VASGW Group-A-Rama
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When: April 12, 2019
8:00 AM - 3:30 PM
Where: Northern Virginia Community College
Ernst Community Cultural Center
8333 Little River Turnpike
Annandale, Virginia  22003
United States
Contact: Terri Mason

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2019 Group-A-Rama




 8:00 - 8:45 am            Check-In, Breakfast & Coffee, Visit with Vendors, Raffle Tickets for Sale 


 8:45 - 8:55 am            Opening Remarks


 8:55 - 10:20 am          Keynote Speaker:   Julia Cook, award winning author and former school counselor

10:30 - 11:30 am         Morning Session

11:30 am - 12:30 pm  Lunch

12:30 - 2:30 pm          Afternoon Sessions

2:30-2:45 pm              Raffle

2:45 – 3:30 pm           Book Signing – Julia Cook

2:45 - 3:30 pm            Drop Off Evaluations to Receive a Confirmation of Attendance



8:55 - 10:20 am - Keynote Speaker Julia Cook

Intended Audience: All

NBCC Contact Hours:  Yes

Got Hope? Understanding the Importance of Hopefulness

The most tragic thing a person can lose is hope. Without hope, despair takes over. Without hope…a child becomes hopeless. Hopeless children don’t try, have poor relationships with others, and feel helpless. In terms of resilience and well-being, hope is a critically important predictor of success. Research tells us that by the time children are 10 years old, they have maximized the amount of hope instilled in their minds. This poses two very unique challenges for parents, teachers, and counselors…How do we help children increase their amount of hope prior to the age of 10, and how do we help them maximize their hope potential after the age of 10. In this research based, humor infused keynote, Julia Cook explores the components of hope, discusses the results of the Hope Scale for Children, defines the differences between hope, wishful thinking, and optimism, and presents a blueprint for maximizing hope growth and potential in children, teens and adults. “Hope is our children’s window for a better tomorrow!”  Learning Objectives:  1) Participants will become familiar with the Children’s Hope Scale and how to interpret it.  2) Participants will understand the differences between wishful thinking, optimism and hope.  3) Participants will develop a better understanding of the importance of hope, how to build it in children, and how to maximize hope potential in all people.


Community Service Project:  To help support the NOVA Annandale community we are asking all attendees to bring an item for their Food Pantry.  These are items of need: Non-Perishable Canned Protein (Cans of tuna, chicken and beans, jarred peanut and almond butter), Non-Perishable Canned Meals (Canned Soups, Chili, Stew, Pasta Sauce, Mac & Cheese), Canned Fruits & Vegetables, Dry Goods, Granola Bars, Cereals, Crackers, Pasta, Rice, Grab-and-Go Food (Cups/Bowls of Soup/Mac and Cheese, Granola Bars, Packets of Oatmeal, Plastic/paper plates, bowls, utensils.  Toiletries: Toothpaste, Tooth Brushes, Soap, Feminine Products, Shampoo, and Conditioner, Laundry Products, Diapers.  If you bring an item or items, you will receive one raffle ticket.


10:30-11:30am         Session A


A-1     Exploring Emotions through Drama Therapy Techniques

           Presenter: Jarred Sharar, Registered Drama Therapist

                   Intended Audience: All

NBCC Contact Hours:  No

Summary:  Exploring emotions is an essential element of the therapeutic experience.  Exploring emotions through drama offers an accessible, embodied way in which children and adults can investigate thoughts, feelings, and actions.  Perspective taking is practiced as well as cause and effect scenarios.  This session will guide participants through basic drama therapy techniques that can be utilized during small and large groups.  Scaffolded approaches will be presented to inform group practices for clients ranging from kindergarten age to adult.  Learning Objectives:  Participants will learn basic directing techniques to create mini-scenes for therapeutic groups.  Participants will learn how to scaffold a variety of emotional content to be accessible for all ages/disabilities.  Participants will learn how to connect dramatic scenarios to real life scenarios for therapeutic groups.


