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What is Marriage and Family Therapy?

Marriage and family therapists treat a wide range of clinical problems, such as depression, marital issues, anxiety, individual psychological problems and child-parent problems. Research has shown that marriage and family therapy is as effective, and sometimes more effective than standard or individual treatment for schizophrenia, mood disorders, alcoholism and drug abuse, conduct disorders, drug abuse, anorexia, autism, chronic physical illness and marital distress and conflict.

With marriage and divorce rates declining, couples might wonder whether marriage and family counseling is right for them. If you and your spouse are suffering issues, or you’re having problems with a child, and it’s causing tension in your family, counseling can help you find a healthy solution.

Why Go to Marriage and Family Counseling?

Experts have repeatedly proven the effectiveness of marriage and family therapy in treating the full range of mental and emotional disorders and health problems. According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, this research showed that almost 90 percent of clients report an improvement in their emotional health, with two-thirds reporting improvement in their overall physical health. Parents reported that children’s behavior improved in 73.7 percent of the cases studied. Marriage and family therapy is rising to prominence in the mental health field due to its brief efficacy and focus on specific, attainable solutions.

Who are Marriage and Family Therapists?

Marriage and family therapists are mental health professionals trained in psychotherapy and family systems. They are licensed to diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders existing within the context of marriage, couples and family systems. These therapists are highly experienced, with an average of 13 years of clinical practice in the field. They broaden the traditional emphasis on individuals and attend to the nature and role of individuals in family and marriage relationships. Marriage and family therapists also approach therapy holistically, with a concern on the overall, long-term health of families and individuals.

MFTs all have graduate training in marriage and family therapy and at least two years of clinical experience. They are recognized as core mental health professionals, along with psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and psychiatric nurses. More than 50,000 marriage and family therapists treat individuals, couples and families across the country.