Finding Freedom logo

January 25-28, 2018

Riviera Resort in Palm Springs, CA

(Conference held from the 25th – 27th, Heroes 6K Run/Walk on the 28th)

18.5 CEC’s (Therapists, Addiction Professionals and Psychologists)

Two Tracks: Addiction Professionals Plus Organizational Track for EAP & HR Professionals

2018 Theme: Supporting Gender Diversity



After 12/21/17: $399
Day of Registration: $450

Register Now

About the Conference

The Finding Freedom Symposium is about bringing forward relevant information for best practices in supporting the LGBTQ community with co-occurring disorders. Our intention is to offer a container for discovery and focused discussion to find effective solutions for professionals and their LGBTQ patients.

Our goal is to cultivate a conversation that will lead to clinical, research-based information.The conference is open to the community, treatment professionals, doctors, therapists and anyone who is interested in the unique issues facing sexual identity and co-occurring disorders treatment. We invite you to join for education, conversation and connection.

Heroes 6KStay through Sunday and participate in the Palm Springs Heroes in Recovery 6K. Finding Freedom conference attendees will receive a special discount code to save $6 on registration.


O Tillett Wright

O Tillett Wright

O Tillett Wright is an artist, activist, actor, speaker, TV host and writer. His work deals with identity, be it through photography and the Self Evident Truths Project/We Are You campaign, or on television as the co-host of MTV’s Suspect. iO has exhibited artwork in New York and Tokyo, was a featured contributor on Underground Culture to T: The New York Times Style Magazine. He has had photography featured in GQ, Elle, New York Magazine, and the New York Times Magazine. iO is a regular speaker at Universities, discussing expanding one’s circle of normalcy, and embracing those that are different than you. A native New Yorker, iO is now based in Los Angeles.

David Fawcett

David Fawcett PhD, LCSW

David Fawcett is a social worker and sex therapist practicing in Fort Lauderdale and specializing in gay men’s health. He is the author of Lust, Men, and Meth: A Gay Man’s Guide to Sex and Recovery (Healing Path Press 2015) which explores the intersection of gay men, drug use, and high-risk sexual behavior. The book was named “2016 Best Nonfiction Literature” by POZ magazine. Fawcett was also a 2016 POZ 100 honoree, acknowledging his advocacy in the field of HIV. He frequently presents workshops on LGBT health, addiction, HIV, and co-occurring disorders both in the US and internationally, and is on the Project Coordinating Committee for SAMHSA’s HIV and Mental Health Training and Resource Center. He has also been featured on SAMHSA’s “Road to Recovery” television series. He is contributor to and, as has been published in Huffington Post, Positively Aware, and other journals.

Yoruba Richen

Yoruba Richen

Yoruba Richen is an award – winning documentary filmmaker whose directed films in the U.S. and abroad. Her work has been featured on PBS, New York Times Op Doc, New York Magazine’s website, The Cut and The Atlantic. Her last feature documentary, The New Black won multiple audience awards and, won best documentary at the Urbanworld Film Festival and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and a GLAAD Media Award. It aired on PBS’s Independent Lens in 2014. Yoruba’s previous film Promised Land aired on POV and received a Diverse Voices Co-Production fund award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. It won the Fledgling Fund award for social issue documentary. She recently won a Clio award for her short film about the Grammy nominated singer Andra Day. Yoruba won the Creative Promise Award at Tribeca All Access and was also a Sundance Producers Fellow. She is a featured TED Speaker and a Guggenheim Fellow and a 2016 recipient of the Chicken & Egg Breakthrough Filmmaker Award. Yoruba is director of the documentary program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

Course Description

The symposium is designed for clinicians, treatment professionals, therapists, and EAP providers. The goals of this symposium include educating treatment professionals about evidence based practices and LGBTQI specific issues in mental health and addiction treatment (co-occurring disorders). Presenters will address numerous topics including cultural competency, gender diversity, trauma informed care, suicide prevention and assessment, workplace issues, employee assistance best practices and organizational adaptation to change. Up to 18.5 continuing education credits are available.

Contact Info

Renee Baribeau
Michael’s House
Community Outreach and Marketing Coordinator
[email protected]

Get LGBTQ Symposium
and Michael’s House updates:

Sponsorship and Promotional Opportunities

We have several sponsorship packages and promotional opportunities for the LGBTQ Symposium. For more information on pricing and offerings, click the button below or contact Renee Baribeau at [email protected] or 760-464-2138.



