Reviving a Dying Art: Putting the "Family" Back into Family Therapy

When:  May 27, 2022 from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM (MT)
Associated with  AAMFT Idaho


Oed and Gonyea (2019) recently found that among current students and recent graduates from COAMFTE accredited programs, over 90% agreed that including children in family therapy would be beneficial. They also found that almost 80% agreed that it would not be okay for a family therapist to exclude children from family therapy if the therapist just didn’t prefer to work with children. Yet, over 60% of family therapists actively exclude children from their practices. Many child therapists do not attend to the family system concerns, and instead refer each member of the family to their own therapist (Koocher, 2008). These competing beliefs and practices leave many systemic patterns unaddressed, likely leading to perpetuation of the need for services. Carr (2018) reviewed the evidence of Systemic Family Therapy and found that family therapy is evidence based, effective, cost-efficient, and short term. As Systemic Family Therapists, we understand the research, and need for a holistic view of clients to provide them the best care possible. This presentation will discuss some of the reasons MFT’s shy away from including children, as well as provide real life examples on how to begin including children in their work. 


Michael Whitehead, PhD, LMFT, RPT/S received his MS in Marriage and Family Therapy from Brigham Young University and his PhD in Human Development and Family Studies from Michigan State University. Dr. Whitehead is passionate about “whole family therapy”, wherein as many family members as possible come to each therapy session. His experience in using whole family therapy and his training in classical family therapy are hallmarks of his work, writing, research, and training. Dr. Whitehead is a Clinical Fellow and an Approved Supervisor for the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). He has authored or co-authored various research articles and book chapters on topics ranging from treating children with Family Therapy, to research methods in family therapy. He was a founding board member of the Systemic Perspective Across the Lifespan Topic Interest Network with AAMFT, is a board member of the Idaho Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and is a Distinguished Core Part-Time Professor at Northcentral University where he teaches and supervises graduate students in the Marriage and Family Therapy department.

Learning Objectives

    1. Based on the content of this session, I am able to explain the reasons ‘whole family therapy’ is underutilized.

    2. Based on the content of this session, I am able to identify the research literature in support of ‘whole family therapy’.

    3. Based on the content of this session, I am able to discuss three interventions presented in the workshop and their applicability within private practice.

You may register and attend this event at no charge if you wish to not receive CE's. The cost for CE's is $15.00 for 1 hour of CE. If you wish to not receive a CE for this event, just simply complete the registration form found here: