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Identifying Family Patterns Using the Relational Genogram

Genograms have a long and rich history in family therapy practice, both as an assessment tool and as a tool for reframing problems and their solutions as relational. In this course, Dr. Browning introduces the basic three generation genogram which identifies in pictorial form members of the larger family system and the pivotal events shaping the life of the family and integrates it with a structural map. A detailed symbol legend for describing the qualitative or interactional dimension of relationships between different family subsystems is introduced and demonstrated. A scoring system for quantifying the symbols used in the genogram developed by Dr. Browning and his colleagues, the Genogram Based Interaction Measure, is described as a potentially useful way to assess change in family relationships across treatment. Together, the webinars in this course show how the interactional/relational genogram can be used to construct a systemic case conceptualization that focuses systemic intervention. The course includes a case demonstration in which Dr. Browning conducts a cultural genogram interview, showing how to open and deepen family conversation about strengths, traditions, and experiences with bias in an ethnically diverse, multi-racial family.

This course is designed for intermediate level practitioners. The target audience is behavioral health professionals working with children and adolescents.

Course Objectives
As a result of completing this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the basic genogram symbol legend and the expanded genogram-based interaction measure.
  2. Utilize the genogram as a tool in constructing a systemic case conceptualization and focusing systemic intervention.
  3. Describe roles and methods for conducting a cultural genogram interview.

About the Trainer
Dr. Browning is a professor in the Department of in the Department of Professional Psychology at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia.  He is a noted authority on psychological treatment with stepfamilies, families of homicide, and families on the spectrum.  He has published numerous books, chapters and articles on these topics, as well as on the genogram.  Dr. Browning is a diplomat in couple and family psychology and is part of the clinical training team of the National Stepfamily Resource Center.  In 2017 Dr. Browning was given an award for Distinguished Contributions to Family Psychology by division 43 of the American Psychological Association.

This course uses an online distance-learning self-paced format.  It includes recorded audio, recorded video-based webinars, and selected readings.  There are post-tests to ensure comprehension of the material. Participants can communicate with the instructors via the online moodle interface. Real-time communication with the instructor in our online, self-paced distance learning courses is not possible. However, participants can send an email to the instructor via the online moodle interface within the course and expect to receive a response within 48 hours. All course content, including post-tests, should take approximately two hours to complete.

Frequently Asked Questions
Visit our Self-Paced, Online Continuing Education Policies and FAQs for additional information regarding the CFBT online learning center, accommodations for disabilities, reporting problems with the course, instructions for viewing webinars, etc.

Constructing a Relational Timeline

Timelines, like genograms, can be useful both in assessment and in creating a relational frame for intervention.  As an assessment, the timeline places presenting symptoms in a historical context. The timeline interview, when conducted with the entire family and critical life events of all family members are asked about, the timeline places presenting symptoms in a relational context. Using excerpts from a videotaped family session, this course demonstrates how to conduct a relational timeline, highlighting how it can used as therapeutic tool for shifting the family’s perspective from a behavioral to a relational or systemic perspective. 

This course is designed for beginning to intermediate level behavioral health professionals.

Course Objectives
As a result of completing this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the goals of a relational timeline and how to introduce it to families
  2. Demonstrate how to conduct a timeline interview such that it evokes empathy in caregivers and reframes presenting problem as relational.

This course uses an online distance-learning self-paced format.  It includes recorded audio, recorded video-based webinars, and selected readings.  There are post-tests to ensure comprehension of the material. Participants can communicate with the instructors via the online moodle interface. Real-time communication with the instructor in our online, self-paced distance learning courses is not possible. However, participants can send an email to the instructor via the online moodle interface within the course and expect to receive a response within 48 hours. All course content, including post-tests, should take approximately two hours to complete.

Frequently Asked Questions
Visit our Self-Paced, Online Continuing Education Policies and FAQs for additional information regarding the CFBT online learning center, accommodations for disabilities, reporting problems with the course, instructions for viewing webinars, etc.

