MWP Networker is the Quarterly Newsletter for Minnesota Women in Psychology
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MWP Networker

Winter 2017

Moving From Generation Me to We:
Teaching Generation Accommodation Advocacy Skills

In the 1970s, Tom Wolfe dubbed the term, “Generation Me” while Christopher Lasch described a rising culture of narcissism. Author Jean Twenge’s 2006 (updated 2014 edition) book Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans are More Confident, Assertive, and Entitled—and more miserable than ever continues the narrative of a self-focused generation. Her newest book, iGen will be hitting bookstores in a few months. 

For the past two years, I have been diligently researching accommodation requests and requirements for individuals born between 1995—present and their impact on our future workforce. Most popular literature calls this population Generation Z, but I call them Generation A because of the myriad of words that start with the letter A that describes the overall experience of children aged 18 and younger. Gen A is growing up in an age of abundance (technology, information, food, toys), anxiety (especially parental anxiety), artificial intelligence, assessments, ailments (Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, addiction, asthma, attachment disorder, anxiety and anti-depressants, allergies and anaphylaxis, and autoimmune disorders) and lastly accommodations to assist with all of the above listed ailments. 

My research on Generation Accommodation finds that between 2006—2014 there was a 69% increase in the amount of IEPs for students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder throughout Minnesota schools. There are many ramifications for all of these AS and I continue to gather incredible data supporting this work. The role of parental advocacy has never been so visible and I would argue important. For example, a very young child with a severe and life-threatening food allergy needs a parent to advocate for them within the school system to make sure they are not accidentally exposed to a minuscule amount of food that could kill them. A kindergarten student with a food allergy likely does not have the skills to read food labels on their own and may not know how to speak up for themselves and explain their situation to teachers, substitutes, paraprofessionals, kitchen staff, and other students. This example of parental advocacy literally saves lives. Advocating for children with ASD, ADHD, anxiety, and other ailments is just as important, if not more complicated. 

Parents and family members are typically the most influential advocates. Busse (2012) writes, “For many people, especially those identified with autism at an early age, the families become the advocate for services and change.” Given this increasing role of family and parental advocacy and likely focus on individual needs in order to survive and thrive within school systems throughout the country, is it possible to avoid following the Generation Me trends cited by Wolfe, Lashe, and Twenge? And if so, how do we assist our young clients in developing the ability to advocate for themselves and others?

I would argue that the antidote to this dilemma is teaching our children and teens advocacy skills in group settings. Shore’s 2003 definition of advocacy is, “realizing what a person needs in order to maximize his or her functioning in life and knowing how to arrange the environment or obtain necessary accommodations to do so.” The foundation of advocacy is knowledge of one’s rights. Secondly, attainment of communication and leadership abilities is essential for explaining needs and influencing individuals in positions of authority and decision-making capabilities. Reid (2012) writes, “Being able to communicate effectively with others through negotiation, assertiveness, and problem-solving in individual and group settings is necessary to self-advocate. Test, Fowler, Wood, Brewer, and Eddy (2005) take this one step further by noting that, “leadership skills which involve awareness of common needs and desires of others, group dynamics, and accepting responsibility, enable a person to move from individual self-advocacy to advocating for others as a group with common concerns.”

Caldwell (2010) notes that individuals with ASD diagnosis developed self-advocacy skills within disability communities and family relationships. Volunteering, working on committees, and in workshop settings was the most effective way to build self-advocacy skills. Learning and practicing advocacy skills within a group setting provides individuals with the opportunity to master their abilities to speak up for their needs and the needs of others by moving Generation Me to Generation We.
Please join us on Thursday, May 11 from 12 noon - 1:30 PM at Adler Graduate School, 1550 78th Street, Richfield, MN 55423 for Megan's presentation on Generation Accommodation and Advocacy. Megan will present on her current research and solicit audience participation by inviting MWP members to share their experience and wisdom with the group on the topic of teaching and coaching advocacy skills.

by Megan Meuli, M.A.
Career Counselor and Adler Graduate School Adjunct Faculty
Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Busse, K. (2012). Self-advocacy and Autism (Unpublished master’s summary paper).Adler Graduate School, Richfield, Minnesota, U.S.A., and

Caldwell, J.K. (2010). Leadership development of individuals with developmental disabilities in the self-advocacy movement. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 54 (II), 1004—1014.

Minnesota Department of Education. (2017). Data Reports and Analytics.

Reid, A.M. (2012). Self-Advocacy, Autism, & Adlerian Psychology (Unpublished master’s summary paper). Adler Graduate School, Richfield, Minnesota, U.S.A.

