Washington Chapter Seminars

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Seminars and Conferences     

A primary function of WA AFCC is to provide annual educational conferences and membership meetings. Networking opportunities and task force activities will be part of this process along with giving those in attendance valuable Continuing Education credits (CLE, CME hours). Additional training events will be scheduled at various locations throughout the year. Check back often for updates to the training schedule. 

To view details of past conferences, link here

Sixth Annual WA AFCC Conference

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Washington Athletic Club

Parents Come in All Sizes and Forms


Events Page where you can Register Now  

(you may use this link to go to other program description and registration page)


8:00 to 8:30               Registration

 8:30 to 8:45               Welcome Remarks, Introduction and Instructions, Announcements

 8:45 to 10:15             Plenary Session I – Bill Eddy, LCSW, JD, CFLS

High Conflict Parents: Making and Following Parenting Plans

Abstract: This presentation will address ways of engaging parents in using simple skills to make their own agreements and follow them. It will cover ways to motivate them in and out of court; how to teach them these skills in small steps; how to guide them in applying these skills in negotiation sessions; and how to use them in the future. These skills can be taught individually by any professional involved in decision-making. They can also be taught in the structured New Ways for Families method developed by the presenter in use in several family court systems in the United States and Canada.

Learning Objectives: Attendees will be able to:

  1. Describe why high-conflict parents are stuck in defensive thinking.
  2. Teach three simple conflict resolution skills to parents.
  3. Apply four simple decision-making skills in negotiations with parents.


Bill Eddy, LCSW, J.D.Bill Eddy is a lawyer, therapist and mediator, and the President of the High Conflict Institute based in San Diego, California. As a lawyer, he is a Certified Family Law Specialist in California, where he has represented clients in family court for 15 years and provided divorce mediation services for over 20 years. Prior to that, he provided child and family counseling for 12 years in psychiatric hospitals and outpatient clinics as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

Mr. Eddy has written several books, including High Conflict People in Legal Disputes and SPLITTING: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder. In 2009, he developed the New Ways for Families short-term counseling program in use in several family court jurisdictions in the U. S. and Canada. In 2013, he developed the New Ways for Mediation method for high-conflict families. He is on the part-time faculties at the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University School of Law and the National Judicial College. He has presented on managing high conflict personalities to lawyers, counselors, judges, mediators, human resource professionals, healthcare administrators, college administrators, law enforcement and home-owners associations in over 30 states, several provinces in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Austria and Sweden.

 10:15 to 10:30           Break

 10:30 to 12:00           Plenary Session II – Dr. Marsha Kline Pruett

Embracing the Young Child: Parenting Plans that Stimulate Growth

Abstract: This plenary combines practical clinical experience and the latest empirical information to illuminate what we know and distinguish it from what we wish we knew about young children and overnights. The talk will focus on young children’s developmental tasks and hallmarks, developmental risks relevant to separation and divorce, red flags for child stress, and tips for co-parenting. A grid developed collaboratively by researcher-clinicians offers a way of integrating what we know about young children and families into parenting plans that stimulate and protect early child growth and development.  

 Participants will learn:

*About how attachment and parenting involvement can co-exist as bases for making parenting plan decisions

*How to understand what we know about young children and overnights and how to distinguish it from what we wish we knew

*How to use a decision making grid based on child development research to ask relevant questions and make decisions about overnights for children under age 4


Marsha Kline Pruett, Ph.D., M.S.L., is the Maconda Brown O’Connor Professor at Smith College School for Social Work. She has been in private practice for over 25 years, specializing in couples counseling and co-parenting consultation, legal case development for attorneys, mediation, as well as intervention design and evaluation. She has a national and international reputation for the development, implementation, and evaluation of preventive interventions in courts and family-focused community agencies and has published numerous articles, books, and curricula on topics pertaining to couple relationships before and after divorce, young children and overnights, and child outcomes. She is currently the President of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC).

