“I am thinking about the Intensive Program all the time and want you to know how still utterly transformational that course was for me.”
Emmy Campbell, LICSW Boston Children’s Hospital
“I want to thank you again for an amazing, life changing learning opportunity this past year. As many have said, this has been the most beneficial and motivating training I have attended. “
Donna Lebow, LICSW, Bridgewater State Hospital and private practice
”It’s pretty amazing that our year together has gone by so quickly. I can honestly say that participating has been one of the most valuable educational experiences I’ve experienced. Thanks for you, Liz, Caroline and Corky making it so.”
Harold Starkman, MD, pediatric endocrinologist
“You must be tired of me gushing over the class, but I just had to tell you how much I appreciate it. I have been seeing Russian families of adults and couples and am in awe of the power of family therapy. I just had a session with two people who shared over a decade of accumulated hurt and got visibly closer after an hour. It would have taken me years of individual work to get to this point that one joint session did. You are a miracle worker, undoubtedly in sessions with people, but I am referring to the confidence you have inspired in me to tackle difficult situations and get people to a place of closer connections and improved communication. Thank you. Words can’t express the gift that you keep giving me.”
Dasha Tcherniakovskaia, LMHC, outpatient
“Thank you for your leadership, teaching and guidance of our learning community. In many ways it felt like this class saved me from becoming quite jaded about therapy amidst an absence of consistent supervision and support. I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue in the field. But gaining tools, and probably more importantly the support of our class community, was a real game changer. Our time together sharing, our rituals, and the grounded hopefulness you cultivated helped me return to a place of joy and hopefulness for my clinical work.”
Christa Morse, LMHC, medical clinic
“The Intensive Certificate Program in Family Systems Therapy is the family therapy course that you always wanted but never got in grad school. It’s a unique opportunity to obtain exposure family systems theory, evidence based approaches and cores skills needed as a family therapist that can be used regardless of which treatment modality you use. The practical, hands-on instruction has been invaluable. This course is critical if you want to learn how to ‘do family therapy,’ but more importantly, the instructors are masters in the field and have created a supportive learning environment that fosters professional and personal growth, curiosity, and self-reflection.”
Tamra Williams, PhD, Clinical Director at Residential Program then Director of Clinical Management, Community Behavioral Health, Philadelphia, PA
“The retreat was nothing short of pure magic.”
Melissa MacIntyre, LICSW, supervisor of home based work
“This course has been eye opening and immensely helpful in better understanding the dynamics of my family system and how I affect and am affected by those I love most in my life. I am grateful to the other members of our class and to the faculty for the honesty, integrity, vulnerability, professionalism and commitment everyone had in being fully present and engaged and challenging me to do the same.”
Tiffany Horne, LICSW, home and school based therapist
“The Intensive Program was a rewarding learning experience, well worth the commute from New Hampshire. My skill and confidence as a family therapist have grown. The unexpected gifts were the deepening of my work with individuals and the compassion that I am able to offer groups of people when I view their reality through a lens infused with an appreciation for systems thinking.”
Kate Harris, PhD, private practice
“The course has helped me solidify my understanding of family systems/ family therapy practice. I will use this to make engaging families in my agency a priority for myself and to encourage this with the entire social work department at the Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital.”
Ann Carter, LICSW, DMH adult inpatient psychiatry unit
“I learned so much this in this course…I feel as though I’ve packed a toolbox full of new techniques and strategies…the most significant insight this course brought me was the strength-focused core of the newer schools of family therapy. That felt very comfortable to my social worker’s soul and is something I’ll carry with me into my future work.”
Robin Levine Freedman, LICSW, parenting full time
“I feel more confident that I can intervene in a positive manner with almost any family that comes to my practice…with my individual cases, I have learned to see the impact of their family dynamics.”
Juan Sosa, LICSW, private practice
“The most significant things from this course that I want to keep alive in my work are: Accepting that change starts with you. Empowerment of the client. Not focusing on problems in order to help. Recognizing limitations. Self care. It has made me more aware, kinder to those around me and reminds me of the universality of being human—we all want connection and people to see us in a positive way.”
Mia Shapiro, LICSW, parenting full time
“I feel I understand myself better and I appreciate the courage I gained through this course to repair relationships of my own.”
Christina Mule, PhD, hospital setting
“This model is more in keeping with how I want to work with kids and families and ultimately makes me a more sensitive and compassionate clinician.”
Erin Belfort, MD, private practice and hospital setting
“This course enhanced my knowledge, confidence and openness in treating families with difficult challenges.”
Marymar Rivera, PhD, outpatient clinic
“I will remember a multitude of perspectives when I am stuck: of theorists, teachers we had and those of our group. When I have more ideas and a mind-team, I fell less isolated and stuck when things get tough. The most significant thing I have noticed is how relevant the course has been to my teaching and supervising trainees on their cases. Again, I feel part of a team, supervising and teaching from our collective expertise and experience.”
