The CFC has a successful track record serving CYS clients for the past 20 years and has been an efficient administrator of CYS grants in the past. A primary goal in these cases has been to foster enough school/family bonding to minimize risk for dropout and runaway. This has entailed close collaborative work with the CYS workers, administrators,and school counselors. The Center For Family Consultation is a network of therapists who have previously been trained by Dr. Loos or who have collaborated on joint projects. All are seasoned therapists whose primary focus is helping at-risk youth and their families.
Group Therapy for At-Risk Youth.
Group counseling has been shown to be a powerful and effective modality, reaching a maximum number of students with moderate financial resources. Furthermore, for specific issues around substance abuse, violence, anger management, developing social skills, and enhancing emotional intelligence, group counseling is far superior to individual sessions. Time limited, topically oriented groups are provided for youth both at CFC offices and, when appropriate, on-site at the school campus.
Topics — The following topically oriented groups are offered:
• Anger Management (helping students whose anger problems have interfered with academic progress; group participants learn and practice appropriate responses to angry feelings, using the award-winning model developed by the Center for Anger Resolution, Inc.)
• Grief and Loss (students overwhelmed by loss are vulnerable to dropping out of school or getting involved in inappropriate activities; the group is designed to help students resolve issues of loss and grief and deal effectively with current/future losses)
• Social Skills Group (helping students learn how to resolve conflicts and develop friendships)
• Enhancing Emotional Intelligence (emotional intelligence has been shown to be a critical factor determining academic success/failure; group sessions are based on a curriculum developed by Drs. Loos and Summerlin for understanding and managing internal feelings and learning how to develop self-management life skills)
• “ Newbies ” (helping students new to an environment fit in and make maximal use of peers [e.g., students recently assigned to an alternative school, recently moved to a choice school])
• Stress-management (primarily for shy, socially anxious youth or those who feel overwhelmed by academic pressures; participants learn how to turn negative stress into a positive force)
• Mother/daughter groups (a unique opportunity for mothers and daughters to examine their relationships and to use each other as a life-long resource)
Optimal group size is about 8 members, but can range from 3 to 12. Groups must have at least 3 participants to be effective, and groups larger than 12 tend to be unwieldy and difficult to manage. For contract purposes, at least 3 students must be committed to the process before a group is scheduled; groups will be limited to a maximum size of 12. The therapist will work with the CYS worker, school counselor, school administrator, or school nurse in determining the specific size and make-up for each group, and identifying those students who would benefit most from group counseling.
Summer groups are offered at various offices. The primary focus again for summer groups is on loss, adjustment to social changes, moving to high school, etc. They are provided in either a summer “camp” format, meeting daily for one week or a once a week format for six weeks. The “camp” format works best for traveling families; the weekly format works best for families with heavy work schedules.