7th Annual Adler Academy of Minnesota Conference – Sept 29th, 2023

Save the date for our 7th annual conference:

Adler Academy of MN

Fall 2023 Conference

Friday, September 29, 2023

MN Landscape Arboretum

“Helping clients change: Finding courage, with hope, humor, and happiness.”

with Craig Balfany, Erin Rafferty Bugher, and Marina Bluvshtein


Helping clients change takes movement and is a collaborative process. In this workshop, we will explore creative ways to encourage change. The day will start with a lecture and therapeutic demonstration inviting participants to revisit ideas of hope, humor, and a sense of happiness as fueling courage to overcome life impasses. The ethics of creative non-linear interventions (such as humor) will be addressed throughout. Following the lecture, participants will be guided in an active, hands-on weaving experiential that will result in both community and individual projects. The relevance of weaving from a variety of cultural perspectives will be discussed. We will demonstrate how therapists can engage clients in conversations around creative experiences that contain stories of hope, humor, and happiness. Participants will play with weaving as a metaphor for structure and support (the warp) and the individual uniqueness of clients (the colors and textures of the weft). Discussions about how therapists use encouragement, humor, hopefulness, and happiness in their work with clients will be woven into this workshop.


1)    Participants will explain the history of the use of humor in psychotherapy and its connection to optimism and courage.

2)    Participants will notice and articulate examples of the therapeutic uses of hope, humor, and the inherent feeling of happiness described in the major therapeutic theories and highlighted in Adlerian psychotherapy.

3)    Participants will examine the risks and benefits of humor and other non-linear interventions, including with respect to cultural traditions and the level of acculturation.

4)    Participants will be able to articulate three uses of the weaving process and products in creating awareness of the therapist’s and client’s cultural identity.

5)    Participants will create intentions on each of the following topics: encouragement, hopefulness, humor, and happiness, and contribute to the social interest community weaving (project), all in a cultural context.  

6)    Participants will identify three techniques that utilize encouragement, humor, and/or creative processes that can support clients’ movement toward change.


Craig Balfany, ATR-BC, LPC

Biographical statement

Craig Balfany is a Registered and Board-Certified Art Therapist and Licensed Professional Counselor.

He has many years of graduate teaching and clinical supervision from an Adlerian perspective. His twenty years of clinical experience includes conducting both group, individual, and community art therapy in mental/chemical health and rehabilitation settings. Active engagement in the creative process is a core value for facilitating expression, useful movement, and social connectedness in his work. His artistic identity is rooted in working with natural and found objects, clay, photography, and metaphors as a grounding and transformational experience.

Erin Rafferty-Bugher ATR-BC, LPCC

Education and training. I received an MA Degree in Art Therapy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and have been actively engaged in the mental health field providing art therapy and creativity in health since 1998.

Experience. Includes trauma-focused mental health services with children and adolescents in long-term educational/ therapeutic settings as well as in clinical behavioral mental health hospital settings. I have experience implementing and supporting the development of art therapy programming into numerous mental health agencies around the twin cities. My experience has expanded over the years to include working with folks to empower and encourage creative and healing potentialities in areas of cognitive and developmental abilities, dementia and Alzheimer’s care, oncology and school-based SEL programming. As an educator, I have dedicated my life’s work to expanding and advocating for art therapy and have collaborated in the development of the art therapy program at Adler Graduate School, MN since 2009. I have supervised and consulted with countless mental health and art therapy professionals over the years supporting their professional development and identity journey.

Dr. Marina Bluvshtein – PhD LP (MN) and MA LMFT (MN) Marina is a director of the Center for Adlerian Practice and Scholarship at Adler University in Chicago. She is a NASAP Diplomate in Adlerian Psychology and a President of the International Association of Individual Psychology and an associate editor of the Journal of Individual Psychology. Her areas of expertise include Early Recollections, Metaphors, and Nonlinear Interventions.

Register before August 29th for Early bird pricing: $150 for Professionals, $125 for Students

Lunch & Arboretum entrance fee included

After August 29th: $165

Places to stay:

1. HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS CHANHASSEN 7855 Century Blvd.Chanhassen, MN  United States  55317
2. AmericInn by Wyndham Chanhassen 570 Pond Promenade, Chanhassen, MN 55317

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