beautiful young african american couple with water drops on faces posing isolated on black

CFINE’s Annual Symposium 2022

When: Friday, June 10, 2022; 12-5:30pm ET
Where: On Zoom
Presenters: Christiana Ibilola Awosan, PhD, LMFT; Nalini Calamur, LMFT; James Hawkins II, PhD, LPC; and Marjorie Nightingale, JD, LMFT
Moderator: Nancy Knudsen, LMFT
Rates: Early Bird applies until 5/20/22
Regular Rate Full – $175, Early Bird – $150; Student/Agency Clinician Rate* Full — $125, Early Bird — $100; Equity Rate* – $75
Additional Rate for CEs: $20

CEs: 5 CEs pending for LMFTs, LICSWs, LMHCs, and Lic. Psychologists
Target Audience: Marriage & Family Therapists,Social Workers, Mental Health Counselors, Psychologists

Read CFINE and ICEEFT’s Diversity Statement

The impact of racial stress shows up in a multitude of ways in the lives of African American couples and families, often exacerbating difficulties in their primary relationships. As EFT therapists learn more about the racial and cultural factors that impact those in our care, it is important to examine the complexities surrounding the intersection of race and gender. This symposium is designed for couple and family therapists to hear from four experts who will each speak to how Black men and women’s experiences of racism in the larger culture impact their most important relationships. The program concludes with a moderated panel discussion among the four presenters.

Schedule (all times in ET):

12-1pm – Gender Differences in EFT Research with African American Couples with Marjorie Nightingale, JD, LMFT
1-2pm – Understanding the Socioemotional World of Black Heterosexual Couples with Christiana Ibilola Awosan, PhD, LMFT
2-2:15pm – Break
2:15-3:15pm – Helping Black Men Have Success in Vulnerability with James. L. Hawkins II, PhD, LPC
3:15-4:15pm – Accountability Moments: Harnessing the Blindspots with Nalini Calamur, LMFT
4:15-4:30pm – Break
4:30-5:30pm – Panel Discussion Moderated by Nancy Knudsen, LMFT

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

  1. Discuss 2 aspects of a racially attuned frame for the protective tendencies of black men.
  2. Identify 2 strategies towards working in a racially sensitive way to access and honor black men’s vulnerability.
  3. Identify 2 cultural adaptations to the EFT model utilized in the study for African American couples.
  4. Describe 2 ways EFT treatment in recent studies had different impacts on the level of stress for men and women.
  5. Discuss 4 aspects of the impact of whiteness, racism, and internalized racism on the socioemotional work of Black heterosexual couples.
  6. Present 4 measures of the impact of socio-historical, socio-cultural, and socio-structural racial barriers on Black couples’ efforts to establish and sustain romantic unions.
  7. Describe 2 clinical skills to see, name and work with whiteness, racism and internalized racism in their work with Black couples.
  8. Discuss 2 accountability moments to support couples when oppressive patterns are recreated within the relationship.


Gender Differences in EFT Research with African American Couples with Marjorie Nightingale, JD, LMFT

In this workshop, Marjorie will discuss the findings from her study using a culturally adapted Emotionally Focused Therapy with ten African American couples. She will discuss some of the questions that arose regarding gender differences over the course of EFT therapy, even where the treatment was successful in reducing relationship distress for couples.

Understanding the Socioemotional World of Black Heterosexual Couples with Christiana Ibilola Awosan, PhD, LMFT

When working with heterosexual Black men and women, it is important to consider the impact of socio-historical, socio-cultural, and socio-structural racial barriers on this population’s efforts to establish and sustain romantic unions (Awosan & Opara, 2016). Moreover, critical awareness, insights, and sensitivities to the emotional influences of these factors on Black male-female romantic relationships is needed to engage in and provide culturally responsive couple’s therapy with this population. Using Multicultural Relational Perspective (Hardy & Laszloffy, 2002), this presentation will examine the impacts of racial trauma on the socioemotional processes of coupling and sustaining romantic unions amongst Black couples as well as equip participants with innovative ways to see, name and work with whiteness, racism, and internalized racism in our work with Black couples.

