FAQs 2017-11-20T23:42:16+00:00
Marriage and Family Therapy is a distinct mental health discipline which utilizes family systems theories and intervention techniques. It is one of the five core mental health professions:  Marriage and Family Therapy, psychiatry, psychology, social work, and psychiatric nursing. It focuses on people in context, making it very relevant and meaningful to you no matter what your stage or circumstances in life.
We are highly trained “relationship specialists”, held to a demanding code of professional ethics. The training of marriage and family therapists (MFT’s) includes live supervision of their counselling sessions by experienced MFT supervisors. This is unique among mental health disciplines. In fact, we have received hundreds of hours of supervised “direct” clinical work with clients before we are licensed and registered.
No, not at all. Family Therapy, by design, is highly effective with just one individual, couples, families and groups.
MFT’s are trained to provide the “full” range of mental health services. We also develop specialties in areas like addictions, eating disorders, sex therapy, trauma, separation, divorce and remarriage, to name a few. So please make enquiries.
It is unrealistic to presume that ideal families are problem-free. Most families who seek help are struggling in the midst of crisis. Family therapy focuses on the strengths that are forged under stress in the context of adversity. With this orientation your family would be seen and treated as an average family in a transitional situation suffering from the pains of adjustment to your new circumstances as you strive to balance continuity and change.

Family therapists practice from the perspective that the individual is embedded in a set of relationships within a family system. The couple, parental, or sibling sub-systems are examples of these relationships. A positive change in one part of the family system invariably causes positive change in other parts. Thus, family therapy can be practiced on the individual, the couple, or the family as a whole. However, since no one person can ever be understood in isolation of the others, you will be encouraged to involve the other members of the family to join in the therapy sessions.
How does a genogram work in therapy?

Be prepared that one of the first things that your therapist will do is complete a family genogram with you. Information will be gathered across at least three generations, identifying critical events in the family history, particularly as they relate to life cycle stages. The family is then discussed in regards to their present situation in relation to the themes, myths, rules, and emotionally-charged issues of past generations.

A genogram provides valuable information about family patterns and behaviours, what happens across generations, as well as the resources that your family has to draw on to strengthen the system as a whole. A genogram helps your therapist to organize all the information collected in the assessment phase of therapy. It helps her to detect family relational patterns and to assess roles, functioning, balance, and resources.

On your first session it is recommended that you come approximately 15 minutes early to fill out your preliminary paperwork. You can expect to walk into a calm and welcoming environment, in which you will be offered a beverage and will always be treated with respect and kindness.
Once committed to the process, a single course of therapy may last anywhere from 9-12 sessions, on average, and the gains are great. According to the AAMFT, almost 90% of clients report meaningful improvements when treatment has finished. As well, over 98% of clients of marriage and family therapists report therapy services as “good” or “excellent”. Most importantly, family therapy has excellent proven effectiveness in the field of mental health.
Yes! MFT’s often provide brief, solution-oriented therapy that can result in lower costs to the client. Thorough assessments allow us to get to the heart of the matter much more quickly. We focus on actions and solutions.
Employee and Family Assistance Plans often cover MFT’s. Contact your benefit plan provider or EAP to ensure they reimburse services provided by MFT’s. One pre-condition can be that your therapist has a Masters or Doctoral degree in a counselling field. All Registered MFT’s (RMFT’s) have this, and are required to stay current with undertaking on-going education through workshops and conferences. Another way to recuperate your costs is by saving your receipts to be used as an income tax deduction at year-end.
Therapists are bound by a professional code of ethics to maintain the privacy of their clients.  This means that your personal and private information and what you share in session will be held in the strictest of confidence.   There are very clear understandable exceptions to this rule as follows:

1) When you give written, informed, signed consent for the information in your clinical record to be communicated to another person, for example your doctor or lawyer. You may also give permission for a case consult with another therapist.

2) When you are clearly at risk of hurting yourself or others, as in suicide or assault. The police would be called.

3) If you disclose that a child ( a person under the age of 12) has been physically or sexually abused or neglected including: a) if domestic violence has occurred and there is a child in the home and/or b) If there is a  possibility of your own childhood abuser still being a risk to other children now.   In these cases the therapist is obligated to report to the Family and Children Services of the Waterloo Region.

4) If you disclose sexual abuse by a regulated health care professional such as a psychologist, nurse, dentist or doctor. In these circumstances therapists are obligated to report to the police and any relevant professional college.

5) If your therapist is mandated by a court order to do so.

The rules of confidentiality will be discussed in your first session during which you are encouraged to ask any questions concerning these exceptions.