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

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

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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.

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Purchase Treating the Traumatized Child and Family: 7 Essential Assessment and Treatment Techniques – Scott Sells Course at Brainet. You will get full course. Downloads are quick and at no extra cost.

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?

Watch 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!


  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

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Purchase Treating the Traumatized Child and Family: 7 Essential Assessment and Treatment Techniques – Scott Sells Course at Brainet. You will get full course. Downloads are quick and at no extra cost.

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