysis of Couple Processes and Spiritual Meaning. In his clinical work, he enjoys the integration of Bowen Family Systems and Internal Family Systems. As a supervisor, he states that he enjoys helping supervisees develop their “internal therapist.” Dr. Cattich will begin his work with us on August 1, and we look forward to welcoming him to Abilene and to our MFT family!

ACU Student Weighs in on Treating GLBT Clients

6 Commentsby   |  09.27.10  |  Uncategorized

In two recent highly publicized cases, one at Augusta State University in Georgia and the other at Eastern Michigan University, judges ruled in favor of both universities after they dismissed graduate students in their counseling programs who refused to treat homosexual clients. In a recent newsletter, AAMFT summarized the cases and encouraged members to engage in dialogue around this issue. One of our current 2nd year students, Scott Rampy, offered his perspective on this ethical dilemma on AAMFT’s Community Forum. Here’s what he had to say:

To the readers of this forum, I would like to contribute to this conversation as one from a potentially uncommon vantage point. I am a Christian, have an undergraduate degree in youth ministry, am planning a career with dual focus in congregational ministry and MFT, and am a master’s level MFT student at a Christian university. I would like to respond both in terms of my ever-evolving personal theory of practice regarding this issue as well as in terms of the broader realm of practice in our field.

As students training for a profession in which empathy for the other is the highest ideal, this highly charged debate offers an excellent opportunity for us to demonstrate the fruit of our training and our merit as future professionals. It is undeniable that the issue of sexual orientation is a polarizing one in our society. Well intentioned and highly intelligent people come to diverse conclusions on this issue. National and state governments and courts are engaged in a seemingly never-ending struggle to resolve the issue for themselves – and come to differing conclusions. Even within individuals, as Ms. Walker noted herself, the issue raises conflicting questions. Therefore, rather than joining with the polarized rabble, let us have empathy for the diversity of opinions honestly achieved.

My personal theory of practice with LGBTQ clients is no different than for heterosexual clients – the goal is for peace to be present in their lives. My personal belief is that all humans have an obligation towards sexual morality; that is, sexuality expressed within monogamous heterosexual relationships. However, when it comes to practice with clients of an alternative perspective, my goal remains to find how I can allow myself to be used by them to achieve whatever level of peace (shalom) they are seeking in their lives.

In regard to the broader issues broached by these court decisions, I am surprised by the intolerance for the personal beliefs of both clients and therapists alike. My understanding of the LGBTQ community is that a major tenet is honoring diversity of personal belief. This leads me to surprise at the intolerance for the personal beliefs of these two student therapists. It is unfortunately true that Christians are often guilty of this same kind of intolerance for diversity of belief. However, nothing is gained when either group lowers its own practice to the failings of its detractors. If tolerance of the other is a goal, one must be the first to model it towards the other.

Second, in regard to the decisions of the judges in these students’ cases, one’s personal beliefs are not abstract ideals limited to the realm of theoretical thought. What one believes has direct bearing on how one lives. To offer an overly simple example, if one believes the temperature will be below zero and one values warmth, one does not wear flip-flops and shorts. Belief determines action. If not, it is entirely reasonable to question whether it is a belief honestly held. Contrary to the opinions of the judges in their rulings, I submit that to separate belief from action is in fact to deny one their belief. Though it may not have been stated by their university that the students had to give up their personal beliefs, forcing action contrary to beliefs is to force the relinquishment of belief. Specifically, if the students believed they would be living immorally if encouraging the union of homosexual clients, how do they hold onto this belief and practice counter to it as suggested? A good contribution to this discussion would be for someone to operationalize what this proposed separation of belief and action looks like while upholding one’s personal beliefs.

Third, on a similar tone, is it possible to practice therapy devoid of one’s own worldview? How does one leave at the door all the ways they have been shaped by culture, experience, family of origin, education, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, etc? What is left to bring into the room? These all contribute to the way we relate with our clients, from the way we think, to the questions we ask, to the emotions we feel when we are with them. Doubtless many of us appreciate the contributions of seminal influences in our field – Minuchin, Haley, and Beck to name three. Yet for each of their models of therapy (Structural, Strategic, and CBT respectively), it is the therapist who makes a determination of functional and dysfunctional family structures, hands down paradoxical interventions to facilitate change from dysfunctional to functional behavior, or challenges cognitive distortions, automatic thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, expectations, and assumptions. In systems such as these, it is impossible for the therapist to fulfill their role devoid of their own worldview.

In regard to our own code of ethics, we can also appreciate the ambiguity present and the possible differences in decisions, such as were enacted by the students under discussion. Specifically, compare 1.1 with 1.10, 1.11, and 3.4 (provided below).

1.1  Marriage and family therapists provide professional assistance to persons without discrimination on the basis of race, age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, disability, gender, health status, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation.

