Therapist teaches about changing the conversation "one family at a time"

By  | 

ELKINS, W.Va. (WDTV)- A family therapist in Elkins is striving to make a difference in the homes in her community. But she doesn't stop there; she's also teaching her students how to make a difference in the world.

"I think it's about creating change one family at a time," said Sarah Garrison, a marriage and family therapist and professor at Davis and Elkins College where on Thursday she spoke with other professors about trends in family therapy.

When Garrison was in college she worked at a camp to help empower young West Virginians. That's where she asked herself what she could do to help better the family system.

"So that we don't send an adolescent back into the same home. That we fix the home," she continued. "And we make everybody healthier in the home. Making those families healthier in terms of their communication and their boundaries and how they have the difficult conversations that we need to have."

Those conversations start with teaching that they have to happen.

"That's one of the most powerful stories I have is teaching students who then continue on to make that difference happen," Garrison said.

"There's a lot that can be said or help people guide in difficult situations," said Madalyn Humphreys, a child and family studies major. "It's not like you get a formula or a book with a child or if you adopt or if you start out with a marriage or any relations."

Humphreys is one of Garrison's students. She found her passion to help people and be that guidebook through life by growing up around her mother's work in foster care and at Women, Infants, and Children.

"There can also be a lot of difficult things that happen and we don't always know where to turn to and sometimes we ignore that there's a problem," Humphreys said. "So I think what's even more helpful is giving people the opportunity to be able to address some of those just every day life issues so that they can live happy, healthy lives."

Learn what Garrison thinks about our state being one of the last to recognize marriage and family therapist licenses in her interview above.