 12:00 to 1:15             Lunch on own; Member Buffet

 1:15 to 2:45               Workshop Sessions A, B, C

Workshop A: Pragmatics of a Developmental Systems Approach to Parenting Plans: Panel Discussion (Daniel Rybicki,Psy.D., Marsha Kline Pruett, Ph.D., M.S.L, and Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq.)

Abstract:  This workshop presents a discussion of working models for conceptualizing the assessment of families who dispute child custody with an eye toward considering a family systems perspective of the participants and their interactions set against the backdrop of developmental trajectories of the children and parents. Dr. Rybicki will begin the discussion by outlining how a family systems approach attends to the dynamics and interplay of the participants and incorporates the history of events in the system that have led to the point of conflict that has brought them to court. Employing a practical forward-thinking solution-oriented conceptual model guided by understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the parents and incorporating knowledge of the likely developmental course for the divorced family system, this hybrid systems/developmental model offers promise for designing parenting plans that attend to potential problems and pitfalls while including interventions and control systems (monitoring and feedback methods) for directing the post-divorce family system toward optimal goals and away from disasters. Dr. Pruett and Bill Eddy will offer additional input reflecting their unique expertise in the areas of attachment and child development and the areas of parenting interventions for high conflict and Axis II parents. Each presenter will comment on the other contributions and an effort will be made to identify consensus points and areas for further study and consideration. Audience participation will be encouraged with discussion of some case vignettes and allowing sufficient time for questions and dialogue. This workshop is designed for intermediate to advanced level professionals.

Learning Objectives: Participants will learn:

·         How an assessment approach guided by family systems concepts provides a broader perspective than a simplistic adversarial or problem-oriented approach to child custody

·         How to employ case management and solution-oriented models to improve the practical design of parenting plans that incorporate sensitivity to developmental issues

·         How a developmental-systems model informed by relevant empirical research and clinical practice knowledge contributes to an appreciation of the strengths and weakness, points of stress and conflict, and avenues of remedy and resolution for family systems in conflict over parenting plans


Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq.

Marsha Kline Pruett, Ph.D., M.S.L.

Daniel J. Rybicki, Psy.D. – Dr. Rybicki has over 30 years of experience as an expert witness and evaluator for family, criminal, civil, and dependency court cases. He has served in multiple jurisdictions including those in Illinois, Indiana, California, Oregon and Washington. He has conducted over 450 parenting evaluations and provided psychological testing to GAL’s and other evaluators in over 300 cases. He specializes in complex custody cases such as high conflict or relocation cases and cases where there are allegations of alienation, personality disturbance, sexual abuse, substance abuse, or domestic violence. Dr. Rybicki has specialty skills in psychological testing and has conducted over 3,000 full psychological batteries. He provides critique and review services of other professional's child custody evaluations and he serves as a rebuttal witness or consultant for depositions and trials. He is on the editorial board for the Journal of Child Custody and he is the Founding President of the Washington Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts and currently serves on the Board of WA AFCC and as Treasurer of the organization.

Dennis McGlothin, J.D. is the founding partner of the Seattle law firm of Olympic Law Group PLLP. Mr. McGlothin and his firm practice in the areas of family law, real estate litigation and commercial litigation. A frequent lecturer on a variety of litigation topics and adjunct family law professor at Seattle University, he is a member of the Seattle-King County Bar Association (member, Family Law Section), as well as the Florida and Washington State Bar Associations (member, Litigation Section), and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (member, Commercial Litigation Section), the Florida Bar and the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association. He is also a volunteer court-appointed special advocate for children. Mr. McGlothin received his B.S. degree in Business Administration with high honors, and his J.D. degree with honors from the University of Florida.  

 Workshop B: Attorney and Parenting Evaluator: Collaboration to Best Serve the Modern Family (Jennifer Wheeler, Ph.D. and Stacy Heard, J.D.)

Abstract: When a parenting evaluation is ordered, attorneys and parenting evaluators have several points of contact: at the time of the referral, during the evaluation, when the report is issued, during post-report communications, and during trial. At each point, there are opportunities for improved collaboration and opportunities for confusion. This workshop will help professionals better understand their respective roles and obligations in an effort to more effectively serve the families they are trying to assist.

