The 29th Annual Door County Summer Institute


Welcome to the Twenty-Ninth Annual Door County Summer Institute. Again this year is our CME Office's new online registration system.  We will do our best to assist you.  Please call us with any questions or concerns.

The format of the Door County Summer Institute is conducive to learning. Our seminars will address gaps in clinical knowledge and skills. In addition to didactic presentations, our workshops incorporate clinical case presentations and discussions. All provide the opportunity to interact with the instructor, promoting an active learning experience. The multi-day format also permits the consolidation of learning. Finally, the location of Door County facilitates the restoration of the soul.

These advanced seminars are directed to mental health and health professionals. I hope you can join us. Bring your family with you!

Carlyle H. Chan, MD
Institute Director
Dr. Chan is Professor of Psychiatry and Vice Chair for Professional Development and Educational Outreach and is the Director of the Center for Psychotherapies


MCW Psychiatry Department

The Medical College of Wisconsin is a private, independent medical school with a public mission of excellence in education, research, patient care, and community service. With more than 800 medical students, 700 residents and fellows, and 900 full-time faculty, MCW ranks in the top third of all U.S. medical schools for federal research funding.

The MCW Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine has a long history of clinical and teaching excellence, combined with a renewed focus on research. Under the leadership of Chair Jon Lehrmann, MD, the department ranks nationally in the top quintile of medical school psychiatry departments that receive NIH funding.  The fully accredited adult and child residencies and fellowships are part of a diverse and growing academic department.


About Door County

Door County, a three hour drive north of Milwaukee, is an area of captivating scenic beauty.  From its steep limestone bluffs to the spacious sand beaches, the 250-mile shoreline is both dramatic and serene. The rock formations are part of the Niagara escarpment that extends across the Great Lakes into Canada. Almost every kind of outdoor activity is available, as the area has four state parks and many local parks, beaches, hiking trails, and golf courses.


General Session Information

From July 20 to August 7, 2015, 10 separate sessions will comprise this year’s Summer Institute.  There will be six 5-day sessions and four 2-day sessions.  The 5-day sessions are held from 9:00 am to 12:15 pm daily, and the 2-day sessions from 8:00 am to 12:15 pm, leaving participants and their family members the afternoons free to explore the wonders of Door County.  All seminars are held at the Landmark Resort in Egg Harbor, WI.  A continental breakfast will be served daily. Casual dress is the standard for all sessions.


Tuition and Refunds

The tuition fee is $599.00 for one full week and $499.00 for each additional full week.  Tuition for full-time graduate students and resident physicians is $350.00 per week with a letter from the program training director.

The first symposium tuition fee will be reduced to $550.00 if received by May 15, 2015. Groups of 3 or more may deduct an additional $45.00 from each registration if all registrations are submitted at the same time with payment.  Two-day sessions are $280.00 before May 15 and $330.00 after May 15, 2015.

Refunds, minus $50.00 administrative fee, may be obtained if requested in writing and postmarked no later than 15 days prior to the beginning of each session. There will be no refunds thereafter.



The Medical College of Wisconsin has a new registration software called EthosCE that will allow you to enroll in any offered CME course, pay online, and manage your CME credits.  Participants who did not attend in 2014 will need to create a “new user account” before registering for a session.  Returning 2014 participants can simply log into their existing accounts to register.  Please follow the detailed directions below and contact Brenda Konczal at (414) 955-7250 with any questions or concerns.


Registration website:


Click here for a printable version of registration instructions


Creating a new user account (if necessary):

Select Register in the upper right hand corner and enter all of the required information.  You will need to access this account again to complete your session evaluation and print your CME certificate, so please make a note of your user name and password.  The deadline for claiming credit is December 31, 2015.  Credit claimed after the deadline will be subject to a $25 late fee.


Register and pay for a session:

1. Log into your newly created or existing Ethos account

2. Select Learning Groups

3. Behavioral Health

4. The 29th Annual Door County Summer Institute

5. Select a Session you wish to attend

6. Add to cart

7. Click Checkout to pay or Continue Shopping to add another session

Visa, MasterCard, and Discover accepted

If paying by check, please register in Ethos first and make check payable to:  The Medical College of Wisconsin

Mail check with printout of registration information to: 
MCW-Department of Psychiatry  Attn:  DCSI 2015
8701 Watertown Plank Road
Milwaukee, WI  53226

Session 1
July 20-24, 2015

Donald Meichenbaum, PhD
Trauma and Resilience in Children, Adolescents, and their Families

Donald Meichenbaum, PhD, is Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada from which he took early retirement 18 years ago. He is presently Research Director of the Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention.  He is one of the founders of Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and clinicians voted him, "one of the ten most influential psychotherapists of the 20th century." He has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Clinical Division of the American Psychological Association.