Shore, S. (2003). Beyond the Wall: Personal Experiences with Autism and Asperger Syndrome (2nd ed). Shawnee Mission, KS: Autism Asperger Publishing Company.

Test, D.W., Fowler, C.H., Wood, W.M., Brewer, D.M., and Eddy, S. (2005). A conceptual framework of self-advocacy for students with disabilities. Remedial and Special Education, 26(1), 43—54.

Membership Engagement!

Want to get just a little bit more engaged with MWP?
Here’s your chance!
Help us pair members who have volunteered their help to current MWP projects. 
As Volunteer Coordinator, you would call interested members when MWP committees are looking for specific help. This position is anticipated to take a couple hours/month at most, and does not involve any cold calls. 
Help us better use the help we have -- our amazing volunteer members!

by Jennifer Fallon, Ph.D., LP
on behalf of the Executive Committee

MWP Puts the Action Back into Social Action

This holiday season MWP members volunteered at two Cornerstone shelter events.  Cornerstone is a shelter for battered women in Bloomington.  During the first event, MWP members helped transform the shelter into a winter wonderland.  Some of the rooms in the shelter became shops full of new presents. The Cornerstone shelter, after being decorated, hosted approximately 400 children and their families to an incredible day of giving, receiving and holiday cheer.  During this event, MWP members became elves and helped children at the shelter shop for gifts and wrap presents for their family members. Upon arrival at the shelter, the MWP volunteers were immediately put to work and helped a family with 9 children shop for their siblings and parents.  The joy and excitement on these children’s’ faces were unmistakable!  The children also got to visit with Santa, eat holiday treats and listen to live holiday music.  The MWP volunteers were constantly busy helping families during the two-hour event, with some networking and chatting in between.  Everyone agreed it was a very rewarding day of giving back!

Social Action will be planning a spring event that will be more advocacy oriented.  An issue or project hasn’t been chosen but will most likely be related to gender equality or sexual violence prevention.  If you are interested in being on the Social Action Planning Committee, please contact Beth Johnson at

by Beth Johnson, LMFT
Executive Committee Member

MWP Celebrates 40 Years!

Have you heard that our organization will be celebrating its 40th birthday this spring? The 40th Anniversary Planning Committee has been meeting, brainstorming, reaching out and connecting to speakers and so much more over the last few months. 

We have secured event space at Surly Brewing in the upstairs event center. If you have ever been to Surly on a weekend, you might be familiar with the 2-3 hour wait for a table. The food they serve is delicious! The Planning Committee seemed to agree upon this after meeting here for lunch.
We have narrowed down our contacts for entertainment and potential speakers for the event.
Keep connected through our EBlast to see more announcements about this very special event, and be sure to register when the opportunity is open to do so.

Mark your calendar for Monday, May 15th and block your late afternoon and evening off to join us for some great food, entertainment and networking.

by Farren Swanson, M.A., LMFT
MWP Networker Editor
Executive Committee Member
On behalf of the 40th Anniversary Planning Committee

Self-Care Strategies

I have been reflecting on Farren’s post on self-care strategies in the workplace that was posted in the MWP Fall Newsletter. As a clinician, this is often a topic that is brought up in sessions with helping clients restore their balance in life.  Helping clients identify and create strategies that help manage emotional health helps develop resiliency in coping with all the challenges life has. 

Have you heard of Smart goals? This is a method of setting goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. For example, I want to lose 10 pounds is a wish, not really a goal. If you break it down into a plan this helps create an environment for change: I will walk for 20 minutes a day and work on having fruit as a snack instead of cookies three times this next week. I first learned about this in the corporate world where it is often used with projects and employee performance plans. I now use it a lot in therapy. With behavior activation therapy interventions, these types of goals can be helpful to create some momentum. Having concrete goals can be helpful for clients struggling with a depression that impedes their ability to function.  Helping a client engage and create a healthy environment starts out small. Maintaining house chores as a goal can be: I will do two chores a day. Then list specific examples of this, such as: empty the litter and wash the dishes on Monday. Tuesday get the mail and do one load of laundry. 
Another tool I have used is having clients write a structured journal assignment identifying all the facets in their life that contribute to nurturing their body, mind, spirit, and soul. Here are the topics below I have them work through in creating their plan. Often the act of journaling really helps clients gain insight and objectivity at discovering all the resources they have in taking care of their needs!
Self-Care Plan
  • Time Management (scheduling breaks/leave work early/vacation, boundaries “No.” is a complete sentence, evaluate values “is this really what I need to be doing?”)
  • Cognitive Self-Care (meditation, reading schedule; nonfiction/fiction, self-help, faith, journaling/writing,)
  • Physical Self-Care (variety of exercise, walking, eating, sleep hygiene, breathing, stretching)
  • Emotional Self-Care (identify attributes, talking to friends, acknowledge feelings) 
  • Organizational Supports (support group, friends, church/faith, friends, colleagues, professional organizations)

by Denise L. Dworakoski, M.A., LPCC 

Member Spotlight:

Beth Quinby, M.A.
Farren Grace Swanson (FGS): How long have you been working in the field of mental health?

