Image by Eduardo Davad from Pixabay

Over the last 10 years that I have provided clinical supervision for therapists working with child clients I have felt concerned to observe that many therapists graduating from masters level mental health training programs have not received enough (if any!) training in family systems theory.

I strongly believe that if we are going to help children in therapy, we must attend to the family system as a whole because a child does not live and grow and develop outside of a system. There are exceptions of course in that some children in foster care are shifted and shuffled from foster home to foster home and lack that intact family system. In most cases, where therapists in private practice are providing services for child clients those children do live within a family system and I believe it’s very important to have some understanding of systems theory to create the most helpful and effective plan for treatment.

Family systems theory is a broad area with many models and branches along with a variety of opinions on how to best approach the work of helping families. Over the coming months I will be writing and talking a lot about how child therapists who may not know how and when to involve family members in a child’s therapy can expand that understanding with practical tips, ideas and inspiration.

Over the past couple of years I have had an opportunity to work with Kerri Anderson, LMFT, RPT-S who is an expert in structural and strategic family systems theory AND play therapy. She has.a very special approach to combining the beauty of play therapy with families while utilizing a true systems perspective to how she frames and conceptualizes her clinical cases. Watch the video below to see my 15 minute interview with Kerri for a rich resource full of excellent information.

Kerri Anderson, LMFT, RPT-S is available for private case consultation as well as supervision for therapists working toward the RPT credential with APT. You can learn more about Kerri’s work and get in touch at