He has consulted at a number of residential treatment centers for children and adolescents who have a history of victimization experiences. He helped train mental health workers to assist in the aftermath of natural disasters, school shootings and suicides, domestic violence, and with returning service members and their families.  He has published extensively, and his latest book is Roadmap to Resilience. Dr. Meichenbaum's workshops are noted for the combination of scholarship, critical-mindedness, practical clinical applicability, and humor.

Symposium Description and Objectives

Twenty-five percent of American youth experience serious traumatic events by their 16th birthday that may include maltreatment, exposure to violence, and natural disasters.  Ten percent have experienced five or more such events in the last year that can have consequences across multiple psychosocial and neurophysiological domains contributing to co-occurring disorders of PTSD, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, as well as conduct, academic, and health problems.

This workshop will consider what distinguishes these two groups and the implications for both treatment and preventative interventions. Evidence-based, trauma-focused treatments for victimized youth and their families will be presented using a life-span treatment perspective as well as presenting ways that clinicians, family members, educators, and community leaders can employ risk reduction and asset-focused strategies. Ways to use resources, overcome adversities, and move along pathways toward resilience will be highlighted.

Participants will:

(1) Discuss the incidence and impact of traumatic victimizing experiences on the developmental trajectories of children, youth, and their families

(2) Use a case conceptualization model of cascading risk/vulnerability and protective/adaptive factors to inform treatment decision-making, strengthen resilience, and provide family-based treatment

(3) Implement community-based hospitality and culturally-sensitive resilient-engendering activities in a developmentally-sensitive manner

(4) Conduct trauma-focused interventions that address co-occurring disorders such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, anger-control, and substance abuse

Monday Incidence and impact of victimizing experiences; Implications for treatment; Distinguishing youth who evidence resilience versus persistent disorders; Risk and protective factors; Neurobiology of resilience; Assessment strategies

Tuesday Intervention strategies to bolster resilience; Consensus guidelines; Risk reduction and asset-focused relationship; Skills-based interventions; Building blocks of resilience; Implementing core tasks of psychotherapy; Trauma-focused interventions

Wednesday Adjunctive resilience-engendering activities; Cognitive play therapy; Art expressive interventions; Spiritually-based interventions; School-based training; Trauma-focused treatment; Bolstering resilience in LGBT adolescents

Thursday Interventions in the aftermath of massive traumatic events; Creating a supportive recovery environment; Co-occurring disorders: Anxiety, depression, anger control, substance use disorders, and academic difficulties

Friday Family coping resources; Parent-child programs; Parent management skills to avoid re-victimization; Psychotherapy with family members; Intergenerational transmission of PTSD, traumatic bereavement, and complicated grief


Session 2
July 20-24, 2015

Anne Lutz, MD
Reaching the Unreachable Adolescent:  Solution-Focused Approaches in Adolescent Addiction

Anne Bodmer Lutz, MD, is the Director of Training for the Institute for Solution Focused Therapy.  Anne is a board certified adult and child psychiatrist and is adjunct Assistant Professor in Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts.  Anne worked for 9 years as a consulting psychiatrist for a residential treatment center for girls suffering from addiction and co-occurring disorders.  She has a private practice in West Boylston, MA, where she sees children and families providing solution focused psychiatric treatment.  Anne is the author of Learning Solution-Focused Therapy:  An Illustrated Guide and was a contributing author to the book Tales of Solutions by Insoo Kim Berg and Yvonne Dolan.

Symposium Description and Objectives

Adolescence is a time of dramatic physical, developmental, social, and emotional change.  It is also a time when mental health and substance abuse problems commonly first emerge.  Most adolescents do not voluntarily seek treatment, but are mandated by their parents, schools, criminal justice systems, or child welfare agencies. Engaging youth and families remains challenging despite advances in evidence-based treatment approaches. Solution-Focused Brief Therapy is an evidenced-based approach, in accord with the positive psychology movement that focuses on solution building.

