Feeling powerless is not being powerless
Marriage and Family Therapists: The Friendly Mental Health Professionals
Marriage and family therapists are mental health professionals with a minimum of a master’s degree and two years supervised clinical experience. Marriage and family therapists (commonly referred to as MFTs or family therapists) are trained and licensed to independently diagnose and treat mental health and substance abuse problems. Marriage and family therapy is one of the core mental health disciplines and is based on the research and theory that mental illness and family problems are best treated in a family context. Trained in psychotherapy and family systems, marriage and family therapists focus on understanding their clients’ symptoms and interaction patterns within their existing environment. MFTs treat predominantly individuals, but also provide couples, family and group therapy. Whomever the client, Family Therapists treat from a relationship perspective that incorporates family systems.
Most mental health professionals and their clients recognize the necessity of treating mental and emotional problems within the context of the family system. Research has shown that these family-based interventions are as effective—and in many cases more effective—than alternative interventions, often at a lower cost. Studies demonstrate that family therapy is a preferred method of treatment for depression, substance abuse, alcoholism, marital problems, child problems, couple enrichment, and schizophrenia, to name a few.
Family-based interventions are also effective for persons with medical problems. Treatment outcomes show improvement in the identified patient, as well as in other family members. Family therapy is particularly effective with families who are providing care to elders and to a child with a chronic illness.