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Plenary Session

Top 10 Family Therapy Interventions That You Can Start Using in Your Practice Today

Lead by Dr. Paul Sunseri

As rates of childhood depression, anxiety, and suicide are on the rise it becomes increasingly important to identify clinical interventions that work. Family-based treatments and family therapy have almost 40 years of empirical support demonstrating their efficacy and in this presentation, Dr. Paul Sunseri will describe and demonstrate 10 clinical interventions that can be used with almost any family to effect positive clinical change. Using a combination of video case examples and lecture, Dr. Sunseri will discuss a variety of interventions that therapists can start using today:  Mirroring and Matching, the Disarming Technique, Respectful Disengagement, the Premack Principle, Tactical Empathy, Ask Not Command, and more, as well as why clinicians should encourage families to never punish their children again (and use a far more powerful intervention in its place).

Learning Objectives:

  • How to use a variety of clinical interventions that will significantly decrease conflict in a family.

  • Understand and disrupt the most common communication errors made by almost every family.

  • Understand how to help parents better manage their own and their child’s emotional reactivity and incentivize children and adolescents to better regulate their emotions and behave better much more often.

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Session Learning Objectives

Dr. Paul Sunseri

Paul Sunseri, Psy.D. is the founder of three community mental health agencies in California, including the New Horizons Child & Family Institute. Dr. Sunseri has spoken internationally on the relationship between family functioning and children’s mental health and he has published numerous articles on the topic in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Sunseri, and TEDx speaker, is an advocate for family therapy as a first-line treatment for children and adolescents with serious mental illness.


Dr. Sunseri is the developer of Intensive In-Home Family Treatment (IIFT), a family-based treatment approach for high-risk children and adolescents with treatment-resistant mental illness. The first article on IIFT appeared recently in the American Journal Family Therapy. Dr. Sunseri is also the developer of the Child & Adolescent Family Functioning Inventory (CAFFI), a brief, publically available assessment tool that serves as both a treatment planner and an outcome measure.

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