Frequently Asked Questions
Medical family therapy is helpful:
- When you’re facing a life-altering or terminal diagnosis — either your own or a loved one’s.
- When your medical team is having difficulty identifying the biological causes of your symptoms and you’re stuck in a state of uncertainty about your diagnosis.
- When relational stresses (family conflict, marital difficulties, feeling alone) are adding to the distress of your diagnosis and illness — and/or vice versa.
- When you’re facing a hereditary illness you already have too much experience with.
Most of today’s healthcare professionals are trained in a biopsychosocial model: one that acknowledges the roles that our biological (body), psychological (mind), and social (relationships) structures affect our overall health and well-being. Today’s medical professionals largely embrace the mind/body connection and the fact that healthy relationships and social support are critical for our well-being.
Medical healthcare professionals attend to your biological needs. They may also be aware of your psychosocial needs but likely don’t have the time, training, or interest to address them with you. A medical family therapist specializes in these psychosocial needs. In my work with you, we’ll take the time to unpack how your mental state and relationships impact your health (and vice versa), and how to harness them to improve your well-being.
The discipline of medical family therapy has been around for decades — one might argue since the beginning of family therapy. Within recent years, some institutions have begun offering certification in Medical Family Therapy (including Drexel and Jefferson locally). There is, however, no national governing body that certifies or licenses medical family therapists specifically.
I call myself a medical family therapist because I chose a track during graduate school that included specific training in that subject, and because I chose to study therapy at a medical college with an esteemed interprofessional program (Health Mentors at Thomas Jefferson University) so that I would gain experience in interdisciplinary healthcare teams.
I’ve also completed training as a hospice volunteer for additional insight into the psychosocial needs of patients and caretakers facing the end of life.