Eric Geopfert, MD, hospital setting
“I took Intensive in 2011, immediately after completing my Level I IFS training. Within the first 2 days of the training (a really fantastic retreat), I realized how much I was going to get from the course. In addition to learning about traditional work with families, it was going to support my IFS work with individuals, couples and their families. The collective experience of the group really helped the material to come alive in a rich way. The course was organized in a way to support multiple learning styles, which I greatly appreciated. I noticed a significant shift in my work with my individual clients and continue use the course content in my more recent work with couples. I am really glad to see that TTB continues to offer this certificate program and am happy to answer anyone’s questions about it. I am a grateful and enthusiastic former participant.”
Angela Carini, LICSW, private practice
“What I most appreciate about the experience of taking Intensive is the opportunity to think more critically against the backdrop of theory about my clinical practice.”
Emily Leadholm, LICSW school social work and private practice
About the Teaching
“Dear Liz and Corky, I want to let you both know again how much I enjoyed the class. It was a great addition to the foundation I got from Cambridge Hospital. You are both such amazing teachers, clinicians and people….I count you among the best (maybe even the best!!) mentors and teachers I’ve had. Your warmth, humor, humility, irreverence, personal sharing, willingness to be genuine/authentic…I could go on and on….are so valued. I am hoping to pass some of these values along to the fellows I supervise and teach. Since the class, I’ve been involved with a family therapy workgroup to start a seminar series for our fellows in the fall. I will be borrowing heavily from the readings and from the classes.”
Erin Belfort, MD, child psychiatrist
“I thought Liz Brenner’s presentation was wonderful. I appreciate the close fit between the way she taught the process and the way she opened it up for participants to experience. -I think it’s an art, while teaching a mindfulness approach, to be able to reflect on her internal process. I learn from moments of vulnerability and felt she shared uncertainties and questions with us. I appreciate her being brave and teaching from these moments.”
Liz Lawrence, LICSW
“Not only were you (Liz) able to share such effective interventions, techniques and prevention approaches in such a short time, but you did it with magnetic presentation skills. I am so glad I was able to be here today to hear you!”
Karen Brenner, LICSW
About the Intensive Certificate Program in Family Therapy
This course creates a supportive learning environment to empower beginning and intermediate family practitioners from a variety of backgrounds to become more skilled, self aware, confident family-centered clinicians, supervisors and teachers. “Intensive” is a program that will enable you to be on a path to master the art of working well with a family approach regardless of the number of clients in the room. Participants gain clarity about their strengths, develop new ways of working and become more articulate about their own model of helping. Special attention is paid to creating a shared group learning experience. The Intensive Program was the hallmark program of the former Family Institute of Cambridge for 35 years. We continue to teach the Intensive Program in the comprehensive, immersive and experiential tradition of FIC.
Our annual weekend retreat on Chappaquidick Island, Martha’s Vineyard is a highlight of the course. In addition to the retreat, we meet for 11 day-long classes scheduled on Fridays every few weeks to promote in depth learning while attending to work life balance. The opportunity to learn then digest, practice and return to learn more enhances the experience.
Helping families through difficult times can be joyful service or a daunting task. Today more practitioners in New England are being challenged to help families support children with serious emotional and behavioral problems at home and in a myriad of settings. Working well with families is a critical way to improve the lives of struggling children, adolescents and adults. Our course supports work with all kinds of families in varied forms. We attend to the needs of families and helping professionals working in all settings.
Family systems models provide a lens for understanding families and the skills to develop a mutually agreed upon focus. Trained family therapists know how to lead conversations so that everyone participates constructively. They also know how to help parents avoid making things worse in attempts to solve problems. Without specialized training, holding meetings with families can be overwhelming, difficult to manage and unproductive. Understanding families as a system with clear patterns helps clinicians do what is best for everyone involved.
Participants will study concepts and methods from a variety of theoretical approaches, including historically important, enduring models and more recent developments in the field. Drawing on their own unique styles and abilities, students will examine their underlying assumptions about families and therapy, developing a relational, empowering systems-oriented clinical stance.
The goals of the Intensive Program in Family Systems Therapy are for participants to:
learn conceptual models and clinical practices that highlight family, couple and individual competencies, frame their difficulties in non-shaming, non-blaming ways, taking into account the influences of the larger culture and community, and facilitate a path for growth and change
learn a model to hold meetings with families, couples and other working groups with a structure that helps people and the process from getting stuck
learn more about and develop their individual strengths in doing the work as they further articlulate their own way of working
Teaching methods include discussions about reading material, didactic information sharing, experiential exercises, live and videotaped interviews. Smaller group work is an integral part of the course, providing the opportunity to attend to each student’s development.
We look forward to enlivening your work and learning together!
Who should apply: Social workers, mental health counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, educators, substance abuse counselors, parent partners and other professionals interested in learning more about counseling individuals, families, couples and working effectively with larger systems. Helping professionals in direct service and supervisory roles are welcome to attend the course.