Register for Pre-Conference Workshops at #SWHPN18!

SWHPN is once again providing two sessions of pre-conference workshops on Sunday, March 11, 2018: a morning session from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and an afternoon session from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

These interactive, hands-on workshops are designed to offer the chance to learn from leaders in the field in a smaller, more intimate learning environment over an extended time period. Several of our most popular workshops from 2016 and 2017 are back this year, in an expanded format!

Attendees can receive CEUs per workshop (official number to be announced soon), and lunch is included for those who attend both morning and afternoon sessions.

Pre-conference workshops cost $95 each, or $170 when you register for both morning and afternoon sessions (save $20 and lunch is included!) - but you must register before January 5th!

Space is limited, and pre-conference workshops fill quickly, so register today!


Sunday, March 11, 2018 // 9:00am-12:00pm

 Meaning Making: Creating a six week short term bereavement group

For those who want to begin a bereavement group, the process can be overwhelming and it is sometimes difficult to know where to start. This pre-conference session is based on the group curriculum developed for a six-week hospital-based bereavement group open to community members in the metropolitan DC area, and will equip participants with the tools to start their own bereavement group at their organization. Utilizing modalities including meditation, journaling, art therapy, and talk therapy as a basis for weekly meetings, participants will also learn how to garner support from your organization and how to promote it. It will also provide a working outline that individuals can utilize in starting their group that includes introductions, the work phase, and effective termination of the group. Specific concerns regarding challenging group dynamics, disclosure, and other situations will also be discussed.

At the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Participants will understand the benefits of a short term solution focused bereavement workshop.
  2. Participants will understand how to utilize different modalities in a short term group setting.
  3. Participants will be able to understand how begin their own short term bereavement group."


  • Katie Aliberti, MA, MSW, LCSW, ACHP-SW, is a palliative care social worker at Virginia Hospital Center in Northern Virginia. She has worked in palliative care and hospice for the past 7 years. In addition to her full time work, Katie volunteers at the Arlington Free clinic and also at GWU medical school as a professional development mentor. She enjoys baking and running.




We Don't Know How We Got Here

Spend 3 hours in a shared experience focusing on the history of our Specialty through the eyes of first and second generation palliative care specialists, imagining and framing what the future might look like. The process of writing and editing a book for “primary palliative social work” created hours of reflection about how we understand and conceptualize our work.

  • Where have we followed our colleagues in medicine and nursing?
  • Where have we led?
  • Where are we now?
  • What is the “fall out” from being a minority discipline in the health care world? (e.g. the language we use to describe our work, patients, etc).
  • What do we need from our educators? What do we want our roles in this work to look like?

This workshop is intended to capture a perspective on history, reflect on the present and offer and seek insight about what is possible as we move forward.  This is an opportunity to share thoughtful reflection and introspection about the distance traveled and the path forward.


  • Terry Altilio, LCSW, Social Work Coordinator, Division of Palliative Care, Mt Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center

  • Bridget Sumser, MSW, Clinical Social Worker, Palliative Care Service, UCSF Medical Center

  • Meagan Leimena, MSW, MPH, Palliative Care Social Work Consultant






Sunday, March 11, 2018 // 1:00pm-4:00pm


Bringing Decades of Discord to the Deathbed: Working with Families in Chronic Strife

This workshop will focus on working with the challenges that accompany the families of dying persons with multiple, difficult unresolved issues. The presentation will focus on assessment of multiple levels of conflict, addressing congruence and incongruence between family members, means for optimizing team performance and for enhancing awareness of countertransference. We will engage participants in dialogue about work with families of dying persons who arrive in hospice or palliative care in chronic strife. Chronic strife can come from strained or discordant relationships, differing perspectives on the dying person’s wishes; incongruence among family members about plans for end-of-life care, abusive relationships, addiction and mental health disorders.  The dying process exacerbates psychosocial issues in all families. Families who live with chronic strife can present complex and difficult issues that inform care for the dying person, create challenges for the palliative care team and influence adaptation in bereavement for family members.

This interactive session will teach important knowledge and skills for social workers who provide care for families of people who are near death and encounter the impact of years of unresolved issues. Topics to be presented include: Intensified family dynamics at life’s end; Models for family assessment and conferences; Dealing with congruence/incongruence about treatment plans; Managing Transference/countertransference; and Enhanced social work roles in chronic strife.   Attendees will be involved in case consultations demonstrating means for navigating complex family dynamics and dialogue about techniques for managing conflict.
At the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:
  1. Articulate the elements of individual and family assessment in families who life with chronic strife.
  2. Ascertain and plan for congruence/incongruence between patient and family members in goals of care discussions and plans.
  3. Articulate the social work role in optimizing team performance to diminish team splittingĀ and team disharmony.
  4. Evaluate personal/professional awareness of countertransference when caring for families with chronic strife.


  • Kathie Supiano, PhD is an Associate Professor in the College of Nursing at the University of Utah and the Director of Caring Connections; A Hope and Comfort in Grief Program. Dr. Supiano's primary area of research is care of persons experiencing complicated grief, a persistent and disabling grief experience. Her research team has completed randomized-controlled trials examining Complicated Grief Group Therapy (CGGT) in suicide survivors and bereaved dementia caregivers. They are beginning a study adapting CGGT into a prevention model for dementia caregivers at risk for complicated grief, funded by the National Alzheimer's Association.
  • Abbie Latimer
  • Deborah Waldrop


Foundations of Palliative Care: A Workshop for Clinical Social Workers New to Palliative Care and Hospice 

This experiential workshop will provide specific foundations of knowledge and strategic guidelines for social workers new to palliative care and hospice including: Review of clinical issues, tasks and interventions unique to these settings and populations; roles for CSW on teams; special populations (i.e. LVAD); tools and templates; assessments; job descriptions; medical terminology; progress notes; educational opportunities and resilience strategies.

The workshop will begin with an overview of the common clinical issues facing palliative care and hospice patients and families. This will include end of life care, depression and anxiety management, moral distress and suffering, family systems, the language we use, advance care planning and more. We will also cover an overview of several clinical interventions such as cognitive re-framing, meaning-Centered counseling, life review techniques, CBT, and others. The workshop will also include a primer on medical terminology and disease trajectories. Case examples will be woven throughout the workshop to demonstrate practice skills. We will use didactics, video, and small group discussions as learning techniques. Workshop participants will have access to a unique Facebook discussion page and DropBox resource files after the class.

At the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Understand and apply clinical framework for the CSW on the Palliative Care or Hospice service team.
  2. Familiarize attendees with a variety of interventions available to patients and families
  3. Be able to articulate the importance and necessity of having CSW in PC and Hospice (i.e. job description, functionality, benefits).
  4. Help participants apply appropriate metrics such as, psychosocial assessments, to these services.
  5. Attendees will learn how to initiate the integration of CSW on the PC service or hospice team.
  6. Review research and literature related to CSW in PC and hospice.


  • Vickie Leff, LCSW, BCD, Palliative Care Clinical Social Worker, Duke University Hospital
  • Anne Kelemen, LICSW, ACHP-SW, Palliative Care Social Worker, MedStar Washington Hospital Center 
  • Maxxine Rattner, MSW, RSW, Social Worker, Kensington Hospice

 Don't delay! Space is limited. Register for pre-conference workshops here