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Staying Focused, Moving Forward and Maintaining Your Mental Health — Keeping it Together in Uncertain Times

May. 6, 2020 at 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Marilyn J. Cassis, PhD, LMFT, LPC, and Michael H. Rucker II, MFT, LMFT
Subject: 153 Psychosocial Anxiety & Fear in Dentistry, 770 Self-Improvement
Credits: 1.5
Wednesday, May 6: 2–3:30 p.m. CDT and 7–8:30 p.m. CDT
Audience: Dentists
Fee: Free


This workshop is designed to help dentists reestablish their professional practices as they prepare to reopen as restrictions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic are relaxed. Participants will be asked to evaluate their own mental health status and to prepare for re-entry into the workplace environment after a time of transition and change. By the end of the presentation, attendees will be able to reflect on best practices for maintaining optimal mental health and growth to anticipate the challenges of practicing in a post-pandemic world.

Learning Objectives


  • Reflect and examine the practices of maintaining a staff and patients before the COVID-19 shutdown and identify the aspects that worked to maintain a well-functioning office.
  • Examine the thoughts and feelings that occurred during the shutdown and their impacts, and develop an understanding of the risks of burnout and secondary trauma as well as ways to heal from these conditions.
  • Develop a plan for re-entry that establishes health and hope for the dentist, the treatment team and the patients.
  • Gain acceptance and understanding of cohesion and how to establish a new vision for change in a post-pandemic world.

Speaker Biographies

Marilyn J. Cassis, PhD, LMFT, LPC, works as a marriage and family therapist to help clients find the best parts of themselves and work toward common goals that achieve the change they desire. Her systemic perspective focuses on the whole system operating together to achieve cohesion, become more adaptable as a unit, and find alternatives to stressful conditions and change. Cassis is eclectic in her approach to marriage and family therapy and trained in cognitive behavioral, emotion-focused, structure-function, Bowenian and psychodynamic approaches to family therapy. Her educational background includes a BS in secondary education, an MS in family communication and a PhD in marriage and family therapy from Florida State University. She has maintained Cassis Therapy Associates, a private practice in Charleston, West Virginia, since 1987, and has worked with a variety of clinical issues and topics as well as consulting in family-owned businesses and succession issues.

Michael H. Rucker II, MBA, LMFT, is a licensed marriage and family therapist who started his career in business administration. Prior to therapy, he spent almost a decade working in business development and banking after he obtained his MBA from the University of Charleston. Now, Rucker works in private practice in two locations: Rucker Therapy Associates in Morgantown, West Virginia, and Cassis Therapy Associates in Charleston. Prior to working solely in private practice, Rucker worked in a number of professional settings, including inpatient psychiatric units and local mental health clinics. Rucker completed his master’s degree in marriage and family therapy at the Mercer University School of Medicine. He completed a clinical residency program at Atlanta Medical Center Family Medicine, where he realized the importance of collaborative care, which he now institutes daily in his therapeutic approach. Rucker feels honored to be able to help his clients accomplish their desired goals while improving their well-being and quality of life.

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