Date: Friday, March 8, 2024; 10am-5:15pm Eastern (Find the time for your location)
Instructors: Melissa MacNish, LMHC
Location: First Parish Waltham, 50 Church Street in Waltham, MA and Live on Zoom (synchronous)
Credits: 6 CEUs

Description of Training:

When a youth comes out as transgender and/or expresses a non-binary gender identity it can cause stress and even turmoil within the family system. Considering the vulnerabilities of trans and non-binary youth, it is critical for therapists to have a sophisticated understanding of gender identity/expression. It is also critical to have a solid framework to hold the work and support these youth and families. Whether parents are experiencing a sense of loss, are struggling with personal and/or religious beliefs, or unsure what comes next, therapists can be crucial to the process of moving forward towards understanding and acceptance.

We will start the day with a focus on a deepening understanding of gender, gender identity development and gender dysphoria. Next, a framework for working with families will be discussed which is relevant to providers who see individual youth, parents, and families.

This training covers best practices, current research, and a variety of tools to conceptualize and work with even the most complicated situations. We will be using the Family Acceptance Project’s research during a hands-on activity that will help clinicians navigate a range of potential rejecting behaviors that parents may exhibit. There will be a live panel of family members talking about their experiences with therapists and what they found was most helpful in their process.

This workshop will go much deeper than the basic 101 workshops. If you need to brush up on the basics we will be providing you with handouts and resources prior to the workshop.

Melissa MacNish, LMHC

Melissa MacNish, LMHC, is the founder and co-director of SAYFTEE, LLC. SAYFTEE is a group practice that serves the LGBTQI+ communities and those who love them. She is also in private practice at The Meeting Point in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Melissa has been working with transgender and non-binary youth, young adults and their families for the past 15 years in a variety of clinical and community settings. Melissa is a consultant for Greater Boston PFLAG Twelve years ago she helped start a support group for parents of transgender children. She serves on the Board of Directors and as Assistant Director for Camp Aranu’tiq of Harbor Camps. Melissa provides consultation and training for therapists working with gender diverse populations. She has been on the faculty of Therapy Training Boston’s Intensive Certificate Program in Families Systems Therapies since 2018.

Registration Instructions

Payment options include online registration with payment using PayPal as a conduit to your credit card or a PayPal account. You may also register online and mail a check with a note indicating what program the payment is for. If you are mailing payment, please note that your space is not reserved until we receive it.

Email acknowledgments will be sent to confirm receipt of online registrations only. An email will be sent a few days before the start date of the event with details about your program.

Outline of Topics

  • Understanding gender, gender identity development, and gender dysphoria (there will be some exercises and video clips to break things up)
  • Working with Families Framework (with case study)
  • Family Acceptance Project Research and Experiential Role Play activity
  • Panel intros (Ideally have 2 trans youth or young adults, parent of a young child, parent of a teen, grandparent or sibling) 5 people 5-8 minute intros (25-40 min)
  • Panel Questions (30-45min)

Learning Objectives

Attendees will be able to:

  1. Describe the difference between gender identity and gender expression.
  2. Explain the process of gender identity development.
  3. List three reasons why family work is important in serving youth who identify as transgender of gender expansive.
  4. Define several skills to help shift families towards acceptance when a youth identifies as transgender or non-binary.
  5. Explain the key components of an assessment model that helps tease apart the complexities often present when working in gender diverse communities.


  • 10am-12pm
  • Break
  • 1-3pm
  • Break
  • 3:15pm-5:15pm


  • Individual Registration: Regular Rate—$145; Early Bird Rate—$125
  • Early Registration Deadline: December 30, 2023
  • NEAFAST Member Rate: $120; Student Rate: $100
  • Black Therapists Rock, National Association of Black Counselors and all BIPOC clinicians may access an Equity Rate of $100.
  • Please contact us for discount codes. No application is required.
  • 6 CEUs will be available at an additional cost of $25 paid upon registration for social workers, mental health counselors, and marriage & family therapists.


The event will be held at 50 Church Street in Waltham, MA and Live on Zoom. We will not be recording this event.

Additional Information

Participants MUST attend 100% of the program to earn the 6 CEUs approved for eligible professions. Upon completion of the event, participants who are eligible and paid for CEUs will have access to complete a workshop evaluation online and download their CEU certificate.

  • Therapy Training Boston is approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6707 for Mental Health Counselors. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Therapy Training Boston is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.
  • Application for social work continuing education credits has been submitted. Please contact us at (your organization’s phone number/email/website/etc.) for the status of social work CE accreditation.”
  • This program is approved by the New England Association for Family and Systemic Therapy, Inc. for professional continuing education.  on behalf of the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health & Human Services Professions for 6 LMFT professional continuing education. Approval #PC- 042039 ( In person) #PC- 042040 (Zoom)

Read detailed information about CEUs here.

No refunds are available for cancellations by participants regardless of the reason or time frame. If participants cancel 30 days or more prior to the event beginning, they may apply the fee to a future program. Workshops may be cancelled by Therapy Training Boston if minimum enrollment requirements are not met or in the case of other unexpected circumstances. If this occurs, a full refund will be provided.

Course content level:Commercial support and conflicts of interest: There is no commercial support for this program

For all event policies read this, detailed CEU information here.