The purpose of this paper is to examine the field of marriage and family counseling beginning with the history and development of the profession and its importance in the field of counseling. This paper will also evaluate five major themes relevant to Marriage and Family Therapy which include: roles of Marriage and Family Therapists; licensure requirements and examinations; methods of supervision; client advocacy; multiculturalism and diversity. The author will discuss significant aspects to the field of Marriage and Family Therapy such as MFT identity, function, and ethics of the profession. This paper will assess biblical values in relation to Marriage and Family Therapists and to the field itself. In conclusion, the author will provide reflections on Marriage and Family Therapy and the personal commitment to provide counseling that is ethical, biblically grounded, and empirically based.
Marriage and Family Therapy
This paper is an examination of the history and development of the field of Marriage and Family Therapy. Education, licensure requirements, methods of supervision, client advocacy, and cultural sensitivity are the focus of the evaluation with specific attention given to counselor identity, function, and ethics. History and Development
The field of Marriage and Family Therapy is an emerging profession with roots dating back to the late 1940’s. In 2009 licensure for Marriage and Family Therapists was attained for all 50 states and the District of Columbia but this dream began in 1949 when the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (originally called the American Association of Marriage Counselors) joined forces with the National Council on Family Relations to form a committee to create the standards that would one day regulate the practice of marriage and family counseling (Northey, 2009). Marriage and family counseling was once thought of as a subset of other helping professions but now Marriage and Family Therapy is one of the major mental health professions in the United States with over 50,000 licensed therapists (Northey, 2009). The profession has its own accrediting body, COAMFTE, for accrediting graduate and doctorate programs in Marriage and Family Therapy. To further strengthen the profession, 128 core competencies have been identified with six primary domains and five subdomains (Miller, 2010). The six domains include: admission to treatment; clinical assessment and diagnosis; treatment planning and case management; therapeutic intervention; legal issues, ethics, and standards; and research and program evaluation. The subdomains relate to types of skills and are comprised of: conceptual, perceptual, executive, evaluative, and professional (Miller, 2010). According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy website, a marriage and family therapist is a highly trained professional working in the mental health field that brings a family-oriented perspective to health care (http://www.aamft.org). In order to help families and married partners accomplish this, marriage and family therapists assess what kinds of emotional and mental disorders, behavioral and health problems, and relationship issues are encountered and then a treatment plan is devised.
Treatment of the problems that families and couples face often results in greater understanding as well as more effective communication between members and couples which can ultimately aid in the prevention of crises for the individual and family. A main aspect of marriage and family therapy is the focus on the here and now and what can be done to remedy these current situations. Identifying such problems can be done by asking a series of questions that defines rules, goals, roles within the family/couple, and stages of development (http://www.aamft.org). Sometimes it may be necessary for the MFT make referrals to appropriate psychiatric resources.
The settings listed...