Who are LMFTs

Why use a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist?

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists are Professional Relationship Counselors!

They work in private practice as well as various other settings with individuals, couples, families, children and adolescents, and the elderly, providing support and perspective as patients struggle with life's challenges.;

Marriage and family therapists (LMFTs) practice early crisis intervention and brief, focused psychotherapy to resolve problems or reduce symptoms in the shortest time possible. They also have the expertise and skills to work with persons where more intensive, long-term treatment is necessary to cure or relieve mental or emotional conditions.

They work in California's courts and schools as well as its health institutions, child protective services, mental health treatment centers, research centers, organizations and businesses.

Patients who are treated by marriage and family therapists are more productive at work, visit their doctors less often, and have lower average lengths of stay at in-patient facilities.;

Marriage and family therapists are licensed by the State of California. They must undergo extensive education, training, clinical fieldwork and pass two rigorous exams to demonstrate professional competency.;

In California, record numbers of citizens are seeking treatment for mental disorders that affect their work performance and personal lives. Personal and family stresses are greater, expectations for quality of life are higher, and access to qualified mental healthcare providers has improved as society has come to recognize the impact of mental health on physical well being.;

Marriage and family therapists are core mental health practitioners educated and trained to help with relationship difficulties, and diagnose and treat the mental disorders and emotional problems of individuals, couples, families and groups. Marriage and family therapy is highly effective because of the "systemic" orientation that its therapists bring to treatment. In other words, they believe that an individual's mental or emotional problems must be treated within the context of his or her current or prior relationships if the gains are to be meaningful and productive for the patient. This treatment philosophy is consistent with current thinking in the health care field, which increasingly emphasizes inter-agency cooperation, involvement of the family, integration and coordination of services. Our health care system is now moving toward a more systemic approach and is increasingly rejecting individually focused care.

As a result, marriage and family therapists are often able to treat a patient's condition quickly - a cost-effective and practical approach to mental healthcare and a prime reason so many physicians and others refer patients to marriage and family therapists. When it is in the best interest of the patient or outside the scope of the marriage and family therapist's license, therapists collaborate with and refer to other health professionals, such as physicians or psychiatrists in the case of prescribing medication.

Policy-makers, both in business and government, are beginning to understand and support the notion that mental health services play a critical role in prevention. Healthy individuals and families promote socially acceptable behaviors, increased self-esteem, more tolerance for society in general, increased capacity for intimacy, work, maturity and responsible functioning. This ultimately results in less unnecessary utilization of medical services.

  • A competent Marriage and Family Therapist in California will . . .
  • Be licensed by the Board of Behavioral Science
  • Be bound by a professional code of ethics
  • Abide by the laws and regulations affecting the profession
  • Participate in a professional association such as the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT)
  • Engage in activities to keep up-to-date in a changing professional environment
  • Treat patients only within the scope of their license and competence
  • Refer patients to other qualified practitioners when appropriate or necessary
  • Welcome inquiries about methods, background, experience and fees

Competent therapists do not offer solutions or take sides. They help clients work out solutions according to individual values and lifestyles. Seeking professional assistance is a sign of courage and a willingness to deal with life's many changes.

Distress signals where Marriage and Family Therapists can help

  • Emotional stress or anxiety
  • Child behavior problems
  • Feelings of loneliness, isolation
  • Depression
  • Moodiness
  • Sexual disturbances
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Unusual eating patterns
  • Unexplained injuries to family members
  • Excessive alcohol or drug use
  • Family conflict or tension
  • Divorce or separating  lifestyles
  • Fear, anger or guilt
  • Grief or emotional pain

A Marriage and Family Therapist helps individuals, couples, families and children explore and solve problems.

Clients can expect that discussions will be kept confidential, except as otherwise required or permitted by law. Examples of times when confidentiality must be broken are when child abuse has occurred or where the patient threatens violence against another person.

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