Annual Conference

Annual Conference

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8th Annual Mormon Mental Health Association Conference: Friday Nov. 12th 9a – 6p MST

To Confirm: 9a – 6p MST (Utah time)


Friday, November 12, 2021     via Zoom

6 CEs approved through NASW


We invite all who are interested in mental health issues as they relate to the LDS/Mormon community. The MMHA conference is a wonderful place to network and reconnect with other practitioners and professionals. We have an excellent line up this year and you can participate from the comfort of your own home or office. We hope members who have been unable to join in the past due to travel and cost restrictions will be able to be included this year as we move to a digital format again this year.

Once you have fully registered you will receive an email confirmation with the Zoom link.

C O N F E R E N C E   A G E N D A

9:00: Introductions & President Message: Marty Erickson, PhD, LMFT

9:30a – 12:20p          Morning Session


How to deal with personal binds while holding space for the wider Mormon community

Julie Hanks PhD, LCSW

Daniel Burgess LMFT

Kimberly Applewhite PhD

Allison Shiffler LCSW

Moderators: Aimee Heffernan, LMFT CST & Natasha Helfer, LMFT CST

12:30 – 1:30: Lunch

1:00 – 1:30: Business Meeting (over lunch)

1:30 – 2:00: Social Time, getting to know each other and our work


2:00p – 5:00p            Afternoon Session


What do Mormon clinicians have to offer?

Lisa Hansen PhD, LMFT

Sara Hughes-Zabawa LMSW

Kimberly Anderson AMFT

5:00 – 6:00pm: Social hour on Zoom: Catch up with people, break out rooms, Zoom links to each other or groups. Q&A with Board about MMHA





SOCIAL MEDIA & PUBLIC PRESENCE: How to deal with personal binds while holding space for the wider Mormon community

Description: A group of whip smart panelists will discuss their experiences in the intersection of social media, mental health, and Mormonism. Moderators will generate conversations about issues ranging from how they balance boundaries around sharing their personal and public self to their fears and positive influence from being a public therapist in the Mormon space.

Panel Members Bios:

Julie Hanks, PhD, LCSW

Julie is a licensed therapist, coach, author of The Assertiveness Guide for Women, and The Burnout Cure: An Emotional Survival Guide For Overwhelmed Women. She is a relationship expert, TEDx speaker, media contributor, online influencer, speaker, and performing songwriter. She has 28 years experience counseling women, couples and families.

Julie earned her BS degree in psychology in 1991 and her MSW degree in clinical social work in 1995, both from the University of Utah. She completed a PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Louisiana at Monroe in 2015. She is an Assistant Professor in the Master of Social Work program at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah.

Julie blogs on women’s emotional health, self-care, and relationships and contributes regularly to social media, radio, and other media. She is a daughter of Lex De Azevedo and Linda Jan Carter. She regularly appears on KSL Studio 5. She has appeared on TLC, Discovery Health, and Fox News. She has written for magazines and newspapers such as Cosmopolitan, The Wall Street Journal, Women’s Day, Women’s Health, Real Simple, and Parenting. And she is interviewed often on relationship health themed and LDS themed podcasts. She is a mentor for women in their professional growth while raising their families. She owns Wasatch Family Therapy, Julie Hanks Consulting, and Julie de Azevedo Music. She has recorded eleven CDs (including “Pray for Rain,” “Hello Sky,” “Come Unto Christ,” “Window to His Love,” and “Masterpiece: Best of Julie de Azevedo”) and has contributed to a variety of musical projects. She is married to Jeff Hanks and they are the parents of four children.

Daniel A. Burgess, MA, LMFT is a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in sexuality, faith crisis, mixed faith marriages and issues around pornography. In addition to being a licensed therapist in California and Utah, Daniel has provided training to LDS leaders around properly handling and referring to mental health and sexually related issues.

Daniel is also a blogger, speaker, and presenter, and runs an engaging Facebook group discussing marriage and sexuality in the faith, “Improving Intimacy in Latter-day Saint Relationships” with a focus on accurate sexual health science and improving the culture around sexual health in the LDS community. For additional resources or questions, connect with him at

Kimberly Applewhite, Psy.D.