          A-2    Art for Groups:  Activities to Incorporate Art in Groups/Classes

                    Presenter:  Holly Janson, School Counselor

                        Intended Audience:  Elementary, General, Graduate Students

                        NBCC Contact Hours:  Yes

Summary:  Are you interested in learning easy activities to apply art in group lessons? If so, please join this session for a hands-on workshop showing examples of how you can incorporate simple art projects into group lessons that students will love. It doesn't take a lot of pre-planning, just the motivation to do something different and creative for everyone. Art can change your life, so let it!  Learning Objectives:  To provide hands-on examples of simple art projects to incorporate into group/class lessons that relate to school counseling.


         A-3     Restorative Practices:  Connecting Your Groups on a Deeper Level

Presenters:  Marcia Jackson, Licenses in School Counseling and Administration and Supervision         

          Gregory Baldwin, Certified trainer with the International Institute for Restorative Practices

                        Intended Audience:  All

                        NBCC Contact Hours:  Yes

Summary:  You've been wondering how to deepen the connectedness in your groups and you've heard about Restorative Practices. Come to this presentation to witness the power of Restorative Practices and participate in a community circle to experience it for yourself. You and your groups will never be the same!  Learning Objectives:  Participants will develop a basic understanding of Restorative Practices and participate in a community circle in order to develop more meaningful connections in their group work with students.

          A-4    Payton’s Peers

                    Presenters:  Jenny Mischel, Teaching Certification and Bullying Prevention Certification

         Jessica Elliott, School Counselor

                        Intended Audience:  MS & HS

                        NBCC Contact Hours:  Yes

Summary:  Jessica and Jenny will present the format of Payton's Peers and how counselors can implement this type of program at their schools. Learning Objectives:  A) Discuss what research has found about bullying/cyberbullying and the discrepancies between adolescent and adult perceptions and how this continues to create a struggle for administrators and students.  B) Introduce Payton's Peers and the benefits of implementing such a program at a middle/high school. C) Describe the format of the program and briefly touch upon the lessons provided within the framework. D) Explain how counselors can implement a program within their schools.


11:30am-12:30pm    Lunch, VASGW Business Meeting, Raffle and Visit with Vendors



12:30-1:30pm           Session B


          B-1    Music to The Soul:  The Use of Music in Group Settings

                    Presenters: Dr. Joy Mwendwa, NCC & ASC; Eric Camden, M.Ed.

                        Intended Audience:  All

                        NBCC Contact Hours:  Yes

Summary:  Music has the power to speak, heal, and connect people.  Literature on music therapy has described positive outcomes to client’s overall well-being as it is related to addressing clients in a holistic fashion.  The presenters who have led over 10+ graduate counseling student groups, will share how they have used the gift of music in group settings.  A basic review of literature on music therapy will introduce presentation.  Further, examples of different music genres will be highlighted as well as case studies portraying how this music has been used.  Learning Objectives:  1.  Review literature on music therapy.  2.  Discuss different music genres in counseling with the participants.  3. Highlight case studies from presenters’ past experiences and in literature on how music can be applied to group counseling.


          B-2    Too Stressed Out!  Building Self-Care Habits for a Lifetime

                    Presenter:  Dr. Michelle Mullaley, Licensed Psychologist

                        Intended Audience:  All

                        NBCC Contact Hours:  Yes

Summary:  In this presentation, you will learn how to educate children and teens (K-12) about what "stress" does to their brain and body, why they may act differently when they are "stressed," and how to calm and care for themselves to build habits for a lifetime!  The group focuses on psycho-education and skill-building, can be adapted to various ages/grades, and can range from 4-8 sessions, depending on number of skills to be learned.  Learning Objectives: Children/Teens will Learn:  1) What "stress" does to their brain and body.  2) Why they feel and act differently when they are under stress.  3) Ways to calm themselves when under stress. 4) What self-care is, and why it is important to build into everyday life.

