Public Participation: Moving Beyond the Four Walls of Therapy

J Marital Fam Ther. 2018 Jan;44(1):5-18. doi: 10.1111/jmft.12240. Epub 2017 Jun 5.


Family therapists have an ethical responsibility for public participation, to work toward creating a better society. Serving the public interest and developing laws to promote the profession and the public good can be achieved through policy advocacy and political participation. Political and policy work are important but overlooked aspects of family therapy, which is significant given the consequences differing policies have for clients and the profession. This paper reports on results from a random, national survey of licensed family therapists' (N = 174) advocacy actions. Findings indicate family therapists have overarching policy concerns yet lack proactive legislative and activist engagement. The exploration of therapists' actions and beliefs presented in this paper, serves as a springboard for therapists' movement into the public arena. Video abstract accessible by clicking here.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Community Participation*
  • Family Therapy* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Health Personnel* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Political Activism*