Message from the founder

  James Giantis

James Giantis

My career began in 1990 when I started working as a recreational attendant for children and adolescents suffering from injuries and illnesses at a renowned children's hospital in Connecticut, while simultaneously finishing my undergraduate degree. During my time in this position I developed my skills and established a reputation for being naturally gifted in connecting with the kids and their families, eventually transferring to the psychiatric division of the hospital.

During the next five years, I saturated myself with information on human behavior and psychology, constantly studying and implementing what I’d learned in practical psychiatric situations.  During this time, I became even more skilled in relating and communicating to the youth and their families with empathy, understanding and guidance, helping them learn the skills they needed to function more productively.

In 1995, I chose to pursue a graduate degree in clinical social work, which I began at the University of Connecticut and finished in 1998 at San Diego State University after transferring.  Once I completed my master’s degree in social work I began working with a nonprofit organization providing in-home counseling, in addition to working privately with an affluent family to overcome some challenges.  I was unaware at the time that this combination of work would give rise to the Families In Training organization.

For five hours a day, five days per week, and lasting for several months, I mentored the three adolescent siblings of the family, all of whom struggled with ADHD, learning challenges, emotional management, severe anxiety and depression.  During my work with the family, I mentored the children individually, coached the parents and conducted trainings with the family as a whole.  The progress they all made, and in particular the increased skill and functioning of the boys, astounded practitioners that the family had worked with for years with little or no success.  

This family referred me to another family, which referred me to another, and eventually I formalized the service into what is now Families In Training.  Having benefitted the lives of several thousand youths and over a thousand families, FIT has employed nearly 100 mentors, who have been trained extensively on skill development and providing a comprehensive approach to guiding and teaching youth and their families.  FIT mentors excel in guiding others to understand the behavioral patterns that lead to “problems” and developing the ability to avoid these patterns, or quickly disengage and develop more sustainable solutions.

To be more efficient in our work, we began developing worksheets and training tools to educate on the factors that influence these problematic behavioral patterns, including concepts like fear, belief, need, desire, automatic reactions, compulsion, projection, assertion, self-acceptance and coping functions.  The ultimate result was hundreds of documents outlining these important concepts in a step by step, easy to learn and practical language, targeted at guiding people of any age to greater productivity regardless of their challenges.  

This culminated in the EFFECTIVE MINDSET TRAINING SYSTEM™, a training system of understanding human behavior and in particular the analysis of two main mindsets: an ineffective mindset, which leads to unproductive outcomes, and the EFFECTIVE MINDSET, which leads to greater peace, joy, comfort, productivity and progression.  In the near future, this system will be developed into more customized forms, to be specific to the challenges of parents, professionals, leaders and youth.  

The last few years has brought forth expansion for Families In Training, as we have begun to work with schools and organizations in a more formal manner, with an emphasis on training their staff as well as the clients or students they serve.  This naturally progressed and led to the formation of Organizations In Training in 2013, which allows us to provide the same quality of skill and mindset training to greater numbers of individuals.  

We have worked together throughout the years to evolve and develop the foundation, our core values, system principles, training process, mission statement and business plan. Though it is a relatively new entity, we have five years of practical experience working with schools and organizations and many more years of preparation that has led to the launch and growth of Organizations In Training.