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What is Marriage and Family therapy?

Marriage and family therapy is based on the research and theory that mental illness, emotional disorders and family problems are best treated in a family context. Marriage and Family Therapists (often referred to as MFT’s or Family Therapists), trained in psychotherapy and family systems provide the same services as other mental health professionals, with a different orientation. Whether the treatment unit is an individual, a couple or a family, Marriage and Family Therapists focus on understanding their clients’ symptoms and interaction patterns within their existing environment.

What problems are commonly treated by Family Therapists?

Individuals may seek the help of a Family Therapist for symptoms of depression, anxiety and other affective disorders; alcoholism or substance abuse; emotional trauma; severe mental illness and possibly, behavioral aspects of physical illness.
Couples seek a Marriage and Family Therapist because of domestic violence, parent-child relationship issues, for pre-marriage counseling and divorce and blended family concerns.
Family therapy is useful with adolescent conduct and delinquency problems as well as the multitude of challenges that come with parents separating, divorcing and re-marrying.

How do I know I’m getting a fully-qualified Marriage and Family Therapist?

You are assured of quality credentials with a “Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist,” which is indicated by the initials LMFT following the degree designation after the therapist’s name, e.g. Barbara A. Stratton, M.A., LMFT. This tells you that the mental health professional you are contacting has met all of the credentialing requirements, specific to the educational and experience standards set by the state Department of Regulatory Agencies.

Family Therapists who are Clinical Members of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) also meet the educational, supervision, and training standards of the Association and further assure you of a fully-qualified Marriage and Family Therapist.

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