Training is offered for family counseling


With concerns about depression and violence among Carroll County youths, the Local Management Board has arranged for area health professionals to receive training that may help prevent juvenile delinquency.

After attending six workshops taught by instructors from the Family Therapy Training Institute of Miami during a two-week period, the clinicians will use their training to work with troubled youths and their families.

"The community is helped out when the level of delinquency and substance abuse in children is reduced, and when families are empowered to do a much more effective job of child rearing," said Olga E. Hervis, director of the training institute.

A $17,479 grant from the federal Bureau of Justice Assistance and $6,396 from the Governor's Office of Crime Control & Prevention will help pay for 15 clinicians - professionals who either work directly with families or belong to an agency or practice that works with families - to be educated in brief strategic family therapy. Each clinician will pay a $25 fee to attend workshops.

The clinicians' education at the workshops included highlighting specific case scenarios and watching videotapes of actual therapy sessions.

"A lot if it was taking some of what we already know and adding to it, kind of like taking it a step further and really understanding what the model is trying to do and how to work it in a session," said Patsy Shaffer, violent acts assessor and therapist at the county Youth Service Bureau.

Mary Scholz, administrator of the Local Management Board, said the county would benefit from an increase in mental health assistance and a possible decrease in youths entering or returning into the juvenile justice system, two goals listed in the December 2005 county's Community Strengths and Needs Assessment.

"Lots of people know how to do therapy or counseling for individuals," Scholz said. "It's more difficult, or it requires a different set of skills to do therapy with a whole family as a system. This will allow us to expand the capacity of providers so that we're able to reach out to the community more."

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