Traditional v Non-traditional Approaches
to Treating Disrespect

Traditional approaches to trauma treatment for anxiety, disrespect, violence, suicide ideation, and similar issues frequently focus on the individual in order to create change. Non-traditional therapy draws on systems thinking in its view of the family as an emotional unit. This approach, upon which Dr. Scott Sells developed the FST | Family Systems Trauma model, […]

Move Your Families Forward
With “Stick and Move”

Great therapy is both process and content. Therapists can have great techniques and follow proven therapy models. Unless you are a great process counselor, client and family engagement can fall flat. Nuanced delivery and navigating in-the-moment curveballs move families beyond status quo patterns. In the video clip below, Dr. Sells describes the “stick and move” […]

Why Structural-Strategic Theory is Critical to Your Family Trauma Practice

You’ve been taught how to work with individuals. You’re most likely familiar with Cognitive Behavior, Attachment Theory, and/or Psychodynamic Theory. But how do you integrate this knowledge to move from treating the traumatized child to treating the traumatized family? At the Family Trauma Institute, we believe the answer is Structural-Strategic Theory. Understanding Structural-Strategic theory helps […]

Three Tips for Therapists Working
with Trauma Safety Stressors

As COVID-19 continues, stress and anxiety are on the rise. Suicide rates have increased. Now more than ever before, mental health professionals have the opportunity to help prevent suicide by uncovering safety stressors in families and normalizing family secrets. Tools such as the FST Stress Chart and the FST Safety Stressor Questionnaire allow clinicians to […]

Helicopter Parenting Can Affect
Childhood Anxiety

In working with mental health professionals around the world, they often tell me they are seeing increased anxiety in their clients. And, they have found that the most anxious children live in households with adults who display over-the-top protecting behaviors. These adults swoop in and rescue their children at the slightest sign of disappointment or […]

What Makes Kids with Oppositional Defiance
So Defiant?

Children and adolescents with oppositional and defiant behavior (ODD) are often referred to treatment because of extreme emotional or behavior problems – aggression, disrespect, skipping school, self-harm, suicide, running away – and not the underlying trauma and unhealthy family dynamics that are the real cause of the problem. Parents will come into your treatment with […]

A Groundbreaking Intervention
to Change Stuck Cases

We’ve all been there. We make progress with traumatized clients and their families and then the forward momentum stops. Families get stuck. Often the traditional therapy method to change a stuck system is to guide clients into thinking their way into a new way of acting by offering them new insights. A less known way […]

One Simple Question Can Change the Direction and Outcome of Therapy

Mental health is a vast profession with hundreds of specializations and numerous types of clients. No matter our various approaches or client specialties, one constant thread throughout the profession: We want to improve the lives of those with whom we work. I have found that one simple question can bring positive outcomes for many. Whether […]

Engage Parents With Inspiration Before Treatment

We’ve all worked with difficult parents. Parents who: Maintain a “just fix my kid” mindset. Resist the solutions you offer. Do not show up for therapy sessions. When I first began my career, I blamed the parents. I thought they were unmotivated, or even untreatable. I soon found that frame-of-mind didn’t heal my clients; nor […]

A Connection Playbook Helps Heal Emotionally Abandoned Teen

In their book, Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma, Levine and Frederick (1997, p. 38) write: “Contrary to popular belief, trauma can be healed… without long hours of therapy; without painful reliving of memories; and without a continuing reliance on medication.” At the Family Trauma Institute (FTI), we provide tools, techniques and step-by-step training to help […]

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