Due to COVID-19, we have canceled our 2020 fall conference.

We are investigating other opportunities and online platforms and will post updates as the situation evolves.

Check back for details.


Mark your calendars for September 24th and 25th.

We are in the process of planning the details of our annual conference.

Stay tuned for more details.

Thank you to everyone who joined us at our 2019 conference!

In the wake of the conference, it's now time for us to start planning next year's event. Your input will help us to create an even better conference for Fall 2020.  

Please follow this link to respond to our 2019 Post-Conference Questionnaire.

Any feedback you can provide will be most appreciated as it will help us to ensure that we're serving the interests and needs of our members and of others who work or advocate in the field of Behavioral Health.

If you missed our conference or are looking to refresh your memory of this year's sessions, you can use the links below to explore the subjects we explored in 2019. 


Links below will send you to the powerpoints or PDFs each speaker contributed.

8:15 a.m. Welcome

8:30-9:45 a.m. General Session

  • Elite Team Dynamics – High Performance Mental Skills
    Dr. Widman, Performance Mountain
    Elite team dynamics-focus is on what great teams-business, sport or otherwise do better than others, and what are the characteristics of high performing teams. The session will also delve into some of the key ingredients of a successful leader of a team.

9:45-10:00 a.m. Break

10:00 – 11:30 a.m. Break-Out Sessions

  • How Physical and Emotional Trauma Affects the Brain
    Dr. Matthew Garlinghouse, PhD
    The brain can experience lasting change because of physical and emotional trauma. This trauma impacts brain development, memory, learning, attachment, physical and mental health, and social skills. The presenter will explain the unique needs of individuals with a brain injury and how an injury impacts mental health and substance use disorders.
  • Creating an Environment for Change – Motivational InterviewingKate Speck, PhD MAC LADC, Senior Research Manager, UNL Public Policy Center
    This session will support and strengthen the clinical skills of behavioral health practitioners in the use of Motivational Interviewing for clients experiencing mental illness and substance use disorders. The workshop will focus on change talk and responding to sustain talk in behavioral health settings. You will be able to differentiate appropriate strategies to address sustain talk; identify strategic interventions to reduce ambivalence to change; integrate engagement, focusing, evoking, and planning with counseling skills; and identify the efficacy of Motivational Interviewing strategies in working with mental health and substance use disorder clients.
  • Useful Tool or Unavoidable Habit – Social Media and Youth Mental Health
    Dr. Beth Doll
    Social Media is an integral part of adolescents’ daily lives. This presentation will look at evidence from the past two decades of social media research to describe the benefits and disadvantages of social media on youth mental health. The session will examine ways that social media can diminish mental health and prompt substance abuse. It will also examine effective strategies for using social media to support SUD and mental health treatment.

12:00 – 1:30 p.m. Lunch and Senator Panel

  • Overview of 2019/2020 Sessions
    Senators Kate Bolz, Sue Crawford, Sarah Howard, Adam Morfeld, & Lynn Walz.

1:45-3:15 p.m. Break-Out Sessions

  • Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors: Postvention as Prevention
    Dave Miers, PhD, LIPC; Julia Hebenstreit, JD, The KIM Foundation; & Terri Marti, Coordinator, Lincoln/Lancaster County LOSS Team
    Across the US, 1 in 3 suicides involves alcohol, and an adult alcoholic is 120 times more likely to die by suicide. A panel of LOSS Team members along with Dr. Miers will present information about the benefits of LOSS Team members and a Mental Health Professional meeting with families who have experienced the loss of a family member to suicide. You will be able to identify the collective benefits of active postvention for the community and law enforcement and appreciate the emotional benefits of getter help sooner rather than later. Attendees will also understand the process for activating the LOSS Team and the resources deployed to survivors, recognize the role of the Mental Health Professional as part of the LOSS Team in interaction with team members and the family while helping with resource deployment, and become familiar the debriefing process with the clinical director following the call-out and follow up process with the family.
  • Ethics in Integrations
    Susan Meyerle, PhD, LMHP, CEAP, CLFE
    The session begins with an overview of licensure portability for counselors and the plans which professional organizations have proposed. A discussion of counselor identity is included, along with a brief discussion of how the counseling professional is similar yet different from other behavioral health professions.  Areas of focus will include the scope of practice for counselors, the art of diagnosing, and the role of behavior analysts. The session will review how a counselor determines their own self-competence.  An area of specific focus is in the growing field of technology, from recommending apps to providing teletherapy.  Counselors will be encouraged to engage in professional networking, mentoring, and supervisory relationships in order to develop, sustain, and enhance their therapeutic skills. There will be a review of client-counselor boundaries particularly including the mandate of no sexual contact with clients. The session will also review the client’s fiscal obligations. Adequate recordkeeping and appropriate billing protocols will be addressed. Moreover, the session will look at the area of the internet and the counselor.  While Codes of Ethics are clear about social media (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and others), professionals continue to find themselves faced with the challenges of Google, Yelp, and Healthgrades, to name a few. The session will conclude with a discussion of the counselor’s ability to bracket their values and a challenge to each counselor to develop a personalized professional ethics plan.
  • MAT and Project ECHO
    Dr. John Massey, MD, Bryan Medical Center
    The session begins with a review of evidence-based practices for screening and treatment, harm reduction, stigma reduction and compassionate patient-centered care for substance use disorders and pain management. Additional information will include early intervention and self-efficacy for providers and to assist with referrals. The session will also touch on documented strategies for working with clients, including medication, referrals, life-style changes, early intervention, and treatment.

3:15-3:30 p.m. Break

3:30 – 4:45 p.m. General Session

5:00 p.m. Reception and Awards Ceremony


8:30 a.m. Welcome

8:45 – 10:15 a.m. General Session

  • Evaluation of an Integrated Mental Health/Physical Health Program
    Mark Dekraai, Senior Research Director, UNL Policy Research Center
    Individuals with serious mental illness or substance use issues generally have more serious physical health problems than the general population; yet this population has difficulty accessing appropriate medical care through the traditional health care system. Lutheran Family Services and People’s Health Center have developed the Health 360 program, a new integrated approach which provides behavioral health and physical health care in one setting. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has funded an evaluation of this unique program to determine how integration relates to service access, quality of care and outcomes related to behavioral and physical health. This session will discuss the results of the study.

10:15 – 10:30 a.m. Break

10:30-11:45 p.m. General Session

  • Heal the Patient, not the Symptoms
    Dr. Michael Israel, MD, Bluestem Health   
    Through his presentation he will discuss the importance of caring for the entirety of a patient, including the social determinants of health.  It is important to understand the correlation between integrated care and improved health outcomes and the different ways to integrate care. These aspects are especially important when treating those with mental illness and/or substance use disorders.


Many thanks to our sponsors and to Pinnacle Bank!