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🎧 Friday CE Series: Using the Existential-Humanistic Framework to De-Pathologize Forgetfulness and Dementia

  • Fri, September 08, 2023
  • 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
  • online via Zoom


  • Please be logged in to your account in order to register at this level
  • Members of SFCAMFT, RECAMFT, and East Bay CAMFT chapters are invited to participate in our session for free!

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This event has passed, but the audio recording is available for Marin CAMFT members in our Podcast Audio Library!
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Understand approaches to care for aging clients

Using the Existential-Humanistic Framework to De-Pathologize Forgetfulness and Dementia

Presented by Nader Shabahangi, Ph.D., MFT

2 CEs available

Free for Marin CAMFT members and reciprocal chapter members!

Workshop Description

The mainstream conception of dementia – and often aging itself – is understood principally as a dreadful disease with little, if any, redeeming value. This understanding goes against the experiences many caregivers make in working with those showing signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s. In contrast to those speaking about a dreadful disease, they tell a different story reporting that people with dementia – given a loving environment and care – can be content and happy individuals who are spontaneous, funny and wise. It is a matter of perspective. From disease we shift to being taught another way of being in the world.

The Existential-Humanistic framework thus starts with an openness and curiosity about the person we are chartered to 'treat'. When we, as clinicians, meet with a client, this perspective provides an opportunity for humility given we learn from clients themselves. We are following the client and, in this way, are truly client-centered. The goal is to join clients and experience their world. Especially, if clients are forgetful, clinicians are more unfamiliar with the way they 'see' reality. This means that clinicians learn about the other as much as about themselves. In such a 'real' encounter, a certain 'healing' can take place, not just for the elder, but also the clinician or care provider.

Educational Goals

The goal of this presentation is to:

  • Provide insight into the Existential-Humanistic framework.
  • Teach how to reframe the Western medical model’s perspective on elders and/or dementia.
  • Show how caring for elders can be mutually beneficial for care provider and
    client, thus benefitting both parties.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this workshop, participants should be able to:

  1. Describe the non-pathologizing approach to dementia

  2. Identify the difference between process and content statements in talking with demented clients

  3. Describe the 3 different levels of reality that manifest in dementia clients

  4. Name 3 components of the Existential-Humanistic Therapy Forgetfulness Model
  5. Describe 3 ways to communicate with dementia clients and their families that reduce despair and anxiety
  6. Share 3 cultural factors that influence a family's understanding of dementia


    Nader Shabahangi, PhDNader Shabahangi, PhD., MFT, Nader received his training as an existential-humanistic therapist from Jim Bugental, a pioneer in existential humanistic thought and practice. He co-founded the Existential Humanistic Institute in 1997 to train therapists in an existential-humanistic approach to helping clients. At the same time, he embarked on becoming a diplomate in ProcessWork and began an innovative humanistic training program for beginning therapists working in eldercare communities. In 2003, Nader founded Eldership Academy which further focused his interest in working with elders and explores the meaning of our aging process as an inward journey connecting us to our inner nature or soul.

    His current project is to re-conceptualize eldercare from a custodial model to a spiritual approach he calls Elder Ashram. He is a licensed psychotherapist in California. His love for the humanities, philosophy and psychology, earned him his doctorate from Stanford University.

    PLEASE NOTE: This event will be recorded. By registering for this event you are consenting to a recording being made which may include your voice and/or image. This recording may be available for review and downloading. By registering for this event, you are agreeing for your likeliness to possibly be used by Marin CAMFT.

    The Zoom link and password are provided in the registration confirmation email after sign-up is completed.

    Attendance at the live event in full and completion of the evaluation at the end qualifies for 2 hours of Continuing Education (2 CEUs).

    Date: Friday, Septenber 8
    Time: 12 noon to 2 pm Pacific
    Cost: Free for Marin CAMFT members and reciprocal members, $20 for non-members.
    Location:  Online via Zoom. Password and link sent upon registration.

    Additional Information about Marin CAMFT CE Programs

    For more information about the Friday Continuing Education Series or about joining the Marin CAMFT Continuing Education Committee, please contact our Director of Programs Norman Hering.

    • Continuing Education: This workshop meets the qualifications for 2 hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LEPs and/or LPCCs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. These CEs will be provided by Marin CAMFT (CAMFT Provider # 56895), which is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs and LEPs. We regret that at this time we are not able to provide CE units for Licensed Psychologists. Participants must attend the full duration of the program (on Zoom, or in person, per event details above) and complete the course evaluation to receive the CE completion certificate. Marin CAMFT maintains responsibility for this program and its contents. Contact our Director of Programs at for more information.

    • 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.

    • 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. We also do not provide refunds in case of non-attendance by the registrant.  Please contact our Director of Programs at with any questions.

    • Request for Accommodations: If you need accommodations for this event, please contact the Director of Programs at
    • Grievance Procedure: Marin CAMFT will respond to complaints in a reasonable, ethical and timely manner, when submitted by program attendees in writing to the Director of Programs.

    • 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.

    Continuing education credits are available for attendance in the Zoom presentation. You must stay on the Zoom meeting for the entirety of the training and complete the course evaluation afterward in order to receive a completion certificate. Because of the requirement to attend the training in full, if you attempt to log in to the Zoom late, after the training is already underway, you may not be admitted. Please log onto the event promptly at the listed start time.

    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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