What is a Marriage & Family Therapist?
Marriage and Family Therapy is a branch of psychology that stemmed from psychiatry in the 1940s. Marriage and Family Therapists (commonly referred to as MFTs) are practitioners and relationship specialists who treat persons involved in interpersonal relationships. We work with families and couples in intimate relationships to nurture change and development. We view change in terms of the systems of interaction between family members. It emphasizes family relationships as an important factor in psychological health.
MFTs assess, diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, other health and behavioural problems in individuals, couples, families and groups to achieve more adequate, satisfying and productive marriage, family and social adjustment.
MFTs practice early crisis intervention and brief, focused psychotherapy to resolve problems or reduce symptoms quickly. MFTs take a holistic perspective to health care; they are concerned with the overall, long-term well-being of individuals and their families.
Marriage and family therapists are recognised as a “core” mental health profession – The American Association of Marriage & Family Therapists.
Why a Marriage & Family Therapist?
Marriage and family therapy is highly effective because of the "systemic" orientation that its therapists bring to treatment. MFTs believe that an individual's emotional concerns or issues can be more meaningful and productive when treated within the context of his or her current or prior relationships.
Marriage and family therapists practice early crisis intervention and brief, focused psychotherapy to resolve problems or reduce symptoms in the shortest time possible.
Marriage and family therapists are often able to treat a client's condition quickly; a cost-effective and practical approach to mental healthcare and a prime reason so many physicians and others refer clients to marriage and family therapists. Clients who are treated by marriage and family therapists are more productive at work, visit their doctors less often, and have lower average lengths of stay at in-patient facilities.
Healthy individuals and families promote socially acceptable behaviors, increased self-esteem, more tolerance for society in general, increased capacity for intimacy, work, maturity and responsible functioning. This ultimately results in less unnecessary utilization of medical services.