Family therapists in healthcare settings can find many ways to gain competency as an advocate and work their way up to gaining competency as a policy maker or policy writer. Some of the opportunities that family therapists in healthcare settings can engage in as an advocate or as a policy maker include:
- facilitating job opportunities for family therapists in health care contexts,
- offering to deliver presentations pertaining to policies within their healthcare context or at national conferences,
- getting involved in writing policy briefs that promote families and family therapy via healthcare practice and reimbursement models,
- creating fact sheets for workplace settings or legislators that offers persuasive details on evidence that supports family therapy/family therapists, and/or
- writing policy focused journal articles and submitting them to family therapy and other healthcare journals.
While some family therapists may feel intimidated with policy and advocacy work, every voice is important and needed in order to grow the profession and ensure that family therapists have a consistent seat at the healthcare table. For a variety of examples related to health, policy briefs are consistently posted through Health Affairs and examples of fact sheets pertaining to family therapy can be found on the AAMFT website. This is a call to action for family therapists in healthcare settings to gain competency in some way as an advocate, ambassador, champion, and/or policy maker.
Join the Family TEAM to educate legislators and other policymakers regarding marriage and family therapy and to lobby for legislative/regulatory policies that promote MFTs.
Angela Lamson, PhD, LMFT, Associate Dean for Research, East Carolina University
Read the four blog posts on AAMFT's new Competencies for Family Therapists Working in Healthcare Settings