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    Click here to view All Courses and browse through our courses by category. 

    Our online courses are designed for busy front-line practitioners and supervisors who are working in the community with multi-stressed families and their children.

    Online courses are available for a nominal fee to all behavioral health professionals wishing to earn Continuing Education credits. More information on our online continuing education program can be found here.

    Our online courses are included as part of the curriculum package for all enrolled Pennsylvania FBMHS and North Carolina Intensive In-Home contractees. More information on our training programs can be found here.

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Available courses

Systems theory informs case conceptualization and practice, not only in EcoSystemic Structural Family Therapy (ESFT) but in all models of family therapy.  Systems theory directs therapists to focus on the social context and interactions between people in the family and the larger ecosystem.  Therapists who are new to systems thinking often struggle with making the shift from a more linear perspective which privileges an individual's intrapsychic dynamics or behavior over that of the relational context. This course is designed to facilitate this shift for therapists new to family therapy by clarifying the elements of systemic and nonsystemic treatment mindsets. 

1.0 Hours CE Credit

This course is an initial orientation to the ESFT clinical model for therapists providing intensive, in-home family treatment to children with SED and their families. The ESFT model is placed in a historical context and an overview of the model is provided. Because systems theory is at the core of ESFT case conceptualization and practice, several webinars in this course are devoted to describing in detail the nature of a systemic mindset and what makes it distinctive from other clinical perspectives. Many of the basic concepts used in ESFT are introduced in order to help therapists become familiar with the language of the model.  

2.0 Hours CE Credit

This four-part webinar series provides an introduction to attachment theory and how it can be applied to the family treatment .of children and adolescents with serious social and emotional issues. It is comprised of four modules. The first describes the role of an attachment focus in the operationalized version of ESFT and identifies clinical competencies involved in helping caregivers become a more reliable source of emotional support to their children. The second webinar describes the nature of attachment problems.  In the third webinar, the attachment system and how it creates an internal working model is explained.  The fourth webinar describes the nature of secure attachments, with a particular emphasis on how the concepts of attunement and intersubjectivity can be utilized to deepen therapeutic relationships

6.0 Hours  CE Credit

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. 

2.0 Hours CE

Children with Serious Emotional Disturbance and their Families (Updated 2-1-19)

 This course describes the population served by intensive in-home family-based programs – children and youth with Severe Emotional Disturbance (SED) and their multi-stressed families.  These children and their families often share a history of chronic trauma, family instability and loss, which can make treatable mental health issues become more chronic. In this course, insights about the experience of mental illness are shared both from the perspective of adolescents and that of their caregivers.  Multi-generational patterns that leave families vulnerable to crises are highlighted.  A webinar identifies common patterns found in multi-stressed families which maintain or exacerbate SED and the implications these patterns have for treatment. The objectives of this course are achieved through a combination of readings, brief videos, and a webinar. 

 3.0 Hours CE Credit

Impacts of Trauma on Children and Their Caregivers

The high prevalence of trauma and chronic adverse experiences among the children and caregivers served by community based programs demands that therapists have a thorough understanding of trauma and its impacts. This course describes how a history of danger and emotional injury shapes attitudes, expectations, relationships and the ability to self-regulate. The course is structured such that therapists can more easily understand and feel compassion for the population they work with, to learn to "see" family member's efforts to adapt to fear and vulnerability that is often hidden beneath dramatic, seemingly irrational interactions they often encounter.  

3.0 Hours   CE Credit

Histories of adversity and trauma are common among families served in intensive, in-home programs.  Although therapists may know the child’s trauma history, the caregivers’ current and past experience with adversity and trauma too often remains in the background, yet is equally as important for informing clinical decision-making.  The caregivers' histories of trauma have a major impact on family structure, parenting, and response to treatment.  This training introduces participants to current science and conceptualizations of complex developmental trauma, describing what it is and how it impacts brain development and brain functioning in children and caregivers.  Clinician-friendly concepts from neuroscience (e.g. Siegal’s “hand model” of the brain and Porges’ concept of neuroception) are introduced to help therapists gain a basic understanding of how trauma and chronic adversity shapes emotional availability and parent-child relationships.  Bruce Perry's neurobiology-informed neurosequential model of therapeutics is described as a useful tool for clinical problem solving. 

