2017 Fall Forum

The Wisconsin Chapter of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (WI-ATSA) 2017 Fall Forum

Join WI-ATSA and colleagues on November 10th and 11th at the Heidl House Resort and Spa in beautiful Green Lake Wisconsin.  Presentations will be conducted in panel format to facilitate thoughtful discussion in a relaxed atmosphere . Wind down Friday evening and mingle with your colleagues around the bon fire.

November 10 & 11, 2017

Friday: 11:00 am – 4:30 pm (Registration at 10:00 am)  Evening networking opportunity

Saturday: 9:00 am – 2:45 pm

Heidel House Resort and Spa

643 Illinois Avenue

Green Lake, WI 54941


Registration Fee: $115

Fee includes registration for both days, meals, training materials, and 8 CEUs.

Register Online


Rooms are available at a special WI-ATSA price of $79.  Reserve early to get this discounted price.  Contact Heidel House for more information.




Topics and Speakers

Assessing Sexual Deviance: Rating Scales and the Penile Plethysmograph, David Thornton

Friday 11 am – 12pm

Handouts: Assessing Sexual Deviance – Rating Scales and the PPG


Resilience, Burn Out and Transference for Treatment Providers, Eddie Scanlan and Susan McDonald

Friday  1:15 – 2:45 pm

Handouts: Mindfulness and Self Care Resilience

This interactive panel will emphasize the importance of self-care to prevent burnout. This will be done by sharing research on protective factors of resilient people as well as a discussion about the benefits of mindfulness. Participants will have the opportunity to self-reflect on areas where they can grow in self-care and will have an opportunity to practice some techniques in the moment.


Allegiance Bias and Outcome Anxiety for Evaluators, Patti Coffey, Bob Barahal

Friday 1:15 – 2:45 pm

Handouts will be made available in hard copy

The goal of this workshop is to provide a brief review of the relevant research on allegiance bias & common decision-making biases that can influence our work in forensic, clinical, and research settings.  The session will then provide an interactive set of case activities and discussion to explore how these decision-making struggles and unintentional biases that can influence our work.  There will be a focus on understanding how we can work to counter-act these unintentional influences to improve our work.


What Constitutes Treatment Progress, Ernie Marshall, David Thornton, Gina Ambroziak

Friday 3 – 4:30 pm

Handouts: What Constitutes Treatment Progress

This panel session will explore approaches for assessing sexual offenders’ treatment progress, including different strategies for incorporating change into risk assessments, and how conceptualizations of treatment progress may vary between evaluator and treatment provider roles.  Evaluators emphasize factors that have been empirically related to sexual recidivism. Two strategies are common: (1) emphasizing static risk assessment and requiring very substantial evidence of change before reducing the level of risk assigned; and (2) using the VRS-SO change model, which employs empirically estimated  equations that balance the contribution to risk of static, initial dynamic, and change.  The strengths and weakness of these approaches will be discussed in the context of an overall model of change.  Treatment providers utilize several methods to measure treatment progress, often considering subjective interpretation of behavioral expressions of long term vulnerabilities with individual clients. Case examples will be used to explore evaluator and treatment provider perspectives of clients who have made low, medium, or high amounts of change, based on the VRS-SO.  The panel will begin with a presentation of background information and proceed by inviting an interactive discussion with the audience.


Mindful movement, Susan McDonald

Friday 4:45 – 5:30 pm

This optional bonus session following the Friday sessions will allow you to put self-care into action as you try out guided mindful movements. Experience mindful walking, as well as basic yoga, tai chi, and Qi Gong practice.


Trauma Informed Care:Empowering. Engaging. Effective., Mary Hanson

Saturday 9 – 10 am

Handouts: Trauma Informed Care

The goal of this Trauma Informed Care Training is to provide an opportunity for the audience to obtain a better understanding of the general definitions of trauma and its different forms along with its prevalence in our communities. Provided will be opportunity to have a quick overview of the ACE studies to be able to have a clear picture of the effects of trauma on individuals. Also, provided will be a discussion of what trauma informed care looks like when practiced in clinical settings and how it differs from the medical model approach. Finally, the presentation will look at how sex offenders display trauma in their symptoms and behavior and how sex positive treatment can have productive change on overall outcomes.


Leadership through Mindfulness & Compassion, Janet Sterken

Saturday 10:30 am – 12:00 pm

Leadership comes in many forms and styles.  There are multiple theories on leadership styles and numerous identified characteristics of a good leader.  Leadership programs often focus on the skills needed to be a good leader (e.g., problem solving, communication, team building, project management) and oftentimes fail to appreciate how to simply attend to the humanness of those they are leading.  Compassion is not typically a word associated with leadership theories and in some respects has been viewed as a weakness.  However, Compassionate Leadership and Mindful Leadership styles are emerging with numerous benefits.    This workshop will offer a brief overview of the principles of the compassionate and mindful leadership styles as well as the traits of leaders who attend to relationships as a key aspect of their leadership style.  Participants will be able to participate in experimental learning opportunities that support the practices of a compassionate, mindful Leader.


Facilitating Opportunities for Self-Determination, Jacob Schuldies

Saturday 1:15 – 2:45 pm

Handouts: Facilitating Opportunities for Self-Determination

The ability to make decisions that affect one’s life is vital for all individuals. Many clients who have interactions with the forensic system experience unique and significant environmental restrictions on their ability to make self-determined decisions. These barriers can reduce treatment engagement and impact specific risk and desistence factors including grievance thinking, hostility, LEIRA, and self-esteem. This presentation will review the latest research on self-determination, examine the “why try” effect and its impact on therapeutic alliance and client outcomes, and explore how environmental restrictions to client self-determination can produce therapist countertransference and misuse of proxy agency within institutional and community settings. Discussions will be focused on identifying opportunities to improve self-determination as well as assisting professionals in improving alliance, treatment engagement, and client outcomes.