MSSWA 2023 Virtual Spring Conference

  • 02/06/2023
  • 8:15 AM - 3:45 PM
  • Virtual via Zoom


(depends on selected options)

Base fee:
  • Board member must have active MSSWA membership (Board Rate only available until Jan 30th, 2023)
  • MSSWA Membership for graduate students (not working in the field) & undergraduate students join MSSWA at no charge

Registration is closed

2023 MSSWA Virtual Spring Conference   

Monday, February 6th, 2023

8:15am to 3:45pm     

Full day training on Narrative Therapy -

"Narrative Therapy and the School Social Worker: Meeting Today’s Complex Challenges"

John Stillman, MSW, LICSW & Liz Crubaugh, MSW, LICSW

The Spring Conference will be recorded and registrants will have 30 days post conference to view the recording and still receive the CEU's, so if you can't attend the day of the conference, you can still attend on your own time!

**Click HERE for 2023 Virtual Spring Conference Brochure**

"Narrative Therapy and the School Social Worker: Meeting Today’s Complex Challenges"

The job of a school social worker fits the broadest definition of a mental healthcare provider. Children of all ages, facing stressors and mental health conditions of every sort, arrive at school with the expectation of sitting in a classroom and learning. Much of this challenge falls on teachers and in turn, teachers rely on social workers to address the largest difficulties. Their education did not prepare social workers for this level of diverse challenge, and no cookie cutter approach to mental health will help address the complexities that the social worker experiences. They need a framework, a framework that will help support them when everything is coming at them at once, a framework that is nuanced and flexible, allowing them to think and adapt to the specific situation. One that gives guidance on how to think through challenges and meet them head on. That framework can be found in Narrative Therapy. Its principles provide a guide, while its practices supply options for moving an issue forward.

Key concepts of narrative, such as “the person is not the problem, the problem is the problem”, help the student to see their challenges in a new light. Both the social worker and the student feel empowered as they move through this process together. This workshop will teach the basic tenets of narrative and will show how these can be beneficial right away to school social workers. 

Participants will be able to:

  • 1.    Ask questions from a position of not knowing/ curiosity which centers the conversation on the student.
  • 2.    Ask questions that separate the problem from the student, allowing greater perspective and more options for action.
  • 3.    Ask questions that support a student’s personal agency, their ability to make decisions for their life, taking into account what they articulate is important to them.
  • 4.    Inquire about supportive relationships that allow the student to stand against the problem while helping the student challenge relationships that do the opposite.
  • 5.    Ask questions that examine cultural and societal influences and norms, allowing the student to position themselves with the ideas from society that are the most useful while minimizing the influence of the rest.

John Stillman (he/him) is a co-founder and licensed clinical social worker at Caspersen Therapy and Training Center in Golden Valley, Minnesota, where he practices narrative therapy with children, adolescents, and adults. As Director of Caspersen Training Center, he provides narrative therapy training to professionals from multiple disciplines. In 2002, he was a member of the first diplomate program taught by Michael White at the Dulwich Centre in Adelaide, Australia, and is an international narrative therapy trainer. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife and two sons, two dogs, and raises chickens and keeps bees.

Liz Crubaugh (she/her) completed her Master of Social Work at Augsburg University. She is licensed through the state of Minnesota as a licensed independent clinical social worker and a school social worker. Liz feels strongly about working with youth and young adults and has over ten years experience in doing so in a variety of different settings. She utilizes a person-centered approach to therapy, incorporating Narrative Therapy techniques, a strengths-based perspective, and consideration of the whole person (bio-psycho-social-spiritual-historical).

Liz feels it important to challenge herself to ask difficult questions of what is commonly thought of as social work, especially in schools. She believes in the importance of being an anti-racist provider in a white-dominated profession, considering all aspects of someone’s life, and deconstructing peoples' stories as an intervention to be used as prevention and a tool of empowerment. All peoples’ experiences are their own and Liz does not claim to be an expert in any of them. She sees it as her role to ask the right questions and help participants find their own answers; to (re)write their own story. Liz strives to make everyone feel comfortable, respected, and open in her presence. She wants to provide the time and space for everyone to be themselves, unapologetically, and Narrative Therapy has aligned incredibly well to make this a reality

6.5 Clinical CEU hours have been approved by the MN Board of Social Work.

Conference Questions?


Tony Porter



Dan Porter


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