Family and Youth Choice in a Virtual Reality

If direct questions around trauma are asked too early, it can scare clients away or paralyze them with anxiety. To prevent this common problem, presenters will demonstrate the use of a “stress chart.” Instead of traditional questions, such as “what is the problem?” the stress chart technique disrupts this pattern by asking everyone in the family to assess their home stress life. The process engages each person in the family to give their voice and choice to define the problem that gives the most stress.

This technique slows down or bypasses the normal conflict and confrontation. It also allows the therapist to ask their client’s to breakdown their percentage into the top three stressors or problem symptoms. Through this scripted process, the family can visually see the stressors. This key information then allows the therapist to quickly assess stress that may also be causing safety issues within the home and family.

Using implementation science and real case examples from the PLL Evidence-Based Family Systems Treatment Model, participants will learn how to use best practices to engage families in treatment – online and in-person. Using an online demonstration of the stress chart technique used in PLL, presenters will help participants walk away with concrete and transferable how-to tools to work with families virtually and in-person. Participants will be encouraged to ask questions.

This presentation is based on the structural-strategic framework used in the Parenting with Love and Limits (PLL) treatment model that involves the entire family and village of extended family, friends, and community resources. The approach complements other individual treatment modalities that may be needed (i.e. EMDR, etc.). Recognized as an Evidence Practice by OJJDP, SAMHSA, the Florida Sourcebook of Delinquency Interventions and the California Clearinghouse, PLL is used by residential treatment centers as a reunification/re-entry model. The presenters will draw on aftercare examples that best suit the Association of Children’s Residential Centers (ACRC) audience.


John Burek, MS

CEO , PLL: Evidence-Based Family Treatment Model


Ellen Souder, LPCC-S

Vice President of Clinical Services , PLL: Evidence-Based Family Treatment Model