Facilitating Healing: What is a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy?
Mental illness is just one expression of the growing stress experienced by families and communities in our fast-paced, highly-connected age.
Society has grown increasingly fragmented and polarized, and issues like economic uncertainty, substance abuse, fractured families, poverty, health concerns, and homelessness are everywhere. These challenges are affecting the social and emotional health of families all over the nation.
What can you, as a driven, compassionate human being, do to address the vulnerability of our communities today?
Working in the field of therapy and mental health is an important career, providing support and help to those in crisis and working toward a more diverse, inclusive, and healthy society. So, let’s talk about what it would mean to obtain a master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy.
Statistics on Mental Health in the United States:
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness:
1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year
1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year
8.4 million people in the U.S. provide care to an adult with a mental or emotional health issue
Youth in the juvenile justice system have a diagnosed mental illness
The overall suicide rate in the U.S. has increased since 2001
Homelessness with a serious mental health condition
Defining the Discipline: What is Marriage and Family Therapy?
Marriage and Family Therapy is a form of therapy that addresses individual well-being in terms of the systems in which an individual operates — the workplace, family, friendships, and community.
Marriage and Family Therapy situates mental health in the context of relationships with the people who are closest to you. Because Marriage and Family Therapy focuses at the systems level of human experience, this therapeutic approach helps the individual explore the connection between their human challenges and the systems around them and encourages people to find growth and healing in the midst of these ongoing relationships.
This type of therapy is solution-focused, effective, and brief. Research indicates that this type of therapy can be more effective than individual therapy.
According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT):
“Almost 90% of clients report an improvement in their emotional health, and nearly two-thirds report an improvement in their overall physical health. A majority of clients report an improvement in their functioning at work, and over three-fourths of those receiving marital/couples or family therapy report an improvement in the couple relationship. When a child is the identified patient, parents report that their child’s behavior improved in 73.7% of the cases, their ability to get along with other children significantly improved and there was improved performance in school.”
What Mental Health Issues do Marriage and Family Therapy Professionals Address?
There are many challenges and needs at the family and community level that can benefit from the systemic approach of Marriage and Family Therapy.
- Behavioral challenges in children
- Loss and trauma in families
- Marital or relationship difficulties between partners
- Support for refugee families
- Community engagement with homelessness and the homeless
- Sexual issues in families and communities
Where do Marriage and Family Therapists Work?
We all live and work within systems of relationships so the career opportunities for Marriage and Family Therapists are multi-faceted and numerous.
- Community agencies
- Mental health centers
- Private practice
- Group practice settings
- Medical settings
- Community Colleges
Ready to Make a Real Difference in the Lives of Others? Consider PLU’s Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy!
MFT program highlights include:
- The Couple and Family Therapy Center – You will train as a student therapist in our on-campus clinic with a faculty member as your supervisor. The clinic is equipped with one-way mirrors, every session is recorded, and the faculty supervisor is guiding you through your first cases.
- We are one of only five COAMFTE accredited programs in WA – As a graduate of an accredited program, you will have 500 of 1000 direct client contact hours required for licensure in WA.
- We place you for your practicum – We have established partnerships with six local community mental health agencies so that you do not have to go out and find one on your own.
- We value diversity – We value a diverse learning community. Together, we encounter and experience a rich variety of perspectives, ideas, belief systems and ways of thinking. In and out of class, we are enriched by each other’s stories, opinions, and personalities.
- Truly small class sizes of approximately 20 students– Our students get to know each other very well right away. Students find that the relationships they develop by working so closely together benefits both their professional and personal lives.
- Near 100% pass rate on the national MFT exam for our graduates – Further details about our program performance, including the number of students in the program, our graduation rate, and licensure rate can be found at: COAMFTE Student Achievement Data.