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TAMIU Graduate Psychology Students Complete FOCUS Training on Family Trauma Posted: 2/18/16

TAMIU Graduate Psychology Students Complete FOCUS Training on Family Trauma


TAMIU Dr. Ediza Garcia
TAMIU Associate Professor of Psychology, Dr. Ediza García  

Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) associate professor of Psychology Dr. Ediza García recently led a two-day training session for graduate students pursing a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology.

The session helped train graduate students in the family intervention model called FOCUS (Families Overcoming Under Stress) with clinicians from the TAMIU Student Counseling Center, Dr. García explained.

“This is an intervention model that works with families. Through eight sessions we promote resilience through developing a family narrative, and teaching emotional regulation skills, and communication,” García said.

“These TAMIU graduate students are working on their Master’s in Counseling Psychology. Clinicians from the Student Counseling Center were also invited to participate in the training,” Garcia said, noting that 27 persons participated, including 19 graduate students.

 She noted the intervention model was created for families at risk or that have experienced significant stress or trauma.

 “We have used it with a lot of military and veteran families that have undergone multiple separations and deployments,” García said.

 The first two sessions provide parents with developmental guidance on effective parenting, promoting family closeness, and sharing their family’s story. Two other sessions are conducted for children only, educating them on how to tell their stories. In session five, counselors meet with the parents again to prepare them to respond adequately when hearing their children talk about family problems.  The last two sessions bring the entire family together.

 During the trainings, students work with families in foster care, those in which the child has a pediatric illness like cancer or a heart transplant, and families affected by deportation.  FOCUS was developed by leading experts in family-centered prevention at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Harvard University.

  The TAMIU graduate student training was made possible through a grant García received from the UCLA Nathanson Family Resilience Center, enabling her to train students for the first time. 

 The goal of the training program is for students to learn fundamental first-hand information about trauma and its impact on family resilience.

 García can now lead those students who attended the training in implementing group supervision or model consultation, crucial in getting a FOCUS Model Certification.  Once the trained graduate students have worked with five families under group supervision, they can earn certification.

 Garcia plans additional research to study the effects of the FOCUS intervention model on local families.

 “My goal is to study this intervention with Laredo families.  I know that there’s a lot of adversity and stress that all families face, but some specific things occur here in Laredo, that merit additional research,” she explained.

 For additional information on TAMIU’s Master’s in Counseling Psychology program, please contact 956-326-3096,, Dr. F. M. Canseco Hall, Suite 312.