The Minnesota Women in Psychology Quarterly Newsletter
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Networking and support for all women in the mental health professions.

Reflections on MWP Fall Retreat

At this year’s Fall Retreat (my first since the 1990’s!), I appreciated the opportunity to be one of the presenters, sharing some of what I’ve learned about one of my favorite topics: subpersonalities (parts/aspects of self).  In the hour-long workshop “Who Do You Think You Are?!”, we explored together how to utilize parts of self and inner dialogue. To do this, we used techniques with variations across several different therapeutic orientations (Jungian, Psychosynthesis, Internal Family Systems, Gestalt, Ego State, Voice Dialogue, Transactional Analysis, Inner Child, Soul Collage). These techniques can be used with clients and with ourselves.  After introducing a few of my own subpersonalities, including “Willie” who dons a Boston Red Sox baseball cap (and also showed up in the “Laughter Yoga” workshop the following morning), participants had a chance to work with some of their own subpersonalities. 
As a facilitator, it was a pleasure to work with such a willing, interested, and fun group.  People were such good sports.  My only regret:  not having more time to hear from the many other “characters” who began inhabiting our little space!
by Diane Barrett, Ph.D., LP


Joan Ungar led us through SoulCollage®, an experience used to expand creativity, deepen intuition, and to strengthen self-awareness. Participants used images to make 5 x 8” cards that reflected parts of themselves. This was a popular breakout session this year; attendees really enjoyed the opportunity to use art in a therapeutic way. This is an excellent example of how our receptive, engaged, and enthusiastic members took full advantage of life-affirming experiences at the MWP fall retreat.
by Joy Sales, M.A., Doctoral Candidate

Watering the Heart-Root:
Songs & Chants for Emotional and Spiritual Well-Being

A workshop by  Mindy Benowitz, Ph.D., L.P.

I thoroughly enjoyed leading my workshop at the MWP Fall Retreat!  The women there were openhearted and enthusiastic and made it easy for me to set aside any nervousness I felt when I started.  My workshop was called, “Watering the Heart-Root: Songs & Chants for Emotional and Spiritual Well-Being” (a one-hour sample of my larger workshop).  After leading playful movement and voice exercises to get comfortable and warmed up, I taught short songs and chants I’ve written designed to help people feel a deeper sense of worthiness, love, acceptance, trust, gratitude, and spiritual connection.  No singing aptitude is needed to participate; the workshop is for everyone, not just “singers”.  I shared stories of powerful experiences I’ve had that fit the themes of the workshop.  Near the end, people were invited to reflect on a time they felt a special sense of feeling loved, helped, or supported in a spiritual way and then either share it in a small group, write, or draw about it. They then shared it in a small group, or wrote or drew about it. I was very moved by the stories people shared.

I am a Licensed Psychologist in private practice in the Uptown area of Minneapolis. In addition to providing psychotherapy, I am in the process of recording songs and chants so they can be made available to the public. My workshop is a good fit for a variety of settings: medical and C.D. treatment centers, mental health and wellness centers, and for religious and spiritual organizations and retreats.  For more information please contact me at: 612.870.0398 or      
by Mindy Benowitz, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist
The MWP Fall Retreat took place the first weekend in October, and what a weekend it was! We had sunny and pleasant fall weather, sunny and pleasant during the day and a refreshing chill to the air as the sun went down. The leaves were just beginning their color transition. I realized that it had been a long while since I last took the time to let myself breathe, live, and enjoy this beautiful (but ridiculously busy) season. It was truly a gift to have had time planned for the purpose of expanding myself and my connections. As a member of this year’s planning committee it was a privilege to offer this gift to other women, a gift that was reciprocated exponentially during the weekend. Nature offered its rich bounty at Koinonia Retreat Center, but the Women of MWP made the fall retreat an experience to remember.

We began our retreat on a lovely Friday afternoon. Some women arrived early, looking energized and ready to engage. Others arrived a little later after a busy workday and Friday afternoon traffic, looking to find some peace and relaxation. That first night, Lisa Irgens invited us to liberate our freer selves and explore the power of our individual and collective souls during a drumming session. Imagine sitting around a roaring bonfire with 23 women who are unafraid to live their lives to the beat of a different drum and whose synchronization embodies soulful connection. It was a magical experience.

Saturday offered time for personal and collective growth through structured group workshops as well as ample free time to deepen connections, walk the meditative labyrinth and other grounds, snack, talk, dance and create. Amazing volunteers led our workshops. We decided to offer a 2-hour session time for three of the sessions. Joan Unger presented on the SoulCollage®, which was a popular session allowing for creativity, deepening intuition and strengthening self-awareness. Leslie Root’s experience with the Enneagram provided rich information about ways to understand our clients, others with whom we have relationships, and ourselves. Roberta Sorenson explored the interpersonal implications for the various Myers-Briggs types, including the implications of our non-dominant functions.

