inspiring hope and healthy living
by providing behavioral health and wellness services one person at a time.

Program Feature : Family Based

Sabrina Valente, MA – Program Director

Quick Overview:

Family-Based is an important part of the continuum of care of services provided at TrueNorth Wellness because we work to help families stay together and to increase the emotional wellness of everyone in the family.

Recent Accomplishments:
All Family-Based staff are required to complete a three-year, 270 hour training in Eco-Systemic Structural Family Therapy(ESFT), the therapy model that is used in this program. At TrueNorth, we train with the Philadelphia Child and Family Therapy Training Center (PCFTTC). Upon completion of the necessary number of hours, staff submit what’s called a competency packet to the training center which includes, among other things, video of their work with families showing that they are working the model as intended. Supervisors are required to submit videos of supervision, showing them working the model in supervision, the same way that therapists would apply it in sessions. PCFTTC then review these packets and videos and determine if staff are competent in the model. This three-year training program and subsequent competency criteria submission, is a labor of love! This year, TrueNorth had two staff successfully complete this training and competency submission! Vicki Carver, BS, successfully completed her competency as a Family-Based Mental Health Worker and is now qualified to sit for the state certification exam. Sabrina L. Valente, MA (Program Director) successfully completed her competency and is now qualified as a Certified Family Based Mental Health Supervisor. Sabrina also recently conducted a training session on ESFT and LGBTQ Clients at the Program’s Director Meeting for PCFTTC.

Current Challenges:
Openings are often few and far between because of the length of service (32 weeks). This means that we can’t serve all the referrals that we receive.

What you’re working on:
Currently, the Family-Based program is working on a trauma project in conjunction with CCBH and HealthChoices. This means we’ve begun screening all the caregivers in the family we’re working with for a trauma history, as well as the child. We have also begun screening these caregivers and children/adolescents for trauma symptoms so we can better understand the way in which their experiences are manifesting in order for us to better help the family as a whole. We’re also sending all of our staff through an 18 hour online training program in Family Trauma to help staff feel more comfortable understanding the impact of trauma on the entire family system and best practice guidelines to directly intervene with these families.

Upcoming goals:
I would love to create a program or group that links families who are in similar situations in order to give them support on a long-term basis. So many of the families that we work with feel like they are alone or have limited natural supports. It would be great to hook them up with each other to help build up a sense of community and connectedness that will help families continue to thrive long after FamilyBased is discharged. I’m not sure how this can be accomplished yet, but it’s definitely something I’d like to develop at some point!