Twelve Best Practice Principles for Court Appointed Family Therapy

Family therapy is often the most effective means of understanding and treating and solving family problems in divorce and custody disputes, including resist/refusal, family violence and juvenile behavioral problems.

Family therapists:

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Ten Resources to Help Work with Divorce and Custody Disputes in Family Therapy

Ten Resources to Help Work with Divorce and Custody Disputes in Family Therapy

Divorce and custody disputes can be the most complex, conflict-filled cases that family therapists see. NEAFAST hosts a monthly peer support group that provides strategies for working with these challenging cases.

From developing parents plans to navigating parental alienation, these ten resources can help you provide therapy that supports children, builds effective parent-child relationships, and establishes healthy boundaries and expectations. Join us on the first Friday of the month from 12-1:30 to learn more.

  1. The Parental Alienation Syndrome by Linda Gottlieb
  2. Sex, Love, and Violence: Strategies for Transformation by Cloe Madanes 
  3. Don't Alienate the Kids!: Raising Resilient Children While Avoiding High Conflict Divorce (2nd ed.) by Bill Eddy 
  4. Working with Alienated Children and Families: A Clinical Guidebook by Amy Baker and Richard Sauber 
  5. Understanding and Managing Parental Alienation: A Guide to Assessment and Intervention by Janet Haines, et al 
  6. Parent-child Reunification: A Guide to Legal and Forensic Strategies by Stanley Clawar
  7. Parental Alienation: Science and Law by Demosthenes Lorandas and William Bernet's 
  8. AAMFT Best Practices for Working with Divorce and Custody
  9. AFCC Court Involved Therapist Guidelines 
  10. Ethical and Professional Considerations in Divorce and Child Custody Cases by Jeffrey Zimmerman, et al. (In Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 2009, 40(6), 539-549
Sign up for the Divorce and Custody Support Group

Interview with Scott Cohen

Scott Cohen is a former President of the Massachusetts Association for Marriage & Family Therapy. Scott served for 15 years on the Allied Board of Mental Health as a representative for MFTs, and he’s currently the Treasurer of the Association for Marriage & Family Therapy Regulatory Board.

This is a transcription from the interview conducted by Jeremiah Gibson, Executive Director of the New England Association for Family & Systemic Therapy (NEAFAST), with Scott Cohen on July 27, 2020. Watch the full interview here.

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Conversations about Race: What's Different This Time?

Over the past few weeks, I've been feeling emotionally depleted from the attention the need for systemic change for black communities was getting.

I am intentional when I say “the attention”, because this is not a new issue by any means; rather, it is the way that we are starting to pay attention to it that is new.

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Parenting during COVID-19

Parenting differences may be especially highlighted at this time because for many of us, there's no escape from the daily grind and everyone's emotions are heightened. Whether you are parenting teens or young kids, I want to provide some suggestions on how parents may better support one another.

Can you and your partner find value in one another's parenting styles or perspectives?  

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Peer Support Groups

When I read that NEAFAST is organizing a peer support group online, I was intrigued and excited. I thought, "This is exactly what I need at this moment."

My experience through the years with different support groups, both in the US and overseas, was positive and enriching. It helped further my clinical learning, combat professional isolation, and make friends. I could write on and on about how beneficial, on so many levels, peer support groups are, and also how challenging they can be to sustain.

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Space and COVID-19

Welcome to my new office!

I live with two roommates, one of whom is also working from home, and the confidentiality requirements for our work means that I am relegated to my bedroom. My queen size bed, which takes up the majority of my room, serves as my desk, my chair (or lounging space, as sitting without back support can be uncomfortable after awhile), and, well, my bed where I sleep.

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All the Grief That Hasn't Been Grieved

Following the Paris terrorist attack in 2015, I had a conversation with a group of colleagues about how public tragedies provide humanity with permission to grieve.

In these events, we collectively grieve our immediate losses, the collateral damage, and all that damn heartbreak—which may or may not be linked to the precipitating tragedy.

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Social Distance Birthdays

Today is my birthday.

And I'm celebrating it similar to the way soccer star Dele Alli, pictured left through his Instagram feed, celebrated his last month. Social distancing.

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Hope in the Time of COVID-19

NEAFAST member Ann Vasey sent this quote from Howard Zinn. May this give us hope and encouragement in the time of COVID-19.

"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

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What Are You Noticing During COVID-19?

What are you noticing during COVID-19?

What is going on in the lives of your couples and families? What relational trends are you observing?

How are you noticing that the increase in teletherapy and trauma work during the time of COVID-19 is impacting your own relationships, both with others and yourself?

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Trauma Bingo

In response to the collective isolation of the pandemic, COVID-19 has inspired a different sort of community building. While physically separate, people are reaching out in new and creative ways.

Last week, I had a virtual reunion with my roommates from college, which we probably would not have organized during "real" life. I also have an active group text with several of my friends, in which we check on each other daily in order to provide as much support as possible during such a stressful time.

