June 23-25, 2022

Royal Sonesta Harbor Court
Baltimore, MD

Practice-Based Evidence:
Connection, Hope, and Change in the Borderlands

Join us for the 44th Annual Meeting
and Open Conference

Days until AFTA's Annual Meeting and Open Conference:








Practice-Based Evidence:

Connection, Hope, and Change in the BoRderlands

June 23-25, 2022

With Half-day Live Virtual Presentations June 3 & 10, 2022  (12:00-5:00 pm Eastern) to launch an action-focused conference

Time to Reconnect, Engage, Take Action

After so much time physically distant from one another, the dichotomy between theory and practice has never been more evident. This conference is an opportunity for us to intentionally re-engage in critical dialogue that leads to action. This conference will address how to advance systemic, family-centered, socially just practices that support relational health and well-being grounded in lessons that bridge these gaps.

The goals of this year’s conference are:

Expand supportive networks for engagement and action to initiate change 

Create spaces where previously marginalized voices have center stage with an interested, receptive audience

Integrate theory and practice

Engage in mutual learning across generations 

Build community and have fun!

Conference Format

Rather than a one-time event, this conference has virtual, in-person, and post-conference engagement. Virtual preconference presentations and interest group meetings set the stage, followed by in-person action-oriented plenaries, presentations, group activities, and post-conference check-ins.

Conference Theme

Practice-Based Evidence:
Connection, Hope, and Change in the Borderlands

For systems thinkers and practitioners, the interrelationships among individuals, families, communities, and contexts have always been more important than the boundaries that distinguish them. In this time of growing divisions--between the rich and the poor, the academic “elites” and the working class, the global north, and the global south--it becomes ever more important to find ways of working together with dignity and with accountability to one another.  

 In this conference, we will bridge the gap between academic jargon and the lived experience of clients and practitioners through practice-based evidence. That is, our focus will be on how various ways of knowing—our intuition, experience, and relationality—influence our everyday practice. We seek to embrace the new patterns of engagement, hope, and transformation that can emerge when we continuously shift whose vision takes the lead. We seek to do so with a spirit of kindness, open hearts, and shared wonder about ourselves and one another. 

Overview of Conference Structure 


(Two half days - June 3 & 10)

Virtual: 25-minute Presentations on work already occurring or in process. Goal is to spark energy (theories, passions, actions) for the face-to-face conference.

Conference welcome

(June 23, 2 pm - evening)

 Engage with new & old friends, networking conversations, and inspirational keynote to orient the conference.

Two full days of conference activity

(June 24 - 25)

Building from the energy of the virtual presentations, in-person connection, stimulating plenaries, and dialogues move our six topics towards action, while also having fun!

Conference finale

(June 25, afternoon-gala event)

Articulate steps needed for the field and personal and/or shared action plans for each of the six conference topics. Form networks of support to sustain each other and the work. Follow-up check-ins will be offered.

Call for Presentations

To bridge the historical divisions amongst us, we invite active practitioners and researchers to share their work. We seek examples of practices that illustrate creative practice-based evidence and research that draw on and promote connection across the borderlands in six areas critical to couples and families today: 

  • Systemic and institutional racism 
  • Sociopolitical crises and migration  
  • Institutional change, systems leadership, and advocacy 
  • Environmental justice and extreme weather changes 
  • Bridging clinical training and community practice 
  • Clinical practice and health disparities 

Submission Deadline: December 6, 2021


✓Lessons learned from COVID
✓Services responsive to the desires of community members
✓Practice that promotes language justice
✓Examples of decolonizing practice
✓Ethical, socially just collaboration across international borders
✓Examples of work that uses community promoters
✓Shifting one’s privilege to work non-hierarchically
✓Using one’s privilege to change ingrained systems
✓Managing intersections of professional power and marginalized identities
✓Couple therapy practices that promote equity
✓Working with children and families in under resourced communities
✓Addressing sociopolitical context of mental health symptoms
✓Impact of the wealth gap on clinical practice
✓Community and culturally based collaboration

December 5, 2021


Submission deadline for Virtual Brief Presentations, In-person Micro-Presentations, Lunch and Learn Poster presentations, and Interest Group* 

*Interest Group submissions are limited to current AFTA Members

January 5, 2022 Acceptance and rejection notifications sent via email from annualconference@afta.org (Please add this email address to your safe senders list to receive important updates.)
January 21, 2022 Schedule of presentations


