african american retro styled couple hugging isolated on grey

CFINE’s Annual Spring Symposium 2021

When: Friday, April 9, 2021, 12-7pm EDT
Where: On Zoom
Presenters: Yamonte Cooper, EdD, LPCC; Paul Guillory, PhD; Bukky Kolawole, PsyD; Marjorie Nightingale, JD, LMFT
Moderator: Nancy Knudsen, LMFT
Rates: Full Rate – $175, Early Bird Rate before 3/26/21 – $150
Student/Agency Clinician* Rate — $125, Student/Agency Clinician* Early Bird Rate before 3/26/21 — $100; Equity Rate** available (base of $25)
Additional Rate for CEs: $20
CEs: 6 CEs approved for LMFTs, LICSWs, LMHCs, and Lic. Psychologists
Target Audience: Marriage & Family Therapists, Social Workers, Mental Health Counselors, Psychologists; EFT training is not a pre-requisite
Level: Intermediate

The impact of racial stress is an ongoing force in the lives of most African Americans, often exacerbating difficulties in their primary relationships. This symposium is designed for couple and family therapists to hear from four experts who will speak to the special considerations of effective, anti-racist informed Emotionally Focused Therapy. Topics covered include the self-of-the-therapist, unique challenges of Black couples, racial trauma and African American men, special issues for interracial couples, and cultural humility with African American couples. The program concluded with a moderated panel discussion among the four presenters.

At the conclusion of this program, participants were better able to:

  1. Identify 3 methods for building trust with African American couples.
  2. Describe at least 2 ways that racial trauma negatively impacts African American couples.
  3. Identify 4 types of trauma that potentially impact African American men.
  4. Analyze 2 ways that race-based traumatic stress is potentially experienced by African American men.
  5. List at least 2 race-based stressors that interracial couples experience.
  6. Describe 2 specific conversations that can be facilitated with interracial couples.
  7. Identify at least 3 ways EFT therapists have to adjust from the traditional model of EFT to work effectively with African American couples.

Schedule (all times in EDT)

12-12:15pm Introduction to the Day
12:15-1:30pm Working Effectively with Black Couples with Marjorie Nightingale, JD, LMFT
1:30-1:45pm Break
1:45-3pm Racial Trauma and African-American Men with Yamonte Cooper, EdD, LPCC
3-4:15pm Special Issues for Interracial Couples with Bukky Kolawole, PsyD
4:15-4:45pm Break
4:45-6pm Emotionally Focused Therapy, Cultural Humility, and African American Couples with Paul Guillory, PhD
6-7pm Moderated Panel Discussion


Working Effectively with Black Couples with Marjorie Nightingale, JD, LMFT

This workshop will examine the importance of Self-of-the-Therapist work regarding race as a precursor to working with African American couples and encourage participants to consider the impact of their own identities on the building of therapeutic trust. Additionally, the presenter will discuss how individual and collective experiences of racial trauma negatively impact African American couple functioning. Special attention will be given to navigating culturally constructed narratives about vulnerability and/or trust to further deeper emotional exploration. *This presentation will be recorded and made available as a Home Study event.

Racial Trauma and African-American Men with Yamonte Cooper, EdD, LPCC

Ava DuVernay’s recent Netflix series When They See Us illuminates the story of the innocent Black men once known as the Central Park Five. The series explores the gendered anti-Black racism, disposability, and dehumanization that Black men such as George Floyd commonly experience and the resulting trauma. Further, getting killed by police is a leading cause of death for young Black men in America. Trauma as a result of racism is a normative experience for many African-American men. This workshop will provide clinicians with an introductory understanding of racial trauma and African-American men. *This presentation will not be recorded.

Special Issues for Interracial Couples with Bukky Kolawole, PsyD

Partners in interracial relationships are often treated similarly, as racially homogeneous partners, by couples therapists and couples models (e.g. EFT) that consciously or unconsciously subscribe to color-blind ideology. Unfortunately, not acknowledging the racially-based stressors these partners experience within and outside of the relationship, explicitly and implicitly, not only limits the results of couples therapy for these couples but also leave these partners and their relationship vulnerable to chronic distress. This session offers an introduction to some of the racially-based stressors these couples navigate and considerations for therapists when working with interracial couples, so that therapists can move toward a more racially responsible approach in their work with interracial couples. *This presentation will not be recorded.

Emotionally Focused Therapy, Cultural Humility, and African American Couples with Paul Guillory, PhD

The challenge for Emotionally Focused Therapy is to include the cultural within both the attachment and emotional lens. With respect to African Americans, that includes cultural learnings and humility. Case formulations as a result have to include the influence of racial development and influence on couple dynamics. This presentation will include some ways to promote and enhance the discussion of race in the therapy process. The focus of the presentation will be about the most effective ways to integrate culture and race into EFT work, while addressing the presenting problems of the couple. *This presentation will not be recorded.

Meet Your Presenters

Yamonte Cooper HeadshotYamonte Cooper, EdD, LPCC is a Professor of Counseling at El Camino College, adjunct Professor of Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC), National Certified Counselor (NCC), ICEEFT Certified Emotionally Focused Therapist (EFT) & Supervisor, Certified Gottman Therapist, and AASECT Certified Sex Therapist (CST). He specializes in working with couples, trauma, sexual dysfunctions, gender & sexual identity, depression & anxiety, bipolar disorder, personality issues, grief, and other mental health problems.