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Interview with Corky Becker

Interview with Corky Becker, PhD, a Family Therapist and Clinical Psychologist who is overseeing the Monthly Master Series in Couple Therapy: Seven MORE Approaches to Interviewing at Therapy Training Boston starting November 6, 2019. These are the highlights from the interview. Watch the full interview here.

Jeremiah Gibson: Tell us a little bit more about the Monthly Master Series. What’s the format of it?

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Interview with Acey Mercer

Interview with Acey Mercer, LMSW, Practice Manager at Choices Counseling & Consulting in Albany, NY. Acey is one of the Keynote Speakers for the Couple & Family Institute of New England's (CFINE) symposium Sexual Identity, Gender Identity: Staying Current in a Rapidly Changing Landscape taking place Saturday, October 26, 2019 at the Smith College Conference Center in Northampton, MA. These are the highlights from the interview. Watch the full interview here.

Jeremiah Gibson: How did you become interested in becoming a therapist?

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Interview with Nancy Knudsen (Excerpts)

Nancy Knudsen, Co-Director & Co-Founder of the Couple & Family Institute of New England (CFINE) in Northampton, MA was interviewed by Jeremiah Gibson, NEAFAST President, about CFINE's upcoming symposium Sexual Identity, Gender Identity: Staying Current in a Rapidly Changing LandscapeThese are the highlights from the interview. Watch the full interview here.

Jeremiah Gibson: We’re excited to announce and promote a symposium that CFINE is hosting on Saturday, October 26th called "Sexual Identity, Gender Identity: Staying Current in a Rapidly Changing Landscape."

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Interview with Jennifer Eaton (Excerpts)

Jennifer Eaton, Director of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Training and Consultation at the Bridge Institute in Worcester, MA, is presenting Communicating Effectively with Children and Families: Key Strategies from Dialectical Behavior Therapy on Wednesday, October 9 in Worcester. She was interviewed by Jeremiah Gibson, NEAFAST President, about the intersection of DBT and family therapy. These are the highlights from the interview.

Jeremiah Gibson: There are some really neat things going on in the Worcester area. I'm curious, Jen, if you could talk for a few minutes about what's happening at the Bridge Institute? 

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Taking Charge: What Works

The following reflection on advocacy is written by Mary-Jane Beach, secretary of the NEAFAST Board. For more information about joining the NEAFAST Board of Directors, please email [email protected]

I remember that in the mid-1990’s, I was working with families, often after school and evenings. I had two children and never seemed to have enough time. Some of the families had various negative and pejorative labels: dysfunction, multi-stressed, multi-problem.

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The Value of Joining NEAFAST

The following is written by Mary-Jane Beach, secretary of the NEAFAST. For more information about joining the NEAFAST Board of Directors, please email [email protected]:

At this stage of my career, I realize that MFT’s from Massachusetts have been there for me. First it was SFTR (Society for Family Therapy and Research) in the 1970s in Boston. There were workshops, supervision groups, and training programs available. Later it was an MAMFT mentoring group where I had individual and group support to develop a practice and a niche. Then there was advocacy and a focus on licensure and eventually vendorship. I learned to advocate and testify at the Statehouse thanks to the leadership of the Massachusetts Chapter. Knowing it was important to give back, yet still challenged by children, travel, and time I joined the MAMFT Board, and naïve as I was, became Treasurer. I learned to use accounting software, began to understand how National Organizations and Chapters functioned, met colleagues from around the state, and participated in local networking activities. 

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Reflections on the Ambulatory Care 1

Last month, we wrote a blog post about the collaborative efforts of the Executive Office for Health and Human Services (EOHHS) as they help create processes that improve access to quality behavioral health care in our state. Quite a few NEAFAST members have attended these meetings and provided input, including Stuart Moskowitz, a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) in the Worcester area. The following are his reflections from a listening session meeting in Worcester


 

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Reflections on the Ambulatory Care 2

Last month, we wrote a blog post about the collaborative efforts of the Executive Office for Health and Human Services (EOHHS) as they help create processes that improve access to quality behavioral health care in our state. Quite a few NEAFAST members have attended these meetings and provided input, including Mary-Jean Beach, a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) in Cape Cod, and NEAFAST Board Member. The following are her reflections from a listening session meeting in Cape Cod.


I went to the 2nd EOHHS listening session at Cape Cod Community College on June 18, 2019. It was very well attended by a representative sample of consumers, families, providers, schools, advocacy organizations, and constituents. Senator Julian Cyr (D Truro) came in and spoke about his interest and concerns. The meeting was informative, exciting, and affirming for me as a family therapist. In our community the important take-aways were: 1) family advocates and consumers pled for more family sensitive behavioral health care and support; 2) parents and young adults over 22 are left without help when they lose Special Education Services; 3) the future of ambulatory behavioral health care may be in schools and primary health care offices.

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