The Four Pillars of Ecosystemic Structural Family Therapy

This course addresses the question: What creates, maintains, and exacerbates social-emotional disturbance (SED) in children and adolescents?  There are four major intersecting vulnerabilities in families associated with SED, each of which is described in detail in this course. They include 1) problems in individual and family emotion regulation, 2) insecure attachment and strained emotional connection between caregivers and their children, 3) problems in the caregiver’s ability to maintain an executive or leadership role in the home, and 4) inadequate support for the caregivers’ parenting role inside and outside the home.   These four family vulnerabilities are referred to as the “four pillars of ESFT” because they are central in organizing both assessment and treatment.  The ESFT Relational Treatment Plan is designed around these four domains.

A case study involving a single parent and her 9-year-old son is used to exemplify the types of questions to consider when viewing family interactions in each of these four vulnerabilities.  The primary goal for participants in this training is to improve a general ability to recognize strengths and weaknesses in each of the four pillars as they play out in families.

This is a Beginning Level course. The target audience is behavioral health professionals working with children and adolescents.

Course Objectives
As a result of completing this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe four core vulnerabilities that create and maintain a SED System.
  2. Identify clues about individual challenges with emotion regulation and the security of parent-child attachment by listening to a caregiver’s stories about parenting. 
  3. Identify clues about a mother’s executive functioning and the level of support available for parenting by listening to her stories about her relationship with extended famil

This course uses an online distance-learning self-paced format.  It includes recorded audio, recorded video-based webinars, and selected readings.  There are post-tests to ensure comprehension of the material. Participants can communicate with the instructors via the online moodle interface. Real-time communication with the instructor in our online, self-paced distance learning courses is not possible. However, participants can send an email to the instructor via the online moodle interface within the course and expect to receive a response within 48 hours. All course content, including post-tests, should take approximately two hours to complete.

Frequently Asked Questions
Visit our Online Course Policies for additional information regarding the CFBT online learning center, accommodations for disabilities, reporting problems with the course, instructions for viewing webinars, etc.

The Therapeutic Alliance

The primary objective of this course is to define and describe the nature of a therapeutic alliance in family therapy and explain why it is critical to successful outcomes. Friedlander, Escudero, and Heatherington’s empirically-based SOFTA model for understanding and assessing the strength of the therapeutic alliance is described as it relates to intensive, in-home services. This model includes four relationship dimensions, which include a sense of safety, an emotional connection or emotional bond, a sense of being contributing partners, and a sense of shared purpose.  This course describes how to use individual subsystem work with caregivers and youth to develop balanced therapeutic alliances with all family members.

This is an introductory level course.

Objectives:

As a result of participating in this training, participants will be able to:    

  1. Describe four dimensions of the therapeutic alliance and how to recognize them when they are present.
  2. Describe how to use individual subsystem sessions to develop therapeutic alliances with caregivers and adolescents.
  3. Describe basic principles for cultivating a therapeutic alliance

Creating Emotional Safety in Family Sessions

The experience of emotional safety is a key component of a therapeutic alliance in family therapy, particularly when working with family members who have trauma histories, like those typically treated in intensive, in-home programs.  It all begins with active listening, which helps family members feel heard.  In addition to feeling heard, family members must feel calm and regulated in the presence of one another and with the therapists.  Families in conflict often feel a sense of emotional danger in family treatment, not only from the therapist but also from one another. This course describes five therapist-led actions that decrease anxiety and discomfort and lead to a sense of safety.  These actions, which are described in some detail,  include: 1) creating a predictable structure for each session, 2) attuning to family member distress and acting as a co-regulator as needed, 3) humanizing family members, 4) maintaining a strength-focus, and 5) interrupting judgment, blame, and hostility.

This is an introductory level course.

Objectives:

As a result of participating in this training, participants will be able to:    

  1. Identify four fundamental active listening skills
  2. Describe two actions involving boundary setting that creates emotional safety in family sessions
  3. Describe three relational actions that create emotional safety in sessions.