3.5 Hours CE Credit  

Most families treated in intensive, in-home programs have been impacted by complex developmental trauma.  Although every family adapts in their own way, there are several predictable negative adaptive patterns that have direct implications for a present-focused family-based treatment. It is important for therapists to recognize these patterns, interrupt them, and create more functional ones. Towards this end, this course describes 1) the most common impacts of complex developmental trauma on the way families organize their relationships with one another and the community, 2) how the four pillars of ESFT are designed to address these common negative impacts, and 3) strategies for structuring trauma-informed conversations with families.

1.5 Hours CE Credit   

The first stage of treatment in ESFT is Creating the Therapeutic System.  It is all about establishing working relationships with family members and, as needed, extended family members and other professionals in the community.  This course describes in detail the four clinical tasks comprising this treatment stage.  These tasks include: 1) orienting families to ESFT and explaining how it works, 2) using the ecomap to identify important people to include in treatment, 3) cultivating the therapeutic alliance, and 4) gaining buy-in and engaging family members in treatment.  Successful completion of these four treatment tasks requires therapists to adopt a relational, collaborative approach to working with families.  This course demonstrates how to employ "partnership talk" with families to create a collaborative treatment context and to solidify working relationships within the therapeutic system.

2.0 CE Hours

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 so 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 in detail 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.   

2.0 CE Hours

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.  This course describes five therapist actions, that if enacted each session, leads to a sense of safety for both children and their caregivers.  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. 

2.0 CE Hours


Therapists who practice in the home and community face unique ethical challenges related to professional boundaries, dual roles, and confidentiality.  Unlike office settings, which are designed to maximize privacy, therapists working in the home are often at the mercy of happenstance encounters, such as family members or neighbors who may walk into a session unannounced.  It is much more difficult to protect sensitive and confidential information, yet therapists are ethically obligated to do so.  This course provides guidance on anticipating and navigating ethical challenges in home and community-based services involving confidentiality, dual roles, and boundary crossings.  A goal of this course is to ground therapists' decision-making process in the ethical codes established by all the major professional associations, such as NSW, ACA, and AMFT. 

3.0 Hours CE 

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 interactional dimension of relationships between different family subsystems is introduced and demonstrated, as is a method for quantifying the genogram. 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.  

2.0 CE Hours

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.

1 CE Hours

In ESFT, treatment is guided by an assessment of how the NIP and the family's relational structure maintains or exacerbates the child's presenting problems.  This course focuses on family structure.  Family structure, a concept introduced more than 50 years ago by Salvador Minuchin, provides a framework for describing how a family organizes its relationships to meet the basic functions of being a family.    This course describes family relationships along the three primary structural dimensions of family organization:  subsystem boundaries, hierarchy and power, and closeness distance.  Excerpts from two films are shown and discussed to help participants sharpen observations of family interactions, translate these observations into a structural family map, and demonstrate how family structure shapes treatment.

2 Hours CE

Child violence directed at caregivers (CCV) involves coercive actions intended to gain power and control in the home.  CCV may involve physical, psychological, or financial damage, and is typically kept secret by families.  This introductory webinar reviews the prevalence of CCV, as well as relevant research on the problem.  A strong case is made for routine screening for CCV in family treatment.  Treatment recommendations based on an eco-systemic structural model of family therapy (ESFT) are described. 

This is an edited version of a presentation by the three Pennsylvania FBMHS training directors (Dr. Steve Simms, Pat Johnston, & Dr Wayne Jones) to a group of FBMHS supervisors on 9/14 for the Behavioral Health Alliance of Rural Pennsylvania (BEHARP), a collaborative representing 24 counties.

1.0 Hours CE

This workshop addresses the often overlooked but highly impactful issues of power and privilege within the context of family therapy.  It is important to recognize and acknowledge power and privilege because in the lives of people of color these forces are powerful shapers of family member relationships to one another, with their communities, and with helping professionals.   Many of the children and families treated in intensive, in-home programs regularly experience marginalization based on social class, race, ethnicity, disability, religion, health status, and/or sexual orientation.  The webinars in this course are designed to help clinicians recognize and attune to “hidden” or unacknowledged systemic structural issues maintaining and promulgating marginalization. Particular attention is given to how these issues can impact the treatment of male youth of color.  Clinicians are helped to appreciate the cumulative impacts of microaggressions on family members who occupy marginalized positions.  Toward this end, the issues of power and privilege,  as well as stigmatized and disenfranchised loss, are discussed through a trauma-focused lens.  Protective factors are highlighted hat promote and build resilience in children and their families. 

