Family | Marriage Therapy | Parent Coaching

Family | Marriage Therapy | Parent Coaching

Family | Marriage Therapy | Parent Coaching

Family / Couples Therapy

In order to evoke the most change, family therapy is imperative to the course of treatment. When we describe family, we are referring to anyone whom the client considers family; members don’t have to be blood related. Families give us so much more context than meeting with just the individual. Instead of detaching individuals from what they may consider to be their origins of emotional conflict, problems are addressed at the source. As human beings, we don’t operate in isolation, nor should we. Much like animals, we do far better as part of a group, then when we are left alone.

We are wired to connect with others. That being said, the earliest relationships we form are with our caretakers. Those relationships shape how we view the world and every interaction going forward. If we have poor relations with our family members, it can cause more dysregulation for us as individuals, as well as impact our future relationships. Family therapy isn’t about “being stuck in the past” or blaming others. It is about understanding and learning how to break unhealthy family patterns that can most likely be traced back through previous generations.

 In family therapy, family members learn how to better communicate and understand one another. They learn how to offer support to each other when needed. Oftentimes, we offer support in the best way we know how or what would work for us, however it isn’t always what the other person needs or wants. Families learn how to reduce conflict and improve interactions between each other. The goal of family therapy is not to make the problem go away, but to have the entire family shift, where the family becomes stronger as a result. Some specific goals of family therapy can include:
  • uniting the family after a crisis
  • creating trust and empathy between members
  • effective communication
  • learning healthy boundaries
  • relationship building 
  • improved parenting techniques
  • increase family structure

Marathon In-Home Therapy

Marathon intervention therapy for families or couples is a method of psychotherapy in which the members of a family or couple engage in intensive interactions over sessions ranging from two to four hours which can be up to a total of ten hours. Sessions are facilitated by a trained therapist to help participants increase self-awareness and improve interpersonal relations through honest and open communication, reacting to one another with their immediate feelings. Participants try to increase their sensitivity and gain insight into their emotions by genuinely expressing themselves and responding to others authentically. Extended therapy sessions lasing from two to four hours reduce the participants' defense mechanisms and allow for open, spontaneous, and effective communication. Psychoeducation about the concerns that motivated this extended treatment is provided to increase understanding and facilitate progress.

The initial marathon therapy session of four hours is usually conducted in the therapist's office. The therapist conducts the second marathon therapy session in the participants' home. Depending on the family or couples’ treatment needs the marathon sessions can continue up to a total of ten hours.

The primary goal of the marathon Intervention therapy is for the family or couple to define and change the core dynamic that keeps individuals and couples stuck, motivate clients to break out of patterns and step outside of their comfort zones, and learn powerful, experiential exercises for both assessment and treatment.
This therapeutic approach is most effective when a family or couple is in crises, as a result of a situation like an acting out teen, an extramarital affair, an addiction, or interpersonal violence, because the family or couple at this point are likely more receptive to feedback and strongly motivated to make significant change in themselves and their interaction patterns.

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is an evidenced-based treatment for children ages 2 to 8 who are exhibiting a range of behavior problems including oppositional and defiant behaviors, disobeying authority figures (parents/teachers), poor attention, impulsivity, withdrawal and anxious behaviors. PCIT has also been used successfully with older children. Evidence-based means that this treatment model has been researched and compared to other treatment models for children or control groups and has been found to result in superior treatment outcomes.

PCIT is a unique treatment approach because it actively involves the parents or caretakers of the child in the treatment. Live-coached, step-by-step sessions are used to teach the parent/caregiver specific behaviors and skills while they are interacting with their child. Treatment can be administered through the use of a transmitter-receiver system in which the therapist communicates real-time with the parent while the parent is interacting with the child or though the typical in-room therapist-patient interaction model.

Goals of PCIT:
  • Improve the quality of the parent-child relationship
  • Decrease child behavior problems with an increase in pro-social behaviors
  • Increase parenting skills, including positive discipline 
  • Decrease parenting stress
Treatment Phases:
Child Directed Interaction (CDI)
This phase addresses relationship enhancement. The focus of CDI is strengthening the nurturing aspects of the parent-child relationship which insures that the bond between the child and parent is secure and comfortable. During CDI the child directs a play activity and the parent is coached by the therapist to use positive reinforcement techniques while interacting with the child, Parents are taught to use certain skills (behavioral description, reflection, imitation and labeled praise) to enhance the parent-child relationship.

Parent Directed Interaction (PDI)
This phase focuses on the development of a structured and consistent approach to discipline. During this phase of treatment the parent takes the lead and learns how to give effective commands with consistent consequences for compliant and noncompliant behaviors. Parents are taught to use the skills learned in CDI to reinforce pro-social behaviors and to immediately consequent negative behavior with a structured time-out procedure. Parents are also taught how to handle their children in more demanding situations outside of the therapy room, such as tantrums in public places.

PCIT has been shown to be a very effective treatment program. Several studies have shown consistent improvements in parenting skills and attitudes, improvements in child behavior and a decrease in parental stress. Follow-up studies report that treatment gains are maintained over time. Several groups of experts in child development and Federal agencies have endorsed PCIT as a model program or promising treatment approach.

Parent Counseling

From the moment parents share they are expecting a child, they are given advice, sometimes unwarranted, about how to navigate parenthood. Oftentimes, there are several contradictory ways to discipline and parent children. It seems like there is a new parenting book trending every month, telling the reader not do what they had previously read in another book. 

Simply put, parenting is difficult. Furthermore, it’s the job we want to do our best. Parenting brings new stress (and joy) into a home and can be a difficult transition. Parent counseling can assist parents when their child is experiencing difficulties such as uncontrollable anger, emotional outbursts, anxiety, depression, mood swings, difficulty with school, and other disruptive behaviors. Parent counseling can help parents understand their children’s needs and ways in which they can be supportive. It can also be helpful for teaching effective coping skills and support for postpartum depression, divorce and co-parenting, and transitioning another child into the home.

Parent counseling is about giving parents new tools to utilize with their children. These tools not only help model healthy relationships and understanding of the world, but also cultivate effective parenting techniques that makes sense to both the child and the parent. 

Goals of parent counseling can include:  
  • Co-parenting 
  • Family reunification 
  • Effective discipline 
  • Evidenced based parenting interventions
  • Improve parent-child relationship 
  • Decrease parenting stress 
  • Increase positive discipline

Family Adjustment Program

A significant life event can affect the functioning of every family member, even if that event only seemingly directly affects one person. Stressors can be perceived as positive or negative, but either can be disruptive. A multi-faceted intervention before, during, or after the life stressor may assist with preparation, recovery, adjustment, and future successful functioning.
  • Birth and Death
  • Ex-Pat Families returning to the United States
  • Families from other countries or states adjusting to the Texas culture   
  • Loss or Change in employment status  
  • Separation, divorce  
  • Marriage and re-marriage  
  • Moving houses, schools, neighborhoods, cities, states, or countries 
  • Beginning or ending a significant relationship 
  • Significant physical health changes 

A complimentary family assessment is offered to ascertain needs of family as a whole (individual services can later be assessed and assigned by individual clinicians)

A customized treatment plan is developed for each family

Discounted customized family packages can be created at a minimum of 5 total sessions per week for the following services: 
  • Family adjustment coaching 
  • Individual coaching 
  • Couples coaching 
  • Parent coaching 
  • Academic function coaching 
  • Social function coaching 
  • Nutrition consult (including brief assessment for eating disorders) 
  • Sleep consultation and treatment 
  • Support group guidance (in-house or in community, as available) 

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