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Making Healthy Families

Gayle Peterson, LCSW, PhD

This course meets the qualifications for 10 hours of continuing education units


We are pleased and honored to offer courses by Gayle Peterson, LCSW, PhD, a renowned family therapist, prenatal and child development specialist.

Making Healthy Families examines the creation and growth of healthy, functional families throughout developmental stages of the family life cycle. Family life stages, from "Becoming a Couple," to "Becoming Parents," and "Raising Adolescents." are explored. It educates therapists to enable them to guide parents about the predictable stresses of family life transitions, and offers guidelines and hands-on exercises for achieving a healthy adjustment in each stage of family life, from becoming a couple, through pregnancy, birth, childhood and adolescence. Each life stage of the family is discussed, incorporating leading edge research to teach the clinician about what constitutes a healthy family. Loss, divorce and stepfamilies are also discussed in depth.

Learn what makes families work - from structure and communication to family style and characteristics of healthy marital relationships. Cutting edge research is enlivened through real-life questions about marriage, family, child development and parenting that have been answered by Dr. Peterson.
Making Healthy Families is based on graduate and post graduate clinical courses on The Family Life Cycle at John F. Kennedy University and California Institute for Integral Studies.
(Adapted from the Back Cover)

Learning Objectives

This 10 unit course will help clinicians :

1. Understand the development of the family life cycle and be able to identify stages and the developmental tasks facing parents in each family stage.
2. Identify the characteristics that contribute to the development of healthy family systems.
3. Clarify normal versus dysfunctional family processes especially with regard to problem solving and maintaining connection in family relationships.
4. Make predictions for dysfunction in particular stages, based on mapping the family history of the client.
5. Become cognizant of the importance of family-of-origin issues as they impact countertransference.

"Peterson covers all stages of the family unit from becoming a couple to raising teenagers in order to help parents understand and efficiently negotiate the normal, varied stages of the family life cycle. Of special value is a chapter on troubleshooting tips to help parents anticipate their own predictable stress points on the family life cycle. Making Healthy Families is highly recommended for parents at all stages of parenthood, marriage and family counselors, as well as students of psychology." Wisconsin Book Watch, March 2000

This course meets the qualifications for 10 hours of continuing education units


is approved by the:

Board of Registered Nursing (#13620)
California Board of Behavioral Science accepts our CE Provider Approvals through APA, NASW, and NBCC. Course meets the qualifications for hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Science
Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy, Mental Health Counseling (BAP 753 )
NAADAC - The Association for Addiction Professionals (#575)
National Board for Certified Counselors - has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6055. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs. (ACEP #6055)
Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors (#1761)
The Texas Board of Social Work Examiners (#6246)
maintains responsibility for the program.



  Cost - $125 for 10 ces includes the complete book as a download!

To receive credit students must
  • register for the course (order on-line or call 888-777-3773), after which you will receive the Post-Test. 
  • read Making Healthy Families by Gayle Peterson, LCSW, PhD now online!

Now Online!

  • Pass the post-test
  • Upon passing the test, print your own certificate of completion.


Table of Contents

Part I Becoming a Couple

CHAPTER ONE: Creating Your Garden
Resolving prior stages of the family life cycle
Fortifying Your Couple's Bond
Five Dimensions of Family and Marital Health

CHAPTER TWO : How Does Your Garden Grow?
Seven Characteristics of Healthy Families
Family structure: Who is in charge?
Balancing kids and marriage

CHAPTER THREE : Pregnancy and Childbirth
Empowerment and choice in childbirth
What Contributes To Self Esteem In Birthing Women?
Pregnancy loss

Part II Becoming Parents

CHAPTER FOUR : Tilling Your Garden
Cultural influences on motherhood, and creating a parenting "team"

Redefining relationships after baby arrives
Couple's identity and new family formation
Placing Love In Equal Relationship To Work
CHAPTER FIVE : Communication and Conflict
Recovering the relationship after an affair
Listening and empathy
Exercise: Exploring your childhood experience
Communication under pressure: Conflict and compromise
Exercise: Identifying your discussion-busters!
Exercise: Overcoming destructive patterns
CHAPTER SIX : Sex and Healing in Marriage
Cultural programming about sexual intimacy

The Healing Potential of Marriage
Exercise: Recognizing potentials for healing

CHAPTER SEVEN: What Is "Good Enough" Parenting?
Attunement And Self-Esteem In Child Rearing
Healthy attunement or over-identification?
Guidelines for handling your child's anger
Guidelines for helping children recover from loss or trauma

Part III Crisis and Transformation on the Family Life Cycle

CHAPTER EIGHT: Raising Adolescents
Changing the parent-child relationship
Parenting during adolescence
Contracting for life with your teenager
Teaching values to adolescents

CHAPTER NINE : Divorce: Choices in growth and pain
Is divorce always damaging to children?
Helping kids cope with divorce
Dealing with visitation

CHAPTER TEN: Making Healthy Stepfamilies
Characteristics of healthy remarriage
Establishing family rituals
Keeping children out of the middle of conflict

CHAPTER ELEVEN: Trouble-shooting and Preventing Predictable Pitfalls
Exercise: Predicting your sensitive stages on the family life cycle
Can wife and husband have an "equal" relationship?
Web Wisdom
Bibliography and Resources


APA Ethics

We do adhere to the American Psychological Association's Ethical Principles of Psychologists. Our courses are carefully screened by the Planning Committee to adhere to APA standards. We also require authors who compose Internet courses specifically for us follow APA ethical standards.

Many of our courses contain case material, and may use the methods of qualitative research and analysis, in-depth interviews and ethnographic studies. The psychotherapeutic techniques depicted may include play therapy, sandplay therapy, dream analysis, drawing analysis, client and therapist self-report, etc. The materials presented may be considered non-traditional and may be controversial, and may not have widespread endorsement within the profession. maintains responsibility for the program and its content.


Gayle Peterson, LCSW, PhD is an international expert specializing in prenatal and family development. She trains professionals in her prenatal counseling model and is the author of An Easier Childbirth, Birthing Normally and her latest book, Making Healthy Families. Dr. Peterson is the founder of: , an online resource that has won acclaim from the  American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy for guidance about what contributes to healthy family relationships. Her articles on family relationships appear in professional journals and she is an oft-quoted expert in popular magazines such as Woman's Day, Mothering, Fit Pregnancy and Parenting. She is a clinical member of The Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and a Diplomate with the National Association of Social Work. She also serves on the advisory board for Fit Pregnancy magazine.

Dr. Gayle Peterson has written a monthly family column for the San Francisco Bay Area's Parents Press and currently writes for the Sierra Foothills, Family Post.  She is an expert on numerous parenting websites and she has also hosted a live Internet radio show, Ask Dr. Gayle, answering questions on family relationships and parenting. Dr. Peterson has appeared on numerous radio and television interviews, including The Today Show and on Canadian Broadcast as a family and communications expert in the documentary Baby's Best Chance. She is former clinical director of the Holistic Health Program at John F. Kennedy University and has served as adjunct faculty at the California Institute for Integral Studies in San Francisco.

Gayle also enjoys playing music, attending ballet classes and an active family life. She and her husband are parents of two adult children and proud grandparents to two lively boys, and a sparkly new granddaughter!



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