Why Marriage & Family Therapy?

Understanding the Benefits of Marriage and Family Therapy

There are so many reasons that we struggle in life: marital and family discord, problems in the workplace and community, our physical health, and death.

We have hardships and obstacles that sometimes knock us off of our mental health path. When this happens, we usually go to our established support systems to get back on track and regroup. Whether it's our family, friends, spiritual and religious leaders, or maybe our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) in the workplace, we count on them and our coping tools to make it through tough times.

However, for some people, their lifestyles, economic circumstances, and careers may predispose them to mental health concerns such as depression and anxiety.

"Depression, in particular, is a leading cause of disability worldwide. Research studies have shown that depression is a common complication of other chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis or kidney disease."  

So, there are times when no matter the factors involved normal resources are not enough. Also, even though the EAP is a good resource with licensed or certified professionals, the EAP program is meant for short-term use, more immediate resolution, not therapy.

Psychotherapy, usually called therapy for short, is a form of treatment that involves a licensed clinical mental health person who helps people to:

  • Understand their behaviors, emotions, and ideas that contribute to their illness and learning how to modify them;
  • Understand and identify the life problems or events that contribute to their illness and help them understand which aspects of those problems they may be able to solve or improve;
  • Regain a sense of control and pleasure in life;
  • Learn effective coping techniques and problem-solving skills to maintain or improve life;
  • Work through our  "neurotic issues" (things that we are hung-up on), examine our blind spots and be comfortable with feedback, and person-to-person therapy where there's a chance to build a safe relationship that will help us in our connections to others.

Your mental health is important! It improves quality of life, strengthens and supports abilities, reduces medical costs, increases productivity in the workplace, and improves physical health.

What Should You Expect?

You should plan to have a therapist who can provide:

  • Assessment and diagnosis;
  • Psychotherapy (which may include monitoring medication effects);
  • Treatment planning;
  • Different models of therapy as necessary;
  • Knowledge of alcoholism and substance abuse treatment;
  • Psycho-educational and prevention programs; and
  • Crisis management.

A licensed clinical mental health therapist/counselor has met or exceeded the following professional qualifications:

  • Earned at least a master’s degree in counseling or a closely-related mental health discipline;
  • Completed a minimum of two years' post master's clinical work under the supervision of a licensed or certified mental health professional; and
  • Passed a state-developed, national licensure, or certification examination.

Clinical mental health therapy/counseling practice settings include:

  • Independent mental health offices with a private clinician;
  • Community agencies;
  • Managed behavioral healthcare organizations;
  • Integrated systems;
  • Hospitals; or
  • Employee assistance programs.

Therapy can help. Do not delay having a better way of life.


Therapy Matters: Reflections of a young clinician. by Tyger Latham, Psy.D. Published on June 23, 2011, in Psychology Today.


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