Annual Conference Speaker Details
Tiffany Diaz, LPCAPRN, PMHNP-BC, MMT
Tiffany Diaz is a dually licensed Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and Master Massage Therapist. She has 27 years of experience in the bodywork industry. Tiffany has owned and operated Barefoot Bodyworks performing Ashiatsu Barefoot Massage and teaching continuing education courses for massage therapists in Arkansas and nationwide. Additionally, in her role as an accredited teacher, she offers courses on Trauma-Informed Massage. Tiffany also currently works at the Center for Psychiatric Wellness, an outpatient clinic in Ft. Smith, providing mental health medication management for adults.
While still a student at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, she made a presentation titled Massage Therapy: A Holistic Approach to the Reduction of Depression and Anxiety at the American Psychiatric Nurses Association’s 33 rd Annual Conference. The presentation was selected for the association’s national conference.
Tiffany believes the trends toward integrative care (a combination of conventional and alternative medical therapies) are indicative of evolving healthcare methods that are beginning to embrace new approaches to treatment. Tiffany’s extensive bodywork experience and hands-on nursing and nurse practitioner experience, combined with her expertise in alternative holistic therapies of bodywork and her understanding of pathology triggers in relation to overall health, give her unique insight into the human mind and body. This understanding is not found independently in either profession and is why Tiffany can teach with such authority.
One of the real-life experiences Tiffany draws from when creating courses on how massage can positively impact mental well-being happened when a woman who’d lost a young child came to her for help. She returned when she was diagnosed with cancer. Tiffany was able to help her deal with crippling grief with regular bodywork sessions. That woman is now healthy and happy and is still a regular client.
“Creating change by challenging narratives,” Vena Schexnayder, Arkansas Problem Gambling Council President and Chairman of the Board, has over ten years of counseling and business development experience in addiction treatment and recovery. She communicates with strategic stakeholders to create meaningful connections within various health care and governmental agencies. She has helped to develop strategic mental health campaigns through her use of impactful storytelling and creative communications.
Vena started her career in the 5th Judicial District Court system as a drug court counselor in Pope County, Arkansas. She later moved to Northern Virginia, where she worked as Policy and Grant Coordinator for NAADAC, the National Association of Addiction Professionals. She helped develop national and international training and policy directives for counseling professionals. When returning to Central Arkansas in 2015, Vena joined Unity Health as the Service Coordinator for the New Vision medical detox stabilization unit. She currently holds the position of Community Health Coordinator for the Unity Health Behavioral Specialty Campus.
Vena received her Masters in Criminal Justice Policy Administration from the University of Arkansas Little Rock with a graduate certification in Conflict Mediation. In addition, Vena holds her Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Counseling certification from Northern Virginia College. She is currently pursuing a Master of Social Work degree at Louisiana State University.
Greg Garrison, M.Ed. & Kerri Garrison, LPC
Greg Garrison holds a Master’s Degree in Education. He has 29 years of experience teaching. He taught in Arkansas public schools his entire career. He has worked with students K through 12, coaching sports, and teaching various art classes. Greg illustrated a children’s book titled “The Dandelion.” He is a retired educator having coached and taught AP art, photography, drawing, 3D art, sculpture, and painting.
Kerri Garrison was a teacher, school counselor, and principal before becoming a licensed therapist. Kerri has worked with children and adults as an educator and therapist for 28 years. Kerri completed training through KC Play and is trained in PCIT, EMDR, and TF-CBT. Kerri is the Chief Clinical Officer at NextStep Counseling in Central and Northeast Arkansas.
Art Techniques in Therapy for All Ages
Greg and Kerri’s presentation will teach counselors how to use art in therapy. The main goal of the workshop is to leave the counselor with techniques to take back to easily implement in sessions. Art brings the client’s heart, mind, and feelings together and turns the intangible into the tangible. Art enables the therapist to see emotions that may be hidden. This assists the therapist and client in processing thoughts and feelings more accurately and thoroughly. Art provides a kinesthetic medium to identify problems and work toward potential solutions in therapy.
1. Identification of problem areas
2. Processing the work
Attendees will learn how to easily identify problem areas through art techniques and process the issues surrounding the problems. Counselors will learn how to begin the session, process the artwork, and wrap up the session. The workshop is for non-artists and requires no art skills. This workshop involves attendees participating by creating art along with the presenters.
Wendy Blackwood, LPC-S, NCC, DCC, EMDR Consultant, Certified Grief Educator
Mrs. Blackwood is an EMDR-certified consultant and a Certified Grief Educator. She has served on the Arkansas Mental Health Counselors Association Board for 12 years and was also appointed to the Arkansas Board of Examiners in Counseling. Mrs. Blackwood is a member of the Trauma Recovery Network, a group of mental health professionals specializing in EMDR and are mental health first responders to national disasters or community crises. She also volunteers with the ArLEAP, Arkansas law enforcement assistance program, which provides peer and professional mental health services to first responders across professions. A note from Mrs. Blackwood:
“Perhaps you want strategies and skills to be prepared and guide clients through the worst days. Or maybe doubt and fear inside of you is whispering that you are not equipped to help others find peace. Perhaps you would like to have even more tools and techniques to share with your clients who come to you seeking hope.
As counselors you know the heartbreak of loss. You’ve experienced or seen in your clients that grief and trauma can break hearts, obscure hope, and wreak havoc on lives.
You know that there is no magical solution to just “get over” or “move on” grief. And yet, you’ve also experienced that clients are more resilient than we ever imagined. In time and with help – clients grow around painful wounds and can experience the gift of peace, and remember with more love than pain.
You can make a powerful difference. For those in their darkest days, you can shine a light and point the way towards healing.”
Crystal Lougin, LPC
Crystal Lougin has been a licensed counselor in the state of Arkansas since 2003. She was appointed in 2021 to the State Board of Examiners in Counseling and Marriage & Family Therapy and currently serves on the Disciplinary Action Review Committee (DARC), for the State Board. Crystal is also the current President of ArMHCA and has been involved with the West Central branch of ArMHCA as well.
Crystal will be covering the topic of General Ethics. This session will provide attendees with a general understanding of the 2014 ACA Code of Ethics and an increased awareness of common ethical dilemmas. Attendees will leave this session with an improved ability to maintain professionalism in a caring profession.
Dr. Larry Henderson, LPC-S
Dr. Larry Henderson has served as a supervisor for LAC and LAMFT counselors for 27 years. He has been a supervisor for Military Chaplains as well and has 55 years of counseling experience. Dr. Henderson will be speaking about Supervision Ethics for Supervisors.
This session will review five scenarios of counselors who appeared before the ARBOEC for alleged ethical violations. Discussion of each situation will focus on the area(s) of violation of the ethical code and what might have been done to avoid the violations.
There will be a wealth of supervision experience in this conference session. Attendees will be encouraged to identify a list of topics that supervisors can be including in supervision to help develop ethically appropriate counselors. Also, supervisors can identify steps they can take to maintain their own ethically appropriate supervision and counseling practices.