What is MFT?
Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) are trained and licensed mental health professionals. The combination of rigorous preparation and competency required to earn licensure as a MFT offers a powerful skill-set to contribute to a variety of clinical concerns. This provides MFTs a unique qualification to independently diagnose and treat both individual mental health issues as well as marital, family and relationship problems. MFT is recognized and highly respected as one of the core mental health disciplines.
What Makes The Practice of MFT Unique?
The foundational research and theory upon which MFT is based, has demonstrated that whether addressing problems related to mental illness, relationships, family, academic, social, behavioral, work, or any other, all are best treated within the context of a client’s “relational system.” This theoretical orientation is known as “Systems Theory.” Whether Marriage and Family Therapists are working with individuals, couples, families, working within academic, peer-group or work environments, they draw from this “Systemic” framework, allowing them to take into consideration the diverse variety of circumstances from which clients come.
The Focus: Patterns
The systemic framework examines and addresses problems through the lens of “Interactional Patterns.” MFTs operate on the awareness that these various environments—or systems—are not only impacted by problems, but have an influence over them. Mutually reinforcing communication and behavioral patterns emerge and can become problematic in and of themselves.
These patterns create interactions between people and their environments, such that they will contribute to either the function, or the dysfunction in that person’s life. By the time problems become significant enough to warrant seeking the advice of a Therapist, these interactional patterns have generally developed into “vicious cycles,” both contributing to, and reacting from, the problems. Intervention in these vicious cycle patterns can facilitate unexpected and unprecedented growth to occur in all of the various areas of life that are impacted.