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Strengthening God’s Gift of Family: Practical Family Therapy Skills for Imams

Title:  Strengthening God’s Gift of Family: Practical Family Therapy Skills for Imams

Date: Feb 26th, 2018

Summary:  Any psychological problem on this good earth is made worse when the family is unstable.  Conversely, a happy, stable, and sustainable family makes all problems, psychological, physical or social, better. The western developed world has seen a dissolution of the family, especially since the 1960’s, when the divorce rate in the US spiked upward, rising to more than 50%, where is remains.  Members of the Muslim faith who are assimilating to life in the US face an increasing number of family challenges.  Imams are called upon to counsel family members faced with problems they feel unprepared to solve, including:

  • Marital Instability

  • Divorce

  • Post-Divorce Challenges

  • Step-Family Challenges

  • Family Violence

  • Marital Infidelity

  • Psychological problems in a Spouse, Sibling, or Extended Family Member

  • Parenting Challenges

    • Disrespect for Parental Values

    • Conflict between Generations

    • Suicidal Thoughts

    • Addiction

    • Depression

    • Disruptive Behavior

    • Alarming Behavior

In this training 40-45 clergy members will gain practical family therapy skills that are derived from the wisest scholarship in family psychology. Though western secular values, including secular sciences of psychology, have the potential to weaken God’s gift of family, there are insights within family psychology that can help religious leaders lend a hand to stabilize and strengthen the family unit.  

This training will provide practical answers to such questions as:

  • How to structure a family counseling session with multiple parties?

  • How to start the conversation?

  • Where to meet?

  • What questions are most helpful to family members struggling to solve a significant family problem?

  • How to help parents who cannot stop their child from behaving in an unhealthy manner?

  • How to help a family member who is afraid of another family member?

  • What should I avoid doing when talking to family members in crisis?

  • How do I assess the level of risk present in the family?

  • How do I manage family conflict when it appears in my office?

Learning Objectives:  Participants in this training will leave with:

  1. Increased confidence, and greater effectiveness, in providing family therapy to members of their community.

  2. A foundational understanding of the core principles underlying the skills and strategies of family therapy.

  3. New practical conversation tools, including listening, interviewing, assessment, and recommendation skills that are immediately applicable in the effort to help families facing challenges.

Training Methods:

  • Brief Lectures

  • Case Stories

  • Audience Question/Answer Sessions

  • Structured Small Group Discussions

  • Family Therapy Skills Demonstration/Role Play

  • Live Practice with Skill Critique

  • Family Therapy Skills Practice Exercise


Presenter Bio:  Erik Thompson, MA, Licensed Psychologist-Masters, is Executive Director of the Vermont Center for Family Studies, and Founder of Thompson Leadership Development, Inc. He had a private family therapy practice for twenty years before transitioning to family business consulting in 2008. Erik has published scientific papers on family therapy and family leadership. He has taught courses in family therapy at the University of Vermont, and provided trainings for large audiences across the country for many years. During his 15 years serving a rural community mental health agency, Erik was a therapist and clinical supervisor for exceptionally challenging cases, and later became a consultant to hospitals, prisons, and mental health teams working to find innovative solutions to persistent crisis behaviors. Erik is a member of the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family’s National Network for the Advancement of Bowen Family Systems Theory.