Seminar Detail

2 Day Certificate Course: Trauma Treatment for Children and Adolescents: A Step-by-Step, Family Systems Approach to Recovery
Monday, May 6, 2019 - Tuesday, May 7, 2019

This event is not currently available for purchase.

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

Trauma treatment with children and adolescents is the most intense, complex and heart-wrenching work you do each day. Too often these young clients are brought to your office by their caregiver with the expectation that you will “fix” their child’s symptoms. But it’s difficult to find lasting success when the client returns to the same deeply engrained, dysfunctional family dynamic at home, leaving you feeling frustrated and ineffective.

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

Join Dr. Scott Sells, founder of the Family Systems Trauma (FST) treatment model, for this 2-day course full of innovative, evidence-based interventions that treat the traumatized child and family through a whole new lens. Using a step-by-step, practice approach, FST provides a clear roadmap for creating lasting change that simply cannot be achieved in individual therapy.

Under Dr. Sell’s expert guidance, you’ll discover how you can take your treatment of complex, deeply entrenched family trauma to the next level and overcome the most common roadblocks that can frustrate you and your clients. Rather than treating surface level symptoms, FST gets at the drivers of the problem using practical, simple tools you can use the very next day in your office including:
  • 21 core techniques for identifying and treating unhealed trauma
  • Step-by-step instructions for making the most of each session
  • Detailed handouts to guide your treatment focus
  • Checklists for relapse prevention and safety planning
  • And more!
Don’t miss this unique opportunity to transform your approach to trauma work! Sign up today!
  1. Complete a comprehensive PTSD assessment with the child, family, and extended family to enable you to more effectively identify the root causes of the trauma in the marriage, the child, or family.
  2. Identify “undercurrents”, or hidden causes of trauma, that are contributing to symptomology within the family to increase the effectiveness of treatment.
  3. Establish techniques that provide clarity of roles within traumatized families to help reduce presenting issues such as self-harm, anxiety, depression, violence, suicidal ideation, eating disorders, substance abuse, and extreme disrespect.
  4. Develop a safety plan with clients and their families to effectively respond to potential crisis that may arise within the therapeutic process.
  5. Implement three “rules of thumb” for assessing whether to begin active trauma treatment or focus on safety and stabilization when working with a family in crisis.
  6. Recognize and address common ethical and legal dilemmas that may arise when actively involving the child and family in trauma treatment.
  7. Summarize how family systems treatment interventions can be interwoven with traditional individual trauma treatment approaches, such as TF-CBT, to further improve clinical outcomes.
  8. Utilize specific pre-treatment techniques that motivate the clients’ family members to engage in the therapeutic process.
  9. Assess the client’s “window of tolerance” and self-regulation skills to determine appropriate treatment interventions.
  10. Create clinical treatment plans that are designed to address the specific needs of each client/family.
  11. Articulate how to develop a comprehensive informed consent plan prior to beginning treatment with traumatized clients and families.
  12. Utilize various scaling techniques to evaluate progress in treatment and identify potential risks for relapse.

