Earlier this year, All Kinds of Therapy ran a 4-part series on Parent Coaches & Family Coaches, explaining parent coaching models, certifications, wrap-around services and former program therapists who’d developed their own program-informed coaching programs. Recently, I spoke with Jen Murphy who informed me of their new model of parent coaching through online courses. Here is a little chat I had with Jen about what she & her business partner Hilary Moses, LCSW are doing with their company.
Jen, thanks for talking to me. It is exciting news to hear about a new model and approach to working with families available. I believe the more options for a family in crisis the better chance the family will get what they need. What is this new development and how did you come up with this model?
The idea came from my work as an adjunct, teaching online Psychology courses where I was amazed by the cohesiveness and connection of such a diverse group through this type of canvas. Hilary and I have created our transitional work providing support through education, practical approaches and engaging with parents at an emotional and cognitive level. We decided to take this model and marry it with the online teaching model to create this dynamic environment for education, connection and support for this special group who can relate in similar ways.
The Support Courses are specifically created for parents who want to participate in a cognitive based learning community and who will benefit from the cohesiveness of a group with shared and similar experiences. Parents who participate in our courses will increase their knowledge base and develop resilience through practical guidance and resources while reaping the support of regular group interaction. The guidance and practical direction will focus on increasing self-awareness and developing concrete approaches that reflect parental growth. It includes psycho-education that is universally supported and user-friendly resources that augment the parent’s interpersonal process and growth.
Regarding potential parents, please tell us a little about which program types or general issues you work with?
We have supported parents through our courses that have Adolescent Children or Young Adult Children either in or returning home from a therapeutic wilderness setting or therapeutic boarding school setting. We are excited to also be generating successful interventions for parents who use our courses in more of a preventative approach, assisting them in creating change prior to moving in the direction of out of home placement.
Both you and Hilary Moses have worked in different Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare settings (Wilderness Therapy). How is your programming different or complementary to what a program is going to offer to the family?
Our approach in coaching and supporting parents has always focused on parents gaining their own personal insight and solidifying changes that will help their son or daughter sustain the work they have made in treatment. Our courses will assist parents in this process as they walk alongside their child in treatment and in transitions. Our experience in Wilderness Therapy allows us to help parents process the angles of treatment, to increase empathy for their child’s experience, to better understand the language of that journey and incorporate the learning into their day-to-day lives.
It can be so difficult for young people to consistently translate their skills coming out of treatment ( from wilderness, RTC, boarding school or hospital/rehab) into the home and traditional school environment. Solutions Transitional Support (STS) hopes to make this naturally challenging process more manageable through focusing on the responsibility, resources and skills of the parents. In precisely the same way that Just as parents want to know how their children will put into action the new lifestyle and skills they acquire through a treatment program, STS wants parents to be able to answer the same question for themselves.
Hilary Moses explained her shift toward transitional work, “while much focus was on the child’s responsibility for invigorating growth in the home setting, there did not seem to be enough focus or resources to help the parents maintain with confidence their responsibility in this journey. Often, the family as a whole needs more assistance in effectively preparing for the upcoming return, and a system needs guidance in creating resiliency for the dynamics that are involved in the return home.” With their combined experience and a dynamic, practical and solution focused approach, STS provides guidance in a way that allows them to effectively teach, support and honor a parent’s process during this type of transition.
STS is not a program that comes into the home for short stints or provides long distance mentors for the students, but Jen Murphy, co-Owner and parent coach says that instead “the focus of support is entirely on the parents, while facilitating a wraparound program on the ground for the returning child or young adult” through intentional collaboration with home therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and defining a support network for the family inside the community. Each family and parenting situation is unique and each family we support is in the process of redefining what health and wholeness can look like for their family system. This cost effective method is in service to the larger family system providing an effective clinical approach.
In recognition of their expertise and tendency to stand out as innovators of effective change in their field, the owners of STS brought Online Support Courses to parents. These Support Courses are online, educational and interactive support groups that balance the learning from self-directed study with the guidance of a facilitated support group. The intention is to create an opportunity for parents to receive ongoing guidance that will utilize and enhance any form of treatment modality, in which they and their family are currently participating.
So how can parents be collaborative with their children, while parenting and providing autonomy at the same time – How do families adjust to everyone in the home again, how do they develop reassurance and respect within the family system?
The approach and vision of STS is to support the family by focusing the support towards parents, teaching them how to help their children adjust to the family system they are re-entering and providing ongoing resources and guidance while they navigate the difficult steps of transition in the most effective way for their family.
Jen Murphy, LPC and Hilary Moses, LCSW are co-owners and experts in the field of parent support and transitional work. The majority of their careers have been in wilderness therapy and transitional support. They have worked in this field, both pioneering many of the techniques and approaches now widely used in contemporary wilderness therapy and continue to lead the charge in effective transitional approaches that are assisting hundreds of families in sustaining the therapeutic work they have invested in.