 Learning Objectives:

1. Participants will gain understanding of various points in the litigation process where a collaboration between mental health professionals and family law attorneys will enhance outcomes for the process.

2. Participants will recognize common pitfalls and points of confusion which can derail or negatively impact the litigation process.

3. Participants will develop an appreciation for the professional roles, practice parameters, and ethical standards which guide optimal attorney/evaluator collaboration.


Stacy Heard, J.D. is family law attorney who practices in Seattle, Washington. Stacy has served clients for 20 years as an attorney and includes an additional 7 years of prior experience as a paralegal. She is a skilled litigator and negotiator who is well-respected for her intense advocacy, strong work ethic, pragmatism, and compassion in family law matters. She prides herself on providing caring counsel to clients while, at the same time, being a skillful and effective advocate. She has become increasingly active in conducting seminars and training events for attorneys and other professionals in the field. She has presented at functions sponsored by the American Bar Association (Family Law Section). She is a panel attorney for the US State Department Hague Convention Child Abduction Case panel. Stacy has been a valuable professional asset to the Washington Chapter of AFCC where she serves on the Board as the current President. She has been recognized by WSBA for her pro bono work and she was named a “Rising Star” by the Washington Law and Politics for three years in a row.

Jennifer Wheeler, Ph.D. received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Washington, with specialized training in the evaluation and treatment of human sexual behavior, including sexual offense behavior.  She received pre- and post-doctoral training in criminal and civil forensic evaluations of adults and juveniles.  She has worked in institution-based treatment settings in Washington State, including Echo Glen Children’s Center, Twin Rivers Sex Offender Treatment Program, and the Special Commitment Center.  She is currently the President Elect of the Washington Association State Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts and she also serves on the board of the Washington Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers. She has published numerous articles and chapters on a variety of psychology topics, including forensic psychology, sexual behavior, and couple therapy. Dr. Wheeler maintains a private practice in clinical and forensic psychology in Seattle, WA.

Workshop C: Protecting Children From Conflict (Alyson Jones, M.A., RCC and Melissa Ander, M.Ed., RCC )

Abstract: It is widely recognized that parental conflict has adverse effects on children. This workshop will take a closer look at conflict and its impact on children. Participants will gain a better understanding of how to manage parental conflict in order to protect children from the adverse effects of high conflict. The workshop will assist the participants in understanding the developing brain of the child, as well as differentiating between constructive and destructive conflict from a developmental perspective. The workshop will explore how constructive conflict can assist the developing mind while destructive conflict impedes maturation and development. Neuropsychology and brain development will be explained in a manner that is relevant to professionals working with separating families. The workshop will explore how conflict impacts a child’s social and intellectual functioning. This workshop is designed to assist mental health and family law professionals in understanding what conflict actually does to children, and how to create containment structures that mitigate the destructive elements of high conflict on children. The presenter will explain why an understanding of conflict is important in dealing with complex family situations, and why it is important to protect children in these conflicted circumstances.

Learning Objectives: Participants will:

1. Gain an understanding of the conflict cycle and become familiar with the cost of parental conflict on children.

2. Gain an increased understanding of relevant developmental psychology and neuropsychology in regards to high conflict family situations.

3. Gain an increased understanding of containment strategies for high conflict family situations.


Alyson Jones, M.A., RCC – Alyson is the Clinical Director at Alyson Jones & Associates. She leads one of the largest counseling centers in the province of British Columbia and approaches her work with passion and commitment. She is a trained Parent Coordinator, Mediator, Collaborative Law Divorce Coach and Child Specialist assisting families in reducing conflict and working towards a healthy resolution for the entire family. Alyson has developed her MORE philosophy through many years of practice and practical living. She is a highly respected Child and Family Therapist who has been featured in the media sharing her extensive knowledge. She offers presentations and workshops for both the public and professional audiences. Alyson is also an adjunct faculty member at the Adler School of Professional Psychology where she teaches graduate students in psychology. In her work as a Registered Clinical Counsellor she specializes in therapy for children, adolescents, families, individuals and couples and employs a variety of intervention methods with a focus on assisting families to develop problem solving techniques which enhance the positive attachment between parents and children. She has been a favorite presenter both at our local WA AFCC conferences and in the larger AFCC national conference settings.

