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Upcoming Semin​ars | Spring 2024

Big Easy Symposium: Diagnosis in Clinical Mental Health

April 6, 2024



Dr. Cirecie A. West-Olatunji is the Melba Fortuné Martinez Endowed Professor in the counselor education program and director of the Center for Equity, Justice, and the Human Spirit at Xavier University of Louisiana. She is also a past president of the American Counseling Association (ACA), past secretary of Division E: Counseling and Human Development in the American Educational Research Association (AERA), and a past president of the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development (AMCD). Dr. West-Olatunji has received numerous awards from national organizations and is an ACA Fellow. Nationally, Dr. West-Olatunji has initiated several clinical research projects focusing on traumatic stress and systemic oppression. Her publications include three co-authored books, several book chapters, and over 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals.

Dr. West-Olatunji has delivered research papers throughout Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. Dr. West-Olatunji's seminar is titled "Incorporating a Culture-centered Lens When Diagnosing Culturally Diverse Clients." Dr. West-Olatunji will provide an overview of contemporary research on the diagnosis and treatment of culturally diverse clients. Moreover, culture-centered theories, assessment tools and interventions to more effectively address the unique needs of culturally marginalized client populations will be discussed.

Dr. Heather Olivier is an assistant professor of counseling at Southeastern Louisiana University. Dr. Olivier is the owner of Olivier Counseling and Consulting where she specializes in working with clients who have experienced perinatal loss and other traumatic losses by utilizing psychosomatic interventions, such as Brainspotting. Dr. Olivier's seminar is titled, "Untangling Psychosomatic Presentations of Traumatic Grief. " Dr. Olivier will discuss grief and trauma diagnosis criteria in the DSM-5-TR, providing neuroscientific research highlighting the somatic presentation of symptoms in the above mentioned diagnoses. Additionally, Dr. Olivier will compare and contrast grief and trauma diagnoses to other diagnoses with which clients are commonly misdiagnosed. Futhermore, Dr. Olivier will examine the most recent, empirical evidence regarding treatment modalities, models of care, and diagnosis-appropriate interventions.


Dr. Victoria Rodriguez is a Licensed Professional Counselor in New Orleans, Louisiana. In her private practice, she specializes in treating medical trauma and healthcare professionals experiencing vicarious medical trauma. Additionally, she serves on the Pregnancy Associated Mortality Review board with the Louisiana Department of Health as a medical trauma and community mental health expert. She has presented her research on community health and medical trauma both national and internationally

Dr. Rodriguez seminar is titled, "Diagnosing and Treating Medical Trauma." Dr. Rodriguez will review best practices for diagnosing and treating medically-related post-traumatic stress disorder. It will review potential causes, symptoms, co-morbidities, and empirically-supported treatment options. 

Dr. Michelle E. Wade is an Assistant Professor at University of New Orleans in Counselor Education. She is a Board approved supervisor and Licensed Professional Counselor in Louisiana and Virginia. She holds several national certifications, including NCC, ACS, and is a BC-TMH. She has served on the 2014 ACA Ethics Revision Task Force and as an ACA Ethics Consultant. Her areas of research interest include social media and technology's utilization within the counseling field, ethics, and positive sexuality. Dr. Wade seminar is title, "ADHD: What Social Media Gets Right and Wrong About It Diagnostically." Dr. Wade will review how social media plays a significant role in our understanding of ADHD. Dr. Wade will discuss ethical and diagnostic components of ADHD in relation to social media.  




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