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🎧 Friday CE Series: Working with the Cultural Outsider in Psychotherapy

  • Fri, April 09, 2021
  • 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
  • Online via Zoom


This event has passed, but the audio recording is available for Marin CAMFT members in our Podcast Audio Library!
Not yet a member? Find out more here!


Many who seek psychotherapy either came to the United States from another culture as children or were born here. Surrounded by peers who look and speak differently, they often have the added burden of parents relying on them to help navigate in a new country. Eager to “fit in” they become hyper-focused on conforming and achieving, feeling tremendous pressure to go above and beyond what is expected. The very qualities that contribute to their success in the world often perpetuate their unhappiness and disconnection from themselves.

There are some similar and consistent psychological dynamics regardless of cultural background. In their early experience in school these clients are aware that they look, sound and view the world differently. Their profound sense of being “other” often leaves them feeling shame and a sense of inferiority. They become adept at taking their cues for how to act by looking outside of themselves, and molding their responses to fit others expectations.

Through lecture as well as dyad work, this webinar will offer a deeper understanding into the unique survival strategies that cultural outsiders employ in an attempt to cope with the difficulties that arise from feeling different.

In this webinar, participants will also learn a powerful intervention called “piercing the threat” designed to assist clients with deconstructing an identity and sense of worth that revolves around performance, how they are being perceived, and their usefulness to others.

Helping clients shift the specific ways that they define themselves and measure their self-worth can help free them to create a life on their own terms. 


Participants will be able to: 

  1. Describe how to assist clients’ in accessing and affirming their intrinsic worth.
  2. Explain the concept of core assumptions and how it differs from beliefs.
  3. Apply the “piercing the threat” intervention for effectively working with outdated survival strategies.
  4. Assess how the “outsider experience” shapes self-concept and sense of worth.
  5. Utilize techniques that help clients shift from an external to an internal orientation.


Dennis Portnoy is a psychotherapist in private practice in San Francisco for over 30 years. He is author of THE INTRINSIC SELF: How defining yourself and your worth by your achievements and usefulness is undermining your happiness and serenity.

He has published numerous articles and offers presentations on compassion fatigue and self-care for people in helping roles. More information is available at

Upon registering you will receive a Zoom link and password

  • Date: Friday, April 9
  • Time: 12 noon to 2 pm Pacific
  • Cost: Free for Marin CAMFT members, $20 for non-members.
  • Location:  Online via Zoom. Password and link sent upon registration.
  • Information: For more information about the Friday Continuing Education Series or about joining the Committee, please contact CE Director Pat Saunders.
  • Continuing Education Goal: Marin CAMFT is committed to offering continuing education courses to train LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs and LEPs to treat any client in an ethically and clinically sound manner based upon current accepted standards of practice. Course completion certificates will be available to those who attend the real-time presentation, and are provided at the conclusion of the training and upon submission of the participant's completed evaluation. 
  • Refund Policy: Our refund policy requires a $20 processing fee, therefore refunds are not available for this program, as the maximum purchase price is $20. Please email the CE Director with any questions.
  • Grievance Procedure: Marin CAMFT will respond to complaints in a reasonable, ethical and timely manner, when submitted by program attendees in writing to the CE Director.
  • Anti-Discrimination Policy: Marin CAMFT shall not discriminate against any individual or group with respect to any service, program or activity based on gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, creed, national origin, citizenship status, religion, age, ability, or other prohibited basis. Marin CAMFT does not require attendees to adhere to any particular religion or creed in order to participate in training. Marin CAMFT will not promote or advocate for a single modality of treatment that is discriminatory or likely to harm clients based on current accepted standards or practice.
  • CE: This workshop meets the qualifications for two hours of continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LEPs and LPCCs. These will be provided by Marin CAMFT (CAMFT Provider # 56895), which is approved by CAMFT to sponsor CE for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs and LEPs. We regret that at this time we are not able to provide CE units for Licensed Psychologists. Marin CAMFT maintains responsibility for this program and its contents. Please contact Pat SaundersCE Director, for more information.

Audio recordings of the event and any handouts will be made available to all registrants after the presentation. By registering for this event, you are giving your permission to be recorded as part of the session.

CEUs are available for live attendance only. You must complete the evaluation at the end in order to receive a completion certificate. 

Marin County Chapter of CAMFT                  

PO Box 9065 San Rafael, CA 94912-9065     

(415) 459 3484

Marin CAMFT is approved by  the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT Provider #56895) to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and LEPs

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