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A two-year certificate program

Tybe Diamond, MSW, Chair

The Washington School of Psychiatry’s the Center for the Study of Psychotherapy for Older Adults and Clinical Applications offers a series of 6 weekend conferences to help professionals stay current in their work with aging adults and their families.

These conferences will provide important knowledge and skills to better serve the aging adult population in a wide range of settings. This longest life stage and its phases requires specialized training.

Six weekend conferences offer interactive, didactic and experiential learning based on theory and research. Content areas include clinical person-centered approaches such as individual, couples, family and expressive therapy; medical; legal and ethical considerations; cognitive impairment; gender and sexuality; cultural competence; diversity and spirituality. Strategies for communicating effectively in difficult situations are woven throughout the conferences.

Participation in the conferences is open to professionals who are interested in increasing their knowledge and skills in working with aging adults. Previous work serving aging adults is not a pre-requisite.

There are two options for participation:

  1. The Certificate Program wherein participants attend the entire cycle of six conferences and  belong to the same small group throughout all six conferences. In addition, monthly individual or small group supervision from September - March is required during each year. Supervision fees are additional to tuition and are $75.00 for an individual session of 45 min. and $50.00 for a 3 person, small group session of 90 min. Individuals choosing the Certificate Program option will be given a list of faculty members who provide supervision. A participant can choose whomever they wish.
  2. Single conferences wherein participants attend on a per conference basis and are assigned to a small group formed only for that particular conference.

It  is  possible to register  for  multiple  conferences. All  participants  receive  continuing  education  credits
for each  conference.  Participants who  attend  all  six conferences and supervision receive a Program Certificate at the end of six conferences. Conference content includes didactic, experiential, expressive components and case discussion. 

All conferences take place at the Washington School of Psychiatry, 5028 Wisconsin Ave., NW, Ste. 400, Washington, DC 200016; Tel: 202. 237. 2700. The conferences are held on Saturday and Sunday, 9:00 am - 5:30 pm, unless stated otherwise on the brochure for each conference. 


The Six Conference Cycle

1. September 15 & 16, 2018

"The Impact of Longevity On Our Clients and Ourselves

Chair: Venus Masselam, FMT, Ph.D

The complex range of emotions accompanying the Aging Adult stage, as the longest development life span stage of  possibly  30 or more years, prevents many aging adults 55 plus from preparing for their own aging as well as clinicians developing the skills and treatment approaches needed for working with this stage. Information sharing and dialoguing  about aging  adults who are developmentally changing  physiologically, emotionally, socially, and cognitively is resource building. By  increasing  our understanding about our clients and  their needs we help to dispel myths  about them and expand  psychotherapeutic   services. The physiological, social and psychological changes present challenges at each of three  phases of transitions through this stage. Material will be presented and shared through didactic as well as experiential small and large groups. 

We are honored to share this life stage through the  words of writer, Judith Viorst. Ms. Viorst graduated from  the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute following 6 years of study there. She is  currently a research affiliate member of the American Psychoanalytic Association.

This first workshop of our 6 weekend training program will provide the context and emotional considerations for understanding all the subsequent topics presented in the following five weekend workshops. 

2. December 8 & 9, 2018

"We Are Never Too Old to Change: Perspectives on Psychotherapy with Aging Adults"

Chair: Kathryn Chefetz, M.S.W

Gerontologist Bob Knight notes that there is a large body of research demonstrating the effectiveness of a broad range of psychological treatments with older adults. This weekend workshop will offer clinicians and geriatric- care providers alike essential information regarding mental health services to aging adults. The value of attention to frequent transference and counter-transference difficulties that arise in work with aging adults will be explored. Participants will learn about a comprehensive geriatric evaluation model, one which incorporates both psychiatric and psychosocial factors and treatment guidelines utilizing psychodynamic technique but modified to address factors specific to the aging adult. Therapeutic work with couples including a focus on sexuality in aging will be presented. Psychological supports for families of aging adults and group therapy with aging adults will be presented . The workshop will be structured to offer both didactic and experiential learning in plenary sessions and break-out groups. Clinical vignettes and case presentations will be offered to illustrate both theory and technique. Join us for what will be a truly informative weekend.

3. March 16 & 17, 2019

"Vulnerability And Decline  Vs. Creativity And Resiliency:
From Just Age-Ing To Joyful Sage-Ing*"

Chair:  Joseph A. Izzo, M.A., L.I.C.S.W.

The developmental psychologist, Erik Erikson, assessed the last phase of human life as a period of consolidation or ego integrity versus decline and despair.  The later Adult years offer the opportunity for continued growth and learning even in the face of physical decline. This weekend conference will explore the dynamic tension between these two aspects of aging – the natural physical and cognitive diminishments of older age along with the opportunities to capitalize on a lifetime of experiences, wisdom and loving relationships in service to oneself and future generations to come. Join us in an exciting exploration of this final journey of life.

