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Lee High School

What methods and techniques do marriage and family therapists use on a everyday basis to help

with their clients needs?

Marriage and family therapy

Autumn Haugen

Senior Capstone

Mr.Brian Cahoon

April 13, 2017

Mr. Brian Cahoon

Senior Capstone
April 13, 2017

Marriage and family therapist

Love is a wonderful thing. One day everyone hopes that they will find love. One day

everyone will find love, but sometimes not everything goes as planned and things get tough. An

individual starts questioning their partner, and starts losing that intricate bond with them. They

would do anything to get the connection and love back. That's what marriage and family

therapists are there for. They have many methods and ways to help. A marriage and family

therapist uses the use of art and play-based activities, the empty chair, and talking and

listening techniques to help marriages and families on an everyday basis.

One of the many techniques that a marriage and family therapists use is a technique

called the use of art and play-based activities in family therapy. Kids love art and so do adults.

There are several compelling reasons for using art and play when working with children in the

context of the family. Eliana Gill, one of the pioneers of family play therapy, emphasizes that

play techniques can engage parents and children in enhanced communication, understanding and

emotional relatedness(Lowenstein & Sprunk). Many therapists and counselors use this

technique because it is so effective.

A technique that a marriage and family therapist uses is the empty chair technique, and

Expressions to absent family, parents, and children can be arranged through utilizing this

technique (Smith and Steevans-Smith). The empty chair technique is used to get each others

feelings out. Also, it exemplifies how everyone views one another. The married couple or the

family members play a role as each other and they carry on dialog in which they think the other

person would say. This helps the family or married couple because it lets them see how they
think the others would respond. Usually, this shows all the misconceptions within each other.

Once they see how the other thinks, they would react and then they could talk about it. What may

be said are things like, No, why would I respond like that? Then, they can start talking about

what would really happen and it would open the eyes of all individuals and how maybe things

could be understood better. The empty chair technique is typically used with intrapersonal

problems, for example when two parties are angry with each other. Employing two chairs, the

counselor asks the client to change places as the conversation unfolds. The actual moving and

acting helps the client to get in touch with deeper sensorimotor emotions (Ivey & Ivey, 300).

Another technique is called Talking and listening. This is where the couple or the family

chooses a day and time that works best for them and they all gather around the table. They each

will get a turn to have the microphone for a half an hour. They get to speak about themselves non

stop. They cannot comment on anyone else or speak upon anyone else. After one of the thirty

minutes is over, then they switch and someone else gets to go. Now, when the session is done, no

one is allowed to speak upon what was just said. The individuals are supposed to go on living the

individual's normal life and not discussing anything that was said and they are not supposed to

make any comments on what the spouse or family member said. Clear and direct

communication, and masked and direct communication are both part of the talking and

listening.Clear and direct communication is also apart of it. Clear and direct communication is

the most healthy form of is the most healthy form of communication and occurs when the

message is is stated plainly and directly to the appropriate family member another one is the

Masked communication. (Epstein et al). Masked and direct communication occurs when the

context of the message is unclear but directed to the appropriate family member (Epstein et al.).
A marriage and family therapist uses art and play-based activities, The empty chair, and

talking and listening techniques to help marriages and families on an everyday basis. A marriage

and family therapist are there to help their clients. Marriage and family therapists are mental

health professionals trained in psychotherapy and family systems, and licensed to diagnose and

treat mental and emotional disorders within the context of marriage, couples and family systems

(Marriage and Family Therapist). A marriage and family therapist has many more techniques and

many other way to help their clients there are just three of the many.

Works Cited

Basic Techniques in Marriage and Family Counseling and

Therapy. ERIC Digest. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2017.


"Families First-Keys to Successful Family Functioning: Communication." VCE Publications |

Virginia Tech. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2017.

International, Inc. Advanced Solutions. About Marriage and Family Therapists. N.p., n.d. Web.

21 Apr. 2017

Ivey, A. E. & Mary B. (1999). Intentional Interviewing and Counseling.Pacific Grove, CA:

Brooks/Cole Publishing Company.

Lowenstein, Liana, and Trudy Post Sprunk. "Creative Family Therapy Techniques: Play

and Art Based Activities to to Assess and Treat Families."

Http://www.lianalowenstein.com/articleFamilyTherapy.pdf. N.p., 2010. Web.

"Marriage and Family Therapists: The Friendly Mental Health Professionals."

Http://www.aamft.org/iMIS15/AAMFT/Content/consumer_updates/marriage_and_family

_therapists.aspx. N.p., 2017. Web.

Scarf, Maggie. "Intimate partners; patterns in love and marriage." Atlantic, Dec. 1986, p.

66+. Academic OneFile,