who are marriage and family therapists?
human development and family studies
M Marriage and family therapists (MFTs) are mental health professionals who offer a range of effective and cost-efficient services to individuals, couples and families. Marriage and family therapists pioneered brief, solution-focused, family-centered treatment, which seeks to pinpoint problems and conclude therapy as soon as specific, attainable therapeutic goals are met. Therapies used by MFTs are based on the scientific findings that individuals and their problems are best seen in context, and the most important context is the family. Trained in psychotherapy and family systems, MFTs focus on understanding their clients′ symptoms, and the interaction patterns with family and friends that may contribute to the problem. MFTs will typically ask questions about roles, patterns, rules, goals, beliefs and stages of development. The MFT then works with the individual, couple and/or family to change interaction patterns so that the problem can be resolved.
M Marital and family therapies are proven to be particularly effective in the treatment of adult schizophrenia, adult alcoholism and drug abuse, depression in women, adult hypertension, elderly dementia, adult obesity, children′s conduct disorders, adolescent drug use, anorexia in young adult women, chronic physical illness in adults and children, and marital distress and conflict.
C Consumers increasingly seek the services of MFTs. In a recent study, consumers reported that marriage and family therapists are the mental health professionals they would most likely recommend to friends. Clients of marriage and family therapists report high satisfaction with their treatment. In a national sample survey, over 98 percent of clients rated MFT services as good or excellent.
M Marriage and family therapy is a distinct discipline with graduate and undergraduate programs granting degrees in marriage and family therapy. Historically, however, marriage and family therapists have come from a wide variety of educational backgrounds including psychology, psychiatry, social work, nursing, pastoral counseling, and education.
M Marriage and family therapy is one of the nation′s fastest growing health care professions. Since 1970 there has been a 50-fold increase in the number of marriage and family therapists. Today more than 50,000 MFTs treat individuals, couples and families nationwide. Marriage and family therapy is one of the nation′s fastest growing health care professions.
T The federal government has designated MFT as a core mental health profession along with psychiatry, psychology, social work and psychiatric nursing. States also support the profession by licensing or certifying MFTs. Currently, 41 states regulate MFTs, with many other states considering licensing bills.
M Marriage and family therapists work in all areas of mental and physical health care, often providing interdisciplinary connections for more comprehensive treatment. MFTs practice in hospitals, clinics, agencies, schools, private practice and colleges and universities. They serve as clinicians, supervisors, administrators, consultants and teachers in the fields of health care, corrections, education, adoption and social service.
The above information provided by:
The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
1133 15th Street NW Suite 300 Washington, DC 20005-2710
Phone: (202) 452-0109 Fax: (202) 223-2329
Home Page: www.aamft.org
Document-on-Request: 1-888-AAMFT99. This is document #060.
Copyright 1997, American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. All rights reserved.