What is an MFT?

Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) are licensed mental health professionals who work with individuals; couples – both married and not married; families of all types; and groups to cure or relieve mental, emotional, and relational concerns of all kinds. MFTs work in a variety of settings throughout California and the rest of the country providing mental health services, as well as provide services in independent practice. MFTs have minimally acquired two-year master’s degrees, 3,000 hours of supervised experience, and have passed two rigorous exams.

Source: California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

What is the difference between an MFT, LCSW, Psychologist, and Psychiatrist?

  • MFT or LMFT: Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a master’s degree in psychology, counseling psychology, clinical psychology, or marital and family therapy. Emphasis is on primary service in counseling and psychotherapy from a variety of therapeutic orientations with individuals, couples, families, and groups.
  • LCSW: Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a master’s degree in clinical social work. Emphasis on primary service in psychosocial diagnosis, assessment and treatment, client advocacy, consultation, evaluation and research.
  • Psychologist: Possesses a doctoral degree in psychology or a related field with a license to practice therapy and conducts psychological testing and research.
  • Psychiatrist: A medical doctor who specializes in psychiatry. Emphasis on primary service in prescribing and monitoring psychotropic medications and sometimes offers psychotherapy.

Source: California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

What is Psychotherapy and Counseling?

Psychotherapy, often referred to as counseling or therapy, is a process for helping you feel better and relieving the symptoms that you may be struggling with. The counseling experience most often begins with an initial meeting with a therapist to gather information and personal history in order to develop a plan to meet you an/or your families needs. Counseling can include individual, group, and/or family sessions.

How long does counseling take?

Counseling sessions typically lasts 45-50 minutes. Session frequency is based on a your specific needs and concerns and typically are once or twice weekly. Sessions are encouraged to continue you have met your specified treatment goals.

What about my privacy?

A therapist is mandated by law to maintain your confidentiality. There are however a few limits that pertain to this law, which include cases involving child abuse, elder abuse, or imminent danger to oneself or someone else.

How do I chose the right therapist?

It is important to choose a therapist who you feel is a good fit for you. This can often be identified through your initial and early assessment sessions with the therapist. Some practical things to consider also include the therapist’s qualifications (including education, training and experience), the fee for the session, and the location of the office.

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