What does MFT mean?

Defining Marriage and Family Therapy

At Family Matters Center for Relational Therapy, we aim to help you make informed decisions about your mental health and/or family services.  Most consumers are unaware that Marriage and Family Therapy is one of the six core mental health disciplines.  It is based on research and theory that mental illness and family problems are best treated in a family context.  Consumers have the following misconceptions about Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs):


Marriage and Family Therapists only provide marriage and family counseling.

Absolutely not true!  Marriage and Family Therapists provide many services.  They diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders.  They provide individual child and adult psychotherapy, as well as couple, family and group therapy. They provide consultation services, psycho-educational programs, supervised visitation, case management, and enrichment services.


Marriage and Family Therapists only work in private practice or with churches.

False!  They work in many contexts, such as private practice, community mental health centers, inpatient facilities, employee assistance programs, business and consulting companies, social service agencies, schools, universities, research centers, hospitals, courts, prisons, etc.


You have to be married to see a Marriage and Family Therapist.

Totally False!  Marriage and family therapists provide services to children, adolescents and adults.  Individuals often seek Marriage and Family Therapists for help with behavioral problems, relationship issues, or mental and emotional disorders.  Marriage and Family Therapists work with many intimate relationships and couples do not have to be married to seek services.  Marriage and Family Therapists also work with all kinds of families, such as biological families, blended families, adoptive families, foster families, etc.


Marriage and Family Therapists are just like other counselors.

Nope!  Marriage and Family Therapists provide the same services as clinical social workers and professional counselors, just with a different orientation.  Marriage and Family Therapists focus on understanding their client’s symptoms and interaction patterns within their existing environment.  Marriage and Family Therapists treat problems within the context of the family system.


You have to have multiple people present for marriage and family therapy sessions.

False! Family therapy is effective with just one individual or with couples, families or groups.


Marriage and family therapy is expensive.

No way!  Mental health services provided by family therapists are cost-effective.  Marriage and Family Therapists provide brief, solution-focused therapy that often results in lower costs to the client.  MFTs fees are 60% of psychiatrists and 80% of psychologists.  Many MFTs offer reduced rates based on the client’s ability to pay.  Services with Marriage and Family Therapists are also covered by most insurance policies.