          B-3    Amusement Fun:  Rolling Along

                    Presenter:  Anaid Shaver, School Counseling Specialist Loudon County Public Schools

                        Intended Audience:  ES, MS & HS

                        NBCC Contact Hours:  Yes

Summary:  This experiential, science-based session will provide participants with information and ideas on how to develop effective, engaging, cross-curricular lessons/activities that teach students how to be respectful, tolerant, and critical thinkers.  Information will be provided on how to collaborate with your staff to integrate the ASCA Standards and Virginia Standards of Learning.  Learning Objectives:  How to collaborate with specialists and classroom teachers on developing and implementing cross-curricular lesson(s)/activities that can be utilized school-wide, grade-level, and/or by individual classes.  How to blend the ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors, VA School Counseling Standards with the VA Science SOL’s.  How to create cross-curricular small group/classroom lessons.

          B-4    Mapping Out Your Groups

                    Presenter:  Claire Brantley, School Counselor, NCC

                        Intended Audience:  ES, MS & HS

                        NBCC Contact Hours:  Yes

Summary:  You know how to deliver small groups in the school setting, but what about the other critical components of a comprehensive school counseling program: foundation, management, and accountability? This presentation, which incorporates interview results and resources from both elementary and secondary school counselors across Virginia, will explore important considerations for getting groups going (because we know the logistics can be complicated) and evaluating group effectiveness (because sometimes people wonder if we're actually accomplishing anything)! We will share strategies for student referrals and screening, big picture planning, and collecting and sharing group data. You will walk away with a multitude of practical tools, templates, and timelines you can start using right away in your small group practice! Learning Objectives:  Recognize how big picture group planning contributes to practitioner wellness and program effectiveness.  Examine how other school counselors collect group referrals, screen members, plan curriculum, determine meeting logistics, track and evaluate progress, and share results with stakeholders.  Analyze one’s current program structure and areas for possible change or improvement.


1:30-2:30pm            Session C


          C-1    Equipping Dads for Engagement with Daughters: A Psychoeducational Support Group for Fathers

                    Presenters:  Dr. Jeffrey D. Boatner & Dr. Steve Warren, Liberty University

                        Intended Audience:  ES, MS, HS, General, Private Practice

                        NBCC Contact Hours:  Yes

Summary:  The group format is a wonderful way to provide engagement, psychoeducation and structured activities for groups that may not be as receptive to typical counseling. Researchers have identified fathers as such a group, and there is some indication that men may prefer to receive services along with other men in a semi-structured setting that is specifically designed to meet their needs and preferences. Despite this recognition, there are few programs or resources that have been developed for fathers. The presenter has led and conducted research on a group that developed to support fathers in their relationships to their adolescent and young adult daughters. Specific features of the group and information that was obtained through research on past participants will be presented. Review of this group will equip participants to consider how they might more successfully engage with fathers: a neglected, but important resource. Learning Objectives:  1. Provide participants with an example of how a novel approach to engaging a distinct population might be accomplished using a group format.  2. Help counselors understand the importance of involving fathers in counseling for children and adolescents. 3. Development of an enriched father-affirming perspective that both promotes and maximizes paternal engagement.


          C-2    Problem Solving in a Pro-Social Way

                    Presenter:  Elena Zaklis, Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Licensed Behavior Analyst in MD & VA 

                        Intended Audience:  ES, General, Private Practice, and Graduate students

                        NBCC Contact Hours:  No

Summary:  Social Emotional Learning/Social Skills are critical for establishing and maintaining successful relationships, employment, navigating daily living skills, and becoming more independent. This workshop will provide ideas for establishing social skills groups using best practices for social emotional learning to foster success in inclusive settings. Participants will use a hands-on approach that is user friendly, interactive with positive practice situations.  Learning Objectives:  1.  Promote problem solving among group members.  2. Use of self-reflection and self-regulation strategies.  3. Positive practice techniques.  4. Strategies on how to help generalize skills to group members everyday environments.


         C-3     Keeping Children Safe On-line

                    Presenter:  Michael Drobnis, MBA Multiple IT Certifications

                        Intended Audience:  All

                        NBCC Contact Hours:  No

Summary:The presentation is an overview of the challenges with Cybersecurity and things you need to consider when dealing with children online and with mobile devices. Learning Objectives:  The purpose of the program is to provide a clear understanding of the dangers of the internet and to develop an understanding of how to maintain a safe environment and approach for families.

        C-4     Ready, Set, Play!  Playful Techniques to Help Children with Emotional Regulation in Group Settings.

