Engaging Caregivers in Family Treatment
(In the Context of a Global Pandemic)

CE Hours: 4.0
Instructor: C. Wayne Jones, PhD

Wednesday, October 21st, 2020, North Carolina training groups, Zoom Web Conference Training
Thursday, October 22nd, 2020, North Carolina training groups, Zoom Web Conference Training
Friday, October 23rd, 2020, North Carolina training groups, Zoom Web Conference Training

In ESFT, efforts to help children with serious emotional problems mostly flow through the caregivers. Therefore, a critical task in the first stage of ESFT treatment is engaging caregivers and building a strong therapeutic alliance. Even in the best of times, this can be challenging for therapists working with disadvantaged, multi-stressed families. In the context of the global pandemic and the move to telehealth sessions, effectively accomplishing this task is extraordinarily difficult and may seem almost out of reach. Many of the caregivers served in the families served by intensive in-home services have not only a history of adverse childhood events but also are experiencing significant trauma stress in their present lives. This often leaves them vulnerable to becoming easily overwhelmed and dysregulated. This workshop applies concepts and principles from trauma-informed care, such as polyvagal theory and the “window of tolerance,” to provide a framework for addressing caregivers’ emotional and psychological needs more effectively through co-regulation. These strategies are demonstrated in videos of family sessions. The workshop begins with a clarification of the differences between caregiver involvement and caregiver engagement, and how to recognize each.


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

  1. Identify clues in sessions that indicate family members’ level of engagement and buy-in to treatment
  2. Explain the treatment principle of “helping children by working through the caregivers.”
  3. Describe polyvagal theory and its implications for understanding caregiver openness to treatment engagement
  4. Explain co-regulation and the role it plays in building a therapeutic alliance with caregivers

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