Treatment of At-Risk Kids and Families Gets a Boost From Upcoming Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT) Skills-Based Workshops

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The Family Therapy Training Institute of Miami is bringing 2-day Overview Workshops this Fall to Maryland and North Carolina to train family therapists on proven techniques unique to the evidence based model Brief Strategic Family Therapy. Through these short and cost-effective workshops, therapists will earn 14 CEUs while learning key skills that successfully decrease youth’s substance use and disruptive behavior, and increase family participation in therapy which strengthens family bonds.

Studies show family engagement reduces recidivism.

The Engagement model successfully engages 78-82% of families in the full therapy dose

“Adolescent symptoms are best understood and changed by focusing not on their content, but on the context in which they occur, and on what the family ‘does’, not what they ‘say’”, stated Silvia Kaminsky

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Registration is now open to behavioral/mental health therapists, counselors, probation officers, and anyone involved in the provision of services to at-risk youth for the Brief Strategic Family Therapy Overview Workshops, provided by the Family Therapy Training Institute of Miami (FTTIM). Through lecture, videos, and interactive participation, attendees will learn the basics of the four steps of the BSFT intervention: the Diagnostic Schema, Creating an Effective Therapeutic System, Orchestrating Change, and the BSFT® Specialized Engagement Model. The first workshop will take place October 20-21, 2014 at the City of District Heights YSB in Maryland. The next workshop will be November 6-7, 2014 in Raleigh, North Carolina and will be sponsored by HealthCore Resource Inc.

Brief Strategic Family Therapy is a designated “model program“ by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), and has twice won the SAMHSA Science & Service Award, including one for an implementation site in Maryland. This culturally-sensitive model that was originally developed with minority youth with co-occurring disorders, renders a high success rate for the reduction/elimination of problematic behavior in youth aged 6-18, for improving family relationships, and for maintaining families in the full course of the therapy program.

“If you only need one reason to attend the workshop, it’s got to be to learn about the BSFT Engagement model” advised Olga Hervis, the BSFT® co-developer and Director of FTTIM. “While developing the Brief Strategic Family Therapy model, we created a module which in itself is an EBP [evidence based practice], called the Strategic Structural Systems Engagement Model. In this module we teach clinicians how to properly engage family members in the therapy sessions. The model was designed and multiple times tested for effectiveness with resistant families. The rate of engagement success ranged from 78 to 82%.”

The Engagement Model is ideal for agencies that provide wrap around services, intensive case management and an array of youth and family-based treatment modalities. It is ideal for agencies that provide substance abuse and dependency treatment for both youth and adults. The model addresses a very common question among clinicians and providers in the mental health, juvenile justice and substance abuse field which is how to get the family members to come to therapy when they don't want to.

Through the Diagnostic Schema presentation participants learn the effectiveness of focusing on “process” rather than “content” when observing family interactions. It is the way to arrive at an accurate diagnosis of observable interactions in the family. “Adolescent symptoms are best understood and changed by focusing not on their content, but on the context in which they occur, and on what the family ‘does’, not what they ‘say’”, stated Silvia Kaminsky, Deputy Director of the Institute. This diagnostic process becomes the guide that directs the therapy process. The workshop audience will then be introduced to the Therapeutic System, which is the alliance that a counselor forms with the family in order to highly increase the success of the therapy.

Implementing change strategies that turn maladaptive family interactions into effective adaptive interactions is the goal of the module Orchestrating Change. Workshop participants will be shown how to increase motivation in the patients/families for behavior change, reduce concern about change, and improve the identified dysfunctional family interactions.

Seating is limited in both Overview Workshops. Prompt submission of a Registration Form is highly encouraged to both reserve a seat and to enjoy the advance early bird rate.

Early Bird date is October 10, 2014 for the Registration arrangements for the District Heights workshop.

Early Bird date is October 17, 2014 for the Registration for the Raleigh, North Carolina workshop.

The Family Therapy Training Institute of Miami (FTTIM) is the training home of the Brief Strategic Family Therapy co-developer, and creator of the BSFT Training Program, Olga Hervis. Hervis has been teaching on the model since its inception more than 30 years ago. FTTIM provides onsite training, consultation, and supervision services to the mental and behavioral health communities.

For more information about FTTIM and its training programs, visit

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Lisa Bokalders
Family Therapy Training Institute of Miami
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