Taking Care of Families During the Coronavirus


Dear Texas Marriage and Family Therapists,

On behalf of your TAMFT Board of Directors, we encourage you to keep yourself safe and mindful of others as we navigate through the coronavirus crisis. You are each very important to the couples and families of Texas. Family stress from employment difficulties and financial worries, to health concerns, can exacerbate and systemically erupt a family system into chaos. 

Your voice can reassure clients to keep on track with living day to day. And as you do this, trust too, that humans have already made it through many other pandemics, dating back to as early as 430 BC. We have survived and, to quote Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park, “life finds a way.”

So, remind your clients of their resilience, especially when the world seems different and way outside of our routine. When families come to see you or, if you talk with them face to face, through teletherapy, or virtually via video conferencing over the next few weeks, the tips below might help. 

The Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists requires MFTs to have 15 hours of training to perform teletherapy. TSBEMFT will have to petition the Governor's Office for a suspension of the rules related to training requirements and wait for Governor Abbott's approval. In the meantime, TSBEMFT and TAMFT encourage you to learn the basics of teletherapy before proceeding and guidelines laid out in Texas Administrative Code for technology-assisted services (TAS), including specific informed consent rules for technology-assisted services. Seek out online trainings, including our free course for TAMFT members, so you can offer teletherapy as an alternate modality in light of the current situation.

Here are some tips and ideas that may help:

  • Listen to the concern of the client/family with your undivided attention so they know they have your focus. Try not to reassure them too much, as there are too many uncertainties that we really don’t know and encourage family members to do the same with each other. Show them how to do this by reflecting back their concerns when they are upset and then ask, “so, what can we talk about now, together, to help you all get through today?” Try not to assume that the individual/family needs something that you feel would be helpful. Instead, let them guide you. It will give them a sense of control.
  • Ask then, how they might move through the next few days, practicing what they just said they needed. Ask how they would do that and ask what each person could do to help. Keep going until everyone responds and the family has a simple plan where everyone is involved. If you are talking to an individual, ask what that individual needs from others and how they think they could approach others with their request.
  • Finally, ask how the individual or family might have navigated through other situations before in their lives, even in less trying situations. This can give you a glimpse of how the individual/family functions and more importantly, gives them a glimpse into the facts that they have made it through before. Keep asking what others in the family did to help before and what those actions meant to each of the family members. Hearing how different members helped is empowering for those who did such actions and helps keep the family connected.

This approach is just one of many that will be helpful to your clients during the current situation. I trust that you know what to do to comfort your clients and your own families. Take care. 


Linda Metcalf, PhD, LMFT-S, LPC-S, CSC

President, TAMFT

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