Marriage & Family Therapist
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a MFT?
Marriage and Family Therapists, MFTs, are mental health professionals trained in psychotherapy and family systems. MFTs are licensed to diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders within the context of marriage, couples and family systems. They have graduate training (a Master's or Doctoral degree) in marriage and family therapy and at least two years of clinical experience. MFTs must complete 3000 hours and two state exams before they become licensed. Once licensed, the clinician may practice without the required supervision. License renewal requires 36 hours of continuing education every two years.
How to choose a therapist?
Choosing a therapist may take some time. It is important to meet a few therapists when you start so you get the best fit for you. You may ask them as many or as few questions as you would like in person or on the phone. Some examples of possible questions: How long have you been practicing? Do you specialize in something? What is your orientation or how do you structure the sessions? What is your fee? Do you take insurance? Also, think about if you would like a male or female. Where you would like them located? Close to work or close to home or neither. All of these questions may help you find the right fit. But remember the feeling you get when you talk to the therapist is the best indicator.
When do I know the time is right to see a therapist?
This is different for everyone. The time is right to see a therapist when you say the time is right. It is right when you feel like you need some help with some difficult issues you are battling. The time is right when you don’t feel the way you want to feel. The time is right when you don’t know what is going on with you but you want to feel better.
How much am I going to have to pay?
If you choose to work with a MFT, in a private practice, these fees range from about $100.00-$175.00 per session. Ideally, I like to work with clients on a weekly basis. It is important to consider using your health insurance (if applicable) for help with these payments. How long will I have to go before I start feeling better? This ranges for everyone. Usually people start feeling better right after the first session because they are getting themselves help. At times, during the peak of therapy clients may feel worse for a period of time because many unpleasant memories are being discussed. I believe clients usually feel a little worse before they start feeling better.
I do not want other people to know I am going to therapy, is it possible to keep it private?
Yes, if you are an adult. One of the reasons why therapy works so well is because sessions are all kept confidential. The therapist is not even able to tell others that they work with you except in certain situations. (example: If you are suicidal it is important to make sure you are safe. Therefore, I would break confidentiality and get more help for you. I would either call a family member, the police, an ambulance, etc. This would ensure your safety, but breaks our confidentiality.) If you are under the age of 18 most likely your parent(s) or guardian must sign an informed consent. This enables the therapist and child to work together. However, the sessions still remain confidential. In some situations a child is able to be seen without parental consent.
Is therapy hard or scary?
Therapy at first may be a bit scary because you do not know what to expect. But after a session or two the scary feelings will go away, if your therapist is right for you. Yes, therapy at times can be hard. To make the most progress, it is important to work in session and on your own. People do not always want to talk about problems in their life at a certain time on a certain day. Also, talking about difficult times or negative feelings is difficult.
Does therapy work?
Yes, but not for everyone.
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