As Overcoming Barriers (OCB) has grown from an original program prototype to a national organization working to expand and deliver programs throughout the US and Canada, we have recognized the critical importance of training to the success of OCB’s mission. While expanding the scope of programming is ultimate goal, maintaining the quality and integrity of the program delivery is essential to positive outcomes for families and long-term success.
OCB provides programs for for post-divorce/separation families caught in intractable parental conflict, bringing the entire family together in a positive, fun, clinically supported, natural environment, to practice skills as a reorganized family. The OCB Approach is unlike the prevailing adversarial court paradigm that engenders distrust and conflict engagement, while consuming public resources with little resolution of parental conflict. OCB has developed and refined a “whole family” intervention, a creative alternative to the ineffective adversarial court process or conventional therapeutic interventions. OCB has run High-Conflict Family Camps annually since 2008, working with the most entrenched families in the country, largely court-ordered to attend.
Sharon Ryan Montgomery, Psy.D., and Marcy Pasternak, Ph.D., had both been doing family forensic work in New Jersey in private practice for many years, including child custody & parenting time evaluations, therapy for individuals and families, mediation, and parenting coordination. They were both finding cases involving child alienation to be the most tragic as well as difficult to treat, and that the common treatment of weekly family/reunification therapy was generally inadequate to shift the family dynamics in a meaningful way.
They began to hear about intensive family treatments, including residential family programs such as the OCB camp conducted by leading experts in the field. Resultantly, Sharon had referred some entrenched families to the camp, and Marcy served as an after-care therapist for one OCB family. Encouraged by their experience with OCB, they reached out to see if they could visit the camp and observe the treatment model for themselves.
Sharon and Marcy attended an OCB outreach event in NYC in the fall of 2012. Robin Deutsch, Ph.D., was present and they discussed their desire to observe camp. Shortly thereafter, OCB announced that there would be opportunity for clinical trainees to attend and observe the Family Camp in summer 2013. They both applied and were accepted.
In the summer 2013, Sharon and Marcy participated in OCB’s first clinical training at camp, learning the model, observing the families and interventions remotely, and participating in the team discussions and the camp milieu. “We found it to be a powerful and amazing experience.” *
As a continuation of the OCB training model, Sharon and Marcy were invited to attend camp the following summer as clinical fellows, to co-lead one of the parent groups and assist clinical staff in family interventions.
Make a “wild” guess — does it sound like “Sharon and Marcy” might have already been AFCC groupie-professionals before coming to this training and writing rave-review testimonials of their (AFCC) colleagues methods?