This workshop provides an overview of the evidenced-based approach of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy.  Emphasis is placed on engaging externally motivated adolescents and their families in substance abuse treatment. Participants will learn how solution building differs from problem solving, practical tools to engage with externally motivated clients building on their strengths and resources, and how to utilize a system’s perspective to enhance goal negotiation combining didactics, interactive practice exercises, video examples, and case examples.

Participants will:

(1) Recognize aspects of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy and how it differs from a problem-focused perspective

(2) Learn solution-focused skills engaging with externally motivated adolescents who suffer from substance abuse

(3) Practice remaining solution-focused in follow-up and when things are worse

(4) Demonstrate strategies that amplify clients’ resources during recovery and times of relapse

Monday Solution-Focused Brief Therapy vs. problem-focused perspective; Building a “yes-set”; Importance of a systems perspective using “VIPS” to motivate change

Tuesday Solution-focused scaling questions; Amplifying positive differences; Creating a shared dialect; Guiding with questions rather than interpretations; Understanding the non-assuming stance

Wednesday Remaining solution-focused in follow-up and when things are worse; Understanding how relapse is a sign of success; Investigating for details of success

Thursday Remaining solution-focused while obtaining assessment information; Amplifying resources in recovery and relapse; Solution-focused skills assessing safety and trauma

Friday Normative patterns of addiction and recovery; Understanding how addiction is congruent with the solution-focused approach; Solution-focused approaches with psychopharmacotherapy


Session 3
July 23-24, 2015    2-Day Session

Thomas Heinrich, MD, and Christina Wichman, DO
Hot Topics in Consultation- Liaison Psychiatry

Thomas Heinrich, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Family Medicine at MCW, completed residency in Psychiatry and Family Medicine and a consultation psychiatry fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is board certified in family medicine and psychiatry and subspecializes in consultation psychiatry and neuropsychiatry.  He works on the CL service at Froedtert Hospital and is Chief of CL Psychiatry and Vice Chair for Clinical Services.

Christina Wichman, DO, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at MCW, completed residency in Psychiatry and fellowship in Psychosomatic Medicine at the Mayo Clinic.  She is board certified in psychiatry and subspecializes in psychosomatic medicine.  She works on the CL service at Froedtert Hospital and also directs the perinatal psychiatric service in the Department of OBGYN at MCW.  Dr. Wichman’s academic interests surround women’s mental health, especially pregnancy and the post-partum period.

Symposium Description and Objectives

Psychosomatic Medicine, also referred to as Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, is the subspecialty of psychiatry dealing with complex comorbid psychiatric and medical illness.  It is estimated that over ten million Americans suffer from comorbid medical and psychiatric illnesses at any given time, making the need to evaluate, diagnose, and treat such individuals a significant public health issue.  Thought only to have a home on medical and surgical units of general hospitals, psychosomatic medicine is expanding to include various models of collaborative care.  Mental health providers will have a key role in developing population-based integrated care models for patients with psychiatric conditions.

This symposium provides an overview of some of the most common and interesting topics in psychosomatic medicine including women’s mental health, somatic symptom disorders, serotonin syndrome, endocrine disorders, and delirium.  These topics will be taught in a stimulating and interactive, often case-based manner.

Participants will:

(1) Appreciate the complex and significant bidirectional relationship between medical illnesses and mental health

(2) Explain how various medical and surgical illnesses can present with psychiatric signs and symptoms

(3) Differentiate ways mental health providers can better integrate into medical and surgical settings

(4) Discuss the adverse medical events that can occur as a result of psychiatric medications

Thursday Delirium; Cardiac and the QTc interval; Capacity; Women’s mental health; NMS and serotonin syndrome; Auto-immune encephalitis

Friday Depression and anxiety in the medically ill; Endocrine disorders; Somatic symptom disorders; Withdrawal syndromes; Collaborative care models


Session 4
July 27-31, 2015

Philip Janicak, MD
Update on Psychopharmacotherapy and Therapeutic Neuromodulation

Philip Janicak, MD, is Consultant and Director of the Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Center of Linden Oaks Medical Group in Naperville, IL.  He is a lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry at Northwestern University and was Professor of Psychiatry at Rush University prior to his current position.  He is a reviewer and editor of a number of psychiatric journals and is on the editorial boards of Directions in Psychiatry, Essential Psychopharmacology, and Psychiatric Annals.  Dr. Janicak’s awards and honors include Best Doctors in America, Outstanding Psychopharmacology Teacher at Rush University, Leading Health Professionals of the World, and he is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

Symposium Description and Objectives

This course will review the concepts of evidence-based and measurement-based care and use them to develop optimal treatment strategies for major psychiatric disorders.  Participants will recognize the significant number of patients who are insufficiently responsive to initial therapeutic interventions and will utilize available biological treatments optimally, including the first and second generation antipsychotics, antidepressants, mood stabilizing agents, anxiolytic/sedative hypnotics, and therapeutic neuromodulation. 