Helping Black Men Have Success in Vulnerability with James. L. Hawkins II, PhD, LPC

The focus of this training is to present clinicians with a relationally sensitive framework to help black men have success in vulnerability.

Accountability Moments: Harnessing the Blindspots with Nalini Calamur, LMFT

Partners come into relationship with their own unique experiences of oppression and can get caught in negative cycles in their efforts to be understood, sometimes, reenacting trauma of oppression within the relationship. Clinicians can struggle to know how to lean in and create safety for these difficult conversations. This presentation offers a framework to shape accountability moments to deepen empathy, enhance safety, and support each other more fully in the relationship and in the world.



Meet Your Presenters

Dr. Christiana Ibilola Awosan is an Assistant Professor at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York, in the Marriage and Family Therapy program and an Associate Faculty with the Eikenberg Academy of Social Justice. She’s also the Founder of Ibisanmi Relational Health and a licensed Couple and Family Therapist. Dr. Awosan conducts national and international trainings and seminars on issues of related to understanding sociocultural trauma such as racial trauma on the mental, emotional and relational lives of People of Color. Her research focuses on diversity, inclusion and social justice. She has published several book chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals, including “Therapy with heterosexual Black couples through a racial lens” (2019, New York, NY: The Guilford Press) and “Emotionally Focused Therapy: A culturally sensitive approach for African American heterosexual couples” (2019, Journal of Family Psychotherapy).

Nalini Calamur bio picNalini Calamur, LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has extensive experience working in Community Mental Health. She has a strong commitment to empowerment and healing in and for both multiply-stressed communities of color and queer communities. She also serves on the Diversity Committee for the International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy (ICEEFT). Ms. Calamur is interested in helping couples and families support one another more effectively in the face of systemic and internalized oppression. She sees clients in her private practice and primarily works with Black, Brown, and multicultural individuals and/or cross-cultural relationships and families that are struggling with high conflict, trauma, substance use, and/or suicide.

Dr. James Hawkins, ‘Doc Hawk’, is a Licensed Counsellor with 11 years of experience and an ICEEFT certified trainer, supervisor, and therapist. He obtained a Master’s in Marriage and Family Counseling and a PhD in Psychology and Counseling. He currently serves as a Clinical Coordinator at a non-profit counseling practice in Northwest Arkansas. James is the founder of Healing Conversations, a training program developed to equip organizations and communities to have productive conversations about race. He is the co-host of two podcasts, The Leading Edge in Emotionally Focused Therapy, and The Leading Edge: Transforming Leadership Through Attachment Science. James is a part of the online training program, developed to help EFT therapists and supervisors gain more focus in their clinical work. Doc Hawk brings a passion for helping individuals, couples, families, and communities in relational distress. James is married to his wife, Nicola, and together they have five daughters.


Dr. Marjorie Nightingale is in private practice in Washington, D.C. where she specializes in couple and sex therapy. She received her master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy from LaSalle University. She received her doctorate in Couple and Family Therapy at Drexel University where her research focused on racially sensitive interventions for African American couples. Additionally, she teaches in Marriage and Family Therapy programs at University of Maryland, College Park. She has extensive clinical experience working with diverse couples. In addition, Ms. Nightingale spent several years as a family law and child welfare attorney in Baltimore where she worked with marginalized populations. As a scholar-practitioner, she has a special interest in addressing the intersection of sex and race in therapy for people of color. 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 activity is pending 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.

This activity is pending certification by the The Massachusetts Mental Health Counselors Association (MaMHCA) on behalf of the Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health & Human Services Professions for LMHC/LPC professional continuing education.

This activity is pending certification by the The National Association of Social Workers Massachusetts Chapter (NASW-MA) on behalf of the Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health & Human Services Professions for LICSW/LCSW professional continuing education.

This activity is pending certification by Amego, Inc. (DBA Amego Prepare) on behalf of the American Psychological Association for Licensed Psychologists.


NOTE: It is the participant’s responsibility to check with their state boards to determine CE requirements and rules of reciprocity, i.e. to assess whether out-of-state and/or APA-approved certificates can be accepted.

This program is being offered independent of any commercial support or conflict of interest.

See our Cancellation and Grievance Policies