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Friday, Oct 26, 2012

Keeping Families Together with Functional Family Therapy

imageImproving communication, strengthening relationships, and resolving family problems before they become serious, is the aim of a new program offered by Berkshire Farm Center. Functional Family Therapy (FFT) is a highly effective program with a proven track record of working with the entire family to help prevent the need for more extensive services. With FFT, parents of teenagers in danger of being removed from their home due to behavior issues don’t have to feel alone or helpless.

FFT is the latest evidence-informed program in Berkshire’s comprehensive system of care designed to strengthen children and families, and it is expanding our ability to help children learn more, alter their behavior, remain in their own homes, and grow to become independent, successful, and productive citizens.

“Berkshire is committed to using evidence-based systems of care,” says Berkshire’s CEO, Timothy Giacchetta. “We are outcome focused, and we continually search for ways to improve the outcomes of our programs and services. For us, keeping families together and avoiding out-of-home placement of children is vitally important . . . and one of our newest ways to do that is through FFT.”

Donna, a mother whose daughter was failing and skipping classes in school and openly and defiantly breaking all rules at home, felt alone and helpless . . . until she found FFT.  Working with Berkshire FFT, Donna now says she can face the struggle she knows still lies ahead and not lose hope. She understands that FFT is not a quick or easy fix, but it has been proven to be highly successful.

Jessica McGauley, Berkshire’s FFT Program Coordinator, says the program focuses on building skills that address issues like defiance of rules, conflicts between parent and child, drug and alcohol use, and verbal and physical aggression. Rather than focusing on the behaviors of a particular youth, FFT works with the entire family to better solve problems and prevent further need for other services.

“The goal,” explains McGauley, “is to improve communication among family members, determine and adopt positive solutions to a family’s problems, and prevent the need for more extensive measures.”

For Donna, help came in the form of Erica Rabideau, one of Berkshire’s Licensed Master Social Workers specially trained in FFT. Erica and her colleagues mix scientific expertise with genuine care and compassion. Donna describes Erica as “a lovely person who knows what she’s doing”. Berkshire Farm Center recognizes her as having the very skills and qualities we want in our staff.

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