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Marriage and Family Therapy for Families

  • By: Jonathan C. Davis
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

Marriage and family therapy (MFT) is one of the five major mental health disciplines licensed by each of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia. The other disciplines are social work, professional counseling, psychiatry, and psychology. Similar to social work, MFT takes a systemic worldview, but it is the only one of the five that specializes in the family as a distinct unit of care. For this reason, relationships are the core unit of treatment. Relationships have a well-established connection to the mental and behavioral health of individuals, and a growing body of research is linking physiological and physical health status to relationships.

This entry describes the historical context of marriage and family therapy, predominant approaches used by MFT professionals, the state of ...

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