Home » Marriage and Family Therapy: Why We Need to Reassess Our Definition of Success

Marriage and Family Therapy: Why We Need to Reassess Our Definition of Success

by Victor
Marriage and Family Therapy

Marriage and family therapy is a discipline that has seen tremendous growth, as more and more couples are searching for effective treatments to help improve their relationships. In recent years, the traditional definition of success in this field has become subsumed by the idea of prevention.

This is an interesting position to take, because if we look back over history, it appears that family therapy was only ever successful through crisis intervention.

There are certainly many cases where prevention can be effective in achieving long-term change in a troubled relationship or family system; however, there are also plenty of examples where preventing issues from developing might not always be possible (abuse, for example).

Finding A Good Therapist

Many people wonder what the process involved in finding a good marriage counselor is like. What do you look for? What questions should you ask?

Here are some things to consider:

  • Experience – Make sure that any counselor that you seriously consider has plenty of experience working with couples. Find out how long they have been practicing and whether they have worked in this capacity before. Find out how many couples they have seen and their overall success rate.
  • Qualifications – Your therapist should be licensed. This is a good idea so that your insurance company will cover any treatment. However, if you are looking for an alternative to traditional therapy, this is not necessary.
  • Education – There are many different types of therapy out there and the training to become a marriage counselor varies greatly depending on the school they attended and what they specialized in while there. Marriage and family therapy graduate programs can vary anywhere from 2 years to 6 years of graduate school with many different clinical specialties (e.g., child psychology). It is important that you find out what kind of training your therapist received as well as exactly what their specialization was if it relates in any way to their work with couples.

The Impact Of The Traditional Definition Of Success On Marriage And Family Therapy

The definition of success being used by many in the marriage and family therapy fields is one that sees prevention as the key, rather than a direct intervention with a family in crisis.

This definition is not just impacting on how therapists define their jobs, it also has an impact on how people who are going through their first marriage or family therapy experience perceive this type of treatment.

What A New Definition Of Success Could Look Like

This new definition of success will generally see the therapist as a partner in facilitating change. The couple will seek advice and insight rather than simply taking orders from the therapist.

Whether or not change happens depends on situational factors that are outside of their control; however, the client will feel more like they are in control and able to make some choices about how their relationship develops as a result of their work with the therapist.

By defining success more appropriately, therapists can primarily be role models by teaching clients to become actively involved in their own growth process to improve their relationships and families through positive change.

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