He is the author of the forthcoming book Racial Trauma and African-American Men (Routledge). Further, as a Fulbright scholar, Dr. Cooper exchanged best practices in career counseling and development in Germany and has exchanged best practices with higher education institutions in Botswana. He can be reached at

That Relationship Show logo, red square with two abstract figures facing each other

Listen to a conversation with Dr. Cooper on That Relationship Show: “Racism in America — Leaning into the Truth.”


Paul Guillory headshotPaul Guillory, PhDis an Associate Professor at the University of California, Berkeley in the Clinical Science Program, Psychology Department. He has taught courses on Emotionally Focused Therapies at U.C. Berkeley. He is a Trainer-in-Training, certified supervisor and therapist of Emotionally Focused Therapy. His book Emotionally Focused Therapy with African American Couples was published in April 2021. He is the former chairperson of the Northern California Community of Emotionally Focused Therapy. Dr. Guillory was the psychological consultant to the Oakland Raiders professional football team and the National Football League for 14 years. He has also been a consultant to the Sacramento Kings professional basketball team, and is a selected provider for the National Basketball Players Association. He served as Director of the Center for Family Counseling in Oakland California for ten years. He has been in private practice in Oakland California for over 30 years.

Bukky Kolawole, PsyD is a Black, queer, gender non-conforming person and the founder and executive director of Relationship HQ. Her* purpose is to boldly disrupt systems of oppression with love so that we can all show up in the fullness of our humanity, i.e. with authenticity and vulnerability. She* is committed to helping therapists develop their racial consciousness so they can better serve all clients and not just a subset of clients (i.e. clients with privileged identities).

As a trainer, Dr. Bukky is dedicated to the design and delivery of dynamic, evocative learning experiences in which participants increase their knowledge and skills while feeling emotionally engaged through the learning process. Her* unique training style is culturally informed, emotionally engaging and captivating of participants’ hearts and minds. The combination of her* passion for teaching, unique training style and the emotionally-attuned environment she intentionally creates sets her* apart from other trainers. Dr. Bukky is a certified EFT therapist and a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT). Read more about Dr. Bukky on her* website.

Listen to a discussion (also below) with Dr. Bukky from Union Square Practice: “Talking About Race: Being an Ally in this Time of Racial Justice.”

Marjorie-Nightingale-headshotMarjorie Nightingale, JD, LMFT is a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in couples and sex therapy in a private practice in Washington, D.C. She received her master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at LaSalle University and is a doctoral candidate in the Couple and Family Therapy Program at Drexel University where her research focuses on interventions for African American couples. She holds a post master’s certificate in Sex Therapy from the Council for Relationships, and a juris doctorate from the University of Maryland School of Law. She has taught in MFT programs at Drexel, Virginia Tech, Jefferson Health Programs and The Council for Relationships. Before entering the mental health field, Marjorie spent seventeen years practicing child welfare law and family law in Baltimore. She recently received the 2020 AAMFT Foundation’s Outstanding Research Publication Award for her first academic article: Emotionally Focused Therapy: A culturally Sensitive Approach for African American Heterosexual Couples.

Meet Your Moderator

Nancy KnudsenNancy Knudsen, LMFT is a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice in Northampton, MA with over 35 years experience in the field. She uses a family systems orientation to work with individuals, couples, and families on a wide range of issues. Over the past 10 years, Nancy’s primary clinical modality has been Emotionally Focused Therapy. She is a certified EFT therapist as well as a certified EFT supervisor, and serves on the planning committee of the New England Center for  EFT. Nancy has taught a number of workshops on EFT for professionals. Additionally, she is a Past President of the Massachusetts Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and an AAMFT Approved Supervisor. She is co-founder and co-director of the Couple and Family Institute of New England.

*Agency Clinician/Student Rate: We offer this discounted rate to enable students and clinicians working in community mental health settings on a full-time basis to be able to participate. Group practices are not eligible.

**Equity Rate: This registration option is for participants with historical/institutional barriers to access. Please choose equity pricing only if you are a member of one or more historically marginalized communities.

This event is a fundraiser for Black therapists to attend the June, 2021 EFT Externship.

This activity is approved certification by the New England Association for Family and Systemic Therapy (NEAFAST) on behalf of the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health & Human Services Professions, for LMFT professional continuing education.

Continuing Education Credit is approved through Commonwealth Educational Seminars for the following professions:

  • Psychologists:
    Commonwealth Educational Seminars is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Commonwealth Educational Seminars maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
  • Licensed Professional Counselors/Licensed Mental Health Counselors:
    Commonwealth Educational Seminars (CES) is entitled to award continuing education credit for Licensed Professional Counselors/Licensed Mental Health Counselors. Please visit CES CE CREDIT to see all states that are covered for LPCs/LMHCs. CES maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
  • Social Workers:
    Commonwealth Educational Seminars (CES) is entitled to award continuing education credit for Social Workers. Please visit CES CE CREDIT to see all states that are covered for Social Workers. CES maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Please note: It is the participant’s responsibility to check with their individual state boards to verify CE requirements for their state.

This program is being offered independent of any commercial support or conflict of interest. Clinicians with any level of experience are welcome to participate.

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