Witnessing As Activism: Psychosocial Support Before and After the Time of Covid

  • Dates: February 3, 2023 - 11 am EST to 4:00 pm EST (Eastern Time)
  • Instructor: Kaethe Weingarten, PhD Director, the Witness to Witness Program at Migrant Clinicians Network
  • Location: Live on Zoom (Find the time for your location)
  • Credits: 4 CEs


The Witness to Witness Program (W2W), based on Weingarten’s witnessing model, began in July 2018 and originally was established to support health care workers and attorneys who were experiencing empathic distress working with people involved in various stages of the immigration detention process. In this webinar we will describe how W2W evolved to respond to the needs of the communities served both before and after the coronavirus pandemic. The form and content of programming needed to meet the criteria that they be both clinically sound and socially just. The intention is for people to leave our sessions – whether individual, group or webinar – feeling more aware and empowered so they can thrive while doing good work. Kaethe will discuss programming for attorneys working in the immigration sector, providers working in a prison settings, community health workers based in the 50 Mexican Consulates in the US, and health care clinicians and community health care providers working with populations made vulnerable by specific policies. We will discuss changes to the curriculum necessitated by the pandemic, responding to the prevailing mood of the clinicians and managers that we serve. W2W creates virtual communities of support as a way of strengthening individual and organizational resilience and as a way of doing reasonable hope together. In this workshop, people will share their ways of doing socially just clinical work, whether with individuals, families, groups or in the community. We will collaborate to imagine ways that clinical practice can be a form of social activism using the practices of W2W’s work as a foundation for the discussion and applying broadly to participants' own needs and settings.

The core of the training focuses on understanding the impact of witnessing on providers. We identify four witness positions and their differential impact on clients, clinicians who serve them and the community at large. Each position has implications for a multitude of interlinked relationships. A number of other terms are introduced and distinctions made among them, for instance the difference between moral injury for health care providers and PTSD. Likewise, the differences among empathic distress, burnout, moral injury and PTSD. In each case, implications for practice are noted. The teaching methods include didactic, video material, small group conversation in break out rooms and Q & A.

How the course content enhances clinical and/or macro practice
The course content provides opportunities for participants to apply the ideas presented to their current practice and to imagine stretching their practice to include more approaches that embed socially just perspectives into the work that they are already doing.

Statement of need for training on this topic
Clinicians need to be made aware of how they can introduce a social justice perspective into the work that they do, whether in one to one, counseling, couple, or family therapy; school or organizational consultations; or community work. This perspective can infuse the attention given to clinical material that arises in the course of the work, infuse the questions of inquiry one asks and the kinds of support one offers for actions or restraint from action as ideas about these emerge in the conversation.


Kaethe (pronounced Kay-tah) Weingarten, PhD, directs the Witness to Witness Program, a project of Migrant Clinicians Network, affiliated with and endorsed by the American Family Therapy Academy. Dr. Weingarten was an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology in the Harvard Medical School Department of Psychiatry from 1981-2017 and a faculty member of the Family Institute of Cambridge where she founded and directed the Program in Families, Trauma and Resilience. She has published six books and over 100 articles and essays. Her book Common Shock: Witnessing Violence Every Day – How we are harmed, how we can heal won the 2004 Nautilus Award for Social Change. In 2002, she was awarded the highest honor of the American Family Therapy Academy, the award for Distinguished Contribution to Family Theory and Practice. Kaethe has been teaching, doing clinical practice, presenting, and publishing on the subject of this presentation for forty years. She has multiple publications on this topic, including articles in peer-reviewed journals, essays in medical journals, and blog postings. Her work focuses on the dissemination of the witnessing model.

Outline of Topics

  • FOUNDING PRINCIPLES: description of the witnessing model; application to current events; description of the onboarding materials for W2W volunteers;
  • Description of a case that followed the W2W model of support
  • DEVELOPMENT OF PROGRAM Over time with feedback from constituents
  • COVID-19 PANDEMIC: introduction of moral injury as key construct and multiple resources to strengthen vicarious resilience
  • Work with VENTINILLA de SALUD over time

Learning Objectives

Attendees will be able to:

  1. Describe the four positions of Weingarten’s witnessing model.
  2. Identify how their social justice values connect to direct service applications.
  3. LPlan to take a concrete action that will enact social justice in their practice.
  4. Compare curricula to evaluate whether or not it serves socially just principles of practice.
  5. Make suggestions for strengthening self-care and resilience in a culturally appropriate way.


  • 11 am to 1 pm ET
  • Break: 12 pm to 12:45 pm
  • 12:45 pm to 2:15 pm
  • Break
  • 2:45 pm to 4 pm


  • Individual Registration: Early bird rate: $79, Regular rate: $99
  • Early registration deadline is July 31, 2022.
  • Members of NEAFAST, Black Therapists Rock, National Association of Black Counselors and all BIPOC clinicians may access an equity rate of $69.
  • Please contact us for discount codes. No application is required.
  • 4 CEs will be available for eligible professions at an additional cost of $10 paid upon registration


The event will be held live on Zoom.

Registration Instructions

Payment options 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.

Workshop CEs

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Participants MUST attend 100% of the program to earn the 4 CEs approved for eligible professions.

Within a week of the completion of the event, access will be given to participants who completed the workshop and paid for CEs to complete a course evaluation online and download their CE 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 have been submitted. Please contact us for the status of social work CE accreditation.
  • Application is being made for psychology CE credit approval.
  • Application for certification by the New England Association for Family and Systemic Therapy (NEAFAST) on behalf of the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health & Human Services Professions for LMFT professional continuing education is in process.
  • This webpage will be updated when approvals are processed. Please contact us for the status of CE approvals.

Read detailed information about CEs, here .

Target Audience

This learning event is designed for helping professionals including, but not limited to, social workers, psychologists, mental health counselors, and marriage & family therapists. We designed the learning methodology to further develop beginning and intermediate professionals learning to use psychosocial support as a socially just practice. Advanced practitioners may attend the workshop in order to deepen their practice in direct service, supervision, and teaching roles. People who attend from professions other than those we are able to provide CEs for may request a Certificate of Attendance.

Cancellations and Refunds

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.

Additional Information

Course content level: This workshop will provide important information for clinicians who are at an introductory or intermediate level of knowledge about working with grief and traumatic loss. Advanced practitioners are welcome to attend the event to deepen their knowledge of the subject for practice, supervision, teaching, and administrative roles.

Target Audience: This offering is relevant to all helping professionals including but not limited to social workers, mental health counselors, psychologists, marriage & family therapists.

Commercial support and conflicts of interest: There is no commercial support for this program.


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