Beth Quinby (BQ): I've been in the field since my sophomore year of college. So, 7 years. I was originally a music education major, until I took a few classes and felt that it just wasn't what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I remembered my high school psychology classes and took a few, and fell in love with the field. I was really involved in research during college, with a few positions as a Direct Support Professional. Unfortunately, the mental health system in Iowa is not as involved as it is here, so I've thoroughly benefited from moving north!

FGS: What do you find most enjoyable about your work?

BQ: I love that I get to work with such a wide variety of people on such a personal basis. I've had so many eye-opening experiences, learning about people, what they've experienced in their life, and stepping into their worldview. I love the learning that comes with it. 

FGS: Tell me about your involvement with MWP: 

BQ: I joined MWP as a graduate student. I went to St Mary's for my interview and there were pamphlets sitting out. I knew I would want a way to become more involved. I've been involved with the Midwestern Psychological Association and have been able to meet people and go to conferences that way.  
During my first year as a member of MWP, a spot on the Executive Committee [EC] opened up and I thought "why not?" I was able to get a spot. Before the first meeting Cathy Skrip called me about a bit of an awkward situation... students weren't allowed to vote, so I wouldn't be able to vote for anything as an EC Member. It was never an issue, the ladies on the EC are so open and engaged, I have always been able to voice my opinion and be heard. 

After having spent a year as a member of MWP, I felt there was a lack of programming for students. I really wanted to be able to get to know more experienced people in the field to experience their wisdom, and to find people in the same boat as I was, graduate school. Michele Purtle, a fellow EC member and a newly licensed practitioner, felt the same way. Once again, the ladies of the EC were open and excited about our ideas. And so began MWP Student Group. 

During my second year on EC we started getting the social action group back together. I chaired it during my last term, and we were able to do a small workshop called Domestic Violence: What a Therapist Should Know. We had a lawyer, a trauma therapist, and our very own Beth Johnson, lawyer turned therapist, present. It was wonderfully informative. 

I continue to be involved in both Student Group (Kyja Foster-Dezurik is the new Student Representative) and Social Action, as well as EC. I also continue to be so impressed by the openness and passion of all the women I meet!

FGS: What is something you have learned that you find yourself drawing upon regularly?

BQ: Oh goodness, I've learned how easily people rush to judgment. I don't think I appreciated just how often that happens, and how unfair it can be. It's so easy to attribute your own meaning to another person's actions, and I am constantly trying to check myself from doing this. 

FGS: How about any specialties you may have?

BQ: I've done a lot of work with trauma survivors, and felons. I think my specialty could be considered forensic populations, or perpetrators and survivors of trauma, which are often one in the same. 

FGS: What are you wearing?

BQ: Jeans, a black shirt, and a green sweater, because there is a Packer game tomorrow so I have to wear something Green Bay Green.

FGS: What kind of coffee are you drinking?

BQ: Mocha. Mmmmm.

FGS: What gets you out of bed each day?

BQ: The thought that if I don't go to the gym, I won't get any endorphins in my system. 

FGS: Can you tell me something random about yourself? Something that might surprise people, or maybe something people could relate to you about?

BQ: I started a Bullet Journal at the beginning of 2017. I'm obsessed. It's like a regular journal but it uses a ton of creativity and is about more than writing down feelings and reflections on the day, which I have historically been bad at. It can be individualized to each person, so I bought a notebook and created a graph to be able to chart different physiological symptoms (headache, stomach ache, etc.), feelings (happy, anxious, etc.), minutes of exercise, cups of coffee, glasses of water, etc. so at the end of the month I can see how my physical and mental health may be influenced by each other, and miscellaneous habits I am tracking. I'm a researcher at heart, so I am eagerly awaiting the end of the month to nerd out and study my trends! 

FGS: Anything else you would like to share with our readers?

BQ: I would encourage people to get involved! We have so many cool things going on, and if there isn't anything that interests you, make it happen! As a group, we are so open to suggestions and new adventures!

by Farren Swanson, M.A., LMFT
MWP Networker Editor
Executive Committee Member


MWP Networker Editor
Farren Swanson, M.A., LMFT
Production Coordinator
Susan Johnson
Web Site
The MWP Networker is published four times a year by Minnesota Women in Psychology for its members. All articles and announcements may be edited to conform to space limitations or to improve clarity, without permission of writers. Contributors are given credit via byline. Email articles and items of interest to Be sure to include “Networker” in the subject line.

