As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I am specifically trained to work with couples and families as well as individuals, which is what makes this license unique. As an LMFT, I am not just looking at the person, I am looking at the relationship, the patterns that exist, and applying techniques and teaching skills designed specifically to help the relationship. Therefore, the relationship is my client. This is much different and much more effective than applying an individual counseling approach when working with a couple, which you may find from therapists who are not trained in family systems. Although other licensed mental health professionals may have training in working with couples, when working with an LMFT you can be sure that you are working with someone who has had the training and qualifications to work with couples as this is part of the requirements for the license. I’m sure you can imagine the difference with this relationship focused approach!
As an LMFT, I tend to look at things through the context of relationships. Many of my individual counseling clients come see me due to experiencing depression or anxiety related to relational aspects of their lives. Some examples include problems with their romantic partner, worry about an aging parent, grieving a relationship that has been lost or is beyond repair, friendships who are no longer meeting their expectations, loneliness, or difficulty communicating with a roommate or work colleague. Although not every cause for depression and anxiety is relational, this is something we will explore when working to alleviate these feelings.
Here’s an article from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy on what makes marriage and family therapists unique.
Here’s 2 videos that share the work that marriage and family therapists do: Understanding the Benefits of Marriage and Family Therapy from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and from the Illinois Association for Marriage and Family Therapy I Am MFT.