Foundations Series

This is a skill-focused series designed for family based therapists in their first 12 to 18 months of training. It introduces the basic conceptual foundations of ESFT, highlights common structural patterns in families, and describes concrete skills associated with each of the six mechanisms of change that drive ESFT intervention. Instructors integrate relevant information from a variety of sources which may include readings from the treatment manual and relevant webinars from the online courses.  Self-assessment of personal strengths and challenges related to the specific skills given focus in each workshop is encouraged.

Each workshop is structured similarly.  They begin with a brief didactic where one ESFT concept or skill is introduced and a video is shown that demonstrates the concept or skill.  There are two clinical case presentations, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Although guidance is provided on how the teams might best conceptualize and treat the case, the primary focus of case discussions is on how the “theme of the day” is represented.  The case material is then used to create multiple role plays so that all participants have an opportunity to practice skills.  Everyone role plays.

When therapists complete all workshops in the Foundations Series, they will be able to:

  1. Discuss cases in a manner consistent with the strength-based goals, attitudes, and values embodied in FBMHS
  2. Discriminate between process and content in family interactions
  3. Identify family structure in the families they are treating
  4. Discuss (and write-up) cases using an ESFT conceptual framework.
  5. Recognize and reflect upon how their personal actions as therapists impacts family members and vice-versa

The Foundations series workshops are presented in their entirety at three of our training sites, with each series led and taught by faculty specific to that site.  All workshops start at 8:30 am and end at 3:30 pm, with a one-hour break for lunch.

NHS, Colmar, PA
Frani Pollack, MSW, Ph.D.  

Philhaven, Mt Gretna, PA
Michael W. Russell, MA
Marlene N. Reiff, LCSW/LMFT

Pennsylvania Counseling Services
Tara L. Byers, MS, NCC, LPC
Josh Irvine, MA, LPC