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Porter-Cason Institute for the Family

The Porter-Cason Institute was established in 1995 with funds from Dorothy Cason, a 1946 alumna of the Tulane School of Social Work, in honor of Elizabeth Porter, one of her professors. Dorothy credited Elizabeth Porter with teaching and emphasizing professionalism in social work.  Dorothy valued and emulated that professionalism throughout a very successful and rewarding practice. Dorothy passed away shortly after her endowment to the school and the Porter-Cason Institute is committed to making the best use of her legacy dedicated to the importance of the teaching and learning process.


Consistent with Ms. Cason’s expressed wishes that “the income from this fund shall be used for the teaching of family therapy at the advanced level", the mission of the institute is as follows:

To enhance the teaching/learning of family practice for TSSW students, faculty, field supervisors and alumni, as well as in the community (e.g., New Orleans Metro Area), region, nation, and world. This will be done through the development, evaluation, and dissemination of exciting, creative, and innovative teaching and learning activities.

Upcoming Events

6 CEUs: Weaving a Collaborative Spirit into Everyday Work with Families 

Saturday, April 21, 2018 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM CDT

Come Join Porter Cason Board Member William Madsen as he helps us examine how to bring a spirit of respect, connection, curiosity and hope to families.

We will explore the transformative power of inquiry and highlight simple maps that can help clinicians work through complex problems and guide conversations with families about challenging issues. These maps will be illustrated with examples from across multiple contexts and workshop participants will have opportunities to practice their use in small groups.
William Madsen, Ph.D. is the founder and director of the Family-Centered Services Project.  He provides international training and consultation regarding collaborative approaches to working with families and assists community and government programs develop institutional practices and organizational cultures that support family-centered work.  Bill has written numerous articles and is the author of Collaborative Therapy with Multi-Stressed Families (2nd Edition) and Collaborative Helping: A Strengths Framework for Home-Based Services. 

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Addressing Addiction, Fostering Attachment with EFT

Friday, June 1, 2018 at 8:30 AM CDT -to- Saturday, June 2, 2018 at 5:00 PM CDT

This workshop will provide an attachment-based understanding of the impact of addiction on the brain and relationships. It is designed for the EFT practitioner who has completed the Emotionally Focused Therapy Externship.

This workshop is designed for Therapists who have completed the Emotionally Focused Therapy Externship and want to gain skills  using EFT in cases involving addiction, addictive behaviors,  and substance abuse.

Learning Objectives:

1.Participant will gain an attachment-based understanding of the impact of addiction on the brain and relationships.
2.Participant will learn a differential assessment process to determine if  EFT is indicated when addiction or possible addiction surfaces  in treatment.
3.Participant will gain the ability to place addiction and addictive processes into the systemic process of the couple’s negative cycle. 
4. Participant will gain an understanding of the impact of addiction on emotional regulation and processing specific to EFT work.
5. Participant will practice applying EFT in addiction
6.  Participant will practice with specific scenarios to hone and increase EFT skills with this population. 

Michael Barnett LPC comes to us from Atlanta where he has been practicing psychotherapy since 1986. He is both an Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy Supervisor (2008) and a Registered Certified Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy Trainer (2009).  He is a full partner At Pine River Psychotherapy Assiciates .  He specializes in marriage and couples therapy, adolescent psychotherapy, addictive disorders and trauma.

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Family Institutes and Resources

The goal of the Porter-Cason Institute is to not only advance family practice but also to inform social work practitioners about the latest and most effective family practice methods, techniques and research.

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Porter-Cason Accomplishments

Highlights of the 2014-2015 work of Porter Cason Institute for the Family

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Board Members

The Porter-Cason board is made up of family therapists and mental health professionals from across the globe.

View Bios

Training that creates an active learning community

We have developed a model for training that creates an active learning community where those trained participate in future trainings of others and actively work in peer supervision and support groups. We subsidize training for not for profit agencies that otherwise could not afford to get staff trained in the best evidence based and effective models of treating families, children and couples. The model enables community building , networking, resource building , cross training and experience between the private and not for profit therapeutic communities in Louisiana and throughout the deep south.

Porter Cason  Board Meeting March 2-March 4 2016

The Porter Cason Board meeting this spring will be anchored  with a community workshop by board member Dr. Harry Aponte.  He will focus on his new book,  Aponte --

Porter Cason Emotionally Focused Therapy Training and Practice Community Development Project:

The Porter Cason Institute for the Family  brought Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), an evidence based practice to Louisiana.  We have supported the training of over 60 individuals, 8 are now certified and helping with training others. Certification  requires video presentations of an individual’s work  with couples and is rigorous.   Each training sequence requires 12 full days of training before eligibility to work toward certification. We have live sessions with couples during our trainings.  We have 4 peer supervision groups reviewing each others work and studying tapes.  We have an active Louisiana steering committee and are providing preliminary introductions to the method at state professional meetings this fall.We have a Louisiana Emotionally Focused website launched.

Our Emotionally Focused Therapy training schedule for 2016 can be viewed on the continuing education webpage.  The beginning training for the required series is in January .  The description follows in this link.  Externship --

Read a description of community impact by one of the agencies receiving training.

Dr.  Sue Johnson will do a 6 hour workshop here this spring

In response to the development of our  EFT community.  Dr. Johnson is the founder of the Emotionally Focused Therapy model.  Her workshop is listed on the continuing education page.

Porter Cason Board member Dr William Madsen will train our field supervisors in their supervision workshop this spring (April 6).

All of our field agencies where students train attend this meeting.  He will focus on his work and his books on collaborative helping and appreciative inquiry in supervision.   Efforts like this workshop enable the   Porter Cason Institute  to influence evidence based practice in the base of New Orleans agencies that provide services for multi stressed families and children.

New Orleans Community Appreciative Inquiry Best Practice Project for families with children at risk for becoming a victim or perpetrator of violence.

The Porter Cason Institute  is developing a work plan to approach our project parallel to Nola for Life (City program).   In addition , The Porter Cason Institute is part of the New Orleans City work group on the children aging out of Foster Care.  This group is tasked by the mayor to develop a legislative agenda for these children.  In addition we are tasked with understanding gaps in service.  The Annie Casey Foundation is staffing the project.    

For more information

Please contact Ms. Parker Sternbergh (Assistant Director) at (504) 862-3475, or Dr. Richard Ager (Director) at (504) 862-3470.