What is an MFT?
Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) are mental health practitioners who have extensive and rigorous graduate training in the theory and practice of psychotherapy. MFTs are recognized as a core mental health profession, along with psychiatry, psychology, social work and psychiatric nursing. Insurance companies are increasingly recognizing MFTs and providing reimbursement for their services. MFTs are trained and licensed to independently diagnose and treat mental health and substance abuse problems.
Family therapists are trained in various modes of therapy, including psychodynamic, cognitive/behavioral as well as family systems theory in order to prepare them for work with individuals. The training of MFTs includes live supervision by experienced MFTs, which is unique among the mental health disciplines.
Marriage and family therapists focus on understanding symptoms and interaction patterns within their existing environment as well as reflecting on influences from the past.
Research has shown that this holistic, systems based treatment is as effective-and in many cases more effective- than alternate interventions, whether individual, couple, or family. Studies demonstrate family-based therapy is a preferred method of treatment for depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marital and relationship problems, sexual problems, child problems, including weight problems in children, pre-marital counseling and couple enrichment.
Studies also show that clients are highly satisfied with the services of a marriage and family counselor. Clients report marked improvement in emotional health and general sense of well being, partner, family, social and work relationships, work productivity, overall health and community involvement.
In a recent study, consumers report that marriage and family therapists are the mental health professionals they would most likely recommend to friends. Over 98 percent of clients of marriage and family therapists report therapy services as good or excellent.