Caring Connections Conference gives students, counseling professionals chance to build skills

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Lipscomb students, professors and licensed professionals had the chance to build skills and network with other professionals and colleagues for a day at the third annual Caring Connections Conference at Lipscomb University on Friday, May 16.

“This conference is an annual collaboration between AGAPE counseling and related services and Lipscomb University’s graduate program in clinical mental health counseling,” said Terry Casey, licensed psychologist and health service provider, and Lipscomb University adjunct. “It seeks to attract attendees who work in the professional counseling field as well as those who provide pastoral care to individuals and families.

“This can expand professional relationships, referral sources, consultation resources and collegiality across the two groups,” Casey said.”

The conference was divided up into sessions throughout the day, with several Lipscomb faculty members including Frank Scott, Walter Surdacki, Melanie Morris, Jake Morris, Terry Casey, John York, Joy Samuels and Stan Clark presenting a range of topics from psychological explanations of suffering to couples and relationships as well as even technology and children. 

Licensed psychologist and Trevecca Nazarene University adjunct professor Alan Godwin spoke during this year’s plenary session on difficult people and how to understand and relate to them.

“All humans are very much like tigers and turtles,” Godwin said. “All humans have buttons, or places of emotional sensitivity,” Godwin said. “When those buttons get pushed, we automatically instinctively react.”

Godwin also presented alternate methods on relating to these people.

“Difficult people lack what reasonable people possess – reasoning skills, and yet, they are driven towards relationships the same as all of us,” Godwin said. “An alternative is needed and that alternative is called “drama.” Drama becomes a means of relating.”

Godwin has a private practice and has 25 years of experience in his field. Along with his practice, Godwin also teaches a graduate class at Trevecca Nazarene University on psychodynamic psychotherapies, which deals with personality disorders.

Caring Connections provides state-approved continuing education credits for licensed professionals in the counseling and mental health fields. It also provides a similar equipping function for those in the pastoral care community.

AGAPE provides professional counseling and psychological services for the greater Nashville community. AGAPE also serves as a training site for graduate students in the counseling field, including Lipscomb’s master’s programs in counseling, and marriage and family therapy.