Thursday, January 25th, 2018 (Click for details)

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm – Staff Meet at Hotel for Registration Setup
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm – Pre-Conference Workshop: Additional Registration Required
Recognition, and Prevention of Suicide in LGBTQ Community (3 CEs)

1:00 pm – 4:30 pm – Vendor Setup
5:00 pm – 6:15 pm – Registration – Open Art Show – Vendor Reception
6:15 pm – Welcome Message from Krista Gilbert
6:30 pm – KEYNOTEIO Tillet: “You Can Make Change”
7:30 pm – Meet the Artist – Dessert Reception

Friday, January 26th, 2018 (Click for details)

7:00 am – 8:30 am – Pre Heroes 6K Warm Up Run
7:00 am – 7:45 am – Scott Kiloby, CADC: Mindfulness Meditation
7:45 am – 8:30 am – Breakfast and Registration
8:30 am – 8:45 am – Welcome
8:45 am – 9:45 am – Lauren Costine, PhD and Alan Downs, PhD: “Setting the Stage: The Politics of LGBTQ. A conversation of the politics, and trying to force it into a clinical model.”
9:45 am – 10:45 am – KEYNOTEYoruba Richen: “What the Gay Rights Movement Learned from the Civil Rights Movement”
10:45 am – 11:00 am – Morning Break
11:00 am – 12:00 pm – FAMILY PANELStarr Sullivan, LMFT: “The Changing Dynamics of the Family”
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm – Lunch on Your own, Book Signing, Visit Exhibits
1:30 pm – 3:00 pm – Break-out sessions

Track 1
A-1 Siobhan Morse, Panel: “Defining the LGBTQ Community in Treatment and Measuring Outcomes”
A-2 Todd J. Connaughty, MA, LPC, LADC (PRIDE): “The Language of Gender Diversity in Addiction Treatment and Mental Health”

Track 2
B-1 Renee Sievert: “Having the Difficult Conversations about Addiction and Mental Health with Your LGBTQ Employees”
B-2 Scott L. Lowther, Director of Human Resources, Michael’s House: “Beyond Diversity: Building Culturally Competent Organizations – Not just an event, but a process”

3:00 pm – 3:15 pm – Afternoon Break
3:15 pm – 4:45 pm – Break-out sessions

Track 1
A-3 Panel: Robert Ischinger, MA, LMFTs, John Sovec, Dr Traci Lowenthal: “Making a Safe Space for All Patients – Benefits and Drawbacks of LGBTQ Informed Care”
A-4 David Cato, LCSW, TCT, SEP: “LGBTrauma Healing in Recovery”

Track 2
B-3 Ashley M. Lytwyn, MS, RDN: “LGBTQ Binge Eating in the Employee Break Room”
B-4 Beck Gee-Cohen, MA: “Understanding the Gender Spectrum in Your Organization”

4:45 pm – 5:00 pm – Evaluations and Sign Out
7:00 pm – Dinner on own
7:00 pm – 8:30 pm – Philip T. McCabe, CSW, CAS: Color Me Queer, Color Me Fabulous. Taking Care of Ourselves and Others.

Saturday, January 27th, 2018 (Click for details)

7:00 am – 8:00 am – Paul d’Entremont: 12-Step Meeting
8:00 am – 9:00 am Continental Breakfast
9:00 pm – 9:15 am – Welcome

9:15 am – 10:45 am KEYNOTEDr David Fawcett : “Beyond Binary: Creating Diverse, Safe, and Effective Systems of Care”
10:45 am – 11:00 am – Morning break
11:00 am – 12:30 pm – PANEL: – Kristina Padilla M.A, IMF, LAADC; Delene VanDyk, RN; Mark McMillan, MS; Jennifer Mannan United Airlines EAP Rep – Psychosexual Educator & Nurse Therapist at My Sexual HealthIntake to Discharge: a practiced panel on making your organization LGBTQ friendly
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm – BBQ Lunch on Patio, Book Signing, Visit Exhibits
1:30 pm – 3:00 pm – Break-out sessions

Track 1
A-5 MacKenzie Phillips: “You do not have to be Gay, to be a Change Agent”
A-6 Heidi J. Dalzell, PsyD, CEDS and Kayti Protos, LCSW: “Healing Through Creativity: Body Trauma in LGBTQ+ Clients”

Track 2
B-5 Brian X Dunphey, MS JD LMFT CSAT-i: “Delivering Empathy and Equality, One Company at a Time”
B-6 Melissa Stevenson, LMFT: “Coming out in the Workplace is a Constant Process”

3:00 pm – 3:15 pm – Afternoon Break
3:15 pm – 4:45 pm – Break-out sessions

Track 1
A-7 Bryce Bailey: “Art as a Spiritual Format ”
A-8 Davina Kotulski, PhD: “Overcoming LGBTQ Oppression: Healing Our Wounds, Celebrating Our Uniqueness.”

Track 2
B-7 Beth Freimuth, MA: “The Obstacle Is the Path: Facing Hatred in America; Using a DBT Framework”
B-8 Dr Lauren Costine: “Internalized Misogyny in the Workplace: Why Women are at Greater Risk for Self-Hatred and What We Can Do About It”

4:45 pm – 5:00 pm – Evaluations and Sign Out
7:00 pm – Movie Night hosted by PRIDE

Sunday, January 28th, 2018 (Click for details)

8:00 am – Heroes in Recovery 6K – Info here

Artist Competition LGBTQ Symposium

Speak with an Admissions Coordinator 877-345-8494