Functional family therapists are experienced individuals who are hired to serve high-risk families whose children are at substantial risk of placement, or who are in placement and cannot be reunified without in-home services. These individuals needs to be exceptionally strong emotionally, as they often have to handle a lot of disturbing situations, and cannot afford to be emotionally involved.
Usually a degree in human services or a related field is sufficient to work as a functional family therapist. However, some organizations may ask you to present proof of experience as well, as this work can be challenging to handle. Mostly, a functional family therapist will provide services to his or her clients within their homes, making sure that their dignity and confidentiality is not compromised. Ability to work with diverse individuals, exercise discretion and maintain client confidentiality are just some the skills that a functional family therapist requires in order to work successfully.
Conducting assessments on assigned client is one of the main duties of a functional family therapist. Reviewing referral information, identifying and engaging clients in conversation, determining system strengths and weaknesses, and developing analysis of problem behaviors are other areas that functional family therapists have to be proficient in. Here are some more duties that are particular to the work of a functional family therapist:
• Look through assigned case load, ensuring that each case is thoroughly understood and checked
• Engage clients over the telephone or through email to ensure their availability and willingness for meetings
• Provide in-home functional therapy to families based on their individual problems and limitations
• Work with youngsters to help them in achieving a safe and positive outcome which does not involve use of care or criminal justice systems
• Determine when it is appropriate to refer to or consult with other agencies including pediatricians, adult mental health services and social services
• Create and implement interventions to ensure that assigned clients are kept emotionally and physically safe
• Engage primary caregiver and other participants in active treatment by identifying and overcoming barriers
• Identify the core nature of family relationships, risks and protective factors of each family member and the impact that behavior patterns have on the entire family
• Create, develop and implement problem conceptualization, treatment planning and outcome reviews by following set analytic procedures
• Develop and implement individualized service plans or update pre-existing plans that may be being worked on at the time of referral
• Ascertain that relapse prevention plans are properly established and implemented in a timely manner
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