Participants will also develop treatment strategies based on the results of randomized-controlled and pragmatic trials tempered by the realities of clinical practice and incorporate clinically relevant issues related to drug therapy including pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and drug interactions.

Participants will:

(1) Appreciate the role of evidence-based and measurement-based care in the development and use of treatment strategies for major psychiatric disorders

(2) Consider the relative value of first and second generation antipsychotics in various stages of treatment for schizophrenia and related disorders

(3) Appreciate the emerging role of therapeutic neuromodulation in the treatment of psychiatric disorders

(4) Underscore the importance of developing strategies which enhance patient adherence to treatment

Monday Introduction; Treatment of high risk, prodromal, first-onset, early course, and multi-episode patients; Results from pilot studies of novel therapies, randomized controlled, and pragmatic trials

Tuesday Depressive disorders; Results of STAR*D and TADS trials with emphasis on their clinical relevance

Wednesday Mood and other psychiatric  disorders; Electroconvulsive therapy; Vagus nerve stimulation; Transcranial magnetic stimulation; Deep brain stimulation; Novel approaches such as optogenetics

Thursday Diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder; Results of STEP-BD trial; Diagnosis and drug therapy of dementia; Clinical implications of CATIE-Alzheimer’s trial results

Friday Diagnosis and drug therapy of anxiety-related and sleep disorders; Problems regarding patient adherence to treatment; Strategies to improve adherence


Session 5
July 27-31, 2015

Francis Lu, MD
Zest, Vitality, and Humor within the Mindful Experience of Viewing Films

Francis G. Lu, MD, is the Luke & Grace Kim Professor in Cultural Psychiatry, Emeritus, at University of California, Davis.  As a Distinguished Life Fellow of the APA, Dr. Lu has contributed to the areas of cultural psychiatry, psychiatric education, media and psychiatry, and the interface of psychiatry and religion/spirituality. He was awarded the 2008 Association for Academic Psychiatry Lifetime Achievement Award. Since 1987, he has co-led 30 film seminars of 5 to 7 days at Esalen Institute, Big Sur, CA.  He also presented “Positive Psychology Through the Mindful Experience of Films” at last year’s Door County Summer Institute.

Symposium Description and Objectives

This symposium will bring a mindfulness perspective to the experience of viewing 5 feature films (and 1 short one) in which characters exemplify zest, vitality, and humor with the purpose of renewing these qualities in the lives of participants while understanding mindfulness and positive psychology character strengths in our work with others.  One film will be shown each of the five days with an introduction and centering process to begin the session and processing after the film focusing on the participant’s own experience of the movie including silent reflection, journaling, didactic sharing, and group discussion.

Optional, non-CME Tuesday and Thursday evening sessions will be offered in which an additional film will be shown and processed.  The films take on an exquisite cumulative power when seen and processed in a group setting at Door County that is truly remarkable and unforgettable.

Participants will:

(1) Learn how to experience films from a mindfulness perspective

(2) Understand positive psychology qualities of zest, vitality, and humor as they relate to compassion, courage, kindness, gratitude, forgiveness, spirituality, and hope

(3) Renew positive psychology qualities through viewing films with memorable characters that embody these characteristics

(4) Explore possible applications of lessons learned to work with patients, families, and colleagues

Monday “Top Hat” (1935)

Tuesday “Sherlock, Jr.” (1924) and “The Purple Rose of Cairo” (1985) with optional, non-CME evening showing of “The General” (1926)

Wednesday “Shall We Dance?” (1996, Japan)

Thursday “Don Juan deMarco” (1994) with optional, non-CME evening showing of “Harold and Maude” (1971)

Friday “Roman Holiday” (1953)


Session 6
July 27-28, 2015     2-Day Session

John Luo, MD, and Robert Kennedy, MA
Incorporating Technology into Your Practice

John Luo, MD, Professor of Psychiatry at UC Riverside School of Medicine, currently serves as the Psychiatry Residency Training Director.  Robert Kennedy, MS, Clinical Instructor in the MCW Psychiatry Department, is Medical Program Director, CME Outfitters, LLC.  He was former Assistant Chairman for Education and Academic Affairs at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.  They have been teaching how to use technology for the last three decades by bringing in the latest hardware and software they believe can make a difference in practice, whether it involves communication, data gathering, documentation, or marketing.  They have conducted numerous workshops and seminars at national and local meetings, including the APA Annual Meeting.  In addition, they have authored numerous articles in psychiatric journals as well as book chapters on the use of technology in mental health.