    1. You may submit a virtual presentation, an in-person micro-presentation, and/or a lunch and learn poster presentation.
    2. Consider how your work and interests contribute to the conference theme as described above. In keeping with the theme, all ways of knowing and experience are welcomed and needed.
    3. Decide which of the following conference topics best fit with your work and interests. These themes will serve as the focus for the Action Networks* at the conference. Virtual presentations prior to the conference will also be centered around these topics as a stimulus for active engagement at the conference. *see network topics under submission type descriptions
    4. Decide whether you prefer to offer a more in-depth preconference virtual presentation on June 3 or 10 or an in-person 5 to 7-minute micro-presentation in Baltimore on June 23-25.  You may do both.
    5. Go to the on-line portal and submit your proposal(s) by the submission deadline date of December 6, 2021.
    6. When your proposal is accepted, you must also register for the conference.
☐ Submission type ☐ Posttest questions (minimum of 5 questions relevant to your presentation; micro-presentations need to submit 1 posttest question)
☐ Available dates for virtual presentations (June 3, 10, or either) ☐ Presentation title (limited to 50 characters)
☐ Presentation abstract (limited to 150 characters) ☐ CV (PDF format)
☐ Presentation learning objectives (minimum of 3) ☐ Hi-Resolution Headshot
☐ APA references ☐ Complete Amedco Disclosure



Participants may propose three types of presentations. You may submit a virtual brief presentation, an in-person micro-presentation, and/or a lunch and learn poster presentation. Clinicians, students, and early career members are encouraged to submit.

1. Virtual Brief Presentations (June 3rd and June 10th). These 25 to 30-minute synchronous, live presentations will be offered virtually prior to the in-person conference. Sessions will include two presentations with additional time for discussion. The virtual presentations will serve as a stimulus for engagement and action in Baltimore. Recordings will be available to registered conference participants not able to join at the scheduled time.

Proposals for virtual presentations should fall into one of the conference topics listed below. Please identify which conference topic your virtual presentation will address and which date(s) you are available to present.

 Virtual Brief Presentation Topic Areas 

(Select at least one. The review committee may make adjustments as needed)

    • Systemic and Institutional racism
    • Environmental justice and extreme weather changes
    • Sociopolitical crises and migration
    • Bridging clinical training and community practice
    • Institutional change, systems leadership and advocacy
    • Clinical practice and health disparities

2. In Person Micro-Presentations for Action Networks (June 23-25). These 5-minute micro “elevator” presentations will be related to an Action Network topic. Presenters may report on unpublished or published practices, developing or on-going projects, and/or share ideas and questions for future work. Presenters and other participants will come together in Action Networks at the conference to share their expertise or emerging ideas and consider how to advance practice-based evidence related to their topic. The goal is to draw on and value all ways of knowing. Creativity is particularly encouraged.

    Action Network Topics

    (Select at least one. The review committee may make adjustments as needed)

      • Systemic and Institutional racism
      • Environmental justice and extreme weather changes
      • Sociopolitical crises and migration
      • Bridging clinical training and community practice
      • Institutional change, systems leadership and advocacy
      • Clinical practice and health disparities

    3. Lunch and Learn Poster Presentations. This conference transforms traditional “poster” presentations to “lunch and learn” presentations. Poster topics may address innovative uses of systemic therapy, research, teaching, training or social policy. Posters will be displayed on your computer and printed copies, and groups will gather for round table discussion and lunch. Bring your laptop and printed copies of your poster to engage in a discussion about your work.

    Interest Groups

    The purpose of Interest Groups is to provide an informal forum for AFTA members to discuss clinical, theoretical, or research interests together. For many AFTA members, they are a primary vehicle for stimulating conversation and connection with each other, and an opportunity to expand our collective expertise. One of the unique aspects about Interest Groups at AFTA is within this forum there are limited or no formalized presentations, rather, this is an opportunity to come together with colleagues who share similar passions in the field and engage in simulating dialogue and intentional collaboration. The role of the leaders of the interest group is to focus and organize the conversation in a way that includes a variety of voices, perspectives and experiences. Interest groups can be, but do not have to be, related to the theme of the conference.  

     Past interest groups are listed on the AFTA.org website and have included some of the following areas: Community-Based Programs; Couples Therapy; Evaluating Post-Modern/Narrative/Constructionist Therapies; Film, Families, and Family Therapy; Racial Domination and Privilege.


      Interest Group submissions are only open to current AFTA members. If you wish to lead an interest group that you have led in the past, please submit your interest group proposal.

      If you are interested in offering a new interest group, send a description to the AFTA listserv (listserv@afta.org). You need interest from 8 AFTA members to start a new interest group.   

      ☐ Interest Group Name (limited to 50 characters) ☐ Interest Group learning objectives (minimum of 3)
      ☐ Interest Group abstract (limited to 150 characters) ☐ APA references
      ☐ Posttest questions (minimum of 5 questions relevant to your Interest Group) ☐ Hi-Resolution Headshot of all Interest Group Co-Chairs and Facilitators
      ☐ CV (PDF format) of all Interest Group Co-Chairs and Facilitators ☐ Complete Amedco Disclosure

      Support the 2022 Conference

      The annual AFTA Conference facilitates robust dialogue for therapists committed to advancing the integration of social justice, systems theory, and family therapy practices. It brings together professionals committed to advancing family therapy research, theory, and practice that aligns with principles of justice, liberation, and equality. These professionals include students, early career therapists, and leading practitioners, researchers, and scholars in the family therapy profession.

       Each year this innovative and enriching conference is made possible by generous donor support from people like you.