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International Conference on Person of the Therapist

Friday, April 27 and Saturday, April 28, 2018

Philadelphia, PA

Keynote Speakers

Harry J. Aponte 
Nancy Boyd-Franklin
Kenneth V. Hardy
Peter Rober

Keynote Addresses

The Person of the Therapist Training Model: Its Essence and Its Evolution
The Therapist’s Use of Self with African American Clients and Families
The Self of the Therapist: A Multicultural Relational Perspective
The Therapist’s Inner Conversation in Supervision


The International Conference on Person of the Therapist is the first major professional meeting of its kind to be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the birthplace of the United States Constitution and the world famous “Rocky” steps. The emphasis on the person of the therapist comes at a time when evidence-based treatments are elevated as best practice. At the same time, the world is divided strongly along the lines of race, religion, sexual orientation, class and gender, begging the question of how do we deal with the sameness of humankind yet the difference of experience and context. Person of the therapist refers to the embodiment of therapists as the instrument of change. Therapy is conducted through the therapeutic relationship, which requires a personal connection between the therapist and the client. The therapeutic process, regardless of modality, technique, and/or strategy, is dependent upon the human connection formed between the therapist and client—the therapeutic alliance. Person of the therapist training aims to prepare therapists to make proactive and intentional use of the self in clinical practice and supervision.

The Person of the Therapist Training (POTT) Model founded by internationally renowned family therapist Harry J. Aponte is unique because it aspires to help therapists embrace their humanity through acceptance of their flaws and core personal struggles—“signature themes.” Therapists are encouraged to learn to manage their signature themes, not seek to cure them out of shame and a sense of inadequacy for being wounded. POTT is not model specific and can be adapted for use with all approaches, including evidence-based treatments. It is the complementary part that speaks to how the model, simultaneously, opens up to therapists their own signature themes. Therapists’ core personal struggles are akin in the common human elements of their brothers and sisters around the globe, enabling therapists to relate to the complete persons of the clients in their sameness and difference to them. Here resides the opportunity and challenge to all therapists to integrate into the therapeutic process both the intimacy and tensions residing at the very essence of the vital relationship that is the medium through which we do therapy. Person of the therapist offers therapists a pathway for opening up to their own experiences, social locations, and values that then releases them to fully engage and understand clients who have different experiences based on where and how they are situated in the world.

Despite many of the evidence-based treatments being studied prominently in marginalized populations, part of the therapeutic context is the therapist and, as such, therapists should be intimately aware of their personal experiences, values and biases and the role they can play in therapy. Seeing the clinical applicability ofboth-and with POTT has the potential to improve the efficacy of treatment with all clients and to help therapists of every orientation to be more self-aware.

Target Audience

Couple and Family Therapists, Social Workers, Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Psychiatric Nurses, Mental Health Professionals, Behavioral Health Specialists, Addictions Counselors, Pastoral Counselors, Creative Arts Therapists


Registration fees include continental breakfast, lunch (Saturday only), beverage breaks, reception (Friday) and program materials.


Attendees Early Bird - before 3/15/18 Regular Two-Day Registration One-Day Registration 
General Public $375 $425 $225
Current Student N/A $250 N/A


DoubleTree Hotel
237 South Broad Street
Philadelphia PA, 19107
Phone: 215-893-1600 

   Doubletree Hotel

We look forward to welcoming you to Philadelphia.   Located on the Avenue of the Arts and nine miles from Philadelphia International Airport, and provides views of the Delaware River and downtown Philadelphia. Located near attractions such as the Pennsylvania Convention Center, City Hall and the Liberty Bell. The hotel lobby features a stunning four-story glass atrium. Experience the best of Philadelphia hotels in a spacious DoubleTree guest room with high-speed internet access. Unwind in the complimentary fitness center, rooftop atrium pool and sundeck.


  • Center City Philadelphia hotel on Avenue of the Arts, 9 miles from Philadelphia International Airport
  • Across the Academy of Music, Merriam Theatre, The Kimmel Center and adjacent to Wilma Theatre
  • Complimentary fitness center, rooftop atrium pool and sundeck

The special discounted rate of $229.00 single or double is available until March 26th, or until the room block is filled, whichever comes first. Complimentary internet access is included in the room rate.  Check in time is 4pm. Check out time is 11am.

When calling the hotel please identify yourself as a Drexel University /Person of the Therapist Conference attendee to receive the conference rate.

