25 Aug New Service to Provide Healthy “Alternatives” for Families in Crisis

Family participation has long been a staple of the Youth Opportunity Center’s approach to treatment, and is crucial to successful outcomes for the youth we serve. However, through the years, clinical leaders at the YOC have noted an increasing need not just for family therapy, but for services that provide children and families with alternative approaches to dealing with conflict and crisis.

“Providing families with positive interpersonal and intrapersonal skills to reduce the effects of conflict is something that can’t be accomplished with standard therapies alone,” said Dr. Kelly Bolinger, Assistant Chief Clinical Officer at the YOC. “We felt it necessary to implement an advanced training service for families. Our choice was AF-CBT (Alternatives for Families: A Cognitive Behavioral Therapy).”

Clinical staff at the YOC began training in AF-CBT on August 20, 2020. The in-depth training that will take place over the course of 12 months, will give YOC clinicians and clinical supervisors the tools they need to provide AF-CBT services to families whose children are residents at the YOC. The goals of AF-CBT are centered around creating a safer, more emotionally supported home environment, and minimizing the impact of stress and trauma in the home. They include:

  • Supporting children and caregivers who experience stress or trauma
  • Improving child behavior and well-being
  • Enhancing child and family safety
  • Strengthening family relationships, skills and routines,
  • Reducing the risk for conflict in the home
  • Providing tools for management of emotions
  • Teaching and promoting the use of positive discipline

The YOC’s goal for implementing this service is to maximize the probability of a successful return home for children in our residential programs, as well as keeping children in the home through our community-based division, Family Beacon.

“We feel confident that providing families with these services—these alternative coping mechanisms—will drastically improve the lives of the children and families that we serve,” said Dr. Kelly Bolinger. “Often, we can prevent further disruptions to the family unit if we provide kids and families the skills and support they need to cope with stress and trauma. That’s what we’re hoping AF-CBT will do.”

AF-CBT services will be incorporated into treatment plans for residents and families who are served through the YOC and Family Beacon, beginning in September 2020. If you’d like more information about AF-CBT, go to www.afcbt.org, or contact Dr. Kelly Bolinger at kbolinger@yocinc.org.

Interested in supporting AF-CBT efforts at the YOC? Contact YOC Foundation Executive Director, Laura Retter at lretter@yocinc.org or go to yocinc.org/donate.