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5-Day Family Intensives

About 5-Day Family Intensives

Family Intensives Program treatment using clinical immersion to provide assessment, psychotherapy, and experiential opportunities in a 5 or 10 day time frame. Potomac uses evidence-based, holistic therapies in a much more intensive and targeted way to achieve accelerated results. Families dealing with issues related to early trauma like depression, anxiety, poor interpersonal relations, substance abuse and many other behavioral health conditions can experience remarkable benefits starting in the first session.

Although family dysfunction can be difficult to navigate, Family Intensives Program moves families rapidly beyond the place where they are stuck toward growth and positive change. Family Intensives Program combines long respected, sound treatment practices with safe and effective methods validated by current scientific research studies.

Our specialty is healing the effects of adverse childhood experiences, particularly as it relates to families with adopted children. We equip families with the experience and understanding they need to heal their family.

Locations

  • Springfield, MO

Why It Works

Each Family Intensives is tailored specifically to the clinical needs of a particular family. The intensive experience includes the following according to the family’s needs and the recommendations of our clinical team:

  • Experienced, highly trained adoption/ trauma specialized Clinicians and Neurotechnicians
  • A battery of Evidenced Based Functional Assessments and Testing
  • Canine Therapy
  • Experiential Individual and Family Therapy (Couples, Family, and Individual)
  • Parent Training and Coaching
  • Neurobiology Training
  • Psychoeducation
  • Intensive Neurofeedback
  • Intensive Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback
  • Training in Potomac’s Proprietary Developmental Trauma Model
  • Quantitative EEG Brain Mapping
  • Brainspotting Therapy
  • HeartMath Stress/Anxiety Reduction Techniques
  • Accommodations and Lunch provided

Potomac uses evidence-based, holistic therapies in a much more intensive and targeted way to achieve accelerated results. Families dealing with issues related to early trauma such as depression, anxiety, difficult interpersonal relationships, and substance abuse can experience remarkable benefits starting in the first session.

Who We Help

Potomac Family Therapy Intensives were created specifically for families experiencing developmental trauma and attachment issues with children ages eight to twenty-one. The Intensives are also available for parents whose child is unable to attend. Intensives are ideal for families living busy lives and needing specialized services unavailable where they live. An Intensive is also beneficial in situations where families need additional support after Residential Treatment or are looking to potentially avoid residential treatment in the future.

For families with a child currently in Residential, Intensives are a great way to shave some time off treatment by going deeper, faster.

Specifically, this program is for:

  • Families with a child ages eight to twenty-one who struggles with peer and/or caregiver relationships, low self-concept, shame, acting out behaviors, poor coping, and inability to communicate and regulate with a family member.F
  • Families not currently in need of residential and are looking to avoid residential treatment.
  • Families with a child currently in residential treatment experiencing developmental trauma and attachment issues.
  • Families with a child experiencing developmental trauma and attachment issues and transitioning out of the residential setting.
  • Families with a child experiencing developmental trauma and attachment issues that were once in residential and looking for a tune-up.

Healing Families

Our experienced Potomac Clinicians provide therapeutic structure and intervention that allow families to explore how their life history and neurobiology impact the present. The clinicians and neuro-technicians guide the family to implement techniques for increased regulation, boundary setting, connection, and consistency.

During the Family Therapy Intensive, parents have the opportunity to examine their own dynamics and begin to look at how best to address their child’s emotional and behavioral difficulties. Families are coached to focus on the root issues that need to be addressed in order to create safer relationships for all to thrive.

Following the Family Therapy Intensive, the family will receive a comprehensive report summarizing the findings and suggestions for next steps and interventions.

Neurotherapy

Potomac Family Intensive offers a unique neurotherapy experience for all of our 5 and 10-day family therapy intensives. First, our team will record a custom brain map for each member of the family. These maps provide information about how your family may neurologically interact with each other through a process called Neuro-Family Dynamics. Our trained professionals will look at the connections and activity of different brain regions to determine family challenges and triggers that stem from neuroplastic adaptations. This information is used to help guide the entire family towards improved communication, intimacy and connection.

The second purpose of the brain map for parents is that parenting a child with complex developmental trauma is very stressful. Experts in the field of stress have shown that chronic stress can have a degenerative effect on the body and brain. By recording a brain map we can see where the nervous system has been worn down and needs renewal and reintegration. This process helps to support parents’ resiliency and encourage movement in otherwise static family systems.

Your child will receive two brain map recordings. The first one will be recorded at the beginning of the week before the therapy begins. The second will be the last day of the intensive. These recordings will allow us to show you the changes that have taken place in your child’s nervous system over the course of the intensive. These reports can be later given to and utilized by a neurotherpay practitioner in your area if you decide that you would like to continue with neurotherapy at home.

