Every married couple and family goes through rough patches in life, but some conflicts and interpersonal issues are serious or longstanding enough to warrant outside mediation. Licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs) are specially trained to help clients work through issues in a calm, nurturing setting where everyone has a chance to explain their perspective. As mental health professionals, LMFTs are also trained and equipped to recognize and diagnose mental health conditions that could be contributing to the problem. If you think you might benefit from the services of a marriage and family therapist, here’s what you need to know.

What is a marriage and family therapist?

Marriage and family therapists are licensed mental health professionals who received training in both psychotherapy and family systems. Therapists help couples or family members overcome difficult situations, reconcile differences, and cope with mental or emotional issues as well. As a subset of psychotherapy, marriage and family therapy addresses the behaviors of all family members and how those behaviors affect individuals and relationships between individuals. However, while most of the treatment is focused on the marriage or family unit, individual counseling sessions are often beneficial to the overall outcome and will be recommended accordingly. 

Guidance through difficult circumstances

Unexpected life changes can put a great deal of pressure on individuals and their relationships, and marriage and family therapists often help families who are facing difficult situations including divorce, job loss, illness, or the death of a loved one. Therapists help family members by counseling them and navigating them through the emotional struggle of their circumstances, while also teaching coping skills to help them move on and thrive going forward.

Relationship mediation

Some couples or families seek out therapy to mediate a specific conflict that they cannot work through on their own. Therapists are trained to provide individuals with useful communication tools that will help promote reconciliation, while encouraging self-awareness and provoking meaningful discussion of the issue at hand.

Psychological disorder diagnosis

When one member of a married couple or family is experiencing psychological distress through a diagnosed or undiagnosed mental health disorder, marriage and family therapists are trained to recognize and diagnose a range of conditions including depression, anxiety, personality disorders, and others. Once the mental health issue is addressed, it becomes easier for healing to begin for both the individual and their family members.

Abuse and addiction counseling

Marriage and family therapists are trained to address severe and dangerous problems such as addiction, substance abuse, and domestic violence, prioritizing the safety of individuals within the couple or family. Therapists are also trained to break dysfunctional cycles of addiction and abuse, on an individual or generational basis.

Marriage and family counseling in San Diego

If you are having conflicts at home and you think an intermediary is necessary for a healthy resolution, Pacific Health Systems in San Diego can help. We offer marriage and family counseling services that aim to resolve conflicts and encourage effective communication skills, along with individual psychotherapy to help you recognize negative feelings and habits so you can overcome your personal obstacles. For more information about our therapy services or to schedule a consultation, fill out our contact form or call us at (619) 267-9257.