10 Feb FAQs for MFTs
As a Marriage and Family Therapist, there are some assumptions made about who I work with and what I do. So to help you get a better idea of what my profession is all about, here are a few of the more frequently asked questions I hear.
Do you only work with couples and families?
No. I see individuals, couples, families and other gatherings of people like friends and so forth. Marriage and Family Therapy was in part born in the marital counselor movement from years ago and thus the title. As the profession has grown over the decades, the title speaks more about how therapy is approached versus what issues are being dealt with.
What is unique about the MFT approach?
Marriage and Family Therapy approaches the problems and issues you encounter through the lens of your relationships and environment. For example, if you struggle with, say, Generalized Anxiety Disorder an MFT would look at the effects of relationships on that disorder and how dealing with people differently might ease the effects of what you struggle with. I might say that your tendency to isolate from people may only be serving to make you more anxious and maybe together we can create some ways of interacting with others that make you feel less stressed out. Or I might work with a family member of someone with an emotional health issue on how to interact with them in a fashion that minimizes the escalation of a conversation or conflict.
Do you work on family issues like marital distress or parenting?
Absolutely. The approach is usually focused on the interactional processes which can either take a conversation and the relationship itself to an explosive point or to a moment of clarity and understanding. We might talk about communication or how to set and maintain clear boundaries. We might also talk about learning to forgive and changing the locked-in patterns that are becoming so destructive.
Do you believe in or prescribe psychotropic medicines?
I am not a prescriber but working in a medical setting I work with many people who do take anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, or mood stabilizing medicines. My profession was born many years ago with a mindset that people are being overmedicated and that we can help them without using medicines. That mentality has evolved over the years as research has demonstrated that for many people, the best mental/emotional health outcomes are received by a combination of both talk therapy and medicine. What I and the doctors at Family Practice Associates are trying to demonstrate is that our two worlds are both enhanced as we work together with only the health of our patients in mind.
Well that’s enough for now but let me encourage you to do something. If you have your own question about my job or mental health practice in general, hit the little comment button below and send me your question or thought. I check these and will either answer your question directly or address your issue in an upcoming blog. I love the dialogue and look forward to hearing from you!