Family based interventions for children and adolescents

  • Courtyard Marriott 75 Felton St Marlborough, MA, 01752 United States

Presenter: Dan Jacobs, Psy.D.

Children and adolescents impacted by mental health and emotional concerns account for an overwhelming percentage of youth who present with significant academic and behavioral challenges. They can underperform and get into trouble in school, find they have a limited range of effective coping strategies to handle external stressors, and often engage in a variety of self-harming or self-destructive behavioral patterns. These are children who have trouble functioning and achieving to their true potential and they desperately need help to get back on track so they can begin to move forward in a healthy, positive, and more constructive manner.

While individual and group interventions can indeed prove quite useful in helping these young people, the most effective intervention strategies also involve the families of these children in the treatment process. Unfortunately, many of these families are also dealing with their ownchallenges linked to exposure to trauma, concerns with substance abuse, unfortunate economic realities, and limited support systems. Many of the youth we work with are disempowered and overwhelmed because this is the same situation their families are in and obviously this has a negative impact on the treatment process. It is harder for the child to show improvement when the family system mirrors similar problems and does not also have an opportunity to improve.

For clinicians and supports who are interested in helping these children it can be extremely beneficial to take a family centered approach when designing interventions, even those that seem “child-centered” on the surface. In this workshop we will explore practical, strength-based, and empowering family-centered interventions that take both the needs of the children and the family system into account. We will look at assessment processes, early and later intervention options, and alternative coping strategies that can have a positive impact on the child and his/her family.

Following this training, participants will be able to:

  • Identify and apply practical intervention strategies that foster alliance building with families impacted by behavioral, psychological and substance abuse related concerns.
  • Adopt a range of strength-based family-centered interventions that promote empowerment for individual children within a family impacted by trauma and can also serve to help the family members as they work together to heal as a family unit.
  • Facilitate effective change in systemic assessment processes and intervention planning to reflect a strength-based and family-centered approach.

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