There were also traditional 1-hour sessions. Diane Barrett worked with us using imagery to help us integrate inner aspects of self. Mindy Benowitz offered an engaging and interactive session on songs, chants and stories using her personal vulnerability to encourage attendees to open up to their own inner experiences with genuine messages presented in song. Lauren Robins reminded us of the importance of cultivating resiliency in ourselves, given the challenges of our work. She demonstrated how mindfulness and yoga could be applied to resiliency building. While the content of all sessions was engaging, the individual presence and energy that each brought to the retreat enhanced the overall experience. Throughout the weekend, attendees were invited to contribute meaningful quotes to our “wise woman tree”- a tribute to the collective wisdom of women.
Sunday was a day for packing up, exchanging contact information, and planning ways to maintain new connections. Dianne Hansen sent us laughing on our way with a wrap-up session of Laughter Yoga. We ate one last meal together before heading back to our lives a little more engaged, a little more relaxed, and a whole lot more connected.

Do you want to make sure that this event happens next year? Join the 2016 planning committee! Contact me at to let me know of your interest, as I will hold an initial meeting to get the ball rolling!
by Joy Sales, M.A., Doctoral Candidate

Q: What is the number one complication of childbirth in the US?
A: Perinatal Mood Disorders

It is estimated that 1 in 7 women will experience a Perinatal Mood Disorder during pregnancy or following childbirth. That is a huge number and reflects too much distress for too many moms and their families!

Despite the astronomical numbers of women and families affected, Perinatal Mental Health is not given much attention, even within the mental health community. I will never forget a colleague who said to me: “We spent so much time talking about the ethics of accepting gifts from clients [while earning our degrees] and yet Postpartum Depression was never mentioned”. This is particularly disappointing due to how widespread Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders are, and that we are the ones in a position to identify and treat them.

As mental health professionals we can play an important role not only in recognizing and treating Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders but also by raising awareness in our communities.  Perinatal Mood disorders are pervasive and yet most women don’t learn about them until they are experiencing symptoms and seek help. By that time many women are simply feeling like they are terrible parents instead of recognizing that they have a treatable mental health concern. Lack of knowledge coupled with perfectionistic ideals and the myths of motherhood keep many women from seeking the help they need and deserve. As mental health professionals we can play a crucial role in educating our communities to recognize Perinatal Mental Health concerns and to know that support is available.

If you would like to learn more about symptoms and risk factors for Perinatal Mood Disorders Postpartum Support International is an excellent resource. We are also very lucky locally to have Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Minnesota (PPSM) locally. PPSM was founded by MWP members in 2006 and offers a help-line, training, and increases public awareness of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety disorders. PPSM is hosting a workshop December 5, 2015 on Maternal Mental Health and a volunteer training for the helpline. CEU’s are available and for those planning to volunteer on the helpline, the training cost may be waived. Please contact PPSM or workshop facilitator and helpline director, Allison Peterson, LP (and MWP member) at 612.486.2956 for more information.
by Trisha Falvey, M.A., LMFT

MWP will be 39 years old in June, 2016!  

I hope to begin putting together a Special Edition Newsletter to celebrate our 40th Anniversary. Do you have ideas of what we should include? Do you want to help with the planning?  Would you like to submit an article and share your memories?  We hope so!  Please contact Susan Whalen ( with your thoughts.
by Susan Whalen, LICSW
 Executive Committee Chair

Professional Development Committee Update

We are planning to continue the “oldies but goodies” and also adding some new ideas this year. We will continue working on expanding the brown bag format to brief presentations/discussions at various times of day. We plan to continue with mentoring and the private practice group. We will also be sponsoring lecture series on specific topics. Ruth Markowitz will again offer workshops focusing on therapist transition to retirement. New this year, EC member Deb Rich will be offering overview workshops on reproductive health psychology. She will be our featured speaker at a spring training for which we will offer three CEUs. More ideas are in the works. We continue to be interested in hearing what topics you’d like to learn more about.
by Deb Rich, Ph.D., LP and Felixia Rosales, M.A.
Professional Development Committee Co-Chairs

