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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

Improving Your Group Therapy Skills 

Saturday, December 8, 2018 from 10:00 AM to 1:15 PM CST

This three hour seminar will focus on helping professionals doing groups to improve their skills. The mission will be on learning, expansion, and growth of mental health professionals doing groups. Skills will be emphasized and integrated into useful interventions. We will focus on groups with children, adolescents, and adults. Research, culture, and gender issues will be discussed as these pertain to group therapy. The audience will be limited to 25 participants. 

The objectives are:

  1. Participants will learn a variety of interventions for various populations. 
  2. Participants will learn a variety of theoretical models useful as group interventions. 
  3. Participants will learn self-awareness, new skills, and professional growth as a result of their attendance. 

The methods of teaching will be interactive, didactic, power point, video and experiential. A hand out will be provided. What the research states about doing effective groups will be highlighted.

Dr. Marvin W. Clifford has been with the Ochsner Health System for 28 years as the Director of Group Therapy and The Director of the Employee Assistance Program. He is also an Adjunct Professor with the Tulane University School of Social Work for the last 27 years. His experience as a social worker spans almost five decades. He has done clinical work, supervision, administration, publication and research, and teaching. His clinical interests are working with children, adolescents, adults, couples, and groups. He is skilled in mental health, addictions, and co-occurring disorders. He has done presentations at the local level, state, and national events.

LMSW Test Prep for TSSW graduating class

Tuesday, December 11, 2018 from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM CST

Lets get ready for the next stage in your career! This 4 hour test prep workshop will go over the process required to sit for your test, review the test outline, discuss test format /test taking tips and go through 50 questions on a recent ASWB exam. Parker Sternbergh will teach the workshop.  She takes the test each year,  teaches the LMSW/LCSW test prep class at Tulane and sat on the Louisiana State Board of Social Work Examiners.


Externship in Emotionally Focused Therapy with EFT Trainer George Faller

Tuesday, April 30, 2019 at 9:00 AM to Friday, May 3, 2019 at 5:00 PM 

In this four-day Externship, participants will learn through a combination of lectures, observation of live interviews and role-play excercises. Upon completion of this course, participants will:

  • Identify the basic stages and steps of Emotionally Focused Therapy
  • See marital distress from an attachment perspective
  • Help couples recognize and deescalate problematic patterns of interaction
  • Help couples understand the underlying attachment needs that drive these negative patterns
  • Help couples create and restore the emotional bond between them
  • Help couples repair attachment injuries, fostering healing within and between the couple.
  • EFT Externships and Core Skills trainings are designed for mental health professionals.


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.

View Resources

Porter-Cason Accomplishments

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

View Accomplishments

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 (Director) at (504) 862-3475, or Dr. Richard Ager at (504) 862-3470.