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:

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


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  has run 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 continues to refine and adapt the Family Camp program and in 2018 will include 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.

In 2017 Overcoming Barriers has also begun to focus on 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 is included in all of Overcoming Barriers work.

Education for  clinicians, lawyers and judges who work with families in high-conflict divorces is an important adjunct to OCB’s direct work with families and throughout its history Overcoming Barriers has provided training opportunities for such professionals.

Increasingly OCB is focusing on education for the family law community 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 two books with another expected in 2018.

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.