The family unit is largely influential in child development. Some of life’s most important lessons are learned by a child through their experiences with whom they are closest. As therapists, we are expected to provide client-centered care which includes addressing the needs of the individual as well as the needs of the individual’s family.
Each family is different with different needs, goals, and dynamics. By examining how families meaningfully participate in occupations (activities) in their day-to-day lives, we can better understand how to address their needs. Routines and rituals can also be addressed to improve family dynamics.
In therapy, goals are made collaboratively with the family and the therapist to address the needs that are of the highest priority. When working toward goals, it is the therapist’s responsibility to empower the family and provide them with the tools they need to succeed. If a family member has questions or concerns regarding the therapy process, they are encouraged to talk to their therapist for additional support and guidance. A family-centered approach has shown to encourage growth in the family unit. A study by DeGrace (2003) shows that family-centered therapy can “demonstrate the connection between family occupation, family health, and family well-being” (p. 349).
DeGrace, B. W. (2003). Occupation-based and family-centered care: a challenge for current practice. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 57(1), 347-350.