*Schachter-Shalomi, Zalman (1995). From Age-ing to Sage-ing – A profound new vision of growing older

4September 14 & 15, 2019

"Medical And Psychiatric Challenges To Successful Aging."

Chair: George Max Saiger, MD, CGP, FAGPA

The eminent physician, Sir William Osler, observed at the close of the 19th century that the later decades present numerous medical challenges, some of them unique this phase of life.  This conference will describe a variety of these conditions, examine their impact on the lives of seniors, and consider intervention strategies. Participants are encouraged to bring case materials to the meeting.  The conference will conclude with an experiential learning component.

5.  December 14 & 15, 2019 

"Factors Influencing The Aging Process"

Chair: Anya Parpura, MD, Ph.D

A variety of factors that can affect how we age, including acculturation issues among older immigrants, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity, sexuality, and loneliness are explored.
This conference is designed to help you:

  • Recognize the influence of immigration on the social status and the role of older immigrants within the family.
  • Summarize barriers that have an impact on the effective use of mental health services by older immigrants.
  • Identify the effects race and ethnicity can have on older adults, especially African Americans and Latinos.
  • Explain the challenges faced by lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender older adults.
  • Describe issues of sexuality as they relate to aging.
  • Enhance your comfort level about sexual issues of the aging population.
  • Discuss the impact of loneliness on one’s mental health, and become familiar with techniques and supports to address loneliness.
  • Analyze your own experience of loneliness

6.  March 14 & 15, 2020

"Overview of Ethics, End of Life, Legal Issues & Spirituality"

Chair: Tybe Diamond, M.S.W

As people approach the end of their lives, they and their families commonly face tasks and decisions that include a broad array of choices ranging from simple to extremely complex. The focus regarding these tasks will be on individuals who are 55 plus.  The tasks can be practical, psychosocial, ethical,  spiritual, legal, existential, or medical in nature. For example, dying persons and their families are faced with choices about what kind of caregiver help they want or need and whether to receive care at home or in an institutional treatment setting. Dying persons may have to make choices about the desired degree of family involvement in caregiving and decision-making. They frequently make legal decisions about wills, advanced directives, and durable powers of attorney. They may make choices about how to expend their limited time and energy. Some may want to reflect on the meaning of life, and some may decide to do a final life review or to deal with psychologically unfinished business. Some may want to participate in planning rituals before or after death. In some religious traditions, confession of sins, preparation to "meet one's maker," or asking forgiveness from those who may have been wronged can be part of end-of-life concerns. All end-of-life choices and medical decisions have complex psychosocial components, ramifications, and consequences that have a significant impact on suffering and the quality of living and dying.

Eligibility and Selection

The Program is open to gerontologists, psychiatrists, medical residents, psychologists, geriatric care managers, social workers, nurses, counselors, geriatric administrators and other health care professionals interested in working with older adults.

Please apply. Applicants are invited to submit a CV and application. An interview with the Program Chair or a member of the Steering Committee will be conducted prior to acceptance into the Program.

The deadline for applications is September 1. (For deadline extensions, call the Chair)

 For Further Information
Contact the Chair with any additional questions:
Tybe Diamond at 202.966.1381 or at


CE/CME Award

1 credit will awarded for each conference hour. There may be some schedule variation in the weekends. Generally, there are 12 credit hours in the two day program.


Participants in the two year certificate program: $2000 total, $1000 due each year.

Fees for individual conferences will be $360 per weekend.

Scholarship Support

Contact the Chair for more information and scholarship information. See:  Scholarship application.


Tybe Diamond, MSW, Chair

Kathryn Chefetz, MSW
Joseph A. Izzo, MA, LICSW
Venus Masselam, PhD
Aleksandra Parpura, MD, PhD
Lenore Pomerance, MSW
Annemarie Russell, MSW, MPH
George Saiger, MD
Margo Silberstein, EdD

Steering Committee (All the faculty above and)

Estelle Berley, MSW
Mary Welker, MSW

Guest Lecturers

Each weekend will have a brochure.  Guest lecturers who are experts in their area of study will be identified in the brochure that will be posted on the Events web page 2.5 months in advance of the conference.


Click on this link for videos from previous programs of the Center for the Study of Aging:

The Sherwin Nuland and the Wendy Miller programs.


Scholarship Application

WSP has very limited scholarship funds. However we will try to help students with a payment plan and scholarship where possible.

About the
Washington School of Psychiatry

Celebrating its 80th year, the School is an accredited provider of post-graduate continuing education.

The Meyer Treatment Center provides low cost access to mental health services. It is an out-of-network facility for insurance purposes.

The Washington School of Psychiatry is an independent non-profit organization. It is not affiliated with the government of the District of Columbia or the government of the United States.

Location and Telephone

5028 Wisconsin Ave NW #400
Washington DC 20016

202-537-6050 Treatment Center

202-237-2700 School

202-237-2730 Fax




Washington School of Psychiatry

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