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9:00am 9:00am

CARAS Alternative Sexualities Conference

CEUs for Licensed Professionals Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted Street, Chicago, IL 60613

CEUs for Licensed Professionals

Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted Street, Chicago, IL 60613

Join us for the 8th Annual CARAS Conference! 

TASHRA in partnership with the GLSHA invites you to attend the 2017 CARAS Alternative Sexualities Conference. Learn from leaders in the field as they present on various topics including kink and consensual non-monogamy. Hear research findings from the first National Kink Health Survey and network with some of the greatest minds in the field of alt sex. Early registration rates end on May 15th!

Join us for the Kink Identified Clinician Summit on Saturday, May 26th!* (10:00am to 12:00pm, Center on Halsted)

*No extra cost with full day workshop registration*

Hours count toward becoming a Certified Kink Competent (CKC) Provider

Keynote Speakers: Caroline Shahbaz and Peter Chirinos
The authors of the 2017 book Becoming a Kink Aware Therapist will be presenting the opening keynote address and a workshop. Drawing on current research and ethnographic narratives from the kink community, the workshop provides psychotherapists with an understanding of the culture and practice of BDSM and presents specific therapeutic concerns related to common misconceptions. This workshop is packed with practical suggestions and rich case studies applicable to sexual minorities. In particular, it differentiates cutting and self-harm from masochism and explores the experiences of coming out 'kinky'. Finally the ways in which social cultural political biases impact professional and personal perspectives will be explored.

Reserve your hotel at the newly renovated Chicago City Suites. A room block has been set aside under the group name "CARAS Conference" for your convenience. You may call the hotel directly at 773-404-3400 or book online using Group Code: CARAS. Reduced rates are $179-$199 and include WiFi and breakfast. 

Following the conference, the GLSHA invites you to join us for a social event at Sidetrack, one of Chicago's famed hotspots in the Boystown neighborhood. Join us at 6:30pm for drinks and entertainment!

The Great Lakes Sexual Health Alliance is looking for volunteers to assist our team during the conference. If you are interested, then please send us an email at

Weekend Events in Chicago

May 26th to May 29th

International Mr. Leather
May 25th to May 29th

**Stay Tuned for More Updates**

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9:00am 9:00am

Sexceptional Lecture: Mastering the Art of Sensate Focus with Linda Weiner, MSW, LCSW, & Constance Avery-Clark, PhD

6 AASECT CEUs 6 CEUs for LMFT, LPC, LCSW 6 CEUs for APA Psychologists



6 CEUs for APA Psychologists

Discover, develop, renew, and update your knowledge of Sensate Focus (the foundation of sex therapy) for a diverse client population. Re-examine the value of Sensate Focus for working with couples’ intimacy, relationship, and sexual concerns, and explore its association with mindfulness practice. Linda Weiner, MSW, LCSW, and Constance Avery-Clark, PhD, will go beyond what has been published by Masters & Johnson, presenting evolved clinical applications for LGBT populations, trauma survivors, Spectrum couples, and those with chronic illness or disability. The workshop will include suggestions for the use of Sensate Focus 1 with sexually distressed clients as opposed to the use of Sensate Focus 2 with those seeking to optimize their intimate and sexual relationship. Update your skills and conceptualizations, and join the conversation!


  • Overview of the history and application of Sensate Focus
  • Identify the what, when, and how of assigning & processing suggestions
  • Clarify Sensate Focus Levels 1 & 2


  • Present the underpinnings of Sensate Focus & their relation to mindfulness practice
  • Differentiate clients’ intimacy & sexual concerns
  • Describe the general Sensate Focus hierarchy, & its pacing and processing
  • Offer modification specific to diverse demographic & clinical populations
  • Provide demonstration & opportunities for practice & feedback


Linda Weiner, MSW, LCSW is Co-Director of the Institute for Sexual & Relationship Therapy & Training, an Adjunct Professor at Washington University in St. Louis, a supervisor, speaker, workshop presenter and author. Training  together and working at Masters & Johnson Institute, she and Constance became colleagues and lifelong friends. The two of us recently collaborated on the publication of the first  illustrated manual detailing the use of Sensate Focus in sex therapy and updating this foundational technique for diverse clients.  


Constance Avery-Clark, PhD is Co-Director of the Institute for Sexual & Relationship Therapy & Training, an AASECT-Certified Diplomate in Sex Therapy, and a Licensed Psychologist. With two Ph.D.s (in Clinical Psychology and the Psychology of Jungian Studies), she has been in private practice for 30 years in Florida. She is a CE Provider through APA and AASECT, presents nationally on the subject of intimacy, relationships, and meaningfulness, has published numerous articles and, together with her long-time colleague and friend from Masters & Johnson Institute, has a book coming out this year entitled Sensate Focus in Sex Therapy: The Illustrated Manual.

 Check out their new illustrated manual on Sensate Focus!

 Check out their new illustrated manual on Sensate Focus!

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Sexceptional Lecture: Beyond Desire with Emily Nagoski, PhD

In her groundbreaking bestseller, Come As You Are, Emily Nagoski, PhD explored the science behind female sexuality. Now she takes you deeper into understanding responsive desire, arousal non-concordance, and the dual control model of sexual response. This workshop delves into the science of female sexuality, provokes personal and professional insight, and provides opportunities to create strategies for helping clients and patients navigate the complex world of desire and authentic sexual expression. Therapists, medical professionals, students, and individuals interested in science-based, body-positive, affirming sexual health knowledge are welcome to attend.


    • Identify the multiple facets of the mesolimbic cortex - liking, wanting and learning.
    • Explain arousal non-concordance, or why a person's genitals might respond to stimulation that is neither wanted nor liked.
    • Describe the relevance of the dual control model to sexual desire and pleasure.


    Emily Nagoski is a sex educator, author, research and activist who has a PhD in Health Behavior with a doctoral concentration in human sexuality from Indiana University (IU), and a Master’s degree (also from IU) in Counseling, with a clinical internship at the Kinsey Institute Sexual Health Clinic. She also has a BA in Psychology, with minors in cognitive science and philosophy, from the University of Delaware. While at IU, Emily worked as an educator and docent at the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex Gender and Reproduction. She also taught graduate and undergraduate classes in human sexuality, relationships and communication, stress management, and sex education.
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