Therapy is simply a way to help you understand some questions or concerns about a personal and distressing issue. It is a collaborative process with an objective, third-party to help you explore options and develop strategies for working through various feelings, beliefs, behaviors, or relationship stressors. Therapy is about you, it is not about me.
To be honest, it can be difficult to make sense of all the different types of professionals and approaches to therapy. Psychologists, Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, Licensed Professional Counselors ¦ they are all unique in the way they work with clients. Ultimately, you have to find the professional that you feel the most comfortable with and who can meet your needs. Developing a good rapport is one of the more important ingredients for success.
What is a Marriage and Family Therapist?
Marriage and Family Therapy does not just mean you work with more than one person at a time or talk to people about their relationships. A Marriage and Family Therapist is a specific type of therapist. We go through specific training for this type of work. Our belief is that we do not live in a vacuum. We are influenced by all the relationships around us “ family, work, physical health, and spiritual beliefs to name a few. When we work with clients, we look at many different factors to understand issues holistically. Because of this, we can provide help with different types of clients, such as individuals, couples, families, and even business systems.
Marriage and Family Therapists focus on reaching your goals efficiently. On average, Marriage and Family Therapists conclude cases in 12 sessions. Individual therapy accounts for about half of an average Marriage and Family therapist’s caseload, with the rest being family and couple clients (http://www.aamft.org/). A recent analysis of my own practice indicated my cases lasting an average of 10 sessions. As with the national average, individual therapy accounted for almost half of my cases (48%). Marriage and couple therapy cases made up 42%, with the remaining 10% consisting of family therapy.
Why see a Marriage and Family Therapist?
Research has clearly demonstrated the effectiveness of Marriage and Family Therapy in areas of depression, anxiety, issues related to medical conditions and physical illness, and relational conflict. Clients often report significant growth in family relationships, emotional well-being, productivity at work, and overall health.
Recent studies indicate that 90% of clients experienced better emotional health. Overall physical health was reported in almost two-thirds of those who worked with a Marriage and Family Therapist. In addition, over 75% of couples or family therapy clients report improvements in their relationships. Children’s behavior, their social relationships, and school performance improved in almost 75% of the cases studied.
Not only is Marriage and Family Therapy effective with individuals and families, but it has shown cost-effectiveness as well. Marriage and Family Therapy clients are likely to reduce their overall healthcare costs and doctor visits.