Seminar Detail

Treating the Traumatized Child and Family: 7 Essential Assessment and Treatment Techniques

Tuesday, October 15, 2019 at 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

This event is not currently available for purchase.

For more information: Call (800) 844-8260
Course Description:

Young clients are often referred to therapy because of an overt behavior problem – acting out, shutting down, skipping school, self-harm, aggression, running away – not the underlying trauma and unhealthy family dynamics that are the real cause of the problem. And while you can make some progress individually, lasting change is unlikely when the child returns to the same unhealthy dynamic at home.

Trauma affects the entire family – shouldn’t treatment do the same?

Join Dr. Scott Sells, founder of the Family System Trauma (FST) Model and creator of Parenting with Love and Limits®, to learn 7 must-have, evidence-based techniques for assessing and treating the traumatized child in a whole new way.

Under Dr. Sells’ expert guidance, you’ll discover how you can:
  • Engage and motivate even the most resistant parents and families
  • Keep session work focused, strategic, and solution-oriented
  • Empower caregivers to improve boundaries, attachment, discipline and communication
  • Overcome the most common treatment roadblocks that frustrate you and your client
  • Utilize easy to follow handouts and resources to help facilitate change
If you’re treating young people, you need these techniques in your clinical toolbox!

Sign up today!
  1. Differentiate between event-based and interactional trauma as it relates to assessment and treatment planning with the family.
  2. Utilize therapeutic tools, scripts, and handouts to conduct family therapy with traumatized children more effectively.
  3. Identify “undercurrents”, or hidden causes of trauma, that are contributing to symptomology within the family to increase the effectiveness of treatment.
  4. Create clinical treatment plans that are designed to address the specific needs of each client/family.
  5. Utilize various scaling techniques to evaluate progress in treatment and identify potential risks for relapse.
  6. Ascertain when it is appropriate to begin active treatment as opposed to stabilization of symptoms to ensure the safety of the child and family members.

7 Essential Assessment & Treatment Techniques

#1 – Psychoeducation: Trauma, Behavior, and How the FST Model Can Help
  • Why the Family System Trauma (FST) Model works
  • The long-term impact of out of control behavior and an upside-down hierarchy
  • What is event-based v. interactional trauma?
  • Setting expectations for treatment
  • Video case example: ”The police officer who apologies to his family”
#2 – Undercurrents: Help Families Identify the Core Drivers of Unhealed Trauma
  • Recognize unhealthy interactional patterns that cause or maintain the trauma
  • Root work vs. Weed work: Where you will spend your session time?
  • How to inject healthy undercurrents into the family
  • Video case example: An out of control mother: villain, victim or hero?
#3 – The 15 Minute Motivational Phone Call: Engage the Family Before Treatment Begins
  • 7 questions to quickly motivate and build rapport
  • The importance of understanding before persuading
  • Avoid the call becoming a therapy session: the “stick and move” technique
  • Closing arguments – the most important piece of the call
  • Video case example: “Just fix my kid”
#4 – The Stress Chart and Seed/Tree Diagram: Assess and Diagnose Quickly and Accurately
  • Using scaling from 0% (no stress) to 100% (total stress) to quickly get to the problem
  • Identify four toxic “seeds” that maintain the child’s problem behavior or symptoms
  • Assess for the child’s safety stressors (self-harm, suicide, bullying, aggression)
  • Identification of seeds and symptoms by child, family and FST therapist
  • When to stabilize and when to start active trauma treatment
  • Video case example: ”Knowing where to tap” to locate the core trauma drivers
#5 – The Ethnographic Interview: Using Client Feedback to Improve Outcomes
  • 5 key questions for the end of each session (and why)
  • Why real-time client feedback will improve outcomes
  • How to elicit honest responses from clients and families
  • Deliver vs. content: It’s not what you say but how you say it
  • Video case example: ”We finally feel a part of the treatment”
#6 – Trauma Playbooks: Step-by-Step Strategies that Convert Treatment Concepts to Action
  • How to create a customized trauma playbook that:
    • Activates the client and family to execute their part of the plan
    • Heals the stronghold of shame, blame, performance and approval
    • Uses the child’s love language and is easily understood by everyone
  • How to adjust playbooks as treatment progresses
  • Troubleshooting, dress rehearsals, and next steps
  • Video case example: The self-harming teen overcomes the stronghold of shame
#7 – Evaluate Progress and Relapse Prevention
  • Mini-scales technique: Reveal progress made on problematic undercurrents
  • Map out next steps of treatment and beyond
  • Identify red flags to prevent potential relapse
  • Video case example: See the mini-scales and decision tree techniques in action
Limitations of the Research and Potential Risks
Target Audience

  • Psychologists
  • Social Workers
  • Mental Health Counselors
  • Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Other Mental Health Professionals Who Work with Kids


