How to Engage the Extended Family in Trauma Treatment

It Takes a Village to Raise a Child It takes a village to raise a child is an old African proverb. It means that a child needs both the immediate and extended family to overcome adverse experiences like trauma and to grow up in a safe and secure environment. Unfortunately, traditional trauma treatment often only […]

FST Stabilization vs. Active Trauma Technique: Setting the Goals of Therapy

Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg? The chicken-and-egg expression refers to situations in which it is unknown what happened first, or what situation caused the other. In trauma treatment, a critical chicken-or-the-egg decision occurs after the diagnostic assessment. Trauma therapists must choose to begin with one of the following goals for therapy: Stabilize […]

Family Trauma Treatment
Root Work: FST Seed Tree Technique

We Have to Get Out Of the Weeds   Weeds return when roots are not pulled. In the same way, our clients’ traumatic symptoms (the weeds) return when we fail to identify and treat the root causes.  When this happens, our traumatized children and families in family trauma treatment experience first order change or change […]

The FST Stress Chart Technique: Quickly Diagnose and Assess Your Trauma Cases

“Knowing is half the battle.” ~GI Joe You’ve seen the stressed-out family. Someone is crying, another is fidgeting and then there is the angry one! If only you could show the family how stressed they are and what was causing the stress. Well, now you can. At the Family Trauma Institute, we’ve found that knowing […]

Engaging Parents: The FST Motivational Phone Call Technique

High Parent Involvement is the Key to Your Trauma Treatment Success Without parent involvement in your trauma treatment, child relapse rates skyrocket. To prevent relapse, it is important to begin building relationships before you meet with the family. That is why the FST| Family Systems Trauma Model incorporates the Motivational Interview (MI) Call Technique. Sobering […]

Knowing Where to Tap: Using a Structural-Strategic Lens to Locate The Root Cause of a Family’s Trauma

There is an excellent story on the importance of knowing where to tap told by the late family therapist, Virginia Satir: After listening to the engineer’s description of the problems and asking a few questions, he went to the boiler room. He looked at the maze of twisting pipes, listened to the thump of the […]

Trauma Treatment with Impossible Cases: The Undercurrents Technique

What causes traumatized children and families to get stuck and unable to move forward? How can we change the outcome of impossible cases? Over a 30-year career in mental health, I’ve set forth to answer these questions. My personal quest began after my first major treatment failure when I received this message from a mother:  […]

Failure to Launch: The Safety Planning Technique

Failure to Launch describes young adults who are struggling with the transition to adulthood. They have an inability to leave home and support themselves. This trend is reaching epidemic proportions. For example, a recent study cited in Psychology Today reported that 45 percent of young adults in the state of New Jersey between the ages […]

A Family Systems Approach to Treating Intergenerational Trauma

When we think of creating family legacies and preserving family traditions, we focus on positive connections and joyous occasions. But often joy is only part of the family story. Pain, while often ignored or even denied, can be passed down from generation to generation. This legacy of pain, coined Intergenerational trauma (IGT) after World War […]

Failing Forward: Stabilization Before Trauma Playbooks

Trauma treatment is more challenging when the entire family is treated, not just the child. A central reason for this is based on our research on what we term as interactional trauma within Chapter 2 of Treating the Traumatized Child: A Step-by-Step Family Systems Approach. Interactional trauma takes place when there is constant bickering, yelling, […]

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