Is an MFT Right for You?

What is a Marriage and Family Therapist?

Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) are relationship specialists who are trained to assess, diagnose, and treat persons experiencing relationship challenges. They work with children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly, either individually, as couples or families, or in groups, to help them achieve more adequate, satisfying, and productive marital, family or social adjustment. The practice of marriage and family counseling also includes premarital, child, divorce or separation counseling, substance abuse, and treatment for victims of abuse and sex offenders.

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists have earned graduate degrees in behavioral science, have at least 3,000 hours of supervised experience, and have passed two comprehensive examinations before being licensed by the State of California.

A Registered Intern has completed his or her graduate coursework and is in the process of completing supervised hours required before taking the licensing examinations.

A Registered Trainee is currently enrolled in a behavioral science degree program. MFT Trainees may only work in authorized settings under the clinical supervision of a licensed professional and are NOT permitted to work in private practice settings.

Associate Members are professionals in related fields, i.e., Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW), Licensed Psychologists (Ph.D.) and are active with and interrelated with our profession and Chapter


When Might Seeing a Marriage and Family Therapist Be Right for You?

If you answer “yes” to any of the following concerns, then scheduling an appointment with an MFT could be for you:

  • Emotional stress or anxiety
  • Family conflict or tension
  • Child behavior problems
  • Divorce or separation
  • Feelings of loneliness, isolation, depression
  • Moodiness
  • Difficulty coping with changing lifestyles
  • Fear, anger, or guilt
  • Sexual disturbances
  • Victim of abuse
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Grief or emotional pain
  • Unusual eating patterns
  • Unexplained injuries to family members
  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Conflicts with co-workers
  • Work stress
  • Chronic or life threatening illness


What are the Ethics of a Marriage and Family Therapist?

The MFT recognizes the limitation of his/her coompetence and techniques. The MFT assists clients in obtaining appropriate professional help for aspects of the client’s problems that fall outside the therapist’s individual scope of practice, training, or expertise.

Safeguarding information about an individual or family client is a primary obligation of the MFT. Information is not communicated without client permission, except when there is a clear or immediate danger to an individual or society, as designated by law. In all other cases, clients must grant written permission before information may be divulged. The MFT is responsible for informing the client of the limits of confidentiality.

The MFT terminates or transfers a client when it is reasonably clear to the MFT that the client is not benefiting from their therapeutic relationship. Therapy never includes sex. Any sexual contact with a client or client’s spouse is unethical. It is also illegal and may be grounds for loss of licensure.

The MFT informs prospective clients about any aspects of the counseling situation which might affect the client’s decision to enter the relationship, such as the recording of an interview, use of interview material for training purposes, or observation of the interview by other persons.

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