ACE Foundation Programs

Saturday, September 28, 2024



Program Description

In the interface of adoption and mental health, adoption has been officially thought of as a means of providing parents for children needing permanent homes. However, the underlying agenda, and the focus of services, has been the reverse: providing very young children to meet the desires of adults, but also without any consideration that the child would grow up. Social work has played a significant role in this, and many of its policies and practices have been based on unstudied assumptions about adopted children. These have contributed to many of their developmental problems into adulthood. Once a child has been placed, the adoption culture has considered its job done, leaving ongoing services to untrained community resources. Further, throughout the years, neither of the two fields has considered the psychology of being adopted or the unique emotional needs of adopted persons into adolescence and young adulthood. This presentation begins with a review of inaccuracies in twentieth century theory of early childhood development, including inaccurate assumptions about the adoption field, which have filtered down to the inaccurate assumptions of psychotherapists. This has resulted in therapists having little or no understanding of the complexities in being adopted or of the many treatment modifications that are necessary. The psychology of being adopted and the treatment of adopted clients are presented as advanced clinical specialties, not as the domain of social work or child welfare, requiring an advanced level of clinical training. This is explained in a series of statements that challenge the thinking of therapists in all disciplines. There will also be emphasis on the advantage of working from an adoption-informed psychodynamic perspective.

Registration Options

*NYSSCSW Discount applies to NYSSCSW current members only.

**Student Discount only applies to full time students currently enrolled in social work and MHP master level programs.


Saturday, September 28, 2024

10:00am-1:00pm EDT


Please register by Thursday, September 26 at 5pm.

contact Hours:

3.0 Contact Hours Will Be Awarded For This Program


Doris Bertocci, LCSW and Linda Mayers, PhD


Live Online via Zoom

Program Originator:


Course Number


NYS CE Accreditation for:


The Advanced Clinical Education (ACE) Foundation of the NYS Society for Clinical Social Work, Inc. is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed marriage and family therapists #MFT-0028; licensed mental health counselors #MHC-0045; licensed psychoanalysts #P-0017; licensed psychologists #PSY-0121; and licensed social workers #SW-0056.

Out of State Providers:

Out-of-state providers are welcome to request a certificate upon completion of the presentation evaluation but must check with their own state licensing boards to inquire about whether or not the certificate is recognized as transferrable for CEs in their state’s jurisdiction.

Program Details

By the end of this continuing education program, participants will be able to:
1. Identify incorrect assumptions in the classic theories of early childhood development that have interfered with our understanding of the psychology of being adopted;
2. Recognize six core external factors in being adopted that have clinical implications and that therefore need to be included in the assessment of an adopted client;
3. Incorporate into treatment a more detailed understanding of the unique emotional and developmental complexities in the lives of adopted adolescents and young adults;
4. Identify essential modifications in treatment of adopted clients that would not apply to non-adopted clients.

Psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, licensed psychoanalysts, nurse practitioners and family and marriage/couple therapists and mental health counselors.

This seminar is appropriate for clinicians with all levels of experience.

Doris Bertocci, LCSW is in private practice in metropolitan New York, having had a long career in college mental health (primarily young adults/graduate students) at Columbia University. There she worked with a number of adopted students whose stories made many symbolic references to adoption. Ms. Bertocci co-authored a chapter on the underlying meanings of the “search” in the Psychology of Adoption (Oxford Press, 1990). Her more recent efforts have focused on developing protocols for therapists to follow in providing adoption-knowledgeable, psychodynamically-based evaluations and treatment of adopted adolescents and young adults. This information is included in a recent international publication, Handbook on the Clinical Treatment of Adopted Adolescents and Young Adults (Routledge, 2023), for which she was co-editor and author. Ms. Bertocci and her colleagues provide interstate online consultation for psychotherapists wishing to improve their understanding of the Psychology of Being Adopted generally, or seeking consultation about treatment modifications for specific adopted clients. In addition to specializing in college mental health and in the psychology of adoption, having published in both fields, Ms. Bertocci has also developed a specialty working with parents in child custody litigation. The common thread relates to systemic failures regarding children’s rights.

Linda Mayers, PhD, is past director of training, and training and supervising analyst of the Institute of the Postgraduate Psychoanalytic Society and was faculty and senior supervisor at the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health; former adjunct clinical professor at City University, Teachers College – Columbia University, and Yeshiva University. She is currently an adjunct associate professor at LaGuardia Community College, City University of New York. She is a member of the editorial board of Journal of Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy, an editorial reader for International Forum of Psychoanalysis and is a contributor to the IPA Inter-Regional Encyclopedic Dictionary of Psychoanalysis. She has published in the areas of adoption, the psychology of art and psychoanalysis, tattoos, the history of mental illness, and infant–parent disturbances. She is one of three editors for the Handbook on the Clinical Treatment of Adopted Adolescents and Young Adults published by Routledge (2023). A licensed clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City she has worked with adoptive families and adopted people of all ages and has an ongoing interest in the developmental complexities of adopted individuals throughout the lifespan.

Bibliography/References – DOWNLOAD PDF
Live Online via Zoom

Contact Hours will be awarded once the entire course is completed, as evidenced by signing in and out and completing a course evaluation. Certificates will be emailed approximately ten business days after the completion of the course.

ACE welcomes participants with diverse abilities. Please contact Kristin or Debbie at, at time of registration, to request accessibility accommodations. Accommodation requests are considered in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities ACT (ADA), Section 505 of the Rehabilitation ACT.

Cancellation Policy:

Cancellations made at least five days before the event will be fully refunded. For cancellation please call 1-800-288-4279, or email us at

Inclement Weather Policy:

Should Inclement weather occur, we will be notifying all registrants via the email by which the registrant signed up. Please be sure to check your email before you leave for the course.

  • 3.0 Contact Hours will be awarded once the entire course is completed.
  • All registrations must be submitted by the Wednesday prior to the program.
  • Certificates will be emailed approximately ten business days after the completion of the course.
  • For questions regarding disability access please contact Kristin or Debbie, at time of registration, so that we can see to it that arrangements are made to accommodate your special needs:
  • For questions regarding course content, please contact Kristin or Debbie:
  • In the event of any grievance please contact:

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