Marriage and Family Therapy Essay

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Marriage and Family Counseling: An Overview
History and Development
The field of marriage and family therapy is the youngest of all the fields of science. Physical science is the oldest, then the social sciences and then the fields of marital and family therapy (Olson, 1970). David Olson (1970) describes marital and family therapy as fraternal twins, with marital therapy being just slightly older than family therapy. Clinicians began showing an interest in the relationships between husbands and wives in the early 1930’s. Some of the main catalysts to the growth and development of family therapy was the establishment of training programs such as the Marriage Consultation Center in New York (1929), the Marriage Council of Philadelphia
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(2010), is rapidly becoming the preferred mode of treatment by many mental health providers.
Introduction to Marriage and Family Counseling
Marriage and family therapy is a specialized field that is regulated by State laws. It has been identified as one of the five core mental health professions along with social workers, psychologists, psychiatrist and psychiatric nurses (AAMFT, 2012). Therapists have a master’s or doctoral degree and are required to complete a period of two years of supervision to be eligible for licensure or certification (AAMFT, 2012). Crane et al. (2010) reported that marriage and family therapist are required to have three times more coursework and sixteen times more face to face training hours than other disciplines. These requirements ensure that marriage and family therapist practice with a high level of competency.
Themes of Marriage and Family Counseling
Assessment and Diagnosis
Therapist may use several varied methods during the assessment phase of marriage and family therapy. These methods may involve simple observation of the interaction of family members (Sporakowski, 1995). Standardized test may be used to measure temperament and personality of individuals within the family. Another common assessment and intervention tool is the genogram. Genograms are a visual illustration of the entire family unit and can involve several generations. The genogram illustrates needs and emotions of individual

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