Symposium Description and Objectives

Technologies have become both a time saver and time consumer in the practice of behavioral health.  E-mail has trumped fax and voicemail as a means of communication; however, privacy issues and timeliness concerns makes it less than perfect.  Text messaging adds even more immediacy and intimacy in communications, but boundary issues come to the forefront.  The faculty will review use of various new technologies such as smartphone apps and online scheduling to help the busy practitioner determine what new technologies should be implemented in their practice.  Topics will include: smartphone apps, voice recognition, online appointment scheduling tools, online survey instruments, and professional social media use.

Participants will:

(1) Recognize the benefits and pitfalls of electronic communication with patients and colleagues and determine the best strategy

(2) Make appropriate use of social media for professional purposes

(3) Manage their online professional reputation with strategies and tools

(4) Recommend smartphone applications to patients for data gathering and reminders

Monday Hardware: iPad, iPhone apps; Scanning software; Secure messaging software; Clinical information; Online scheduling

Tuesday Managing your privacy; Creating a professional social media presence; Review


Session 7
July 30-31, 2015     2-Day Session

Grace Thrall, MD
EBM Skills Practice:  Learning to Interpret Associations Reported in Observational Studies

Grace Thrall, MD, is a psychiatric clinician-educator who has won teaching awards at Duke University, the University of Connecticut, and New Jersey Medical School.  Passionate about Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) and the power of small group learning, Dr. Thrall has taught at the annual Duke EBM workshop since 2003.  She helps educators develop teaching strategies and techniques that break complex ideas down into simple steps for learners.  Previously Director of Residency Education for 15 years at Duke, Dr. Thrall now practices inpatient geropsychiatry at Central Regional Hospital in Butner, NC.

Symposium Description and Objectives

In the era of “big data” and large observational trials, headline news are replete with findings linking a host of exposures from Aspirin to Zumba to various disease states.  This workshop provides a scientific framework and tools for clinicians to evaluate the associations reported in observational studies.  Participants will learn a systematic approach for critically appraising cohort studies by making reasoned inferences about observed findings in a selection of recent controversial papers.  This interactive hands-on group learning experience is designed to extend the knowledge and skills of educators and clinicians in medical schools, residency programs, or clinical practice who wish to improve their skills as practitioners and teachers of evidence-based care.  Participants should bring a laptop computer with Wi-Fi capability and a calculator for doing very simple math.

Participants will:

(1) Identify and describe strengths and limitations of randomized vs. nonrandomized observational study designs

(2) Explain how prognostic imbalance and missing internal controls can increase the risk of bias in observational studies

(3) Recognize threats to validity in published cohort studies and use the GRADE system to rate the quality of the evidence

(4) Describe four rival explanations for an observed association in an observational study

Thursday Characteristics of randomized and nonrandomized trials; Sources of bias in observational studies; The GRADE system; Stating the results of observational studies with accuracy; GRADE system to rate the quality of evidence

Friday Critical appraisal of cohort studies; Causation from observations of association; Spotting bias; Detecting chance findings; Probability of a true cause-and-effect relationship; EBM teaching resources


Session 8
August 3-4, 2015   2-Day Session

Julie Seel, PhD
Introduction to Motivational Interviewing

Julie Steele Seel, PhD, is a licensed psychologist at Duke University's Integrative Medicine.  She received training in Motivational Interviewing (MI) from her mentor and cofounder of MI, William Miller, PhD.  Dr. Seel is an active member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) and a trainer for the Motivational Interviewing Treatment Integrity (MITI) coding manual.  Passionate about treating moderate to severe anxiety, mood, and/or comorbid substance use disorders, she teaches helping professionals to become more effective in motivating healthy behavioral change and find renewed enthusiasm and commitment to their vocation.

