Raising Connected and Competent Boys: New Models of Strength and Resilience

BoysConference145x120Date: Saturday, March 23, 2013, 9am-4pm
Presenters: Amy Banks, M.D., Cate Dooley, M.S., Daren Graves, Ph.D., Judith Jordan, Ph.D., Kate Stone Lombardi, M.S., William Pollack, Ph.D., and Niobe Way, Ph.D.
Location: Holiday Inn & Conference Center, Dedham, MA (south of Boston, off I-95)


Boys are struggling. It's been more than 15 years since attention was first given to the idea that boys are in "crisis" – disconnected from their feelings and discouraged from close relationships, all in the name of "becoming a man." Yet little progress has been made. Boys continue to face unique challenges in school and society. They suffer emotionally from strict social prohibitions. To help all children thrive, it's clear we need new models of strength and competence.

This conference explores the crucial relationships in boys' lives: parents, friends, mentors and educators. The neurobiology of connection helps us understand what boys need to grow up to be emotionally intelligent, well-adjusted men. With a focus on developing tools for encouraging and supporting boys' healthy development, this conference is ideal for parents, teachers, clinicians and all people who care about boys’ well-being.

Program Schedule

8:30-9:00am - Registration

9:00-9:15am – Judith Jordan, Ph.D., Opening Remarks

9:15-10:00am - Kate Stone Lombardi, M.S., The Mama’s Boy Myth: Why Keeping Our Sons Close Makes Them Stronger
For generations mothers have gotten the same message: if you want your son to grow up to be a healthy, independent man, you must push him away—emotionally and physically. Journalist Kate Stone Lombardi argues that is it time to turn conventional wisdom on its head. Citing new research, along with interview with hundreds of mothers and son, she points to the multiple psychological, physical and even academic benefits of maintaining a strong mother-son connection.

10:00-10:45am - Amy Banks, M.D., Are Boys Hard-Wired to Connect, Too? What Relational Neuroscience Tells Us about the Capacity to Build Healthy Relationships
Research over the last two decades has uncovered multiple neurological systems that facilitate the human ability to understand, cooperate with and read one another. This presentation will explore the minds and brains of boys through the lens of relational neuroscience. This perspective changes the question about relationships for boys from “do boys connect?” to “how boys connect” – and why it is critical that they do so.

10:45-11:00am - Break

11:00-11:45am - William Pollack, Ph.D., The Hidden Emotional Life of Boys: Boys' Pain, Yearnings for Connection & Capacity for Interpersonal Resilience
Research has shown that many boys are suppressed by a societal code—the boy code—from feeling safe in expressing a wide range of feelings, especially those of pain, vulnerability, and the yearning for empathic connection. However when given the opportunity to break out of these gender straitjackets, boys show clear capacity to form inter-gender friendships, give empathic support to peers and adults, and reveal a "modern resilience" of healthy emotional strength based on interdependence, rather than stoic independent functioning. This talk will give the "evidence-based" data for the problems we have foisted on so many boys, as well as young males who "fail to launch.” It will address the implications for psychotherapy and parental/adult and peer interactions/support for boys; as well as take up many boys hidden "depressive states" and give practical applications and solutions that can help turn them from lives of sadness to zestful joy.

11:45am-1:00pm Lunch

1:00-1:45pm - Daren Graves, Ph.D., Intentional Mentoring: Bringing Issues of Gender and Race to the Forefront of Mentoring Young Men
This presentation will describe building resilience through gender and race-responsive programs. This curriculum was developed to help schools and community-based organizations train teachers and youth workers to support young men in navigating their lives. We will look at a case study of a group of young men at a local urban school who participated in a modified version of the intentional mentoring program.

1:45-2:30pm - Niobe Way, Ph.D., Boys’ Friendships and the Crisis of Connection
Drawing from hundreds of interviews conducted throughout adolescent with Black, Latino, White and Asian American boys, Way’s research suggests that we have been telling ourselves a false story about boys’ friendships and human nature. In late adolescence, boys believe they have to "man up" and "mature" by becoming stoic and independent. These findings are troublesome, given what we know from decades of social science research about the links between friendships and health and even longevity. Rather than a “boy crisis,” Way finds that boys are experiencing a "crisis of connection." The solution to this crisis lies with exposing the inaccuracies of our gender and racial stereotypes and fostering close friendships and fundamental human skills.

2:30-2:45pm - Break

2:45-3:45pm – Panel: Kate Stone Lombardi, Cate Dooley, Judy Jordan, Daren Graves, Niobe Way, Amy Banks
What can we do to help boys grow into resilient, wise and caring adults? In this final panel we will address actions we can take, changes we might suggest, and tools we can develop to support boys in getting free of traditional stereotyped roles that limit the development of their full human potential.