Kimberly Applewhite, Psy.D., is a licensed psychologist at Utah Center for Evidence Based Treatment in Salt Lake, specializing in Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, and Motivational Interviewing for health-related stressors. She received a BA in Psychology from New York University, a MS in School Psychology, and Psy.D. in School-Clinical Child Psychology from the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology at Yeshiva University (APA Accredited). Her graduate school focus was on the assessment and treatment of children and families in bio-psycho-social-spiritual contexts, as well as the treatment of ethnic minorities and LGBTQ+ populations. Kimberly completed an APA-accredited pre-doctoral internship at Julia Dyckman Andrus Memorial, Inc., and post-doctoral fellowships at Boston Children’s Hospital Division of Adolescent Medicine/Harvard Medical School and University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute.

Kimberly has experience in a range of settings, including child advocacy clinics, trauma-informed outpatient settings, acute inpatient/partial hospitalization units, college counseling, foster care, and primary care medical home model.  She has research and clinical interests in LGBTQ+ issues and racial stress and trauma. Kimberly is also certified in providing QPR suicide prevention trainings.

Kimberly has been frequently interviewed locally and nationally regarding her specialties in racial stress and trauma along with numerous issues facing the LDS Black community. She is a member of The Black Clinicians in Utah. She was featured as a speaker in the 2021 Sunstone Why We Stay session. She is a proud wife and mother of two daughters, and also serves as the assistant director of the Debra Bonner Unity Gospel Choir.

Allison Shiffler, LCSW

Allison has a bachelor’s from Utah Valley State College in Behavioral Science with an emphasis in Social Work. During this time, Allison worked with at risk teens in residential treatment, as a Permanency Case Manager for DCFS, and volunteered as a victims advocate at the Children’s Justice Center.

Allison earned her Master’s in Social Work with an emphasis in Advanced Clinical Practice from Columbia University. During the first year of her MSW program, (and while pregnant), Allison’s practicum included high school counseling with marginalized students in underfunded public schools located in Harlem. During Allison’s 2nd year of her MSW program and while raising a newborn, while sleep deprived, while breastfeeding, and writing 7 papers a week, Allison interned as an individual therapist with the veteran community at the Steven R Cohen Military Family Clinic…please note this included many pump breaks and hysterically crying over spilled breast milk.

After graduating from Columbia with an MSW and 1 year old baby girl, Allison moved to Utah and worked at the Utah State Hospital as a Forensic Therapist. Allison specialized in CBT for psychosis while working as a court mandated therapist for incarcerated & severely mentally ill male perpetrators of violent crimes.

Allison currently practices as an individual therapist, couples therapist, and family therapist at Mindful Counseling in Provo, Utah. While she works with a wide spectrum of therapeutic needs, Allison specializes in religious trauma and faith transitions. She is active on social media regularly promoting her clinical work, unique specialties and experience, psychoeducation, and the work of Mindful Counseling.

Allison‘s interest in Clinical Social Work began in 2007 on her LDS mission in Vladivostok, Russia. Her drastic contrast of previous LDS orthodoxy and current clinical heathen status (combined with a CBT approach and the crucial implementation of feminist theory), has created a crucial and informed clinical approach to faith transition therapy. Allison would like to note the crucial nature of mentioning her masters program while single and pregnant and with a newborn because women are capable of literally anything and we certainly deserve to include every detail of our pain, our strength, and our success.



Description: Our purpose is to support clinicians in partnering with their LGBT+ clients with dignity, providing clinicians resources to empower clients spiritually, psychologically, and socially:

  1. Exploring our clinical biases, honoring the importance of client self-determination in relationship to one’s queer identity and religious identity, and fostering safe self-discovery.
  2. Empowering the client with a supported journey in fostering internal authority and decision making
  3. Using current research to better conceptualize risks and clinical interventions

Our learning objectives will include:

  1. Participants will be able to define self-determination and identify risks to that self-determination in the context of clinical work regarding spirituality.
  2. Participants will able to describe the 4 quadrants of James Marcia’s identity statuses as it applies to client identity formation
  3. Participants will be able to conceptualize attachment-based family therapy interventions for families of LGBTQ+ youth based on recently published applied research.
  4. Participants will be able to identify assumptions made about LGBTQ+ youth in LDS context in recently reported research regarding suicidal protective factors.
  5. Participants will be able to identify contributing factors to increased PTSD symptoms in the LDS LGBTQ+ population as reported in recent research
  6. Participants will be able to identify potential harms to transgender youth which may be associated with recent misinformation about these youth in publications such as Shrier’s 2020 book, “Irreversible Damage.”