Potomac Family Intensive also offers a remote neurotherapy option, after an intensive has been completed. Remote neurotherapy is when neurofeedback equipment is sent home with the parents where they can continue to train their entire family. The sessions are supervised under the guidance of a clinical neurotherapist who will support the neurotherapy process. There will also be follow up about what was learned from the intensive to be sure integration into the home is taking place.

qEEG During Family Therapy

Potomac uses a Quantitative Electroencephalograph (qEEG) recording devise for its brain maps. The qEEG is a 19 channel recording that records brain activity across the entire scalp. It provides a real-time image of how the brain functions in daily life. Using a normative database qEEG data can isolate instabilities and dysregulations. These markers are the origins of behavioral symptoms.

With the qEEG analysis the Potomac team can develop unique treatment plans for your child. Ones that encourage the brain to self-regulate and increase the overall efficiency of neurological processing. The effects can improve mood, attention, sleep, anxiety, and many more symptoms. It helps the brain to support brain balance that foster a sense of safety which provides the opportunity for the brain to break out of traditional patterns and experience new ones.

Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback is one of the main forms of treatment during a family therapy intensive the Potomac Family Intensive team will use that can help the brain change itself. This is possible through the reward system. The reward system is one of many systems in the brain that’s function is to inform the nervous system to something that it enjoys or wants to promote. When a child is experiencing neurofeedback this reward system will release dopamine, a neuromodulator, into the sub-cortical regions that will inform the brain to re-wire or change its frequency. In neurofeedback, the brain is given an arena to practice self-regulation and parasympathetic responses.

The result of neurofeedback is an increase in the efficiency of neurological processing. Examples of efficiency would be feeling less overwhelmed by loud spaces, cognitive processing speed will increase, quiet thinking, and improved attention, all of which will allow the brain to be more prepared for development as your child lives out their life.

Heart Rate Variability (HRV)

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is a type of feedback that Potomac Family Intensive will teach you and your child during the family therapy intensive. This technique creates a coherent connection between the heart and lungs. Our hearts send messages to the brain letting it know if we are safe, just as the brain can send messages to the heart indicating danger, or a need for it to pump faster. The idea is for the lungs to influence how fast and slow the heart beats. The lungs are the strongest volitional control we have over our heart. When we breathe-in it is ideal for our heart to speed up to distribute oxygen to the body. When we breathe-out it is ideal for the heart to take a rest and slow down. Often times with chronic stress the HRV rhythm is irregular or inflexible. By using HRV we can teach you and your child to produce coherent heart rhythms that will trigger a relaxing response and allow the body to calm itself. Continual use of HRV helps to improve memory, attention, and sleep. It also impacts anxiety, depression and reactivity to stress.

CASA Framework (Commitment, Acceptance, Security, and Attunement.)

We begin with Commitment on the caregivers part. For us, that is the parent, guardian, or primary attachment figure which commits to working as a family to further their better understanding of one another. That Commitment needs to be coupled with Acceptance. Acceptance by the parent and by us as caregivers can be a complicated process, but at its fundamental level, it is a recognition that developmental trauma and attachment insecurity is driving the student’s behavior. We have to accept that it is not a matter of trying harder for our students, but of experiencing how to trust others and ultimately themselves. Our students are inherently valuable. We need to see them as always doing their best.

Once our students feel accepted, they can begin to feel Secure, or Safe, both physically and emotionally. The caregiver needs to be a Secure relationship. Security is defined by predictability, consistency, reliability, regulation, and empathy along with established boundaries and clear limit setting.

The goal of our model is co-regulation, an emotional state in which our students can safely learn from adults and eventually from peers. Co-regulation is not a steady state. Our students will move along the cycle of commitment, acceptance, security, and attunement frequently as they encounter new experiences or re-experience some aspect of their previous traumatic history.

So, while attunement is the lever for co-regulation, the ground upon which the lever sits is commitment, acceptance, and safety. At any moment of dysregulation, as caregivers, we have to go back through our model to check that we are committed, accepting and providing safety before we can accurately attune.

We have made this seem more linear in theory than it is in practice. In action, this tends to be, as the graphic shows, a recursive process of progress and regression, rather than a straight line of progress.

FAQ

What do I get

Our one-of-a-kind Intensives include the following as needed/recommended by our Potomac team, along with respective values:

  • Accommodations and Lunch provided
  • Experienced, highly trained adoption/ trauma specialized Clinicians and Neurotechnicians
  • A battery of Evidenced Based Functional Assessments and Testing
  • Canine Therapy
  • Experiential Individual and Family Therapy (Couples, Family, and Individual)
  • Parent Training and Coaching
  • Neurobiology Training
  • Psychoeducation
  • Intensive Neurofeedback
  • Intensive Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback
  • Training in Potomac’s Proprietary Developmental Trauma Model
  • Quantitative EEG Brain Mapping
  • Brainspotting Therapy
  • HeartMath Stress/Anxiety Reduction Techniques
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