Family Intensive

Our Family Intensive program is a comprehensive, family-centered approach for young people who are struggling or in crisis.

Also called the “Weekend Intensive,” cases usually involve a troubled or stuck teen or 20-something, and I travel to the family (or the family travels to me) to work with all of them, together and separately, in their home, for a couple of days. Working together, we get at the roots of why the child is off the rails and come up with a plan for how the family can move forward.

Typical reasons I am contacted:

  • Therapy was not successful.
  • College is abandoned: a young person yo-yos home and doesn’t go back.
  • Excessive use of screens, gaming, weed, or booze—is typical.
  • Rudeness and blaming.
  • Wilderness programs or therapeutic schools are being considered or were not successful.
  • The child’s life lacks direction: they are often depressed, anxious, and don’t leave home much.
  • A setback (such as a sports injury, break-up with someone they were dating, etc., cause them to become unglued.

If you live outside of New England and we can’t meet in person for some reason, we can still get a lot done with Zoom, although it isn’t ideal. Instead of doing all the meetings over a weekend, I have found that shorter, more frequent meetings are more effective with Zoom, although it is best to do the meetings over a week or two at most and not drag them out.

How it Works

With the Intensive program, I work with the entire family, including extended family, where appropriate. A child rarely gets in trouble in a vacuum, so healing is optimized when the family can work on the problem together. One father said it best: “We got into this mess as a family, so we’re going to get better as a family.”

We work together to evaluate the issue(s) and develop a plan for moving forward that everyone—both the young person and their family—buys into. If we think I can be useful long-term, I continue to be involved via regular visits or via Zoom/Skype/Facetime/phone/text. If the consensus is that I am not the best professional to help your family, I will make recommendations and can refer if you live around Boston. I do not make diagnoses so will refer out if I feel one is needed. I can work in partnership with other professionals or I work with one family member and other family members see other professionals.

The Family Intensive is often cost-effective, because at the end of the initial meetings I give you an evaluation as well as a clear path forward. This program is very efficient because it gives me the opportunity to spend extended time with the entire family right out of the box, so I get a clear picture of the whole family dynamic and can make connections quickly. If you have been considering a wilderness program, hospital, or therapeutic school, the Family Intensive is often more effective because the family, working together, gets at the root cause(s) of the problem and works together to change the family and individual dynamics. This often results in a marked, lasting improvement in the child. It also costs tens of thousands of dollars less. However, parent involvement is key to my program’s success.

Here is a video I made about the Weekend Intensive program.


Most Family Intensives require follow up appointments—the number varies depending on the case. If you don’t live near me, I can follow up with Zoom/Skype/Facetime/WhatsApp sessions, plus phone and texting, although occasional in-person visits always help, if possible.

I encourage you to call or email me so we can discuss your family’s situation and see whether the Family Intensive is a good option.