Reserve your room today online at:

Doubletree Hotel Room

Untitled Document


Harry J. Aponte, HPhD, MSW, LCSW, LMFT

Harry J. Aponte, HPhD, MSW, LCSW, LMFT, is a family therapist known for his writings and workshops on the person of the therapist, spirituality in therapy, therapy with disadvantaged and culturally diverse families and structural family therapy. Dr. Aponte was a staff member and teacher of family therapy at the Menninger Clinic and director of the Philadelphia Child Guidance Center. Currently, Dr. Aponte is clinical associate professor in the Department of Couple and Family Therapy in the College of Nursing and Health Professions at Drexel University in Philadelphia. He has a private practice in Philadelphia, and conducts training and workshops throughout the country and abroad.

Dr. Aponte published Bread & Spirit through Norton, a book that speaks to therapy with today’s poor in the context of ethnicity, culture and spirituality. Dr. Aponte and Karni Kissil, PhD have edited a book entitled The Person of the Therapist Training Model: Mastering the Use of Self, published by Routledge (2016).

Lic Silvina Aisenson Lichtmann

Silvia Aisenson LichtmannSilvina Aisenson Lichtmann, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, received her psychologist degree from the University of Buenos Aires in 1970. She worked as a child psychoanalyst in Araoz Alfaro Hospital under Drs. Mauricio Goldenberg and Aurora Perez and developed her teaching career in the Buenos Aires University, La Pampa University and Maimonides University in Buenos Aires. Since 1984, she has worked as a couple and family therapist and is an Accredited Supervisor of the Systemic Association of Buenos Aires. Together with Arielle Cotton and Silvia Jajam she leads “Conformación ARCO” (Open Mind for Fostering Collaborative Relationships), the Center for Systemic Therapy Education and Training, which focuses on work on the Therapist's Self.

Nancy Boyd-Franklin, PhD

Nancy Boyd-Franklin's special interests include multicultural issues, the treatment of African-American families, ethnicity and family therapy, home-based family therapy, marital and couples therapy, the multisystems approach to the treatment of poor inner-city families, issues for women of color, the development of a model of therapeutic support groups for African-American families living with AIDS and issues in working with African American children and adolescents. Her publications include numerous articles and chapters on the above topics. She has written four books including: Black Families in Therapy: A Multisystem Approach; Children, Families, and HIV/AIDS: Psychosocial and Therapeutic Issues; Reaching Out in Family Therapy: Home-Based, School and Community Interventions, with Dr. Brenna Bry; and Boys Into Men: Raising Our African American Teenage Sons with Dr. Anderson J. Franklin. In 2003, the second edition of her book, Black Families in Therapy: Understanding the African American Experience, was published. Her honors include receipt of the award for Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Ethnic Minority Psychology and to the Mentoring of Students from Division 45 of the APA (2001), the award for Outstanding Contributions to the Theory, Practice and Research on Psychotherapy with Women from Division 35 of the APA (1996), the Distinguished Psychologist of the Year Award from the Association of Black Psychologists (1994) and the Pioneering Contribution to the Field of Family Therapy Award from the American Family Therapy Academy.

Lic Arielle Cotton

Arielle CottonArielle Cotton is a clinical psychologist in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She works with individuals, couples and families and is also an online therapist. She is one of the directors of “Conformación ARCO” (Open Mind for Fostering Collaborative Relationships), the Center for Systemic Therapy Education and Training, which focuses on work on the Therapist's Self. She conducts training in family therapy with a focus on the therapist's use of self in Argentina and, for many years, has worked as the Supervisor of the Supervisory Team at the Chilean Institute of Family Therapy, a program focusing on Supervisor/Therapist Self in Santiago de Chile. Additionally, she is an Accredited Supervisor in the Systemic Psychotherapy Association of Buenos Aires (ASIBA). She received years of training in the therapist's use of self from Dr. Harry Aponte and is well published in family therapy and in therapist's use of self.

Kenneth V. Hardy, PhD

Kenneth V. Hardy, PhD is a professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is the director of the Eikenberg Institute for Relationships in New York City. He is an internationally recognized clinician, author, educator and consultant.

Hardy is a frequent workshop presenter, trainer and consultant on the topics of cultural and racial diversity, trauma and oppression. He has published prolifically and is the author of numerous articles and book chapters. He has co-authored the following books: Minorities and Family Therapy; Teens Who Hurt: Clinical Interventions for Breaking the Cycle of Violence and Re-Visioning Family Therapy: Race, Class, and CultureHis latest book, released in July 2016, is Culturally Sensitive Supervision: Diverse Perspective and Practical Applications. He is also featured in several therapy videotapes as well as a documentary devoted to slavery. His videotape “The Psychological Residuals of Slavery” has been well received by both professional and lay communities for serving as a catalyst to promote conversations about race relationships.

