the university-based family therapy clinic for the MFT Program
Welcome to FamilyWorks, the university-based, brief therapy center for the Marriage and Family Therapy graduate program.
FamilyWorks trains graduate students in relational thinking (sometimes called systems thinking), and they provide brief therapy to families, couples, and individuals who come from all over south Georgia and north Florida, most commonly Valdosta, the VSU campus, Moody Airforce Base, and surrounding communities.
The family therapy faculty recommends that you request a consultation team, which gives you access to an team of therapists and a clinical faculty member who work together in a "many-heads-are-better-than-one" fashion to help you efficiently solve your conundrum.
Many common questions about Family Therapy and FamilyWorks are answered below. But, if you have a question that we don't address, don't hesitate to call us at (229) 219-1281, and we'll do our best to answer it.
Dr. Martha Laughlin
To arrange an appointment with a therapist, simply call us at (229) 219-1281. Anytime. Monday through Friday between 9:00 am and 11:00 am, we have therapists who will answer your call from 9 to 11am each weekday morning. He or she will take some information from you and make sure that you get set up with an appointment. If you cannot call during these times, call anytime and leave a message. Let us know the best time to reach you and an intake coordinator will call you back
We have therapists available at a variety of days and times, including days, evenings, and weekends, so FamilyWorks is able to operate 24-7, 7 days a week. We work hard to get people in as soon as we can. Although, we are not an emergency facility, if being seen quickly is a priority to you, please let the person taking your call know this. We can't promise, but at times, we are able to see people on the same day or within 24 hours of their call to us. Let us know your needs. We'll make every effort to find a time that works best for you and your family.
Family therapy is a brief therapy approach to individuals, couples, and families that takes into account the many aspects of clients' lives. While dealing with the same range of problems as other mental health professions, family therapy focuses on the natural resources that people have but may not be aware of. That may mean working with an individual, a single parent and children, couples, all kinds of families (biological, gay, blended, and stepfamilies), and with people outside the family who may be helpful with finding solutions to a problem. You and your therapist will decide together who should be included.
Many therapies assume that problems have root causes and that these causes must be identified in order to correct the problem. Such assumptions often mean that a client must be in costly therapy for many months or even years. However, brief therapy approaches view problems as changeable in the here and now and thus seek solutions for the present and the future. As a result, brief therapy is brief, concise, and effective. Brief Therapy focuses on the possibilities for change by bringing out clients strengths and inner resources. At FamilyWorks, therapy is solution oriented as therapist and client work together to develop and quickly bring about positive change and problem resolution. Most of our clients are able to turn their conundrums around in 5 to 12 sessions.
Any individual person, married or unmarried couples, children, elderly, couples who are or are not living together, LGBT persons, families of all varieties, regardless of legal status, roommates--all are welcome at FamilyWorks. Family therapy, sometimes called systems therapy or relational therapy, is a particular way of thinking that helps people make the changes that they want to make. Even though the word, "family" suggests that family therapists work only with whole families, this is not the case. Family therapists work with individuals, couples, groups, and families. Family therapy has been found to be helpful to people with many different kinds of problems. These might include:
- anger management
- individual depression
- divorce and separation
- sexual problems
- parenting problems
- difficulty with communication
- relationship problems
- domestic violence
- grief and loss
- pre-marital concerns
- child behavior problems
We offer our services to all people who seek them, regardless of age, gender, race, political or religious affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, education, economic status, disability, or ethnic background.
The therapists are advanced standing graduate students enrolled in the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at Valdosta State University staff FamilyWorks. Each therapist has undergone a screening process prior to being accepted into the MFT Program and again prior to seeing people. All therapists are under the direct supervision of experienced, state licensed, qualified members of the MFT Program faculty.
While your FamilyWorks therapist cannot dispense medication, talk over your medication concerns with her or him, and, if you decide you would like a referral to a psychiatrist, your therapist will give you some referral names. If you are already taking medication when you come to FamilyWorks, you can continue to work with your medical prescriber while you work therapeutically with a FamilyWorks therapist. If you are a registered VSU student, the VSU Counseling Center is also an option for you.
You may have a single therapist, two therapists working together, or a team of therapists. If you have a team, one therapist will be in the therapy room with you for each session, and your team will be working for you behind a one-way mirror.
A consultation team is a team of student therapists (no more than 6 individuals) and one licensed, credentialed, Ph.D. level faculty facilitator who work together as a team. They think together about your situation and the dilemma you're finding yourself in, and they work on your behalf to offer solutions as a team. You will have one or two therapists in the session room with you and the team and faculty facilitator are behind a one-way mirror, listening and thinking about the conversation you and the therapist(s) are having in the room. Family therapy training has been conducted this way for decades because it benefits both the client looking to solve a problem and the learning therapist, who is learning to give clients what they need.. This "many-heads-are-better-than-one" has been found to be highly effective. Your therapist will likely tape the work that you do together so that he or she can watch the DVD later and think carefully about the work you did together, see if it is on track, if it might be improved, and what changes she needs to make to make the therapy better.
All of our therapists adhere to the highest ethical and professional standards in their relationship with their clients, and they fully comply with the Code of Ethics of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Our services are confidential to the fullest extent of the law.
FamilyWorks is a not-for-profit clinic. Our mission is two-pronged: to provide low-cost services that are available to everyone, regardless of ability to pay and to train advanced level graduate students in the art and science of brief therapy. As a result, we charge for each session according to a sliding scale that is based on family size and income, so fees can begin at $0. However, our bottom line is that no one will be denied services based on their inability to pay.When you call for the first appointment, someone will talk with you about your fee, so that you will know what it is prior to your first meeting with your therapist. If your circumstances are such that you can't pay anything at all, just let us know.
Our address is 903 North Patterson Street, Valdosta, GA 31698. We are on the corner of Patterson and Gordon Streets (across from the Crescent House). We are at the Patterson Street end of the one-story annex connected to the VSU Continuing Education Building. Map 1 to FamilyWorks
Jennifer Lambert-Shute, Ph.D.
Martha Laughlin, Ph.D.
Director of Clinical Training
Kate Warner, Ph.D.
Academic Program Director
Lana Kim, Ph.D