                   Presenter:  Sheri Mitschelen, LCSW and Registered Play Therapy Supervisor

                        Intended Audience:  ES, General, Private Practice, and Graduate students

                        NBCC Contact Hours:  Yes

Summary:  This presentation will provide multiple, hands-on activities to use with children to help them with emotional regulation based on Play Therapy and Theraplay techniques. Learning Objectives:  1. Participants will learn skills to manage groups of children with emotional dysregulation.  2.  Participants will identify play therapy group interventions to assist children to increase emotional regulation.





Start Date

End Date

Room Type

Room Rate



Run of House



The Hotel’s room rates are subject to applicable state and local taxes (currently 12%) in effect at the time of check out.


The group room rates listed above are net non-commissionable. VASGW, a division of the Virginia Counselors Association, will be responsible to pay any commissions due to any agency for this event.


Please have the guests in your group directly call Marriott Reservations at 1(800) 228-9290 or (703) 734-3200 on or before Thursday, March 21st, 2019, (the “Cutoff Date”) to make their sleeping room reservations.  Please advise guests to identify themselves as part of the Virginia Counselors Association group staying at the Tysons Corner Marriott, located at 8028 Leesburg Pike, Tysons Corner, VA  22182.


All reservations must be guaranteed with a major credit card. The hotel will not hold any reservations unless secured by credit card.


Reservations for all guests must be received on or before Thursday, March 21st, 2019, (the “Cutoff Date”)After the Cutoff Date, the hotel will release any unreserved rooms for general sale and, in the hotel’s discretion, will accept reservations at Virginia Counselors Association’s group rate, on a space and rate available basis. 



Ernst Community Cultural Center

8333 Little River Turnpike · Annandale, VA 22003

Office (703) 323-3159 · Fax (703) 323-2185 ·    Email  


PARKING at NOVA Annandale: Group-A-Rama parking is included in Parking Lots B12, B13, & B14.

Campus information and directions:


Information Needed for the On-Line Registration Form:



Current Work Setting:

Session A Choice:

Session B Choice:

Session C Choice:



Cost: Until February 15

February 15 – March 15

March 15 – April 5

VASGW Members: $70

Non-VASGW Members: $85

Graduate Students: $55 (note school)

Retired Counselors: $55


No On-Site Registration

VASGW Members: $80

Non-VASGW Members: $95

Graduate Students: $55

Retired Counselors: $55


VASGW Members: $90

Non-VASGW Members: $105

Graduate Students: $65

Retired Counselors: $65




MENU (included in registration fee)

Breakfast: Pastries, Fruit, Juice, Coffee, and Water


Lunch: Firehouse Sub, Chips, Cookie and Water

Sandwich choice (select one from the following)





If you have any dietary restrictions and need to discuss alternative options, please contact Barbara Lavine at

For questions, contact Terri Mason at or


  • Virginia Counselors Association has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 2047.  Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified.  Virginia Counselors Association is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.


  • Complaint PolicyIf you have a complaint or dispute regarding this event, please write a letter and include the following:  Your name, address, telephone number, email, name of event, date and location of the event, complaint and desired resolution to Dr. Terri Mason, VASGW President 10328 Collingham Drive Fairfax, VA 22032 or send an email You will receive a reply in 30 days from the date you submitted the complaint/dispute.


  • Cancellation PolicyTo receive a full refund, minus a $15 cancellation fee, registrants must cancel at least 72 hours (3 days) prior to the start of the workshop.  Cancellations and/or no shows with less than a 72 hour (3 days) notice will be reviewed after all expenses have been paid, a determination will be made regarding the ability to honor the request minus cost of guaranteed meals/special events.  Submit cancellations/refund requests to Vicky Wheeler VCA Director, Member Services & Operations, Virginia Counselors Association, 316 Hodges Cove Road, Yorktown, VA  23692 Main: (757) 766-5466 Toll Free:  (800) 225-8103 Fax: (757) 766-5467;


Virginia Counselors Association
316 Hodges Cove Road, Yorktown, VA 23692 | Ph: 757.766.5466 | Fax: 757.766.5467 |