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Child and Family Mental Health Services

The Department of Social Work’s Family Therapy Team supports families through a variety of workshops, consultations, treatment types and educational opportunities. Our goal is to support families, improve relationships and teach skills to cope with stress and trauma. 

The Family Therapy Team is made up of licensed clinical social workers who are trained in therapeutic treatments supported by strong scientific evidence. These treatments are successful in supporting children and families who have experienced a variety of stressors and traumatic events. The Family Therapy team provides these services in a variety of Children's Mercy locations. We also provide family therapy services within the Eating Disorders Center and Tourette Syndrome Center

The Family Therapy Team uses treatment types such as:


Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)

PCIT is a short-term (approximately 16-20 sessions) treatment designed for children ages 2-7 who are exhibiting some of these behavior problems: aggression, non-compliance, defying adults, attention and focus related problems, and excessive temper tantrums. PCIT teaches caregivers specific behavior management techniques as they play with their child, with the focus on improving the caregiver relationship while teaching caregivers effective child management skills. PCIT is fun for both the caregiver and the child. PCIT services are provided to families in both Spanish and English.

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)

TF-CBT is a short-term (approximately 12-16 sessions) treatment addressing the unique needs of children ages 5-18 with post-traumatic stress symptoms, depression, behavior problems and other difficulties related to traumatic life experiences. The goal of TF-CBT is to reduce the impact of trauma and teach life-long coping skills. It includes individual therapy for the child, as well as parent-child sessions.

Stabilization and Family Empowerment (SAFE)

SAFE is a short-term (approximately 1-8 sessions) treatment for parents/caregivers whose children have experienced a traumatic event. When children experience trauma, other family members are often impacted as well. Parents and caregivers can experience increased stress and feelings of being overwhelmed, and it can be difficult to call upon existing support systems. Children look to their parents for guidance, security, and answers to many questions. Many times, parents have questions themselves. Research demonstrates that providing support to parents and caregivers can improve parental coping, which in turn improves the child’s functioning and long-term outcomes.

Child-Adult Relationship Enhancement (CARE) Workshops

CARE Workshops were developed for parents and caregivers of children ages 2-12 who have experienced stressful or traumatic events in their lives, children with behavior problems, or parents who want to strengthen their relationship with their child. The goal of CARE is to strengthen the adult-child relationship and increase positive behaviors in children. These workshops are completely free of charge, for adults only and are held in two sessions that are fun and interactive. CARE Workshops are offered throughout the year at different times and at a variety of locations in the Kansas City metro area. CARE Workshops are provided to families in both English and Spanish.

Sign up for a CARE Workshop