4.5 Hours CE Credit

Therapists working in intensive, in-home programs are increasingly encountering youth who identify as LGBTQ.  One reason is that youth are coming out earlier and earlier.  In families presenting for treatment, caregivers often do not understand their child's experience and at times can be rejecting of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This markedly increases risks for negative outcomes for LGBTQ youth.  Therapists with little training in LGBTQ are at-risk of acting on myths or stereotypes and can become negatively isomorphic with nonaccepting communities.  This course is comprised of five webinars designed to help therapists to work from an LGBTQ-informed perspective,  understanding and helping LGBTQ youth in the context of their families and their communities. Particular focus is given to how to work with families in which caregivers are non-supportive/non-accepting of their LGBTQ youth.  The webinars in this course are comprised of edited portions of a live webinar presented to therapists working in Pennsylvania FBMHS programs. 

3.25 CE Hours

An ecosystemic case conceptualization both describes the interactional patterns creating and maintaining presenting symptoms and also explains why family members are so vulnerable to falling into these patterns.  It creates a story that humanizes family members and evokes empathy for all the key players.  The webinars in this course introduce a critical thinking clinical tool designed to assist therapists in developing a meaningful ecosystemic case conceptualization, the EcoSystemic Assessment Worksheet.  A step-by-step guide is provided on how to use it to understand the vulnerabilities and strengths of the child, the caregivers, and the family system.  When used together, the NIP (Negative Interactional Pattern) and the EcoSystemic Assessment Worksheet result in a case conceptualization.  A webinar is devoted to describing what an NIP is and how to map the different steps comprising it.   

2.0 Hours CE Credit

Relational Treatment Planning
Treatment planning in ESFT is more than pro forma paperwork separated from the actual on-the-ground treatment.  It is, in fact, an  intervention that can be a major determinant of treatment outcomes.  If done well, the treatment planning process shifts the viewing of problems and their solutions to a more relational perspective, setting the stage for highly focused, meaningful, productive work with motivated family members. This course describes procedures for making this happen.  Basic principles related to relational treatment planning are described.  
1.5 Hours CE Credit

This course provides a guide to choosing and then creating meaningful, measureable goals and action steps that are systemically informed. Concrete examples are provided for demonstrating how to apply the SMART approach to the development of clinical goals and action steps, and how to keep them achievable by sticking to incremental, tiny habits. 

2.0 Hours CE Credit

Enmeshment is one of four structural patterns most associated with serious emotional disturbance in children. This course describes the characteristics of enmeshment and how this interactional pattern shapes children’s development of social-emotional competencies and their response to treatment. Treatment guidelines are highlighted, as well as common clinical traps that therapists are likely to encounter when working with enmeshed relational patterns. This course is an edited version of a live workshop presented for family-based therapists in February 2019.

5.0 Hours CE Credit

Under-organized families are marked by inconsistency and chaos.  Life in the home can feel random and leaderless.  Children living in these families are at risk for abuse and neglect, and a wide range of behavioral and emotional problems within the family and community.  This workshop provides an eco-systemic framework for understanding under-organized families and the caregivers who head them.  Common traps are identified that helping professionals need to avoid when working with these families. Treatment guidelines are provided for addressing problems of caregiver engagement, maintaining a treatment focus, coordinating with multiple community agencies who may be working at cross purposes, and strengthening the caregivers’ executive functioning.  

5.0 Hours CE Credit

Authoritarian families are focused on maintaining order, control, and compliance. Coercion, bullying, abuse, and violence are common in these families. This course provides an eco-systemic framework for understanding these families, the caregivers who head them, and the types of problems they typically encounter with their children. Common traps therapists make when working with these families are identified, as are strategies for avoiding them. Strategies are provided for introducing more softness into interactions between caregivers and their children and cultivating more tolerance for dissent in the family.