1.10 Marriage and family therapists assist persons in obtaining other therapeutic services if the                        therapist is unable or unwilling, for appropriate reasons, to provide professional help.

1.11 Marriage and family therapists do not abandon or neglect clients in treatment without making reasonable arrangements for the continuation of such treatment.

3.4 Marriage and family therapists do not provide services that create a conflict of interest that may impair work performance or clinical judgment.

Article 1.1 specifically mentions sexual orientation as a category for non-discrimination. However, in 1.10, if personal values are not appropriate grounds for inability or unwillingness, it needs to be made clear what do in fact qualify as appropriate reasons. In 3.4, the students experienced a conflict of interest with their professional role and their personal beliefs. 3.4 mandates that they not provide services that impair their own performance or clinical judgment, while 1.10 and 1.11 mandate that they do provide their clients with alternative opportunities for care. While it is very likely that some readers may still disagree with the conclusions reached by the students, surely it is understandable how they could have made their decision believing that they were operating within the AAMFT Code of Ethics.

We have before us an opportunity for empathy in the face of a situation which commonly results in polarization, a true test of our mettle as persons and professionals who value deep understanding of the decisions of others. Empathy in a situation such as this will allow those on both sides of the issue to acknowledge the complexities of the issue and promote conversation that builds toward agreement rather than separates towards opposition. It is with such a positive tone, which I appreciate and respect, that Ms. Walker opened this discussion. Is there room for the same valuing of the differing opinions among our colleagues to allow for the differing decisions of practice as exhibited by the two students under consideration?

MFT Alum Appears on the O’Reilly Factor

1 Commentby   |  07.20.10  |  Uncategorized

Mathis Kennington, 2009 alum of ACU’s MFT program, appeared on Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor on April 9, 2010, for his role in organizing a counter-protest when members of the Westboro Baptist Church came to Blacksburg, VA, to demonstrate their belief that tragedies that have taken place on Virginia Tech’s campus in the past several years were a result of God’s punishment. Mathis is currently a Ph.D. student in VT’s MFT program. This is what he had to say about his decision to counter the message of hate proliferated by WBC with a message of God’s love and hope:

The job of a therapist is not unlike the job of a book editor.  The narrative therapist, Michael White, once suggested that a therapist collaborates with their clients to edit the stories they tell. In my experience, these stories are tendered greater value when they are partnered with friends and family. Our social networks foster this type of personal agency.  They have the power to turn devastating tragedies into opportunities for resolve and growth.  It is for this reason that when a group of protestors from the Westboro Baptist Church (I regret the religious affiliation) decided to visit Blacksburg, the important question was not how we would respond, but rather, what stories would emerge from the rubble of a collision between arbiters of hate and an impassioned Virginia Tech community. The Westboro group reported their decision to come to Blacksburg was to protest the university in support of the deaths of 32 individuals who were killed in the tragic April 16th shootings just over three years ago.  They came to attribute the death of Morgan Harrington, a Virginia Tech student who disappeared in mid-October of 2009 on the university’s advocacy for tolerance and equality.  In truth, however, they came because they knew Virginia Tech would be the most vulnerable platform by which they might gain the most media attention.  What they did not expect, however, was what would be waiting for them when they arrived.

I was fortunate enough to partner with the undergraduate response to the Westboro group.  Our goal was simple: we would demonstrate that hatred could be overcome through peaceful collaboration.  One student said it best: our job was to insure that our community would not be subjected to hate-speech without the presence of a positive counter-message.  We organized a massive student and community response aimed directly at the messages of intolerance and hatred touted by the invading Westboro group.  We were comprised of students and teachers, town council members and parents, university faculty and religious leaders, and an intergenerational blend of the community.  We gathered with peaceful messages ranging from the comedic to the dramatic and pointed. We turned back the Westboro voice and managed to divert local and national media onto the community’s resolve to write our own story in the face of an immediate challenge.  We dethroned the potential narratives of bigotry and revulsion and authored victory through peaceful community collaboration.

You can read the transcript of Mathis’ interview on the O’Reilly Factor here.

Mark Your Calendar

0 Commentsby   |  07.07.10  |  Uncategorized

heartandsoulofchange ACU’s Department of Marriage and Family Therapy, Department of Psychology, and University Counseling Center are working in conjunction to host a one-day workshop with Barry Duncan, PsyD, on September 3, 2010. Dr. Duncan is the Director of the Heart and Soul of Change Project and a co-editor of the Heart and Soul of Change, the second edition of which was released in December of 2009.

In this video, Dr. Duncan discusses the good news and the bad news regarding the effectiveness of psychotherapy and provides an introduction to The Heart and Soul of Change:

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly of Psychotherapy

For more information and to register for the workshop, visit http://www.acu.edu/campusoffices/counseling/events/change.htm.We hope to see you on September 3!