OBU Marriage and Family Therapy Program Hosts International Conference

March 2, 2018

The marriage and family therapy program at Oklahoma Baptist University hosted a conference for training on emotionally focused therapy (EFT) Feb. 21-24. The externship training was coordinated by Kenny Sanderfer, LMFT (licensed marriage and family therapist), certified EFT therapist, supervisor and trainer.

The four day externship was designed to teach the concepts and theory of emotionally focused therapy to help restore and deepen the emotional bond between couples, using the framework of attachment theory. Through a combination of lecture, videotape, observation of live interviews and exercises, participants learned the basic concepts and theory of emotionally focused therapy. They learned to identify the stages and steps of treatment; begin to formulate problematic cycles of interaction; and help couples end cycles of blame and disengagement so that they can restore and deepen the emotional bond between them.

Dr. Canaan Crane, director of the marriage and family therapy graduate program at OBU, feels blessed that the university was able to host such a high quality international event.

“Our students, alumni and faculty were excited to attend a training of this caliber. Emotionally Focused Therapy is an evidence based model with a worldwide impact. To host the first Created for Connection training has been an honor and we are very excited to continue being a part of  bringing God’s healing and grace to couples and families.”

The conference included presenters from South Africa, Tennessee, New York and Arkansas. Attendees hailed from Oklahoma, Louisiana, Colorado, Texas, Ohio, Missouri, Florida, Georgia, California, Arizona, Wisconsin and Canada. The attendees were a mix of LMFTs, LPCs (licensed professional counselors), social workers, army chaplains, pastors and ministers, and graduate students. On Thursday and Friday, couples were brought in for a live therapy session with the trainers.

Sanderfer was main coordinator of the training. He completed his undergraduate degree in agriculture from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. He earned his master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee, where he is now an adjunct professor. He is licensed by the state of Tennessee in marital and family therapy and is an AAMFT (American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy) approved supervisor. He recently authored a book with Sue Johnson, the creator of Emotionally Focused Therapy, titled, “Created for Connection: The ‘Hold Me Tight’ Guide for Christian Couples.”

As a Certified EFT Trainer, he educates and trains EFT therapists across several states. He is the founder and director of EFT Tennessee, Nashville's center for training in Emotionally Focused Therapy. He provides EFT supervision for therapists pursuing EFT certification. As a Certified EFT Therapist, he provides intensive one-day and two-day couples therapy in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Three other trainers also led sessions during the event.

Kathryn de Bruin was born and raised in South Africa. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work and worked in private practice in South Africa’s capital city Pretoria. She gained experience facilitating preventative programs in schools and practicing child therapy. She and her husband then lived in Germany for two years, where she explored the human psyche in terms of environment adjustments and change management. The couple then moved to San Diego, where she earned a Master of Arts from Bethel Seminary, gaining the experience and expertise required for effective psychotherapy. She is licensed in California as a marriage and family therapist, a registered play therapist supervisor and an emotionally focused therapy supervisor.

Ryan Rana is executive director and founder of The Joshua Center, which provides affordable counseling services for people struggling with depression, anxiety, marital difficulties, sexual issues (as defined by the client), parent-child issues and other individual and family concerns. The center has locations in Northwest and Northern Arkansas, including Rogers, Fayetteville, Siloam Springs and Conway. He holds a Ph.D and is a licensed professional counselor, licensed marriage and family therapist, supervisor, and certified EFT therapist.

George Faller is a certified supervisor/ trainer/ therapist in EFT and founder of the New York Center for Emotionally Focused Therapy, where he serves as president. He is a supervisor with the AAMFT and teaches classes at the Ackerman Institute for the Family in Manhattan. He is an LMFT currently practicing in Connecticut and New York. He is the director of training at the Center for Hope and Renewal in Greenwich, Connecticut, and is on the board of the Porter Cason Institute at Tulane University in New Orleans. Prior to a career in mental health, he spent 20 years as a New York City firefighter and NYC police officer. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Queens College and a Master of Science in marriage and family therapy from Iona College. His experience as a FDNY peer counselor, particularly following the events of 9/11, sparked his passion to help those impacted by trauma.