Microlevel Advocacy: A Common Process in Couple and Family Therapy

Derek Holyoak, Douglas McPhee, Greg Hall, Stephen Fife

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Advocacy is an essential element to mental health practitioners’ professional identity. Some scholars contend that many couple and family therapists lack the skill set needed to effectively advocate. However, these researchers often discuss advocacy solely on the macrolevel, which makes advocacy appear unidimensional and may feel out of reach for many practitioners. In this article, we argue that advocacy is not unidimensional, but consists of two levels: macro- and microlevel advocacy. Microlevel advocacy is client-centered and is effectively performed by couple and family therapists on a regular basis. By broadening the definition of advocacy to include the microlevel, we argue that advocacy is a common process of couple and family therapy that cuts across therapy models and is interwoven into the very being of a couple and family therapist. We present in this article a comprehensive case vignette to illustrate how microlevel advocacy may be performed by CFTs. Clinical and training implications are offered to help clinicians begin to bridge the gap between micro- and macrolevel advocacies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)654-669
Number of pages16
JournalFamily Process
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Advocacy
  • Couple
  • Family Therapy
  • Marriage
  • Social Justice


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