In the Spotlight: Sutherland Seminar Series

by Dr. Alisha Brosse, Sutherland Bipolar Center Director

The Sutherland Seminar Series (SSS) is an 8-week educational series open to anyone in the community who wants to learn more about bipolar disorders. We started to offer the SSS in January 2008 and, through 2017, we will have offered it 19 times. So far over 1,100 people have attended a seminar! Participants have included people who have (or suspect they have) a bipolar disorder, family members, friends, therapists, and probation officers. The SSS is consistent with our mission to educate the public and train mental health providers. Most of the seminars are presented by me, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and the Director of the Sutherland Bipolar Center. Occasionally, one of our other therapists presents a seminar in my absence.

The SSS covers topics such as: what is bipolar disorder? How is it diagnosed? What is the relationship between bipolar disorder and other disorders, like anxiety, ADHD, and substance use disorders? If you have bipolar disorder, what are some things you can do to improve mood stability? What professional treatments are available, and how does one shop for a therapist or medication prescriber? What is the impact of bipolar disorder on relationships, and how does social support and relationship stress affected bipolar disorder? Finally, what can you do in a true crisis? And, how can you use a wellness plan to help you or your loved one prevent relapse?

The information provided is geared towards adults with bipolar disorder. Some parents of adolescents with bipolar disorder, and a few adolescents themselves, have attended and said that they benefited from the information. However, parents should be forewarned that we discuss some of the risky behaviors and dire consequences that sometimes go along with bipolar disorder (such as suicide, risky sexual practices, substance use, hospitalization, financial ruin, and being arrested). If you think your child is not old enough or mature enough to hear this information, we encourage you to come without him or her.

People can come to any or all of the seminars. No registration or commitment is required. Like all of our services, we don’t want money to get in the way of someone getting the resources they need. That’s why we have a donation can available, instead of a set fee. Because so many people do make the suggested donation of $10 per session, the cost of providing the SSS is covered by attendees!

And, for those of you who do not live locally, or who want to share this resource with others far and wide, the seminar series is also available “on demand” as an audio download! (see here)

People regularly tell us how valuable the SSS has been to them. Here are a few more from others who put their thoughts in writing:

“The Sutherland Seminar Series is incredibly informative, and it is invaluable for those who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder as well as their family and friends. Dr. Alisha Brosse’s depth of knowledge and nuanced understanding of bipolar disorder is extraordinary. Every topic in the series is crucial to gaining a thorough grasp of symptoms, treatment, and therapies.” — Spring 2017 Seminar Series Participant

“Dear Alisha + Renee,
Thank you so much for providing the seminars on Mood Disorders at the Sutherland Center. It is a real contribution to the community and was well presented and well organized. I’m certainly appreciative of having participated!”
— Seminar Series Attendee, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

The next Sutherland Seminar Series will be offered starting Monday, September 11 from 6:30pm-8:00pm at the Hopelight Medical Clinic/Longmont Church of Christ (1351 Collyer St, Longmont CO 80501). Seminars are held for 8 consecutive Mondays, 6:30pm-8:00pm, through October 30th.