The Current Trends Curriculum
Current Trends in Family Intervention: Evidence-Based and
Promising Practice Models of In-Home Family Treatment
This is a full, three-credit graduate-level course curriculum that was designed and developed at Wheeler Clinic, a community-based provider with expertise in multiple evidence-based in-home family treatment models.
The course provides a positive framework for evidence-based practice and an overview of each of the evidence-based or promising practice models of in-home family treatment that are currently being offered in Connecticut, as well as the core competencies shared by the models.
The course was designed to be adaptable to graduate training programs in Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy, counseling and psychology. The course design (LINK: Current Trends Course Syllabus) includes didactic lectures and guided discussions about the specific treatment models, touching on the theoretical foundation and core principles of each model, empirical evidence of effectiveness, and descriptive details about team composition, essential elements of service delivery, and the required training and supervision. The following models are included:
- Multisystemic Therapy (MST)
- MST for Problem Sexual Behavior (MST-PSB)
- MST - Emerging Adults (MST-EA)
- Multi Dimensional Family Therapy (MDFT)
- Functional Family Therapy (FFT)
- Functional Family Therapy - Foster Care
- Intensive In-Home Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Services (IICAPS)
- Child First
- MST Building Stronger Families (MST-BSF)
- Family-Based Recovery (FBR)
- Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT)
Included in the curriculum from 2008-2013
Each session also includes active skill-building activities so that students can learn about the application of specific clinical tools. Throughout the semester, clinicians working within the different treatment programs serve as guest presenters within the classroom to provide students with a feel for the lived experience of each of the models.
A highly valued part of the course for students is hearing from families who have received services through one of the in-home EBP programs, discussing what the experience was like and what they found most helpful.
The Current Trends curriculum was developed for a typical 14-session graduate-level seminar. The curriculum developer works with faculty trained in the curriculum to adapt the course to fit the unique characteristics of each graduate program. To date, several graduate programs have made the course part of the required sequence for all students, others have implemented the full curriculum as a full 14-week elective, and others have adapted it as a shorter intensive elective offered in the summer or between semesters.
Online and hybrid adaptations have also been developed by faculty fellows in collaboration with Wheeler’s course developer, in order to facilitate dissemination to a broader pool of graduate students interested in the course. All students who complete an approved version of the course receive a Current Trends Certificate of Completion. The certificate alerts potential employers in Connecticut to a candidate’s particular readiness for evidence-based practice.
Graduate training programs interested in including the Current Trends course in their class offerings identify faculty and submit an application (LINK) for the Current Trends Faculty Fellowship, which has been offered annually since the launching of the first round of fellows in 2008.
Faculty fellows receive a stipend and professional CEUs to participate in a 24-hour training program to familiarize them with the course content and all of the teaching tools of the Current Trends Instructor’s Toolkit that have been developed for the course. The fellowship provides faculty with a more in-depth understanding of the different treatment models included in the course to promote delivery of the course content with fidelity to presenting each model with accuracy.
After completing the fellowship training, faculty fellows work with the Current Trends course developer to adapt the syllabus to their program and to develop their specific implementation of the course. As they offer the course within their respective graduate programs, faculty fellows receive ongoing consultation and support. Wheeler arranges for guest speakers (clinicians practicing the different models and families who have received one of the in-home models) to attend classroom sessions and complement didactic training on the models.
Current Trends Instructor’s Toolkit
To facilitate course implementation, an Instructors’ Toolkit was developed to provide faculty with all of the components necessary to successfully offer a typical semester course. This toolkit includes:
- Background reading lists (for faculty & students)
- All books and articles for “required” reading assignments
- A sample syllabus
- A flash drive with PowerPoint presentations to use in the classroom to guide instruction
- Lesson plans and teaching strategies that include topics for in-class discussions to highlight the most important content from assigned readings and distinguish between the different treatment models
- Detailed instructions and tools for skill-building activities
- Videos for classroom instructional enhancement
- Sample exam questions
- Suggested topics for semester projects, with all instructions for students and scoring guidelines for faculty
- Certificates of course completion for students
Success of the Current Trends initiative
Since 2008, 16 graduate training programs have participated in the Current Trends initiative, with 46 faculty fellows trained. Each year since the launching of the course, 100-200 local graduate students have received Certificates of Completion.
Due to the relevance of the course in preparing students in current practices that are empirically supported, several of the graduate training programs have included Current Trends curriculum content as part of the required coursework for all students enrolled in their program. Others offer it as a regular elective. For many programs, the course has gained in popularity among students through word of mouth, and the demand has led to multiple offerings of the course each year.
Participating Graduate Training Programs
The following programs are building the future Connecticut workforce by offering the Current Trends course and Certificate of Completion:
- Fordham University (Westchester Campus, Lincoln Center Campus, and through their Online MSW program)
- Southern Connecticut State University
- University of Connecticut
- University of St. Joseph
- Southern Connecticut State University
Other Graduate Training Programs that have taught the course:
- Central Connecticut State University (MFT & Counseling)
- Southern Connecticut State University (Counseling)
- University of Hartford (Psychology)
- Western Connecticut State University (Counseling)
- Springfield College (MSW)
- University of St. Joseph (MFT)
- Fairfield University (MFT)
- University of Connecticut (MFT)
- American International College (Counseling)
For More Information
To learn more about the history, curriculum content and success of Current Trends in Family Intervention: Evidence-Based and Promising Practice Models of In-Home Treatment in Connecticut, click here for an article by Cannata and Hoge (2012).
The original development of the “Current Trends in Family Intervention , Evidence-Based and Promising Practice Models of In-Home Family Treatment in Connecticut” was fully funded by the Center for Mental Health Services of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (DHHS) under a Mental Health Transformation State Incentive Grant to Connecticut (Contract Number SM 57456). The curriculum was developed under subcontract to Yale University as an initiative of the Connecticut Workforce Collaborative on Behavioral Health. Continued funding to support the initiative provided by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families through use of SAMHSA's mental health block grant funds.