Marriage and Family Therapists are professionals trained in psychotherapy and licensed to diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders within the context of the family relationships. Marriage and Family Therapists have a Masters or Doctoral degree in marriage and family therapy and at least two years of clinical experience.
Marriage and Family Therapy is a “core” mental health profession, along with psychology, psychiatry, social work and psychiatric nursing.
It takes a more holistic approach to healthcare than traditional therapy because it focuses on the role individuals play in their primary relationship networks, such as marriage and family. It is based on the premise that a family’s patterns of behavior influence the individual and therefore may need to be a part of the treatment. The unit of treatment isn’t just the person — even if only a single person participates in therapy — it is the set of relationships in which the person is imbedded.
According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, this type of therapy is effective at treating a wide range of serious clinical problems including, but not limited to:
- marital problems
- individual psychological problems
- child-parent problems
- adult schizophrenia
- affective (mood) disorders
- alcoholism and drug abuse
- children’s conduct disorders
- adolescent drug abuse
- autism spectrum disorder
- chronic physical illness in adults and children
- marital distress and conflict
Studies also show that clients report marked improvement in work productivity, co-worker relationships, family relationships, partner relationships, emotional health, overall health, social life, and community involvement.
(Some of the information on this page is from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy website at www.aamft.org )