Family Camp -cancelled in 2021 and until further notice

Goodby Circle at Family Camp in Vermont


“Overcoming Barriers is a can-do organization that is always nimbly evolving based on our collective understanding of what is needed by families in crisis.”

In 2008 Overcoming Barriers was founded to provide a formal “home” for the wonderful Family Camp created by our clinical founders Robin Deutsch, Ph.D., Matthew Sullivan, Ph.D., and Peggie Ward, Ph.D. The camp has been run numerous summers since then and has served many families.  Over the years we have expanded both the mission and the vision of the work we do in our effort to help families experiencing the resist/refuse dynamic.

As we learned more about the nature of the problem and the issues involved in addressing it, we determined that it was imperative to reach out directly to the professionals who help the families.


To that end the gradual changes in OCB’s focus from a direct service to a training organization have led us to the conclusion that Family Camp is no longer a service that meets our mission and vision.  As a primarily volunteer organization OCB needs to carefully allocate our human and financial resources.  Family Camp places a strain on our finances and requires an enormous time commitment from many people but only serves a very limited number of families. The ongoing pandemic that forced curtailment of congregate activities has reinforced the fact that Family Camp – cancelled in 2020 – can no longer be a part of the range of services OCB provides.

The decision not to run camp has not been an easy one as we have learned a lot from the families we’ve served and believe they made progress while at camp.  Camp has also enabled us to train dozens of professionals from around the country and to work with the judges and attorneys who’ve sent families to camp.  Although Family Camp served a need for over a decade, OCB wants to be able to reach a greater number of families. While the program filled a need in the field we realized the impact on the Family Law community at large and families we serve was just not great enough.  Thus, we have determined that in addition to our existing and expanding educational programs and publications, we can have a greater impact through a new and evolving program, Overcoming Barriers Approach On The Go: Enhancing Local Legal, Judicial and Mental Health Resources. This program will serve to educate professionals in their local jurisdiction about what OCB has learned and how to help and support families while identifying the issue sooner.

The initiative is still being developed and more information will follow.  You can read more here.

What are the Philosophy and Goals of Overcoming Barriers work with families and training for professionals?

  • Children have healthy relationships with both parents
  • Family members learn improved communication
  • Children interact with both parents in a safe and therapeutic environment
  • Each family member gains understanding of and accepts their role in solving the family problems
  • All family members learn skills to more effectively coparent, negotiate agreements and move forward
  • All family members gain personal and relationship harmony
  • Each family member learns to establish a family culture of mutual respect

The following are important components of work with families where a child is resisting or rejecting contact with a parent:

  • Re-booting coparenting communication by learning and practicing new skills
  • Negotiating the Nuts-and-Bolts of coparenting
  • A New Family Narrative
  • De-escalating family conflict in favor of peaceful co existence
  • Specialized parenting skills for each parent for responding to parent-child contact problems
  • Giving the rejected parent and child(ren)the opportunity to spend time together
  • Self care
  • Understanding the characteristics of High Conflict families
  • Learning about the multi-determined nature of parent-child contact problems