What is Marriage and Family Therapy?

Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) is a form of psychotherapy that addresses the behaviors of all family members and the way these behaviors affect not only individual family members, but also relationships between family members and the family unit as a whole. As such, treatment is usually divided between time spent on individual therapy and time spent on couple therapy, family therapy, or both, if necessary. MFT may also be referred to as couple and family therapy, couple counseling, marriage counseling, or family counseling.

The range of physical and psychological problems treated by MFT include marital and couple conflict, parent and child conflict, alcohol and drug abuse, sexual dysfunction, grief, distress, eating disorders and weight issues, children’s behavior problems, and issues with eldercare, such as coping with a parent’s or grandparent’s dementia. MFT practitioners also work with mental-health issues such as a family member’s depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia, and the impact these issues have on the rest of the family.

While traditional therapy focuses more on the individual, MFT examines how an individual’s behavior affects both the individual and their relationship as part of a couple or family. The theory behind MFT is that regardless of whether a problem appears to be within an individual or within a family, getting other family members involved in the therapeutic process will result in more effective solutions. MFT is goal-oriented and works toward an established end result. In recent years, MFT practitioners and groups have called for expanded approaches to traditional MFT training that incorporate more “real world” practices to integrate other therapies and become more inclusive of non-heterosexual couples and families.

Marriage and Family Therapy at SuNu

Anna Hagen, Therapist (Minnetonka)

Anna has had a passion for listening to others life stories as long as she can remember. She believes that everyone knows their own direction in life, but occasionally everyone needs a guide. That guide may sometimes be there to just hold a little light on the path or to help point out bumps you can’t see. You may need a guide as you enter new transitions in your life or to help you through the long stagnant stretches. Either way having someone with you on your journey can help you to understand yourself and your path from a different perspective. Anna is EMDR certified and has a trauma informed focus.

Read more about Anna.