Marriage and family therapists (MFTs) are specialists in relationships, not only one’s relationship with others but one’s relationship with oneself. Marriage and family therapists are psychotherapists licensed by the State of California. Requirements for licensure include a related doctoral or master’s degree, passage of a comprehensive written and oral examination and at least 3,000 hours of supervised experience.
Individual Counseling and Psychotherapy with Adults, Adolescents, and Children
MFTs traditionally provide both short and long-term help with a wide variety of issues and concerns, including depression, anxiety, trauma, life adjustment problems, personality disorders, and more.
MFTs work with couples along the entire spectrum of their relationship, including domestic partnership, premarital, and marital therapy; therapy and counseling for separation and divorce and for business partnerships.
MFTs provide support and therapy for family problems that may require the attention and involvement of multiple generations to resolve.
Where appropriate, many MFTs use a group setting for individuals, couples, and occasionally even families to provide support, insight, and modeling for problem resolution. SC-CAMFT therapists offer a wide variety of groups.
Some MFTs offer coaching as part of their practice. The goals of coaching, while often similar to those of therapy, focus on defining, motivating, and assisting people to mobilize their personal and professional resources for work- and life-related goals.
Critical Incident Debriefing
Some MFTs are specially trained to respond quickly to people in communities where severe trauma has occurred. Traumas of this sort include natural disasters, airplane or train accidents, school or work shootings, or other forms of violence. Often a team of therapists is sent to counsel survivors of tragedy and those who have witnessed devastating events.
Consultation to Business, Corporate, and Other Organizations
MFTs provide invaluable assistance to businesses of all sizes, as well as schools and other public institutions, to help with a variety of relationship issues and concerns for employees and management. Many MFTs work in employee assistance programs (EAPs) and/or have specialties in organizational psychology.
Signals of Distress
The services of a marriage and family therapist can be useful if you are experiencing difficulties with your relationships and functioning in your daily life. Symptoms to look for include:
Are licensed or registered as associates by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences and are thus bound by a professional code of ethics. Their license or registration number should be made available upon request.
Competent therapists help clients find solutions for themselves within the individual’s values and lifestyle, rather than take sides or recommend solutions. They do not allow their personal issues to interfere with the therapeutic process, and recognize that it requires personal honesty and courage to seek professional assistance.
Psychotherapy services of MFTs are often eligible for insurance reimbursement. Check with your health plan, as a doctor’s referral may be necessary. Marriage and family therapists are providers under the CHAMPVA program and many are eligible providers under managed care programs. If you are covered through a managed care plan, you may need to be pre-approved for services. Call the intake number on your insurance card to find out more information about your benefits and requirements.