Program Overview & Speakers

2nd Annual Conference

March 22, 2024
Chapel Hill, NC

Program Overview & Speakers

Plenary Speaker:  Michael Saini, Ph.D., ABPP – Depolarizing Perspectives on Parent-Child Contact Problems: Unveiling the Illusion of Extremes

Embark on a transformative exploration aimed at depolarizing the debate regarding parent-child contact problems (PCCP). The goal of this presentation is to challenge false binary narratives that present family violence (FV) or parental alienation (PA) as exclusive and opposing causes of PCCP. We will delve into negative perceptions and false polarization effects while dissecting cognitive biases that arise from repeated exposure to extreme views and oversimplified narratives. The presentation seeks to shed light on alternative viewpoints and foster a comprehensive understanding of PCCP. By doing so, the presentation will offer a more cohesive and empathetic approach that acknowledges the complexities within family dynamics, and inspire a transformative shift in conversations and decisions regarding PCCP.

Ethics Plenary: April Harris-Britt, Ph.D. – Getting Along While Getting it Done Right –

Attorneys, therapists, and other professionals who are working with families in conflict can sometimes find themselves in battle, trying to negotiate the legal and clinical needs of the case.  For the first part of this group discussion, the moderators will offer case scenarios with ethical implications that must be weighed by each professional.  Relevant rules, professional guidelines, and statutes will be used to guide respectful, ethical, and collaborative problem-solving.   Legal professionals and Mental Health professionals will then attend separate break out sessions, during which ethical dilemmas, issues, and questions will be presented to highlight best practices, as well as ineffective strategies when working with families and teams of professionals in high-conflict family matters.

Plenary Speakers:  Jonathan Gould, Ph.D., ABPP & Chris Mulchay, PhD.  – Hired to be Fired: The Use of Expert Consultants to Resolve Cases

Judges adjudicating complex child custody cases and attorneys litigating these disputes are increasingly turning to science and expert mental health consultants for help. Attorneys are responding by engaging mental health experts in new ways. These new ways may involve consultation with the attorney about the quality of the forensic mental health evaluation, various forms of litigation support for the attorney, educational and emotional support for the parent, testimony at trial, or some combination of these activities. Attorneys may choose to retain mental health experts for litigation support rather than providing testimony. The services offered by non-testifying experts range from work as a trial consultant, who is fully integrated into the litigation team, to consultants who may render advice and opinions on selected aspects of the case. This presentation will discuss how mental health consultants might assist the attorney in finding ways to resolve the case outside of court by a variety of approaches.

Town Hall DiscussionShaping the Future of Family Law in NC

The NC Chapter of AFCC is dedicated to hearing about the most important and pressing concerns that you see impacting family law cases in NC.  Information will be used to develop future collaborations and programming.


Dr. Michael Saini is a full professor at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and cross-appointed with the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto.  He holds the endowed Factor-Inwentash Chair in Law and Social Work, the Co-Director of the combined J.D. / M.S.W. program and the Coordinator of the Children and Families Field of Study. Prof. Saini has over 200 publications, including books, published articles, and book chapters that address children’s and families’ well-being in systems governed by law. He is the President-Elect of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC), a Board Member of Access for Parents and Children of Ontario (APCO),

Family Mediation Canada (FMC), the Canadian Coalition of the Rights of the Child (CCRC) and an Associate Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers. In 2019, he was awarded the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts’ Stanley Cohen Distinguished Research Award, sponsored by the Oregon Family Institute.

Dr. April Harris-Britt is a licensed psychologist practicing in NC and VA.   In addition to providing child, adolescent, adult, and family therapy, Dr. Harris-Britt conducts comprehensive psychological evaluations and forensic evaluations. She also serves as a Parent Coordinator.  Specific areas of expertise include trauma and violence, adoption and attachment, risk & resilience models, divorce transitions, ADHD & autism spectrum disorders, and multicultural issues.  Dr. Harris-Britt contributes to research and teaching at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Fielding Graduate University where she serves as the Lead Faculty for the Forensic Concentration. She is currently a member of the APA Working Group to Review Scientific Literature for High Conflict Family Relationships and the APA Board of Professional Affairs.  She serves on the AFCC Committee on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, and previously on the AFCC Task Force on Model Standards of Practice for Child Custody Evaluations.  She is currently President for the NC Chapter of AFCC.

Jonathan Gould, Ph.D., ABPP [Forensic] is a board certified forensic psychologist specializing in psychological aspects of family law concerns. He has authored or co-authored seven books and more than one hundred articles and chapters addressing child custody issues and the admissibility of psychological expert testimony. He and Dr. Mulchay are co-authoring a child custody manuscript to be published by the American Psychological Association that brings into the child custody field new ideas from psychology areas outside of previously published conventional custody literature. Dr. Gould is involved in consultation with attorneys, trial preparation, work product reviews, and expert testimony in international and national family law cases.  He is married to attorney Nicki Fisher, has six adult children and six grandchildren.

Dr. Chris Mulchay is the co-author of The Field Guide to High Conflict Litigation. With Jon, he co-authored the chapter on child custody for The Oxford Handbook of Psychology and Law. He also has published recent articles on evaluations of dyslexia (reading disorder), dyscalculia (math disorder), dysgraphia  (writing disorder), and ADHD. He is past president of his local psychology association, the Western North Carolina Psychology Association, and treasurer of the International Council of Psychologists. His office is up in Asheville.

Conference Fees:

$225 Member Early Bird (by March 1, 2024)

$250 Member Regular

$250 Non-Member Early Bird (by March 1, 2024)

$275 Non-Member Regular

$100 Student Rate


CLE/CEU Credit:

*CLE 7.0 hours

*CEU  7.0 hours approved

*applied for and pending


Rizzo Center by Hyatt

150 Dubose Home Ln, Chapel Hill, NC 27517

NC AFCC Group Rate $219/night (limited block)

919-913-2098 code NCAFCC or