Critical thinking in marriage and family therapy practice
Bush, Mattie Gates
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One way that professionals can continue learning in practice is by the use of critical thinking in practice. Critical thinking is a way for professionals to encourage use of their collection of experiences and knowledge to comprehend day-to-day practice (Bickham, 1998). The purpose of this study was to examine critical thinking in the profession of marriage and family therapy practice. The research questions for the study were 1) what are the critical thinking behaviors used by marriage and family therapists? 2) In what situations do marriage and family therapists use critical thinking in practice? and 3) What factors appear to influence critical thinking in marriage and family therapy? The reserach tools used were the interviews and a document called the genogram, which was generated by the researcher. The interviewees were selected among licensed marriage and family therapists throughout sosuthereastern Georgia. The interviewees reviewed the genogram and answered the interview questions. The transcripts of the interviews were reviewed throughout the research study. Field notes were also kept and reviewed. The findings suggest that marriage and family therapists use critical thinking in practice. In fact, at the initial assessment, in joining with the family and while seeking supervision or consultation are the situations where marriage and family therapists use critical thinking . The factors that influence critical thinking in practice are the development of the genogram, communications between the family and the therapist, and the necessity for observation. The findings also suggest that critical thinking behaviors used by marriage and family therapists in practice include making an argument for the selected therapeutic approach, showing empathy for the family, and ensuring fairness to all the family members. Additionally, asking questions, employing metacognition to identify treatment resources and using self reference to determine expertise are also critical thinking behaviors used by marriage and family therpist in practice. There were two conclusions that were evident from the study. The first conclusion is that critical thinking behaviors in marriage and family therapy practice are interrelated and emerge often in practice. The second conclusion is that situations where critical thiking occurs in marriage and family therapy practice are a consequence of 3 factors; the factors are the devlopment of the genogram, communications between the MFT and the family and the necessity for observation.