Creating Emotional Safety in Family Sessions

CE Hours: 2.0
Cost: $24
Instructor: C. Wayne Jones, PhD

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. The target audience is all behavioral health professionals working with children and adolescents.


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.

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 & FAQs for additional information regarding the CFBT online learning center, accommodations for disabilities, reporting problems with the course, instructions for viewing webinars, etc.

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