Symposium Description and Objectives

Motivational Interviewing was developed with the understanding that the helping professional's style of engagement is responsible for eliciting either positive or negative outcomes.  MI incorporates techniques and strategies that increase the probability of positive change.  It is a directive, client-centered approach designed to sustain healthy behavioral change assisting individuals in exploring and resolving ambivalence.  There are now more than 200 clinical trials in MI offering support in a wide range of populations for a wide variety of target behaviors.

This workshop will provide participants with a strong understanding of the spirit of MI and a core foundation of the basic skills.  It is appropriate for all helping professionals who are working with people to make and sustain healthy behavioral changes.  This workshop is appropriate for those with a minimal or a basic understanding of MI.

Participants will:

(1) Become familiar with the general principles and empirical support for MI

(2) Gain tools to develop and enhance one’s own therapeutic style

(3) Increase confidence in the use of MI and elicit intrinsic motivation for healthy behavioral change

(4) Learn and practice the core skills of MI

Monday Review of empirical support for MI; Establish a foundation of the spirit of MI; General principles of MI; Review and practice core skills of MI:  Open-ended questions, affirming, reflective listening, summarizing

Tuesday Identifying and eliciting change talk; Advanced strategies for increasing interest; Confidence in making positive behavioral changes


Session 9
August 3-7, 2015

James Gustafson, MD
The Fundamental Simplicity of Psychotherapy

James Gustafson, MD, is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. He is the author of 12 published books, the latest being Positioning Opens and Closes the Lines of Sight for the Whole Situation:  The Architecture of Psychiatry (2012), also available as an electronic book on his website (Google James P. Gustafson).  His 36 very brief (10-15 minute) lectures on Maps in Psychiatry can be found on YouTube by searching: Jim Gustafson Channel.

Symposium Description and Objectives

The crucial knowledge in psychotherapy is what leads straight into catastrophe versus what leads into deliverance.  From the first wrong step there is a very fast sequence into catastrophe, exploding into anxiety, imploding into depression.  This workshop will elaborate on five concepts and complications that should be addressed in order to conduct successful psychotherapy.  These concepts are: sequence, symmetry, sieve, morass, and psychosis or suicide from unbearable pain.  In this symposium we will present two cases on DVD each morning for discussion with an emphasis on one of these concepts.

Participants will:

(1) Recognize not only hopeful sequences in a situation but also not miss the forces that will reverse the situation into catastrophe

(2) Signal the context markers for an equal, symmetrical partnership from the very beginning of the diagnostic interview

(3) Learn how the unconscious sieve can more profoundly image the full set of forces

(4) Appreciate the most common complication of our patients and learn the most difficult situations to reverse because of unbearable pain that can bring about suicidal ideation and/or a psychotic break

Monday Sequence

Tuesday Symmetry

Wednesday Sieve

Thursday Swamped, reversed

Friday Suicide and psychosis from unbearable pain, reversed


Session 10
August 3-7, 2015

Fred Heide, PhD, and Lee Becker
Exploring a Core Process of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) via Improvisation

Frederick Heide, PhD, is Associate Professor at the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University, where he has won both the Master Teacher and Teacher of the Year Awards. Dr. Heide received the Outstanding Research Contribution Award from the Association for Advancement of Behavior Therapy (AABT) for his work on relaxation-induced anxiety. Dr. Heide is also co-founder of and longtime performer with Door County’s Northern Sky Theater (formerly AFT), which was 2012 recipient of the Wisconsin Governor’s Award for Arts, Culture, and Heritage. Dr. Heide studied acting and created several shows with Paul Sills, founding director of Chicago’s Second City Theatre.

A veteran of improvisational acting for more than a quarter century, Lee Becker has performed in New York City as well as his home state of Wisconsin. He has been a member of several national championship Comedy Sportz teams in Comedy League of America's annual competition, as well as a champion team in Montreal's Just For Laughs Improv Tournament.  Mr. Becker has also performed extensively with American Folklore Theatre, Door Shakespeare, Madison Rep, Milwaukee Rep, and First Stage Children’s Theatre of Milwaukee. 

Symposium Description and Objectives

A major trend in contemporary clinical psychology is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a mindfulness-based approach which has been examined in over 1,000 scholarly articles, chapters, and books.  ACT has been found effective in clinical trials for disorders ranging from anxiety and depression to psychosis.  ACT is based on the idea that suffering results when we fuse with our cognitions and then struggle to control or eliminate experiences we have labeled unacceptable.  ACT teaches clients experiential exercises that encourage defusion from their cognitions by simply observing thoughts rather than trying to change them.