 Melissa Ander, MEd, RCC serves as an Individual, Child and Family Therapist; Reunification Therapist; and  Registered Clinical Counsellor. Melissa has extensive experience working with challenging and complex divorce situations as well as eating disorders, anxiety issues, depression and self-harming behaviours.  She also specializes in enhancing parent and child/teen communication and securing the parent child attachment.  Melissa is a member of the specialized Family Forward Reunification Team at Alyson Jones & Associates in West Vancouver, BC in Canada which works with disrupted family attachments and parent child contact problems.   She brings her knowledge of attachment, divorce and separation and neurobiology to her work with families.  Melissa is on the Family Forward training team which regularly presents on therapeutic interventions which are designed to protect children from high conflict situations.  At the heart of Melissa’s therapeutic work is providing practical skills and encouraging the boldness, commitment, courage, wisdom and strength that reside within families and teens. 

 2:45 to 3:00               Break

 3:00 to 4:30               Workshop Sessions D, E, F

Workshop D: Unsolvable Problems: Relocation in the 21st Century (Douglas Becker, J.D.)

Abstract: Relocation cases present the Court with the most challenging problems. There is a predictable element of loss and stress which can be estimated through a comprehensive assessment process. Special attention to the design of a parenting plan which minimizes the deleterious impact of the relocation process will be part of this workshop. Additional attention to the optimal methods for litigation in such relocation cases will also be a central theme in this workshop.

 Learning Objectives:

1. Participants will gain an understanding of the risk-benefit analysis process for mapping out the options and outcomes of a relocation case.

2. Participants will learn how to organize and approach the case management in relocation matters.

3. Participants will recognize core elements necessary to develop suitable parenting plans in relocation matters.


Douglas Becker, J.D. has over 30 years of experience as a family law litigator and he is one of the most knowledgeable family law attorneys in Washington. In 1999-2000 Mr. Becker played a key role in passage of the Child Relocation Act and continues to be involved in legislative matters that affect family law. The Washington State Bar Association Family Law Section twice recognized his contributions to family law with the Attorney of the Year award in 1992 and a unique Special Service award in 2002.

Mr. Becker has served on the WSBA Family Law Executive Committee since 1993 and he is the founder and moderator of the WSBA Family Law Section’s web site/forum. He publishes Family Law QuickCites, a summary of Washington appellate decisions used by many Washington attorneys. He is also a long-standing member of the Domestic Relations Forms Sub-Committee of Washington’s Administrative Office of the Courts as well as a frequent author and lecturer on family law topics.

 Workshop E: Crafting Age-Appropriate Parenting Plans (Justin Sedell, J.D., and Jennifer Wheeler, Ph.D.).

Abstract: There is an art and science to crafting age-appropriate parenting plans which seek to maximize the child’s development in the context of a divorced family system. Attachment issues and developmental issues are central to meeting the best interests of children at various ages and stages in the transition from intact family to post-divorce status. Litigation issues also play a role in the conflict over custody such that points of contention and conflict must be handled through the process of developing both temporary and permanent parenting plans. This workshop will rely upon the unique perspectives offered by seasoned professionals in the family law and psychology domains.

 Learning Objectives:

Participants will:

1. Learn how to prepare a residential schedule that is developmentally appropriate for children of all ages.

2. Understand the latest trends concerning equally shared schedules.

3. How to address parenting challenges such as historical substance abuse when drafting a Parenting Plan.


Jennifer Wheeler, Ph.D.

Justin Sedell, J.D. is a family law attorney with the firm of Lasher, Holzapfel, Sperry, and Ebberson who specializes in complex child custody matters and high conflict ligitation. He also provides collaborative law services. He earned his BA in Political Science from UC Davis in 2002 and received his J.D., Cum Laude in 2005 from Seattle University School of Law. He is an Adjunct Law Professor at Seattle University School of Law and he is a member of several organizations including the WSBA, International Association of Collaborative Professionals, and local collaborative law groups (King County, Collaborative Professionals of Washington). He has publications that address the Domestic Partnership domain and he has presented on a variety of topics including parenting plan litigation, handling cases with unmarried couples, and collaborative practice.

