Expired Engaging Taboo Conversations in Couples’ Work:  Relational Identity Questioning 

This lecture is part of the Ackerman Distinguished Family Therapy Lecture Series, designed to contribute to conversations on advancements and opportunities in family therapy training. Lectures are free and open to the public.

Program Description:

This presentation will explore ways to engage taboo subjects in couples’ work. Taboos are prohibitions. These prohibitions, whether self-imposed or other-imposed, can pose challenges for couples and practitioners who work with them. For couples whose relationship narratives are filled with taboo stories, there are voices and counter voices and discourses that underlie the dominant plots to their self-expression. Facilitating alternative stories around taboo subjects, couples’ work offers skills in challenging and honoring the effects of taboos in couple relationships while critically examining larger stories. Through use of relational identity questioning (Freedman & Combs, 2002) and deconstructive questioning (White, 2011), group discussion, exercise, video and case vignettes, we will experience ways of relating to taboo subjects in couples’ work.  

Following this session, participants will be able to:  

  • Identify challenges in addressing issues with couples
  • Critique key discourses and taboos in couples’ work
  • Demonstrate and assess key strategies in working with couples through the use of relational identity questioning 


Hugo Kamya, PhD is Professor and the Social Work Alumni Fund Endowed Chair at Simmons University, where he teaches clinical practice and trauma, family therapy, spirituality, group work and narrative therapies. He combines an interest in social work, psychology, and theology. His work has focused on immigrant and refugee populations as well as international efforts to assess the social service needs of people affected by HIV/AIDS and transactional sex. He practices, consults for, and develops collaborative partnerships with agencies and organizations, as well as presents nationally and internationally on multicultural, diversity, racial justice, and cultural sensitivity issues.

Dr. Kamya has a vibrant family therapy practice in Arlington, MA.  He works with  interracial couples and multicultural families. He collaborates in Caring Across Communities, a project of community-based services for refugees and immigrants that examines social, cultural, and human capital toward family functioning and well-being. He is the American Family Therapy Academy recipient for the 2003 Distinguished Contribution to Social and Economic Justice Award. In 2014, Dr. Kamya was accepted into the Fulbright Specialist Roster Program. Dr. Kamya is founding member of the Boston Institute for Culturally Affirming Practices (BICAP). 

Return to Ackerman Distinguished Family Therapy Lecture Series

  • November 17, 2022
    6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Hugo Kamya, PhD

CE contact hours are not offered for this series.

Location:   Online Event


A link will be emailed to you one day before the event. Online events are held in Eastern Standard Time (ET).

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