Who We Are


To support a family systems approach to children resisting or rejecting a parent in post separation families.

OCB Vision:

Overcoming Barriers (OCB) is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization whose vision is to maintain a sustainable organization utilizing research-informed approaches to develop and provide:

  • Professional development, consultation and training
  • Education to advance the field of knowledge
  • Awareness of innovative approaches for these families
  • Effective and accessible family centered programs


Overcoming Barriers was founded in 2008 as a nonprofit in Massachusetts by Drs. Robin Deutsch, Peggie Ward and Matthew Sullivan and Sheara Friend, Esq. and subsequently incorporated as a public 501(c)(3) charity in 2011 to seek solutions for families where a child(ren) is resisting or refusing contact with a parent.

Overcoming Barriers ran its innovative High-Conflict Family Camps annually since 2008, working with families entrenched in conflict who primarily were court ordered to attend. The Overcoming Barriers program team continued to refine and adapt the Family Camp program and in 2018 and 2019 included modifications based on feedback from campers, its own observations and experience, as well as input from program evaluations conducted over the past four (4) years.

Camp was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the corona virus pandemic and is cancelled indefinitely as we redirect our efforts on training professionals who work with these families in crisis rather than providing direct services to the families themselves.

In 2017 Overcoming Barriers had begun to shift focus to training mental health professionals to identify and work with these families earlier in the process using a family systems approach as opposed to only attempting to reunify the child and rejected parent. The entire family system is included in all of Overcoming Barriers work.

Education for  clinicians, lawyers and judges who work with families in high-conflict divorces is imperative to working with families and throughout its history Overcoming Barriers has provided training opportunities for such professionals. This focus on education for the family law community is to increase awareness and to enable programs to be available to all regardless of their location or financial resources.

In order to expand its educational resources for professionals and families Overcoming Barriers has published three books with a Spanish version coming in 2021.

Overcoming Barriers holds Board meetings every other month.

In rethinking parent-child contact problems Overcoming Barriers continues to spread what it has learned as part of our work.

Like a pebble in a pond….we share our knowledge.