Excerpts from the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists answer this question this way:
A family’s patterns of behavior influence the individual and therefore may need to be a part of the treatment plan. In marriage and family therapy, the unit of treatment isn’t just the person – even if only a single person is interviewed – it is the set of relationships in which the person is embedded.
Marriage and family therapy is:
- specific, with attainable therapeutic goals
- designed with the “end in mind.”
Marriage and family therapists treat a wide range of serious clinical problems including depression, marital problems, anxiety, individual psychological problems, and child-parent problems.
Research indicates that marriage and family therapy is as effective and in some cases more effective than standard and/or individual treatments for many mental health problems such as adult schizophrenia, affective (mood) disorders, adult alcoholism, and drug abuse, children’s conduct disorders, adolescent drug abuse, anorexia, childhood autism, chronic physical illness in adults and children, and marital distress and conflict.
Marriage and family therapists regularly practice short-term therapy; 12 sessions on average. Nearly 65.6% of the cases are completed within 20 sessions, 87.9% within 50 sessions. Marital/couples therapy (11.5 sessions) and family therapy (9 sessions) both require less time than the average individuated treatment (13 sessions).
About half of the treatment provided by marriage and family therapists is one-on-one with the other half divided between marital/couple and family therapy, or a combination of treatments.
To read more of this AAMFT article see this link!