3:45-4:00pm – Judith Jordan, Ph.D., Closing Remarks


Amy Banks, M.D. is director of advanced training at the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute. She is the co-editor of The Complete Guide to Mental Health for Women, author of PTSD, Relationships and Brain Chemistry, a user friendly manual for both clients and clinicians, and Relational Treatment for Trauma Survivors. Her areas of expertise include therapy and psychopharmacology for trauma survivors, the neuroscience of human connection and lesbian parenting.

Cate Dooley, M.S. is one of the founding directors of the Mother-Son Project at the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute. Cate teaches Relational-Cultural Theory in a variety of clinical settings, and conducts groups and workshops locally and nationally teaching the Parenting-in-Connection model. With more than 20 years of experience in the field of psychology, she is in private practice in Newton and Watertown, Massachusetts, and a psychotherapist at Brandeis University's Psychological Counseling Center.

Daren Graves, Ph.D. is the director of the Urban Master's Program at Simmons College. As a teacher educator, he is committed to preparing teachers who see urban youth as assets in the teaching and learning process. His research interest involves the interplay of school culture and racial identity on the academic performance of Black adolescents. His research has given him an understanding of the issues that Boston-area youth face inside and outside of their school environments. He previously served as Assistant Director at Simmons College Upward Bound in Boston, where he helped coordinate the academic and college preparation components of this federally funded after-school and summer program.

Judith V. Jordan, Ph.D. is the director and a founding scholar of the Jean Baker Miller Institute; assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School; and recipient of numerous awards, including the 2010 Distinguished Psychologist Award from the American Psychological Association (APA). Dr. Jordan's 2010 book, Relational-Cultural Therapy, was written as part of APA's "Theories of Psychotherapy" series. Dr. Jon Carlson, series co-editor, lauded Relational-Cultural Theory as "One of the ten most important psychological theories today. In 2009, Dr. Jordan participated in a panel discussion with His Holiness The Dalai Lama on mindfulness at Harvard Medical School.

Kate Stone Lombardi, M.S. is the author of The Mama's Boy Myth: Why Keeping Our Sons Close Makes Them Stronger. She has been a regular contributor to The New York Times for the last twenty years and for seven years wrote a popular regional column, "County Lines." Her work has also appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Time.com, Readers’ Digest, Ladies’ Home Journal and Parenting. She has won six Clarion Awards for journalism from the Association for Women in Communications. She is a graduate of Williams College with an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University.

William Pollack, Ph.D. is an associate clinical professor at Harvard Medical School; senior consultant, Mental Health of Boys, Cambridge Health Alliance; and founder and director of the Centers for Men and Boys. He is the past president of the Massachusetts Psychological Association and a founding member and fellow of The Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity, a division of the American Psychological Association. His nationally best-selling book Real Boys’ Voices revealed the wide range of the "secret emotional lives" of America’s young males, including the survivors of Columbine to the "boys next door." His earlier, New York Times bestseller Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons From The Myths Of Boyhood is based upon Dr. Pollack's groundbreaking research project "Listening to Boys' Voices" on the inner emotional experiences of boys and has already had profound impact upon how we raise, teach and relate to our boys.

Niobe Way, Ph.D. is the author of numerous books and journal articles. Her sole authored books include: Everyday Courage: The Lives and Stories of Urban Teenagers and Deep Secrets: Boys' Friendships and the Crisis of Connection. Her co-edited or co-authored books include: Urban Girls: Resisting Stereotypes, Creating Identities, Adolescent Boys: Exploring Diverse Cultures of Boyhood, and Growing up Fast: Transitions to Adulthood among Inner City Adolescent Mothers. The latter co-authored book (with Bonnie Leadbeater) received the Best Book Award from the Society of Research on Adolescence. Her current research projects focus on the influence of families, peers, and schools on the trajectories of social and emotional development among adolescents in New York City and in Nanjing, China. Her research has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, The National Science Foundation, The William T. Grant Foundation, The Spencer Foundation, and by numerous other smaller foundations.

Registration information:

  • 5 CEUs or 5.5 PD Hours awarded (APA, NASW, LMHC, LMFT, and MA Dept. of Education approved).
  • Registration fees: $199 Professional Rate (includes CEUs or PD Hours) and $75 Parent/Caregiver rate (no CEUs or PD Hours included); pre-registration is required. (We will not accept registrations the day of the event.)
  • Registration discount -  Register with a friend and receive a $25 discount.
  • Scholarships available. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.
  • Registration ends at 3pm on Friday, March 22, 2013.
  • JBMTI Contact Info:
  • Phone: 781 283 3800
  • Fax: 781 283 3646
  • Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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