Course Developer and Instructor

Scott Sells holds a Ph.D. in both Marriage and Family Therapy and Social Work from Florida State University. He has over 20 publications and has authored three books entitled: Treating the Traumatized Child:  A Step-by-Step Family Systems Approach (Springer Publishing, 2017), Treating the Tough Adolescent: A Family-Based, Step-by-Step Guide (Guilford Press, 1998) and Parenting Your Out-of-Control Teenager: 7 Steps to Reestablish Authority and Reclaim Love (St. Martin’s Press, 2001). Scott was a former Professor of Social Work at Savannah State University in Savannah, GA and Associate Professor at UNLV in Las Vegas, NV.

Course Bibliography

Sells, S.P. & Souder, E. (2018). Treating the Traumatized Child: A Step-by-Step Family Systems Approach.  New York, NY: Springer Publishing

Course Description and Learning Objectives

Course Content Levels are Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced.

Children are often referred to therapy because of an overt behavior problem – acting out, shutting down, skipping school, self-harm, aggression, running away – not the underlying trauma and unhealthy family dynamics that are the real cause of the problem. And while you can make some progress individually, lasting change is unlikely when the child returns to the same unhealthy dynamic at home  Rooted in structural strategic theory, FST | Family Systems Trauma training includes step-by-step procedures to treat the entire family.  During this training, participants will receive both step-by-step tools and handouts to show how to work more effectively with the both traumatized child within their traumatized family.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES:  After attending the course, participants will be able to: • Identify who are traumatized children and why a structural-strategic family systems approach is an ideal approach. • Apply the 5 Phases of the FST (Family Systems Trauma) model with step-by-step strategies for clinical use. • Use motivational interviewing strategies to engage even the most resistant parent or child in trauma treatment • Use specific techniques (such as the Stress Chart, Feedback Loops, and the Seed/Tree Diagram) to help the family move from “How do you feel about the traumatic event?” to “What’s next in order to heal our wounds?” • Set the goals of therapy and how to choose between stabilization and wound work as the first goal of therapy • Create “before” and “after” feedback loops of family interaction • Apply the key difference between traditional behavioral contracts and "wound playbooks" including the timing of when and how to use them. • Use of tools called “wound playbooks” to quickly help family members develop a plan of action to clarify roles and heal the child and family’s trauma in the here and now. • Co-create playbooks, troubleshooting countermoves checklists, and red flags checklists with the family • Integrate the complementary fit between more traditional individual trauma treatment methods (e.g., Trauma Focused Cognitive Therapy (TF-CBT) or Neurobiological Trauma Treatment (NTT)) and FST.

To request accommodations, please contact SFI at 800 735 9525 or by email at [email protected]

This course is provided by Savannah Family Institute, Inc. (SFI). The Family Trauma Institute is a division of Savannah Family Institute.  SFI is responsible for all aspects of this program.


Psychologists • Counselors • Social Workers • Psychotherapists • Marriage & Family Therapists • Addiction Counselors • Case Managers • Mental Health Professionals who have a master’s degree or higher in the mental health field or graduate level coursework at an accredited school

CE Approval and Process Information

On-Demand Webinar Attendance

National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC): Savannah Family Institute (SFI) DBA The Family Trauma Institute has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No.5854.  Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. SFI is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

Association of Social Work Boards: Savannah Family Institute, Inc. (SFI) (Provider #1725) is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of State Social Work Boards (ASWB), through the Approved Continuing Education ACE program.  SFI maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: 2/11/2020-2/11/2021. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval. 

CE Process Information: A continuing education certificate for the event will be sent upon completion of requirements. Participants requesting continuing education credit must watch the entire webinar, pass the post-test, and complete the course evaluation to earn CE credit.  After completion of the course requirements, you will receive a continuing education certificate by email within 2 days completion.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the CE process, please contact SFI at 800 735 9525 or by email at [email protected]


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