At the University of Minnesota I specifically trained in conducting in-depth family assessments and providing family therapy. Family therapy always begins with a family assessment. A family assessment identifies the overall functioning of a family system. Like a single organism, the assessment is meant to identify the patterns of the family unit and identify how individuals respond in their family system. The assessment allows the family to identify areas for growth as well as allows them to see what areas they are succeeding. Interrupting patterns in relationships can be very helpful for people in recovery, struggling with a mental health disorder or dealing with a dual diagnosis. It can also be helpful to the loved one who is attempting to understand these disorders, as they experience a significant impact as well. A family assessment can be very helpful in making changes in the family, understanding why people behave certain ways in the family as well as make room for change, intervention or growth. Typically following a family assessment a recommendation will be made, and family counseling would begin if warranted, as one person may need a different form of counseling prior to beginning family counseling.