Clinical Psychology

Family Learning Program (FLP)

The Family Learning Program (FLP) is an outpatient program offering psychological treatment and support to families who have experienced sexual abuse. Services are offered for all members of the family, including child and adolescent victims, siblings, and non-offending caregivers. FLP is one of only 15 Department of Health sponsored Sexual Abuse Treatment Programs (SATPs) within the state of Florida.

FLP offers treatment through a group modality at the South County location (at The Scott Center for Autism Treatment), at Devereux Therapeutic Group Home and at Devereux Residential Treatment Center in Viera. Individual, family, or couples therapy may be offered as needed. In addition to the Devereux services, the following South County groups correspond to different ages and family roles:

Young Children

This group consists of children who have been victims of sexual abuse. Areas covered in group therapy include:Family Learning Program

  • Exploring their feelings regarding their abuse
  • Discussing the consequences of revealing they were abused
  • Realizing that they are not at fault for what happened to them, and know how to keep themselves safe
  • Exploring family relationships and the impact that the abuse has had on the family
  • Learning about sexuality and appropriate touches
  • Building self-esteem
  • Enhancing social skills
Pre-teen 

This group is for pre-teen aged children (typically ages 9-12) who have been victims of sexual abuse. Topics covered in the therapy group include:

  • Identifying treatment goals
  • Learning about feelings and how to appropriately express them
  • Developing coping skills
  • Learning about boundaries and how to keep themselves safe
  • Sexual abuse education
  • Improving socials skills 
Adolescents

Teenaged victims make up the Adolescent group. They discuss the following:

  • Treatment goals
  • Preventing future sexual abuse
  • Boundaries
  • Sexual health and development
  • Dealing with problems that are common with adolescents (anger, not getting along with teachers, academic issues, and familial relationships with parents and siblings)
Siblings

Siblings of the victims meet every week with the rest of the family and discuss important topics, such as:

  • Sexual abuse
  • Keeping themselves safe
  • Keeping their bodies safe from inappropriate sexual advances
  • Sharing their experiences of having a sibling who has been sexually abused and how it has impacted their family
Non-Offending Caregivers

This group consists of the non-offending parents of the child victim. This group gives the parents tools to help the whole family. Caregivers learn how to:

  • Work through and understand their own response to the sexual abuse
  • Deal with strong emotions or painful memories if they were abused
  • Form a support network with other families who have experienced sexual abuse
  • Have a safe environment where they can ask questions, share feelings, and feel understood
  • Address the difficulties of raising a family in a supportive environment
  • Learn better ways to communicate, avoid power struggles, to respect one another and to grow closer together
  • Understand the dynamics of childhood sexual abuse
  • Learn to reduce the risk of abuse in the future

Treatment Modality

FLP provides services to families in need using Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), an evidence based treatment. The therapists providing the services are all Clinical Psychology Psy.D. students (most have masters degrees) and are working toward their doctoral degrees. They receive special training in TF-CBT and other evidence based sexual abuse treatments.

Research

Florida Tech faculty and students are invited to utilize the FLP Research Database. Approximately twenty years of detailed client files are available for use, providing a diverse range of client variables and assessment data. Multiple client populations are available for study, including child victims of sexual abuse, siblings of victims of sexual abuse, non-offending caregivers/parents of victims of sexual abuse, and child sexual abuse perpetrators. The FLP research database is a useful tool in the study of psychological variables in areas of research such as child abuse, parenting, assessment, personality, trauma, and forensics.

Contact

Dr. Demara Bennett, Licensed Psychologist, is Director of the Family Learning Program and provides clinical supervision. Dr. Sara Howze, Licensed Psychologist, provides supervision for the Non-Offending Caregiver clinicians.

If you would like to get involved in the Family Learning Program as a therapist or a volunteer, please contact:

Dr. Demara Bennett: dbennett1986@fit.edu

Programs

Contact

School of Psychology
150 W. University Blvd.
Melbourne, FL 32901

321.674.8104
psychology@fit.edu