What is a Marriage and Family Therapist?
Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) are relationship specialists who treat persons involved in interpersonal relationships. They are trained to assess, diagnose and treat individuals, couples, families and groups to achieve more adequate, satisfying and productive marriage, family and social adjustment. The practice also includes premarital counseling, child counseling, divorce or separation counseling and other relationship counseling.
Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) are psychotherapists and healing arts practitioners licensed by the State of California. MFTs help with a wide variety of issues ranging from addictions and depression to child behavior and elder concerns.
The terms "Marriage, Family and Child Counselors" (MFCCs) and "Marriage and Family Therapists" are interchangeable. All states that regulate the profession use the title, "Marriage and Family Therapist." MFTs in California were previously known as MFCCs.
MFTs practice early crisis intervention and brief, focused psychotherapy to resolve problems or reduce symptoms quickly. They also have the expertise and skills to work with persons where more intensive, long-term treatment is necessary. When in the patient’s best interest or outside the scope of practice or competence of the Marriage and Family Therapist, MFTs collaborate with and refer to other health professionals, such as Physicians, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, or Clinical Social Workers.
Why MFTs are Effective
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 are licensed by the State of California. They must undergo extensive education, training, clinical fieldwork, and pass two rigorous examinations to demonstrate professional competency. Requirements for licensure include a related doctoral or two-year master's degree, passage of a comprehensive examinations, and at least 3,000 hours of supervised experience.
Psychotherapy services of licensed Marriage and Family Therapists are, in many instances, eligible for insurance reimbursement. Marriage and Family Therapists are providers under the CHAMPUS program, and many are participating providers with major health insurers.
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