Hardy has received considerable acclaim for the contributions that his numerous publications and videotapes have made toward challenging our field to think critically about issues of diversity, trauma and oppression. He has been a frequent contributor to popular media and has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Dateline NBC and 20/20, and Discovery Health.

Hardy maintains a practice in New York, New York.

Lic Silvia Jajam

Silvia JajamSilvia Jajam is a clinical Psychologist in Buenos Aires, Argentina who works with individuals, couples, and families. She is one of the Directors of “Conformación ARCO” (Open Mind for Fostering Collaborative Relationships), the Center for Systemic Therapy Education and Training, which focuses on work on the Therapist's Self. Ms. Jajam has extensive experience presenting on the therapist’s self, having presented on the therapist’s self in the Exposystemic Conference for the past 15 years in Buenos Aires. Also, she is an Accredited Supervisor in the Systemic Psychotherapy Association (ASIBA).

Karni Kissil, PhD

Karni Kissil, PhD, LMFT is a licensed couple and family therapist with more than 20 years of clinical experience. She has authored and co-authored more than 30 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on various topics including the Person of the Therapist (POTT). Together with Harry Aponte, the developer of POTT, she edited the first book about the POTT model, The Person of the Therapist Training Model: Mastering the Use of Self. Dr. Kissil has presented in national and international conferences including the American Family Therapy Academy (AFTA), International Family Therapy Association (IFTA) and National Council on Family Relations (NCFR).

Alba Niño, PhD

Alba Niño, PhD is a licensed marriage and family therapist since 2008, and an AAMFT approved supervisor since 2013. She currently holds a position as an associate professor in the Couple and Family Therapy Programs at Alliant International University, San Diego, CA. As an immigrant Latina and a bilingual clinician, Nino has worked extensively with Latino and immigrant populations in the United States. Her scholarship has focused on looking at the effect of the Person of the Therapist training in different areas of the professional development of trainees. Niño has published and presented nationally and internationally on this topic.

Peter Rober, PhD

Peter Rober, PhD is clinical psychologist, family therapist and family therapy trainer at Context, a center for marital and family therapy (UPC KU Leuven, Belgium). He is full professor and teaches family therapy at the Institute for Family and Sexuality Studies (medical school of KU Leuven, Belgium). His research interest areas focus on the practice of family therapy and on the therapy process, including especially the use of self of the therapist and the therapist’s inner conversation.

Rober published several articles in international family therapy journals. Since 1992, he has presented international workshops on family therapy with children and adolescents. Every year in August he organizes the European Summer School in Family Therapy in Leuven (Belgium).

Charles Sim, PhD

Charles Sim, PhD, graduated from the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London with a Master of Science in Family Therapy. He did his clinical training at the Department of Child and Family Psychiatry, King's College Hospital, as well as the renowned Maudsley Psychiatric Hospital in London, England. Sim went on to complete his PhD in Couple and Family Therapy at the University of Minnesota, including clinical workshops at Minuchin Family Centre and the Gottman Institute. Presently, he is the head of program for the Master of Counseling and Master of Counseling specializing in couple and family therapy at Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS). Sim is also a visiting consultant for family therapy at the Psychological Medicine Department, National University Hospital, Singapore. He is a clinical member of the Association of Marital and Family Therapy (Singapore), and a fellow of the Asian Academy of Family Therapy (Hong Kong).


For those LMFT, LCSW, LSW, and LPCs with licensure in PA ONLY: Drexel University’s Counseling and Family Therapy department is a Pre-Approved Provider by the Pennsylvania State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors of Continuing Education Credits.

LMFT, LCSW, LSW, and LPCs (in PA ONLY): 

Day 1 Only: 7.5 CEU
Day 2  Only: 7.2 CEU
Day 1 & 2: 14.7 CEU

A Certificate of Attendance will be awarded at the end of the conference to all who attend and follow protocol for registration and evaluation forms.

Drexel University’s Master of Family Therapy and Couple and Family Therapy program maintain responsibility for the program and content. Accreditation does not imply that Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions approves or endorses any product included in the educational activity.

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Dates Location Register
April 27-28, 2018 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - TBA Online Mail-In