Workshop F: Same-Sex Parenting: Legal Questions, Research Needs an Practical Solutions (Wendy Hutchins-Cook, Ph.D., Naomi Oderberg, Ph.D., Joseph Shaub, J.D., LMFT, and Frances Kevetter, J.D.)

Abstract: Professionals working in the legal arena will be presented with the information necessary to avoid problems regarding the legal status of same-sex parents. They will be provided the developmental and parenting research upon which they may rely for their opinions and recommendations. The experiences of parenting evaluators and guardians ad litem who have had the opportunity to work with same-sex parents and their children will be discussed. Practice tips will be explored as to surrogacy contracts, premarital contracts, and other documents which establish legal status prior to court involvement. This workshop will also explore how developmental research informs us about the formation of sexual and gender orientation and identification. We will also discuss how the factor of same sex parenting contributes to this development in unique ways.

Learning Objectives:

This workshop will provide:           

(1) The legal update on the status of same sex parenting in the context of evaluation and divorce.

(2)  Practitioners will be directed to the relevant developmental and parenting research and how to apply it to guardian ad litem and parenting evaluator opinions and recommendations.

(3)  Exploration of the unique situations of individual same sex families and addressing those factors in an evaluation. 


Wendy Hutchins-Cook, Ph.D., ABFP/ABPP, received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Washington in 1983. She received Board Certification in Forensic Psychology in 2006 from the American Board of Professional Psychology. Dr. Hutchins-Cook serves on the Clinical Faculties of the University of Washington Department of Psychology and the Medical School Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Hutchins-Cook is in private practice. She is regularly appointed by the court as a parenting evaluator, and testifies as an expert in child and family matters. She presents regularly for the King County Bar Association and is co-author of the current Title 26 Guardian ad Litem Manual, 2009.

 Naomi Oderberg, Ph.D. is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist. She received her Master’s degree in psychology in 1988 and her PhD in 1994, both from the University of Colorado. Dr. Oderberg completed her predoctoral internship at the University of Washington, Department of Psychiatry. She has a general practice in both Pioneer Square and Edmonds, WA. Dr. Oderberg has had a specialty in working with high conflict families of divorce for the past 16 years, including 14 years of conducting parenting evaluations. Dr. Oderberg currently provides parenting plan consultations, coparent counseling, parenting coordination/case management services, mediation, family therapy and reunification therapy with high conflict families and families where parental alienation is present. Dr. Oderberg helps children, teens and adults from moderate and low conflict families develop skills for coping with divorce. In her general practice, Dr. Oderberg works with intact couples, teens, adults and families with a wide variety of concerns.

Joseph Schaub, J.D., LMFT  has been trained in three professions – Marriage and Family Therapy, Mediation and Law. He provides couples counseling for persons seeking to heal and strengthen their challenged relationships and he provides individual counseling for a variety of concerns, but with a major focus on assisting persons with the painful transition of divorce. He has offered divorce and family mediation services for more than twenty years as part of his practice

 Frances W. Kevetter, J.D. is an attorney at law working in King County and Pierce County. Frances currently serves as family law Guardian ad Litem in King and Pierce Counties. She has been instrumental in getting articles published about the Parenting Plan Special Master concept and has brought together a task force to bring this concept to Pierce County.  She also serves as Parenting Plan Special Master in King and Pierce Counties.  Frances is a trained mediator and provides family law mediation service.

 4:30                            End Training Sessions; Certificate Distribution

4:45 to 6:30               Meet the Speakers Social Hour, Silent Auction


Registration includes program materials, training and refreshments. Members will be holding a lunch meeting and mingle (buffet lunch served). Tickets are available for Members ($35) and non-members ($45) to join the lunch meeting, otherwise lunch is on your own. Register early for savings. Class size is limited, so sign up soon.   