Minnesota Jewish Pregnancy Loss Initiative Underway

In response to unmet needs expressed by Minnesota Jewish families, the Minnesota Rabbinical Association, Minnesota Cantorial Association and Hodroff-Epstein Funeral Homes have undertaken a Jewish Pregnancy Loss Initiative. The project was launched with a Service of Comfort at Adath Chesed Shel Emes Cemetery on October 25, during the final week of National Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month, and included the dedication of Gan Chalomot, or Garden of Dreams, a designated area for burial of early pregnancy losses. Representative Jewish clergy welcomed Minnesota Jewish families who experienced a pregnancy loss or newborn death at any time and their supportive family and community members.
The Service of Comfort was the first step in illuminating this life experience and honoring it with ritual that is rooted in Jewish practice and tradition. In Jewish life, we place significant emphasis on having children and joyfully welcome each newborn into the community. But the many families who experience pregnancy loss or newborn death are left without skilled Jewish guidance. Our Rabbis have the necessary skills of pastoral care and ritual development, but, this tragic experience of family life is not covered in the curricula of Rabbinical School and it is not anticipated in community resources or programming.


Over the last 30 years, the field of pregnancy loss and newborn death, called perinatal bereavement, has made significant strides in the secular world. Scientific research has demonstrated that the transition to parenthood is a significant formative event in the lives of prospective parents and that parental attachment begins very early in pregnancy. Recognizing that up to 25% of pregnancies do not result in live birth and that most women experience even early miscarriage as a significant loss,  most major metropolitan medical centers and providers  have  implemented  evidence  based  practice  standards  which  guide  interdisciplinary and patient-centered care for these circumstances. Couples are guided through choices from a standardized "menu" of options which address medical treatment, emotional and spiritual support, memory-making and ritual. Much as medical sites attempt to respond to diverse communities, best practice in perinatal bereavement is largely informed by a Christian understanding of death and personhood combined with scientific research which demonstrates profound parental bonding early in pregnancy. As a result, Jewish families must sort through the generic resources which are provided by their medical team and attempt to adapt them to their needs.

Why Now?

Minnesota State law requires that all fetal remains, regardless of gestational age, receive a proper and dignified burial in a designated burial location. This includes the earliest of miscarriages. Local hospitals have longstanding partnerships with Christian funeral homes and cemeteries to meet this requirement via group burial or group cremation with a Christian burial service. Recently, Minnesota State law added a requirement that families be notified of the specific disposition arrangements that the hospital makes for early pregnancy losses. Jewish congregational and community leadership has been uninformed about these requirements and unprepared to routinely provide a Jewish funeral director and Jewish cemetery. As a result, Jewish families who may not otherwise have anticipated a need to make such arrangements learn that hospital default for early miscarriage involves partnerships with Christian cemeteries for ritual and burial. Jewish bereaved parents who seek support alongside non-Jewish bereaved parents experience, with sharp poignancy, a feeling of abandonment and isolation.
In coming months, local Jewish leaders and pregnancy loss experts will be formalizing a Minnesota Pregnancy Loss Initiative, the mission of which is to disseminate knowledge to community leadership, strengthen partnerships with the medical community and improve family access to expert support services by mobilizing existing infrastructures which support Jewish life. For further information, please contact Rabbi Lynn Liberman, Community Chaplain, Jewish Family Service of St. Paul:
by Deborah Rich, PhD
Licensed Psychologist and Certified Perinatal Loss Caregiver

Deb Rich, PhD. is a licensed psychologist with over 25 years of specialty experience in reproductive health psychology. She is the founder and director of Shoshana Center for Reproductive Health Psychology and created MommaCareTM Training ( In addition to her clinical work, she provides interdisciplinary professional training, consultation and program development both locally and nationally. Dr. Rich currently serves on the board of the North American Society for Psychosocial Obstetrics and Gynecology, Minnesota Women in Psychology and Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Minnesota. She was a founding board member of the Pregnancy Loss and Infant Death Alliance, and is a certified trainer and national faculty member of Resolve Through Sharing. Shoshana Center is named in memory of Dr. Rich’s first child, a daughter, who was stillborn in 1985. This experience profoundly shaped her work.

Wine & Chocolate 2015

What a great time at Wine and Chocolate 2015!  The event took place at the Radisson Roseville on Oct. 19, 2015.  The room was comfortable, the food was tasty, the prize drawings were fun, and best of all – lots of networking and conversations!

Once again, we featured the Passports to Opportunity. Attendees visited information tables to get their Passports “stamped”. A different committee ran each table, and this was a good way for individual committees to share what they have been and plan to work on doing this year. Completed passports were put in a drawing for gifts such as wine, baskets of goodies, Jamberry Nails, and gift certificates to local eateries.

