The following chapters express my thoughts and experiences while developing and utilizing the Family Interactive Rating Scale (FIRS). Although the central concept is the rating scale, it ultimately encompasses a therapy style that promotes better input from children, fosters increased dialogue within families, and provides a structure with more defined parameters for therapists when working with families, all in an attempt to help them facilitate better change. This is not intended to replace your therapy style with families, but instead suggests a possible supplement to your therapy. As a tool, it can be used as often or as seldom as you, the mental health provider, sees fit. Since developing and using the FIRS I have discovered therapy with children to run smoother and family sessions with children and their parents more productive. I hope you find it as helpful as I have and that it makes your work with families even more enjoyable.
About the Author
Nate and his wife Debi were married in 1977 and since then have lived in northwestern Minnesota where they have raised 3 children. Nate earned his BA in psychology from Minnesota State University Moorhead, an MS in counseling from North Dakota State University, and a PhD in family psychology from Capella University. He is a Minnesota Licensed Psychologist and a Diplomat with the American Psychotherapy Association. Nate was initially employed in 1982 with the Center for Parents and Children, a child abuse prevention and treatment center, then joined Lakeland Mental Health Center in 1986. He has been providing therapy, primarily to families, since 1982, helping them to make changes to improve the quality of their lives. Nate has also held the position of supervisor for several different mental health programs, including Children's Mental Health services, during most of his years at Lakeland Mental Health Center. Nate and Debi presently live in Fergus Falls, Minnesota where he has also been an adjunct professor of psychology and counseling for the past 15 years at several area colleges. In addition, he enjoys time with his family, their grandchildren, his dog Rusty, and likes to camp, kayak, and snow shoe on and near the Otter Tail River.