This workshop will explore behavioral improvisation as a novel and often entertaining method of cognitive defusion.  After an overview of ACT theory and research, the bulk of the week will be devoted to simple improvisational exercises in a safe, highly supportive atmosphere.  We’ll utilize brief mindfulness inductions, classic theater games, and techniques to promote defusion.

Participants will:

(1) Learn the theory of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) including destructive normality, tracing the origins of human suffering to cognitive fusion, and experiential avoidance

(2) Understand the major ACT processes of contact with present moment, acceptance, and values

(3) Review what cognitive defusion means and why it can be helpful

(4) Explore how behavioral improvisation can be used to promote cognitive defusion

Monday Overview and definition of terms:  Functional contextualism relational frame theory, stimulus equivalence, cognitive defusion, experiential avoidance, Hexaflex; Relationship of ACT to Eastern philosophy; What “acceptance” is and is not; The central role of values; Research applying ACT to clinical disorders; Introduction to behavioral improvisation

Tuesday Behavioral Improvisation I

Wednesday Behavioral Improvisation II; Cognitive Defusion I

Thursday Behavioral Improvisation III; Cognitive Defusion II

Friday Wrap up; Summary and conclusions


Door County offers a wide variety of accommodations including campgrounds, inns, cottages, motels, and condominium hotels and resorts.

Lodging in July and August is in great demand; it is absolutely crucial that you make reservations early. A block of suites has been set aside for conference participants at the headquarters resort, the Landmark Resort. These suites will be held until June 19, 2015, or until they are filled, whichever occurs first. After that, the rooms are on a space available basis.

From its site on the bluff, the Landmark offers outstanding views of the waters of Green Bay with 294 units comprised of 1, 2, and 3 bedroom condominium suites. Facilities include the Carrington Pub and Grill, 10 meeting and function rooms, 1 indoor and 3 outdoor pools, 2 tennis courts, whirlpools and steam rooms, and a fitness center and game room. The Landmark Resort is Door County’s largest and best full service facility. All rooms at the Landmark are non-smoking.


The Landmark Resort
4929 Landmark Drive
Egg Harbor, Wisconsin 54209
Reservations (800) 273-7877


Please be sure to indicate that you are attending the Summer Institute.

Private accommodations may be secured through Jim Spolarich at Coldwell Banker (920) 868-2002.



The Medical College of Wisconsin is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.


Designation of Credit

The Medical College of Wisconsin designates each week-long session of this live activity for a maximum of 15 AMA PRA Category 1 Creditstm and each two-day session for a maximum of 8 AMA PRA Category 1 Creditstm. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. MCW designates each week-long session for up to 15 hours of participation and each two-day session for up to 8 hours of participation for continuing education for allied health professionals.

The Medical College of Wisconsin is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. MCW maintains responsibility for this program and its content.  This activity contains content or processes that may be potentially stressful.

The Medical College of Wisconsin is registered with the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation as a Continuing Education Sponsor for social workers (license number 159-000664).

Application for CME credit has been filed with the American Academy of Family Physicians. Determination of credit is pending.


Special Needs

Participants needing special accommodations, please contact our office at (414) 955-7250 at least two weeks in advance of any session.



Consistent with ACCME policy, faculty for all MCW continuing education programs must disclose to the audience all relevant financial relationships with commercial organizations.  MCW has a mechanism in place to identify and resolve any conflicts of interest in advance of the DCSI.

For more information contact:

Carlyle H. Chan, MD
MCW Department of Psychiatry
8701 Watertown Plank Road
Milwaukee, WI  53226
414-955-7250  FAX:  414-955-6299




Contact Us

Mailing Address

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine
The Medical College of Wisconsin
8701 Watertown Plank Rd.
Milwaukee, WI 53226

Physical Location and Address

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine
Tosa Center, Third Floor
1155 N. Mayfair Rd.
Milwaukee, WI 53226

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Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Site Map

Brenda Konczal
CME and Residency Education Coordinator I
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine | (414) 955-7250

Medical College of Wisconsin
8701 Watertown Plank Road
Milwaukee, WI 53226
(414) 955-8296
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Page Updated 05/11/2015