Department of Family Therapy Dissertations and Applied Clinical Projects

Date of Award


Document Type

Applied Clinical Project (ACP)

Degree Name

Doctor of Marriage and Family Therapy (DMFT)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Family Therapy


Tommie V. Boyd

Committee Member

Christopher F. Burnett


The Collaborative Process is an alternative dispute resolution method in which two attorneys, and in most cases, a financial professional and a mental health professional, work together as a team to help a couple separate legally, financially, and emotionally. While the State of Florida does not currently require formal training in the subject, most practicing Collaborative professionals will only work with colleagues who have been formally trained. Developed in 1990, the Collaborative Process remains a growing area of practice; as such, data identifying mental health professionals’ specific training needs within the Collaborative Process have not yet been collected. While attorneys, financial professionals, and mental health professionals attend the same, interdisciplinary introductory Collaborative Process training, this study focuses on the needs of mental health professionals working as Facilitators within the Collaborative Process. The research question, “In what areas do mental health professionals require additional training in order to perceive themselves as competent and confident to carry out the role of Facilitator in the Collaborative Process?” reflects this endeavor. Following an action research approach, six Collaboratively trained mental health professionals were interviewed using semi-structured questions to inquire about areas where they perceive a personal need for additional training. The process included analyzing the data, identifying training needs, and formulating recommendations to address the knowledge gap that exists for mental health professionals, aiming to enhance their effectiveness, competence, and confidence within the Collaborative field.