Specialized Family Therapy

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When adults are no longer in a romantic relationship but share children, efforts to raise vibrant children together can become strained by hostile communication or by no communication at all. Often, these families turn to therapy as a last resort or by court order. The aim of this training is to teach participants the basics of counseling co-parents with unresolved custody-related issues and reconciling children with their estranged parents.

Through years of working with over 500 court-ordered families, Maurice Heidish, LCSW, has formulated a treatment and training regimen called Specialized Family Therapy (SFT) which provides a brief therapy framework through which uncooperative parental relationships are improved for the betterment of child well-being.

Developed as an approach to prevent childhood emotional and behavioral issues, SFT incorporates interventions Mr. Heidish created and integrates techniques from Solution Focused Therapy, Strengths-based, Structural Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and Narrative Therapy to best fit this population.

This model is useful in cases where parents have been estranged from their families due to incarceration, military deployment, abuse, or high levels of parental animosity. SFT helps parents see ways in which they triangulate their children and prevent positive relationships with both parents.

The family therapist must play the role of joining and balancing between parents to motivate them to cooperate for the best interest of their children with great finesse.

This training will empower practitioners to serve as advocates for children, allowing them to have voices in situations where parents’ unresolved emotions from the past are clouding their view of the present.  The goal is to thoroughly train therapists on techniques for the difficult tasks of providing a safe and neutral environment for the resolution of parenting discord and the nurturing of parent-child relationships.


SFT-1: Introduction

Length: 10 minutesComplexity: Easy

A brief introduction to the Specialized Family Therapy course, and how this model is different from other therapy courses you may have experienced. Essentially, you will be learning how to…

SFT-2: Background

Length: 20 minutesComplexity: Easy

Family Court Systems have the daunting task of resolving custody disputes and making judgments dictating parent’s involvement in their children’s lives. Increasingly courts are turning to clinical professionals to assist…

SFT-3: Populations Served

Length: 20 minutesComplexity: Standard

You will learn to identify when families involved in custody litigation need co-parenting counseling or reconciliation counseling. This section elucidates the specific challenges facing families in need of each type…

SFT-4: Influential Theories

Length: 60 minutesComplexity: Hard

SFT is an integrative model that incorporates concepts from a variety of theories. Knowing the premises of these theories and being aware of interventions used in the SFT model will…

SFT-5: Phases of Treatment

Length: 10 minutesComplexity: Easy

A clear and simple look at the phases of Co Parenting Counseling and Reconciliation Counseling gives structure to your study in Specialized Family Therapy. Learn an ethical and balanced procedure…

SFT-5A: Initial Phone Conversation

The point of initial contact is always influential in the therapist/client relationship. Therapist will learn to use this first conversation to nurture an atmosphere focused on creating healing in family…

SFT-5B: Initial Face to Face Sessions

After initial paperwork is complete, the first session is focused on further defining the therapist’s role and the expectations of clients in SFT. Screening for domestic violence is essential. This…

SFT-5D: Co-Parenting Counseling

This section provides in depth guidelines for working with families engaged in co parenting disputes. The therapist will learn specific steps that help co parents resolve fears and inaccurate views…

SFT-5E: Step Parents

Stepparent stresses during custody disputes are often overlooked. Learn how and why stepparents should be involved in SFT. Therapists will also gain knowledge of the common concerns stepparents have in…

SFT-5F: Termination

Terminating these court ordered cases can be confusing. We’ll teach you how to provide clients everything they need at the completion of therapy while maintaining your role as a therapist…

SFT-5G: Court Appearance

Length: 20 minutesComplexity: Standard

Therapists using the SFT model aren’t fitness evaluators and clients need to know this. Requests to communicate with or even appear in court can be tricky to deal with. Learn…

SFT-6: Self of the Therapist

Length: 20 minutesComplexity: Standard

Court ordered custody conciliation cases can be wearing on therapists. There is much emotional turmoil in these family relationships and it can be hard to imagine how raising a child…