Lisa Hansen, PhD, LMFT

Lisa Tensmeyer Hansen is the clinical director and founder of Flourish Therapy, Inc., a behavioral health clinic located in Provo, Utah, which she founded in February 2017 to meet the needs of LGBTQ+ and SSA individuals and their families. Lisa received a B.S. from Brigham Young University in 1990 as university valedictorian (Summa Cum Laude with Honors thesis), an M.S. in 2012 and Ph.D. in 2017, both at BYU, focusing on improving the mental health of LGBTQ+ people in conservative families and communities. As part of her graduate programs at BYU, she taught a course on the family proclamation and a course in graduate research and writing. Her dissertation was a quantitative analysis of adolescent emotional self-regulation in 600 families from Seattle and ProvoHer master’s thesis on a preliminary aspect of the dissertation won the national 2013 AAMFT Masters Thesis of the Year Award.

Since 2010 Lisa Hansen has seen clients at the BYU Comprehensive Clinic, the Provo Center for Couples and Families (PCCF), and at Flourish. In 2016, she was invited to be a continuing participant in the Reconciliation and Growth Project, a dialogue group of conservative and liberal therapists and academics forging ideas to bridge divides and educate in various forums in the LGBTQ+/SSA therapeutic community. In 2018, Dr. Hansen won the Outstanding Counseling Supervisor of the Year award from the University of Utah and in 2019, she was awarded Ally of the Year award from the LGBTQ+ organization, Affirmation.

Lisa Hansen’s interest in the well-being of LGBTQ+ and SSA people is informed by her LDS faith. She was previously a member of the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, and she and her husband are the composers of the Primary Children’s song, Nephi’s Courage.

Dr. Hansen has given more than 100 community presentations, articles, and podcasts for universities, clinical mental health organizations, community mental health agencies, school districts and conferences. She lives with her husband in Payson, Utah, where together they made a home for 7 children (and a few extras) and now have 18 grandchildren.

Sara Hughes-Zabawa, LMSW, CDWF, RYT

Sara is a licensed clinical social worker (LMCW) who received a dual Masters of Social Work MSW) degree from the University of Michigan, with an emphasis in Interpersonal Practice: Mental Health and Interpersonal Practice: Communities and Social Systems with a minor in Community Organizing. Sara also received a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies while at the University of Michigan.  She completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work with a minor in Women’s Studies from Brigham Young University.

Sara has extensive experience working alongside trauma survivors. Her commitment to advocating for social justice within marginalized communities has fostered her ability to partner with the leprosy affected in rural South East India, the Native American Community in SouthWest Detroit, and LGBTQIA+ clientele among religiously conservative communities. Over the last 6 years, Sara has helped LGBTQ+ individuals and their families develop advocacy skills, foster acceptance, and explore the relationship between their sexual and/or gender identity with their spiritual beliefs. Sara helps clients navigate difficult life transitions, especially those related to their faith, by providing an opportunity for self-reflection, increased compassion, and support in creating healthy boundaries as they honor their individual spiritual needs. Sara is a certified yoga instructor and uses mindfulness training to support clients in cultivating self-care practices that foster equilibrium and inner peace. Sara is a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator from the work of Dr. Brené Brown Sara is currently providing therapeutic services and wellness coaching through Symmetry Solutions, LLC. She is active on Instagram and other social media providing psychoeducation posts on aspects of her specialties in holistic wellness.

Kimberly Anderson, MFA, MA, AMFT

Kimberly Anderson is a transgender woman who was raised in an orthodox Mormon home, living as a boy on a horse-farm in rural Northern Utah.

Anderson has both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Utah State University. For over twenty-five years she was a practicing documentary and fine-art photographer and was a university lecturer for ten years in Utah. Anderson also has an MA in Counseling Psychology from the University of San Francisco. She has practiced in the San Francisco and Sacramento areas with concentrations on Native American populations, adolescents, eating disorders, and trauma, Salt Lake City with Flourish Therapy working with the LGBTQ+ population, and has recently relocated to the Northern Virginia area and is practicing at the Falls Church Wellness Center.

Anderson specializes in working with LGBTQ+ youth and their families transitioning through various journeys of faith and spirituality. Anderson is the photographer and author of the Mama Dragon Story Project, an ethnographic study which features portraits and autobiographical essays from over 135 Mormon moms who have decided their love for their LGBTQ+ child is greater than religious dogma. Kimberly has pursued a new spiritual path based on truth, science, and love.

Moderators: Aimee Heffernan, LMFT CST & Natasha Helfer, LMFT CST