What to Expect from Marriage and Family Therapy
Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) is a specific type of therapy that focuses on the complex relationship dynamics between individual family members, and how each family member’s behaviors affect the entire family unit. Ideally, each family member will receive individual therapy as well. Here is what to expect.
When Marriage and Family Therapy Is Used
Marriage and Family Therapy is an ideal approach to any problem that affects the entire family. Marital conflict, the loss of a family member, and strife between a parent and child are arguably the best-known situations that call for MFT. However, it is also highly useful in situations in which one family member’s struggles are affecting the entire family. Examples include, but are not limited to, coping with a family member’s substance abuse, depression, or dementia.
Engaging with a Marriage and Family Therapist
Marriage and Family Therapy is generally short term, consisting of roughly 12 sessions that focus on finding solutions. However, each family is different, and more sessions may be needed.
The first session is a “getting to know you” appointment during which your therapist will ask targeted questions designed to get a clearer picture of the main issue, everyone’s thoughts on the matter, and the existing family dynamics. It is also a time for you to become familiar with your therapist’s role and therapeutic approach. With your therapist, you will set treatment goals and “rules” regarding such matters as confidentiality and who will attend which sessions.
As your time in therapy progresses, you will learn to identify each family member’s role within the family unit and individual behaviors that contribute to conflicts. You will target specific difficulties and explore ways to resolve core issues within the family.
How Marriage and Family Therapy Works
Most forms of therapy focus on the individual, but MFT explores how each individual’s behaviors affect the entire family unit. The theory is that whether a specific issue stems from a family member or from the overall family dynamics, getting the entire family involved in the therapeutic process creates more effective solutions. Traditionally, Marriage and Family Therapy is a goal-oriented form of therapy that sets targeted results and works toward them. Increasingly, though, therapists are taking a more eclectic approach that draws from numerous therapeutic traditions to create more practical, customized, real world solutions.
Is Marriage and Family Therapy the Right Choice for My Family?
If anyone in your family is struggling with mental health or behavioral issues, the entire family is affected. MFT can help everyone in the family come to grips with the issue and learn the best ways of coping. Likewise, if your family seems to be stuck in ongoing conflicts, repeating the same learned scripts and behavior patterns over and over again, MFT can teach you new ways of approaching your conflicts to finally find resolutions.
However, MFT will not work if everyone is not on board. If the rest of your family seems resistant to therapy, go by yourself. For those with uncooperative families, it is better to focus on yourself and the things you can control.
Ready to Get Started?
If you’re in Houston and are ready to start your journey to better mental and emotional health with an experienced, compassionate therapist, contact Renee Lederman today at 832-969-3885 to schedule your first appointment.