Shifting Negative Family Patterns Through Facilitated Enactments

CE Hours: 4.5
Instructor: C. Wayne Jones, PhD

A Live, Interactive Webconference
Friday, 4/22/22, Wellspan-Philhaven via Live Interactive Zoom
Thursday, 4/28/22, Norristown via Live Interactive Zoom

Children and adolescents with severe emotional and behavioral issues and their families often become entrenched in negative interactional patterns that perpetuate and exacerbate high-risk behavior.  Facilitated enactment is one of the major change processes utilized in current evidence-based child and adolescent focused family therapies (e.g., ABFT, MDFT, BSSFT) to disrupt and shift these negative interactional patterns to more functional ones.  Enactments refer to family members interacting and problem-solving directly with one another in session, with the therapist maintaining a less central, facilitative role. Enactments place family members in an active central role in which they can experience themselves interacting in more functional ways with one another.  

This workshop describes the elements of an enactment, differentiating it from other experiential methods.  Nichols and Fellenberg’s four-phase heuristic (i.e., setting the stage, giving the directive, keeping the conversation on track, and making meaning of the enactment) is used to describe therapist actions typically associated with an in-session enactment.  Since enactments focus on relationships, emphasis is given to having a clearly articulated systemic case conceptualization prior to using this method.  Case examples are provided which show the link between a therapist’s case conceptualization, his or her ability to recognize key negative patterns occurring in the session, then using an enactment to create a more functional interaction. This workshop describes and demonstrates via videotape three different foci (or types) of enactments commonly used in family therapy, which include those used 1) to increase the family’s ability to remain connected in the presence of emotional distress, 2) to foster bonding and deeper emotional connection between family members, and 3) to foster position-taking and boundary-making in the executive and co-parent subsystem.


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

  1. Describe enactments and when to use them in treatment
  2. Explain actions involved in the four phases of an enactment
  3. Show the link between having a clear systemic case conceptualization and effective enactments
  4. Identify and describe three types of change-inducing enactments

This is an intermediate level course. The target audience is behavioral health professionals working within an Ecosystemic Family Therapy Model. This is a live synchronous distance learning activity conducted in real time, allowing for simultaneous participation of participants and instructors from different locations.


8:25am-10:30am: Focus on Objectives 1 & 2
10:30am-10:45am: Break
10:45am-1:10pm: Focus on Objectives 3 & 4

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