Engage Resistant Families
  • Powerful FST Strategies to Build Motivation and Rapport
  • The art of the 15-minute motivational phone call
  • 7 must-ask questions to quickly motivate and build rapport
  • Lower no-show rates: Get parents and kids to attend the first session and beyond
  • Why a soft startup to treatment is important
  • Tips to avoid the call becoming a therapy session
  • Video case example: “Just Fix My Kid” – Engaging the parent in a 15-minute motivational phone call
Assessment and Treatment Planning
  • Identify the Core Drivers of Unhealed Trauma
  • Event-based Trauma v. Interactional Trauma
  • How quickly to join with a traumatized family?
  • 3 rules of thumb: When to stabilize and when to start active trauma treatment
  • Stress Chart Technique: Diagnose the root causes of the trauma
  • Seed/Tree Diagram Technique: Identify four toxic “seeds” that maintain the problem symptoms
  • Video case example: Apology session: Healing generational trauma of abuse and neglect between father and son
Transform the Family Dynamic
  • FST Techniques to Heal Trauma and Create Healthier Families
  • Safety first: Develop a clear plan to lower risk
  • Shift parent mindsets from “fix the child” to “fix our family”
  • Assess window of tolerance and self-regulation skills
  • Reveal wound “undercurrents” to externalize the problem
  • Determine whether re-telling the trauma story is necessary
  • The Arrow technique: Help clients reduce shame, blame, approval addiction and the performance trap
  • Empower families to uncover strategies to heal their own trauma
  • Video case example: A self-harming teen and the stronghold of shame
Healing Trauma in the Here and Now:
  • Step-by-Step Instructions for Creating New Interactional Patterns
  • How to create a specific, written plan for healing trauma
  • Who, what, when, where and how to inject healthy undercurrents into the family
  • Dozens of unique techniques and strategies, including:
    • Opening to the Future
    • The High/Low Checkup
    • Medication Compliance Plan
    • Emotional Warm-ups: The Positive Child Report
    • Externalizing the Family Secrets for Deep Healing
    • And more!
  • Dress rehearsals for implementing the trauma contract
  • Troubleshooting checklist: Problem solve any loopholes
  • Demonstration: How to execute effective dress rehearsals with clients
Family Systems Graduation: Evaluate Progress and Relapse Prevention
  • 0-100% scaling technique: Assess overall progress of the trauma contract
  • Mini-scales technique: Reveal headway made on the key undercurrents
  • Decision tree: Clearly map out the next possible treatment steps
  • Red flags checklist: Identify any possible signs of relapse, next steps
  • Post-treatment tune-ups: Set up 30, 60, 90 day check-ins; assess when a tune-up session is needed
  • Demonstrations: Learn each of the core family systems trauma relapse prevention techniques
Ethical and Legal Considerations: Your Questions Answered
  • How to develop a solid informed consent plan for the entire family
  • Know your codes: AAMFT, ASWB/NASW, ACES/ACA, APA
  • Decision tree: Weigh the risks and benefits of revealing the trauma story
  • Risk v. benefits of involving the entire family in treatment
  • Confidentiality and HIPAA considerations
  • Limitations of the research and potential risks
  • Video case example: What would you do if …? An ethical examination of a very messy clinical case
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.

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 12.5 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.

Pennsylvania Addiction Counselors: This course has been reviewed and approved for by the Pennsylvania Certification Board. This course will award 12.5 PCB Approved Hours of Education. (Valid for PA locations only)

This intermediate activity consists of 12.5 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.

Delaware Counselors: This intermediate activity consists of 12.5 clock hours of continuing education instruction. Credit requirements and approvals vary per state board regulations. Please contact your licensing board to determine if they accept programs or providers approved by other national or state licensing boards. A certificate of attendance will be awarded at the end of the program to participants who are in full attendance and who complete the program evaluation.

Marriage & Family Therapists
This activity consists of 760 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.

This activity consists of 12.5 clock hours of continuing education instruction. The following state psychologist boards recognize activities sponsored by PESI, Inc. as an approved ACCME provider: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Wisconsin. Certificates of attendance will be issued for you to submit to your state licensing board to recognize for continuing education credit.

PESI, Inc. is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. PESI, Inc. designates this live activity for a maximum of 12.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Pennsylvania Psychologists: CE credit is available. PESI, Inc. is approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Psychology to offer continuing education for psychologists. Provider #PSY000211. PESI maintains responsibility for the program(s). This program qualifies for 12.5 continuing education hours.

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, 2017 - January 27, 2020. Social Workers completing this course receive 12.5 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.

Pennsylvania Social Workers, MFTs and Professional Counselors: The Pennsylvania State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors accepts many national association CE approvals, several of which PESI offers. For a full list, please see your State Board regulations at This Intermediate activity consists of 12.5 clock hours of continuing education instruction.

Other Professions
This activity qualifies for 760 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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