Lunch Buffet Menu includes: Northwest clam chowder; Mesclun greens salad with Washington apples, walnuts, Oregonzola cheese crumbles, and blue cheese dressing; Seared wild salmon with asparagus, dried cherries, and tarragon vinaigrette; Grilled chicken breast with Serrano ham, sundried tomatoes, Manchego cheese, and pesto vinaigrette;  Butternut squash ravioli with sage and brown butter sauce; Seasonal vegetable medley; Roasted rosemary fingerling potatoes; WAC seasonal dessert. (Special dietary needs by written request)

Program materials will be distributed on-line and by way of USB flash drive as PDF documents. Session materials will not be distributed in print form at the conference. High speed wireless internet is available at the Washington Athletic Club for a fee. 

Parking fees are not included. There are several public lots nearby and a parking facility used by the WAC is about a half-block north on Sixth. Public transportation is also available.

Lodging: Please make your own travel arrangements. A limited number of rooms are available at the WAC for WA AFCC attendees. Other major hotel chains such as the Sheraton are within easy walking distance. 

Who Should Attend?  Attorneys, Guardians Ad Litem, Judicial Officers, Psychologists, Mental Health Professionals, Researchers and Treatment Providers involved with Family Law and Dependency Court custody matters.   

You may use this link to go to online registration events page 

where you can then select a link to register now 


Registration Information:

AFCC members receive a discounted rate and will be granted access to the member meeting and mingle at noon which will have a buffet luncheon served. The luncheon fee is reduced for AFCC members ($35). Non-members may purchase a ticket for the luncheon at an extra charge ($45). There are discounted rates for early registration and for various categories of registration – including lower rates for full time students, full time court personnel, and court personnel. Full-time student rates require proof of full-time student status.


Continuing Education Credits:

The Washington State Bar (WSBA) has approved the program for up to 6.0 hours of Continuing Legal Education (Activity ID: 1022285). 

This program has been approved for 6 hours of CEUs by the NASW Washington State Chapter. Licensed Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Mental Health Counselors are eligible. WA AFCC is an approved provider(#1975-312) for continuing education credits under the guidelines set forth by the NASW-WA chapter.

Attorneys wishing to have their CE credits reported to the WSBA for CLE certification will be required to pay a fee to cover administrative and reporting costs. AFCC members will be charged $10 for this reporting fee. Non-members will be charged $15.

The program has been reviewed by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts.  AFCC is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. AFCC maintains responsibility for the program and its content.

AFCC will provide a certificate of conference attendance for a processing fee of $10 for members and $15 for non-members. The certificate will verify attendance at conference sessions and may be used to apply for continuing education credits with the registrant’s accrediting institution.

All persons registered in advance will be able to pick up a certificate of attendance at the close of the conference. They will be required to fill out and return a verification of attendance form which will be signed by one of our staff. These certificates are provided with conference registration. However, only those persons paying the additional certificate fees noted above will have their CLE hours reported directly to the WSBA or receive a copy of the AFCC signed certificate.


Audio Recording: Conference sessions will be recorded and MP3 downloads of the sessions will be available after the conference through VWTapes.com who will offer MP3 downloads and CD formats. Information will be posted on our website for access to these and other conference recordings. You may also go to VWTapes directly at http://vwtapes.com/wa-afcc.aspx to purchase recordings. No personal audio or video recording of sessions is permitted.

Special Needs: If you have special meal requests or other special needs, please note this on the registration form. The WAC meeting facilities, its guest rooms, common areas, and transportation services are in compliance with public accommodation requirements of the ADA.

Cancellation Policy: Transfer of registration to another person may be done at any time prior to the event without a fee. All requests for refunds must be made in writing. Written notice of cancellation received by fax or postmarked by February 25, 2017 will be issued a full refund minus a $25 service fee. Written notice after February 25th will have the service fee deducted and the balance will be issued as a credit for future WA AFCC conferences, publications, or membership dues. No refunds or credits will be issued for cancellations received after March 18, 2017.


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