Marriage & Family Therapists: Not Just about Marriage and Family
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists are qualified to provide general as well as very specialized counseling and therapy on a wide variety of topics. In short, there are very few individual or family counseling topics we cannot tackle with a client. Depending upon training and education, the professional scope for an MFT can be equal in range or even cover more area than that of any other mental health professional (i.e. Clinical Social Worker, Clinical Psychologist, Licensed Professional Counselor).
Take, for instance, a 10 year period of my professional life, where the majority of my work was with kids. I saw all sorts of kids...And their family members, when necessary.
I didn't intend to cover something as dry as the scope of my profession today, but I was struck by the memory of a conversation I had with a friend maybe 5 or 6 years ago. I guess we hadn't talked much about work.
He confidently said, "I wish you knew something about working with people by themselves."
"You don't have to be married or live with a family to see an MFT", I explained defensively.
I was confused. It was so obvious to me, but then the most basic and important part of my training kicked in. I decided to try to understand his perspective.
My friend, who works in the tech business, is pretty knowledgeable in general. He was talking about a problem with kids, and stress, and probably a few other things, when that comment just sort of popped out. He meant no offense, and now I hope that our discussion could help others who may hold the same view.
He was fascinated to find out that I actually do "real counseling" and "not just the marriage stuff. Yes, he really can be that blunt about things, but he is what I often refer to as a normal friend, which contrasts to a therapist friend. We had a very good conversation about the variety of things the average MFT does, and felt vindicated and relieved that he might be able to expand his horizons of understanding a bit.
I'm convinced that Mark doesn't go through his whole day thinking about my profession any more than I go through the day thinking about my hard drive. In fact, when it comes to the people who help fix things in our lives our mental health may be little different.
We may never question who would or could help us with our mental health, our kids' behavior, and our marriages, until they are running poorly. Why would it be any different than how it is with computers, cars, or anything else that can run and break? We often don't think about the mechanics, technicians, or....Uh therapists until a major problem arises.
I don't think living this way is unusual or necessarily problematic. Who has the time, right? It is another way of looking at why many of my clients' first calls are pretty intense.
So, if you feel there has been a mechanical breakdown of sorts in your marriage, or with your kids' behavior, some relationship, you are feeling emotional distress, or you yourself are just in need of someone to talk to...An LMFT is definitely be a great place to start. We are trained to help. I am accepting new clients in the Eastern Kansas area (Lawrence, Kansas City, Topeka and surrounding area). Send me an email if you'd like to discuss scheduling and appointment for you or a loved one.
Stay tuned...This Blog is Growing.
Brock Caffee, LCMFT is a Marriage and Family Therapist, licensed in California and Kansas. He has over a decade of practice experience. He has a private practice in Lawrence, KS. At home he has three children, three dogs, and a very patient wife.
The views expressed in this blog are meant to help foster perspective, to entertain, and to be fun when possible. Any intent to regard the blog as counseling or therapy constitutes misuse. Advice offered in the blog should be considered only if consistent with your family values and with advice given by your own mental health professionals. Please seek consultation with a mental health professional in your area if you experience distress or feel you are in crisis. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.