This week, our free MFT exam practice question is going to focus on the topic of working with families. It’s quite possible that family counseling is a more abstract concept for you. It may be something you studied in graduate school, but have yet to experience in the clinical settings of your traineeships or associate positions; and yet, the BBS still wants to know that you are aware of the unique issues that arise when working with this population. Regardless of how much or how little you already know about this subject, the Therapist Development Center’s exam prep, will ensure you know everything you need to correctly answer questions on this topic.
What to Expect on the Exam:
Whether you are taking the Law and Ethics Exam, the California Clinical Exam or the National MFT Exam, you will see a substantial number of questions focused on family therapy. So how could this subject appear on your exam?
You could see questions that test your ability to:
- Understand the presenting dynamic
- Manage issues of confidentiality, informed consent, and releases
- Utilize commonly used family therapy interventions
- Work with divorced / blended families
- Address cultural issues
- Manage crisis issues, such as child / elder abuse, domestic violence, and substance use
Let’s see how you do on this week’s FREE MFT practice question regarding working with families.
Practice Question on Family Counseling:
A therapist is meeting with a family of five. The father, Darren, is a 45-year-old African American lawyer, who has two children from his previous marriage, Aaliyah, 15-years-old and Nia, 9-years-old. The mother, Aiko, is a 38-year-old Japanese entrepreneur who also has a child from her previous marriage, a 10-year-old boy named Riku. The family states that it has been a little over a year since they moved in together and in that time the step-siblings never got along. “They fight and pick on each other all the time”, said mom, “and they compete to get our attention.” In addition, Aaliyah has been caught drinking and smoking marijuana at school. In response, her dad took away all of her privileges for an indefinite period of time. Aiko does not agree with that approach and is trying to work with him on implementing a plan where Aaliyah gets to earn her privileges back. Moreover, Riku continues to struggle with going back and forth from his mom’s house to his dad’s house. “I was so used to a certain routine”, he states, “but now I have to go over to the other house, even on days I do not want to. Plus, I forget my homework at one house or the other and it is all very annoying.”. What factors should the therapist take into consideration in creating a treatment plan in this case?
A. Sibling Rivalry; Varying parenting styles; Visitation plans; Maladaptive coping mechanisms
B. Sibling Rivalry; Grief and loss after divorce; Visitation plans; Maladaptive coping mechanisms
C. Cultural differences; Different parenting styles; Visitation plans; Maladaptive coping mechanisms
D. Sibling Rivalry; Different parenting styles; Visitation plans; Development of new relationships in the family
Before you scroll down, take a moment and think through what you think the right answer is.
The correct answer is A.
- Answer A covers all of the issues affecting the family that are clearly mentioned in the vignette. Thus, it is the best answer.
- Answer B has the “grief and loss” part in it, which was not expressed in the stem
- Answer C mentions cultural differences, and while the question stem notes the parents are different ethnicities, the issue is not mentioned in the description of the issues discussed by the family
- Answer D lists the development of new relationships, an issue that did not come up in the stem
Which answer did you choose? Does the rationale fit with your understanding of the topic and how you would apply it in a clinical setting? Or did you learn something new with this scenario? If you have any further questions feel free to check in with a TDC coach. We are here to support you all along the way. And if you came up with the same answer-great job! You are on the right track to getting licensed.
Still haven’t signed up for an exam preparation program? Or have you already passed the exam and need to complete your continuing education requirements? Our structured, straightforward approach will provide you with exactly what you need!
I am confused because I have been told, "Address the elephant in the room" and I have also been told, "If it was not clearly expressed in the STEM, do not infer."
I feel like grief and loss about the divorces is a contributing factor to the situation, as evidence by the information provided below.
"They fight and pick on each other all the time”, said mom, “and they compete to get our attention.” In addition, Aaliyah has been caught drinking and smoking marijuana at school. In response, her dad took away all of her privileges for an indefinite period of time. Aiko does not agree with that approach and is trying to work with him on implementing a plan where Aaliyah gets to earn her privileges back. Moreover, Riku continues to struggle with going back and forth from his mom’s house to his dad’s house. “I was so used to a certain routine”, he states, “but now I have to go over to the other house, even on days I do not want to"
Can someone please clarify between picking up subtle nuances in a question, addressing the elephant in the room vs using only information clearly stated in the STEM?
I have not taken the test yet but based on what I understand from my studies, when a question is asked on the test about grief and loss it is specific to the death of a human loved one. It doesn't refer to loss in general, not even the loss of a pet. I don't particularly agree with this if I were working with a family, I'd consider the loss of a pet or loss of privileges or lifestyle like divorce (as in the vignette) as kinds of losses that people may or may not grieve over. However, the symptoms in the vignette don't suggest the individuals are suffering from loss as much as suffering from issues commonly surrounding a newly blended family.
Hope that helps some.
Billie, see my reply below.
I got the answer wrong and guessed C. I thought so because it was the only question that addressed the cultural piece and I thought when questions present cultural aspects, it needs to be addressed in the answer. However, in reading the vignette there isn't anything to suggest the family is struggling with cultural issues, only that they are from different ethnicities. So I am reminded not to infer what is not presented.