What’s the first image that comes to mind when I ask you to think of family or relationship conflict? Consider a heated argument between a married couple. Perhaps it’s a parent who is struggling to manage her child’s out-of-control temper tantrums….or a father who is struggling with a drinking problem while his family looks on helplessly. Regardless if these scenarios fit your current situation or not, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) or (MFT) may be able to help! 

Marriage and family therapists (MFTs) are mental health professionals trained in psychotherapy and family systems, and licensed to diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders within the context of marriage, couples and family systems. Marriage and Family Therapy focuses on communication, coping skills, constructive problem-solving, as well as ways to build trust and strengthen healthy relationships in a family system.

A couple and their young daughter sitting on a couch in a marriage and family therapist's office. | The Peaceful Mind Counseling Center

If you believe that you or someone you know may benefit from learning these skills, please read on to see if a MFT would be the right fit for you, your family, or relationship

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:

  1. What exactly is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)? 
  2. What types of issues and problems can an LMFT treat? 
  3. The effectiveness of Marriage and Family Therapy and its benefits
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Who Are LMFTs and What Do They Do?

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT or MFT for short) are specialized mental health professionals who have received extensive training in addressing all family members’ behaviors and how these behaviors affect not only individual family members but also relationships between members and the family unit as a whole. Many people are already familiar with couple and family therapy, couple counseling, marriage counseling, or family counseling. Simply put, these are all services that an MFT provides to the public. 

MFTs are also trained to work with individuals as well! That’s right.

If you are seeking individual therapy, an MFT can work with you in the context of your relational or family system. In other words, the therapist will evaluate your family dynamic and assess how family roles have impacted your development and mental health. 

 A young married couple speaking during session in an MFT's office. | The Peaceful Mind Counseling Center

What Types of Problems Can an MFT Treat? 

Marriage and family therapists treat a wide range of serious clinical problems including: 

  • Behavioral or mental problems in children or teens
  • Changes within the family 
  • Communication problems
  • Divorce, separation, or marital problems
  • Death of a loved one
  • Parent-child conflicts
  • Problems between siblings
  • Parenting issues
  • Stressful events or major life transitions
  • Trauma

Effectiveness of Marriage and Family Therapy

Several research studies have determined that marriage and family therapy is as effective and in some cases more effective than individual treatments for various mental health problems such as: 

  • Adult Schizophrenia
  • Affective (mood) disorders
  • Adult alcoholism and drug abuse
  • Children’s conduct disorders
  • Adolescent drug abuse
  • Anorexia in young adult women
  • Childhood autism
  • Chronic physical illness in adults and children
  • Marital distress and conflict

A troubled teenage boy sitting in a therapy session with a marriage and family therapist | The Peaceful Mind Counseling Center

In addition, studies also back up the effectiveness of seeing an LMFT compared to other mental health professionals to treat the following issues: 

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Teenage Issues

A 2019 study discovered that family therapy improved various aspects of family functioning to assist teens experiencing mental health problems.

You can learn more about our teenage therapy offering here!

Adult-Focused Issues

According to a 2018 review, family therapy may be useful in treating adult-focused problems such as relationship distress, intimate partner violence, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, psychosis, alcohol issues, and adjustment to chronic physical illness.

Mental Health Issues

According to one 2019 review, family therapy is effective in treating conduct problems, emotional problems, eating disorders, somatic problems, and recovery from abuse or neglect.

A young couple receiving couples counseling from an lmft | The Peaceful Mind Counseling Center

Some additional facts about Marriage and Family Therapy: 

Final Thoughts on LMFTs in Counseling

Now that we’ve reached the end of this article, you probably have a better understanding of the role of MFTs and the benefits of working with one to resolve your relationship conflicts and issues. It’s important to remember that Marriage and Family Therapy and counseling can be challenging because it involves discussing emotional issues and conflicts. However, a Marriage and Family Therapist can assist family members in working through these conflicts and dealing with any intense emotions that may arise.

If you are interested in learning more information or connecting with a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, please contact The Peaceful Mind Counseling Center to schedule a consultation with one of our licensed LMFTs here.

Ready to take the next steps in your mental health journey?
Contact Us Today