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721 | Breaking the Patterns that Bind: Addressing Systemic Factors that Keep Families Stuck

Saturday 9/16 2:15 – 3:30, Social Work: Current Developments, Trends, and Best Practices, Workshop Tracks


Kimberly Ernest, Ph.D.



Approved For CE

Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, and Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Pastors, Pastoral Counselors, Lay Counselors, Coaches

Approved For CME/CEU




Even the most connected and caring family systems often discover themselves stuck within maladaptive patterns of relating, which interfere with their feelings of attunement, safety, and satisfaction in their closest relationships. This workshop will examine how licensed mental health professionals and ministry leaders can identify, reframe, and address problematic engagement patterns contributing to this negative interaction cycle. Participants will receive training in the use of tracking and Socratic questions to support couples and family executives in identifying the patterns of engagement which interfere with a meaningful connection within the family context. Then we will identify ways in which problematic behavioral patterns can be reframed as a systemic problem instead of through an individual problem lens, ways to support all system members in coming alongside one another in problem-solving, and reduce embattlement processes that often occur. The presenter will briefly introduce how mental health professionals and ministry leaders can use enactments to create more beneficial interaction patterns supportive of attachment within the context of couples and family therapeutic work.

Learning Objectives

1. Describe challenging behaviors in the context of the family system
2. Utilize tracking and Socratic questions to support families and couples in identifying ineffective patterns
3. Identify negative interaction patterns and positive interaction patterns within the context of systemic work
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