4.0 Hours CE Credit

Despite the best efforts of therapists treating high risk teens in intensive, community based treatment programs, too many are still ending their lives through suicide.  This means that good treatment alone is insufficient to prevent teen suicide.  Also required is a sound knowledge about the nature of suicide, skills in assessing for suicide ideation and acute risk of suicide, and competency in co-developing effective safety plans with teens and their families.  This is the focus of this course. 

The content of this course is informed by published national core competencies in assessing and managing suicide risk (Suicide Prevention Resource Center, American Association of Suicidology, and SAMSHA).  The webinars are comprised of excerpts taken from two different live workshops given to Family Based therapists and supervisors.  Dr. Wintersteen's workshop was sponsored by the Philadelphia Child And Family Therapy Training Center in June, 2016, while Dr. Jones's workshop was sponsored by the Center for Family Based Training in May, 2016.

3 Hours CE Credits

Enactment, an experiential method grounded in systems theory that brings interactional problems into the session for direct observation and change, is a component of all current evidence-based child and adolescent focused family therapies.  Enactment is the cornerstone of ESFT, where it is used to disrupt and shift negative interactional patterns to more functional ones.  This course introduces the method, describes what it is, differentiates it from other widely used interventions, and explains how and why it works.  A five-phase model based on Nichols and Fellenberg’s work is introduced as a framework for learning how to do an enactment, including setting the stage and looking for opportunities to initiate emotionally meaningful conversations, facilitating family members through the ups and downs of the process, and meaning making.  A step-by-step guide to enactment using excerpts from a family therapy session is provided.

1.5 Hours CE

The Working Context of Family Based Supervision

This course serves as an introduction to clinical supervision in agencies, with a specific focus on supervising therapists who work in the community, such as in Pennsylvania’s Family-Based Mental Health Services program.  The expectations of the many stakeholders invested in treatment services are clarified - these expectations form the context of supervision. This course also clarifies the three major components (or roles) involved in overseeing treatment services, reviews the various ways that agencies have structured these roles, and highlights the strengths and challenges associated with each structure. Lastly, the common challenges of supervision in agencies are presented, along with tips for coping.

2.0 Hours CE Credit

Tailoring Supervision to the Individual Therapist

The focus of supervision needs to be informed by an assessment of the therapist's skill set, while the supervisor's approach to supervision needs to be informed by an understanding of the person of the therapist. This course presents a framework for thinking about the latter, exploring the influence of therapists' learning preferences, approach to handling emotional intensity, therapists' personal context (e.g. gender, race, life stage, values), and stage of professional development as a clinician.

2.0 Hours CE Credit

The Foundations of Good Clinical Supervision

This course describes the attitudes and actions of clinical supervisors considered "good" and effective. These attitudes and actions are contrasted with supervisors recalled as "bad" or ineffective. Readings from aritcles in the superivsion literature are used to suplement and elaborate on these attitudes and actions. Particular focus is given to the differences between administrative supervision, clinical supervision and training. Five key responsibilities of clinical supervisors in high quality or evidence based programs are identified and discussed in detail.

2.0 Hours CE

Supervising Two-Person Teams

One of the unique features of Pennsylvania’s Family Based Mental Health Services program is that it is team delivered. Not only must the focus be maintained on individual therapists’ development within the team, but also on development of the team itself. This course identifies the stages of team development and the most common team-based challenges supervisors face. The role of the supervisor in supervising two-person teams at each stage of development is highlighted, as well as supervisory strategies for addressing issues that arise.

2.0 Hours CE Credit

Course Blurb Here

1.0 Hours CE Credit

This course is currently in a pilot phase and will be open for enrollment soon!

This serves as a learning resource center where you where you can find more information about topics of interest mentioned in clinical trainings or workshops. You can find references, articles and links to non-CFBT webinars. Handouts to workshops are also posted here.

This is a resource folder for family based supervisors currently contracted with the Center for Family Based Training. It contains general annoucements, plus downloadable up-to-date training schedules, assessment measures, and supervisory tools/forms.

Resources for CFBT Faculty.

Foundations A Training Calendar

Foundations A Training Calendar

Foundations A Training Calendar