On a beautiful Friday in mid June, we conducted our tenth annual legal workshop for a record high attendance of over 200 mental health professionals. It was wonderful to see many familiar faces we have come to know over the years, as well as some new faces intrigued by the topic we presented. A number of previous attendees brought new colleagues with them, a great reinforcement that we are doing something positive with these workshops!
The setting was the Port Washington Yacht Club – the same place we've hosted at for seven years now since outgrowing our conference room with attendance. While it was sunny and beautiful outside, inside the meeting room everyone was intent and motivated to learn all they could and glad to reconnect with people they already know. Isn't it interesting how whatever world you are in, it is always a small world? Running into people I know again and again and realizing how many others know these same people is surprisingly uplifting.
In light of the economic strains to families over the past year, we chose to focus on how mental health professionals can help family members resolve marital issues and establish agreements during divorce to avoid lengthy, and often costly litigation. We reviewed actual separation and divorce cases where mental health professionals were involved prior to and during trail. We showed how the forensic evaluator's report can aid in settling a case, how the parental coordinator can help establish agreements and the important role of the therapist in treating and consulting with parties seeking divorce. We also discussed legal developments in family law, explaining NY States new No-Fault Divorce Law and Nassau County's initiative on Mandatory Mediation.
Attendees have been able to receive Continuing Education Units (CEU's) from the mental health professional organizations for their participation.
The workshop presenters were attorneys Jerome Wisselman, Jacqueline Harounian, Lloyd Rosen, and Lauren Chartan. We were pleased that Paul Marcus, PhD, a well known Forensic Evaluator in child custody cases spoke about his involvement in cases and how he facilitates peaceful relations between disputing parents.
Intelligent and relevant questions were asked and answered – a real exchange between overlapping professionals. If this information can be used during the year by mental health professionals to make their job easier, then we have accomplished the larger goal of these workshops.