Scott P. Sells, Ph.D., MSW, LCSW, LMFT, is former tenured Professor of Social Work, Savannah State University, Savannah, GA and Associate Professor at UNLV in Las Vegas, NV. Dr. Sells is the author of three best-selling books, Treating the Tough Adolescent: A Family-Based, Step-by-Step Guide (1998), Parenting Your Out-of-Control Teenager: 7 Steps to Reestablish Authority and Reclaim Love (2001), and Treating the Traumatized Child: A Step-by-Step Family Systems Approach (Springer, 2017). He has over 20 publications in such periodicals as Psychotherapy Networker, Contemporary Corrections, Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse, Professional Issues in Criminal Justice, Family Process, and Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, plus book chapters in the Handbook of Family Therapy Research Methods (1996) and Social Worker’s Desk Reference, 2/E (2008).

Dr. Sells has extensive experience as a keynote speaker for the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, the National Association of Social Workers, the Southeastern Psychological Association, and others. He was invited to be one of six expert presenters at the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy’s prestigious Summer Institutes as well as the world-renowned Cape Cod Institute. Dr. Sells is currently the founder and model developer of an evidence-based model as the FST | Family Systems Trauma Model that is being used by both juvenile justice and child welfare in over 14 states and in Europe.

Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Scott Sells is the owner of Savannah Family Institute, Inc. He receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc.

Non-financial: Scott Sells has no relevant non-financial relationship to disclose.
Credits listed below are for full attendance at the live event only. After attendance has been verified, pre-registered attendees will receive an email from PESI Customer Service with the subject line, “Evaluation and Certificate” within one week. This email will contain a link to complete the seminar evaluation and allow attendees to print, email or download a certificate of completion if in full attendance. For those in partial attendance (arrived late or left early), a letter of attendance is available through that link and an adjusted certificate of completion reflecting partial credit will be issued within 30 days (if your board allows). Please see “live seminar schedule” for full attendance start and end times. NOTE: Boards do not allow credit for breaks or lunch.

If your profession is not listed, please contact your licensing board to determine your continuing education requirements and check for reciprocal approval. For other credit inquiries not specified below, or questions on home study credit availability, please contact or 800-844-8260 before the event.

Materials that are included in this course may include interventions and modalities that are beyond the authorized practice of mental health professionals. As a licensed professional, you are responsible for reviewing the scope of practice, including activities that are defined in law as beyond the boundaries of practice in accordance with and in compliance with your professions standards.

The planning committee and staff who controlled the content of this activity have no relevant financial relationships to disclose. For speaker disclosures, please see speaker bios.

PESI, Inc. offers continuing education programs and products under the brand names PESI, PESI Healthcare, PESI Rehab and Psychotherapy Networker.

Addiction Counselors
This course has been approved by PESI, Inc., as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for 6.0 CE in the Counseling Services skill group. NAADAC Provider #77553. PESI, Inc. is responsible for all aspects of their programming. Full attendance is required; no partial credit will be awarded for partial attendance.

This intermediate activity consists of 6.25 clock hours of continuing education instruction. Credit requirements and approvals vary per state board regulations. Please save the course outline, the certificate of completion you receive from the activity and contact your state board or organization to determine specific filing requirements.

Massachusetts Counselors: CE credit is available. This program has been approved for 6.5 Category I MaMHCA/MMCEP hours for re-licensure, in accordance with 262 CMR. Expires: 10/14/2020. Full attendance is required; no partial credits will be offered for partial attendance.

Marriage & Family Therapists
This activity consists of 380 minutes of continuing education instruction. Credit requirements and approvals vary per state board regulations. You should save this course outline, the certificate of completion you receive from the activity and contact your state board or organization to determine specific filing requirements.

Massachusetts Marriage & Family Therapists: This activity has been certified by NEAFAST on behalf of the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health & Human Services Professions, for LMFT professional continuing education. Full attendance at this activity qualifies for 6.0 contact hours. Certification #: PC-040448.

This live activity consists of 6.25 clock hours of continuing education instruction. Credit requirements and approvals vary per state board regulations. Please save the course outline and the certificate of completion you receive from this live activity. Contact us for more information on your state board or organization specific filing requirements. American Psychological Association credits are not available.

Social Workers
PESI, Inc., #1062, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. PESI, Inc. maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider approval period: January 27, 2020 - January 27, 2023. Social Workers completing this course receive 6.25 Clinical Practice continuing education credits. Course Level: Intermediate. Full attendance is required; no partial credits will be offered for partial attendance. A certificate of attendance will be awarded at the end of the program to social workers who complete the program evaluation.

Other Professions
This activity qualifies for 380 minutes of instructional content as required by many national, state and local licensing boards and professional organizations. Save your course outline and certificate of completion, and contact your own board or organization for specific requirements.

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