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Let's Talk About Sex!


Using Motivational Interviewing for Conversations about Sexuality & Intimacy

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Expression of sexuality and intimacy is not just a human right but fundamentally contributes to overall health and well-being (World Health Organization, 2006). For individuals with mental health conditions, sexuality and intimacy are inextricably tied to mental health recovery and quality of life.

Yet, complex barriers to sexual expression and intimacy thwart this part of their being. Beyond developing capacity to contribute to better health outcomes and reduce such risks, providers can deepen the stigma of mental health conditions by ignoring these topics and unwittingly signal that participants are ineligible to benefit from the richness of sexual and intimate relationships.

This workshop will equip providers with the skills necessary to routinely engage participants in productive and guiding discussions about sexuality and intimacy. Barriers barring this conversation will be discussed including: discomfort; wanting to protect service users; professional boundary concerns; lack of knowledge about topics; concerns about causing distress and embarrassment; and assigning lower priority to discussions about sexuality and intimacy.

After completing the training, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the importance of embracing sexuality and intimacy as essential components of recovery
  • Describe the challenges service users experience in expressing sexuality and managing intimate relationships in the community
  • More comfortably and competently demonstrate clinical skills in broaching the topic of sexuality and intimacy with service users.
  • Demonstrate beginning skills of Motivational Interviewing (MI) in the service of having conversations about sexuality and intimacy with service users.
  • A mix of didactic, experiential and technological methods will be used throughout the training including guided imagery, role and real plays, and small group discussion.

    Name and qualification of facilitator(s):
    Dr. Julie Tennille has taught across the graduate practice curriculum for over 15 years and presently teaches a 5-day elective course on Motivational Interviewing (MI). Dr. Tennille has worked in direct practice, services research, and administration in public mental health and HIV/AIDS services for over 25 years.

    In 2011, as part of a research study, Dr. Tennille was trained to deliver MI in emergency room settings with women who were experiencing problem drinking and intimate partner violence. This experience led to a renewed interest in MI as an evidence-based practice consonant with integrated health and social work values and traditions. Dr. Tennille continues to explore MI connections via multiple research projects and is invited to provide numerous MI workshops to a variety of health provider types. She has published several articles on Field Instructors Extending EBP Learning in Dyads (FIELD), an MI infused teaching intervention, aimed at synchronizing evidence based practice competencies among field instructors and their social work students.

    Dr. Casey Bohrman has been teaching social work students in the areas of direct practice, social welfare history and policy, family systems and race relations. She has also worked in the public mental health system in a variety of capacities including residential services, case management and mobile crisis. She began using Motivational Interviewing (MI) in 2002 while working in a Housing First program serving people with co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders.

    In 2012 she began providing training in MI and she joined the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers in 2015. In partnership with Dr. Julie Tennille she has provided trainings to psychologists, social workers, social work students, physicians, medical students, nurses and nursing students. Additionally, she has presented her research on MI at national social work conferences and has published several articles on the use of MI in social work practice.

    Information for Continuing Education:
    This course has been approved for 5 LMSW/LCSW CE hours.
    This course has been approved for 5 LMHC CE hours.
    This course has been approved for for 5 CASAC/CPP/CPS CE hours.

    Participants must arrive on time and stay for each full session in order to receive credit. All participants must submit a post-test and document their attendance via the Social Work CE sign-in and sign-out roster at each session in order to receive credit. No credit will be provided for partial attendance.

    For questions about CE credits please contact:
    Amanda Saake, Director for the Center for Rehabilitation and Recovery at

    Cancellation Fee:
    While this workshop is free of charge, there is a $50 cancellation fee if registrants do not cancel more than 24 hours in advance. To cancel, please email Deborah Short at:

    Important Notice:
    The Coalition for Behavioral Health, Inc. is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0098 and is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors #MHC-0121.

    Date: Thursday, June 21, 2018
    Time: 10:00am - 4:00pm
    Location: The Coalition for Behavioral Health | 123 William Street, 19th Floor, New York, NY 10038 | Manhattan

    **We reserve the right to limit the number of attendees per organization based on the
    demand for the workshop/meeting.**