I was really excited to see all the names on the sign-up sheets! If you signed up to get more information or to volunteer for any committee, here is a reminder: Committee meetings are held every other month as a part of the Executive Committee meetings. Check your eBlasts – you’ll find dates, times, and locations for the Executive Committee meetings listed on the calendar. We would love to have you join us!

We added a surprise to this year’s Wine and Chocolate – a raffle to raise funds for the Dorothy Loeffler Scholarship Fund! Our thanks to all who participated by purchasing raffle tickets. We had two prizes: a gift certificate for a massage, and a gift certificate for chiropractic services.

We had quite a few graduate students attend Wine and Chocolate this year. I talked with several of them who were surprised and pleased to learn that an organization like Minnesota Women in Psychology exists. Thanks to Student Outreach, for getting the word out. Students like these can be active members of MWP now, and they are our future as well.

Another Wine and Chocolate “tradition” is for MWP members to invite guests. This year, any member who had three or more guests attend Wine and Chocolate received a free registration for the Annual Meeting in the spring. Congratulations to Rebecca Chesin, and our thanks for spreading the word about MWP.

There are so many people to thank for putting Wine and Chocolate together: Susan Whalen for making her welcoming remarks; Executive Committee members for working at their tables and sharing information about MWP, and also for donating gifts for the Passport and raffle prizes; Rita Stanoch for taking pictures; Ruth Markowitz, Kathy Johnson, and Cathy Skrip – former Executive Committee members who helped out at the event with whatever needed to be done. If I don’t have your name here, please forgive me and know that your contributions are appreciated, too!

If you attended Wine and Chocolate this year, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! Whether you attended this year or not, I look forward to seeing you at Wine and Chocolate 2016!
by Laurie Nelson, LICSW
Membership Committee Chair

MWP Member Ads

Contributors to this Newsletter

Diane Barrett, Ph.D., LP
Mindy Benowitz, Ph.D., LP
Trisha Falvey, M.A., LMFT
Laurie Nelson, LICSW

Deborah Rich, Ph.D., LP
Felixia Rosales, M.A.
Joy Sales, M.A., Doctoral Candidate
Susan Whalen, LICSW
Newsletter Editor
Farren Swanson, M.A., LMFT
Production Coordinator
Susan Johnson
Web Site
The MWP Newsletter 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 “Newsletter” 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.

2015-2016 Executive Committee
Susan Whalen, LICSW; chair
Hanin Ailabouni, M.S. Ed.; vice-chair
Deb Beemer, M.A., LPC; treasurer
Farren Swanson, M.A., LMFT; Newsletter
Kathy Boisjoli, M.A.
Jennifer Fallon, Ph.D., LP

Beth Johnson, LAMFT
Laurie Nelson, LICSW
Deb Rich, Ph.D., LP
Leslie Root, M.A., LMFT
Felixia Rosales, M.A.
Beth Siegel, M.A.
Miriam Zachary, 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

Calendar of Events

Saturday, November 21
Student Group
12:30 PM
Location: Amore Coffee
FFI: Kyja at or Beth at

Monday, November 23
Domestic Violence Discussion Group
3:00 PM
Location: 2233 Hamline Ave N, St Paul
FFI: Beth at

Wednesday, December 2
Social Action Committee Workshop
"Domestic Violence and the Legal System"
9:00 AM-12:00 PM
Location: Mounds View Community Center, 5394 Edgewood Dr., Mounds View
FFI: Beth

Saturday, December 12
Private Practice Group
9:00-11:00 AM
Location: The Wedge Table, 2412 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis
FFI: Heather, text 612.460.5799 email

Saturday, December 12
Social Action Book Discussion
1:30-3:00 PM
Location: Pinnacle Behavioral Healthcare LLC, 7250 France Ave #302, Edina
FFI: Jane Whiteside at

Monday, December 14
Executive Committee
7:00-9:00 PM
Networking/Socialization at 6:30 PM
Location: Como Park Grill, 1341 Pascal St, St Paul
FFI: Susan at

Saturday, December 19
Student Group
12:30 PM
Location: Amore Coffee
FFI: Kyja at or Beth at


Saturday, January 9
Private Practice Group
9:00-11:00 AM
Location: The Wedge Table, 2412 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis
FFI: Heather, text 612.460.5799 email

Monday, January 11
Executive Committee/All Committees
7:00-9:00 PM
Networking/Socialization at 6:30 PM
Location: Como Park Grill, 1341 Pascal St, St Paul
FFI: Susan at

Saturday, January 16
Student Group
12:30 PM
Location: Amore Coffee
FFI: Kyja at or Beth at

Copyright © 2015 Minnesota Women in Psychology, All rights reserved.

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