Advertising Guidelines: Ads must be of interest to women psychologists, and MWP reserves the right to reject or edit advertising. Publication of any advertising does not constitute endorsement; advertising by therapists must follow APA guidelines. Cost: Ads will be accepted in increments of business card size (2” x 3 ½”); cost of one business-card-size ad is $20, two—$35, three—$50, four—$60, etc., up to $100 for 8-card-size, equivalent of a full-page ad. All advertising must be prepaid. Procedures: Ads must be camera ready and fit the requirement of increments of business card size. Submit by the newsletter deadline to: or MWP, 5244 114th Ave, Clear Lake, MN 55319.

2016-2017 Executive Committee
Hanin Ailabouni, M.S. Ed., LPC, NCC - Chair
Felixia Valerius M.A.  -Vice Chair
Miriam Zachary, M.A., LMFT - Treasurer
Farren Swanson, M.A., LMFT - Newsletter Editor
Kyja Foster-DeZurik, M.A., LADC, BCC
Julie Gunderson, M.A.
Analisa Jayasekera, M.A., LAMFT
Beth Johnson LAMFT
Laurie Nelson, LICSW
Elizabeth Quinby, M.A.
Deb Rich, Ph.D., LP
Lauren Robbins, M.S., LPCC, LADC
Stacey Stillmunkes, M.A., LMFT

Regular & Retired Membership in MWP is available to women who hold either a Master’s or doctoral degree in one of the fields of mental health or a related field from a regionally accredited institution and eligible for licensure in Minnesota in one of the fields of mental health.

Student Membership in MWP is available to women who are in the process of becoming a licensed mental health professional who have not yet earned a graduate degree. Student members are not voting members of the organization. Student representatives on Executive Committee may participate in consensus votes within Executive Committee but may never participate to break a tie vote.

Annual dues are based on a sliding scale according to the annual income of the member, currently ranging from $30 to $80 per year. Membership applications are available by emailing the MWP office at or on the website at

Contributors to this Issue

Denise L. Dworakoski, M.A., LPCC

Jennifer Fallon, Ph.D., LP

Beth Johnson, LMFT

Megan Meuli, M.A.

Beth Quinby, M.A.

Farren Swanson, M.A., LMFT




Saturday, February 18
MWP Student Group
12:30-2:00 PM
Location: Amore Coffee Shop, 879 Smith Ave S, Saint Paul

Thursday, February 23
MWP Networking Group
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Location: Claddagh Coffee Shop, 459 7th St W, Saint Paul

Thursday, March 9
Spotlight Growth Series
12:00-1:30 PM
Stillness, Truth, and Listening to Your Inner Guidance: Empowering the Divine Feminine
Location: 1619 Dayton Ave, Saint Paul 55104

Monday, March 13
Executive Committee Meeting

7:30-9:00 PM
Networking 7:00-7:30 PM
Family Tree Building, 1619 Dayton Ave, Saint Paul

Wednesday, March 15
Spotlight Growth Series
11:30 AM-1:00 PM
A Companion Animal for you Client
Location: 1619 Dayton Ave, Saint Paul 55104


Saturday, March 18
MWP Student Group
12:30-2:00 PM
Location: Amore Coffee Shop, 879 Smith Ave S, Saint Paul

Thursday, March 23
MWP Networking Group
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Location: Claddagh Coffee Shop, 459 7th St W, Saint Paul

Saturday, March 25
MWP Book Group Discussion
1:30-3:00 PM
BooK: "The Girl with Seven Names" by Hyeonseo Lee
Location: Pinnacle Behaioral Healthcare, 7250 France Ave, Edina
FFI: Jane at

Thursday, March 30

CEU Workshop Event
Brains, Body, and Voices:
The General Practitioners Guide to Addressing Eating, Weight, Body Image & Societal Messages

8:30 AM-12:30 PM
Location: The Wellstone Center, 179 Robie St E, Saint Paul
Click here to register
Click here to download a pdf flyer of the event

Thursday, April 13
Spotlight Growth Series

Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)
12:00-1:30 PM

Tuesday, April 18

Spotlight Growth Series
Seeds of Mindfulness
1:00-2:30 PM
Location: 3043 47th Ave S, Minneapolis 55406

Thursday, May 11

Spotlight Growth Series
Moving from Generation Me to We
12:00 - 1:30 PM
Adler Graduation School, 1550 78th St, Richfield 55423

Monday, May 15
40th Anniversary Celebration
Location: Surly Brewing Co

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