Marriage and Family Therapy is a unique and solution-based mental health field that adopts a clinical and psychological approach to establish solutions. Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) handle people with problems related to families and the marriage institution. Most of the problems are psychological and emanate from family disputes or disappointments from the marriage union. They include conflict, depression, anxiety, individual mental disorders, and inability to perform in marriage. They also handle problems such as child and adolescent misconduct, infertility, drug and substance abuse, and domestic violence (Gurman 314). The marriage and family therapy is organized in sessions where the therapist meets and discusses ideas with the client to find an amicable solution to the problem at hand. On average, a marital/couples therapy requires 12 sessions while the family therapy needs 9 sessions. The individual session may take up to 13 sessions (Gladding 43). Becoming a marriage and family therapist requires an extensive experience of clinical practice in the same field. The therapist must be able to diagnose and treat various mental, behavioral, health, and emotional disorders in a patient. The therapist has to assume a holistic approach to healthcare and his/her main focuses should ensure prolonged well-being of the clients and their families. Currently, the Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) engage 1.8 million people at any given time (Boszormenyi-Nagy, Ivan, and James 93). Apart from doing counseling, a marriage and family therapist can be employed as a social worker by social service agencies. They can also work in outpatient psychological counselors or in rehabilitation centers to handle victims of drug and substance abuse.
Besides diagnosing the client’s psychological condition, the marriage and family therapists (MFTs) have other roles. They maintain client’s records including psychological status, progress reports, and recommendations. They tailor the therapy treatment at the individual level to ensure effectiveness and avoid destructive behavior patterns. The therapists encourage clients and their family members and advise them on the various strategies to manage their condition. They also impart life skills to the clients and their relatives (Williams, Sawyer, and Wahlstrom 33). Besides, the therapists provide counsel on interpersonal issues such as divorce, problematic relationships, the upbringing of children, and management of family finances. The therapists develop follow-up plans to ensure effective healing of their clients. Moreover, they monitor the progress of the client while undergoing treatment. They also gather data on clients which can be used in research to investigate the causes of certain psychological and marital problems in the society. Using their knowledge, the marriage and family therapists observe how people interact with one another, signal problematic behavioral patterns, and recommend the replacement of dysfunctional behaviors with healthy ones (Becvar and Becvar 13).
The academic qualification of becoming a marriage and family therapist is an undergraduate degree in psychology, counseling, or sociology. It is highly recommended that the therapist have a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy. The undergraduate degree takes four years while the master’s degree takes one or two years. Besides, the therapist has approximately 3000 hours of clinical experience (Haley 189). To attain the recommended hours, the marriage and family therapist has to do a supervised post-graduate work for a period of two years. To be recognized, the therapist ought to pass a state-recognized examination. Also, the marriage and therapist must sit for annual education courses related to the field. The therapist must follow the right guidelines and channels to get licensed.