What is therapy/counseling and who needs therapy/counseling?

Therapy, or counseling is very simply a service for you, if you would like some change in your life. You the client come in to talk about a concern with your therapist in order to accomplish your goal.

you the client – The client in therapy can be an individual, couple or even an entire family. Your therapist will be an advocate and ally for you the client. As the client, you and your therapist can decide to shift from working as individuals to working with the family or couple relationship or vice versa – and discuss the preferred way of handling confidentiality in light of such changes.

your concern – The reasons that people decide to see a therapist can be summarized by saying – you would like something. That’s it.  Psychotherapy is a professional service, just like a grocery store or home remodeling service. You go to the grocery store when you want something to eat, you pay the home remodeling service to change your house to how you want it. Therapy is the same. You might want help in dealing with an unfinished event or memory in your life. You may decide you’d like to remodel your habits, stock up on skills or build intimacy. The choice to pay a professional service for help just means it’s important to you and you want progress sooner than if you tackled your desired change as a “do it yourself” project.

your goal – Just as with the reasons people come to therapy vary, so too do the goals. What you can expect is that your therapist will come alongside you, to help you in pursuing your goals, not the therapist’s goals. Your therapist will remain non-judgmental toward you, your reasons, your concerns and goals for your life. It is after all, Your Life, and you are the one who has to actually live it! Your goal may not be to resolve your concern. Some concerns are beyond our control, and it is then a perfectly reasonable goal to improve coping with your concern. Whatever your goals, pursuing them will be a pursuit of the life you want to live.

What if I’m not a Christian?

The short answer is: no problem, we respect each other.

You will be completely accepted and not judged.

I will do my very best to help you to meet your goals (not mine) for therapy.

The longer answer is that at WMCC, your therapist will be a person professionally trained and educated in providing therapy with a systemic perspective and using a variety of modalities (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Narrative Therapy).  The practice of therapy is inherently values based and WMCC derives its values from Biblical Christianity.  The incorporation of Biblical values, principles and the like will only ever be done in collaborative consent with you the client.  At WMCC, it is understood that you and your therapist will mutually respect each other’s unique values and will not attempt to infringe, coerce or otherwise force each other to violate each other’s own respective values.

What does LMFT or M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy mean?

Specifically at West Metro Christian Counseling LLC, our training and education is in Marriage and Family Therapy. Scott is licensed as an LMFT or Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. The following excerpt from http://www.minnesotafamilies.org/faqs explains some of what makes such a background distinct.

Who are Marriage and Family Therapists?

Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) are mental health professionals trained and licensed to serve individuals, couples and families. Trained to diagnose and treat mental health issues, such as depression, substance abuse, alcoholism, marital problems, child-parent problems, ADD/ADHD, and schizophrenia, MFTs receive special training in family dynamics attending to how these dynamics shape and maintain our well-being.

Marriage and Family Therapists are skilled to address a wide array of relationship issues within the context of couples, family systems and communities. .MFTs take a holistic perspective to health care; they are concerned with the overall, long-term well-being of individuals, their families and their communities. MFTs broaden the traditional emphasis on the individual and attend to the nature and role of individuals in their primary relationship networks. This unique training and focus differentiate MFTs from other mental health professionals.

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists have graduate training (a Master’s or Doctoral degree) in marriage and family therapy and at least two years of clinical experience. Marriage and family therapists are recognized as a “core” mental health profession, along with psychiatry, psychology, social work and psychiatric nursing.
Research has shown that MFT clients are highly satisfied with the services they receive. Upon completion of therapeutic services MFT clients report an increase in emotional health, and many report an improvement in their overall physical health.

What services are provided by MFTs?

MFTs provide a variety of different services based on the needs and severity of an individual, couple or family’s situation.  These services include:
• Assessment and diagnosis of psychological and emotional disorders
• Individual, couples and family psychotherapy
• Group therapy
• Treatment planning
• Pre-marital Counseling
• Life Coaching

What diagnoses/issues do MFTs treat?

MFTs are trained to assess, diagnose and treat a number of psychiatric disorders and relational issues.  Some of the most commonly addressed issues in therapy by MFTs include:
• Mood Issues (e.g.: Depression, Anxiety, Bi-polar)
• Childhood Behavioral and Developmental Disorders (e.g.: ADHD, Autism)
• Conduct Disorders
• Trauma-Related Issues
• Alcoholism and other Addictions
• Marital and Relational Problems
• Domestic Violence and Abuse
• Chronic Illness
• Cultural Issues (e.g.: gender, ethnicity, religion)

The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists notes that 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 in young adult women, 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.

Why use a Marriage and Family Therapist?

Research studies repeatedly demonstrate the effectiveness of marriage and family therapy in treating the full range of mental and emotional disorders and health problems. Adolescent drug abuse, depression, alcoholism, obesity and dementia in the elderly — as well as marital distress and conflict — are just some of the conditions Marriage and Family Therapists effectively treat.

Studies also show that clients are highly satisfied with services of Marriage and Family Therapists. Clients report marked improvement in work productivity, co-worker relationships, family relationships, partner relationships, emotional health, overall health, social life, and community involvement.

In a recent study, consumers report that marriage and family therapists are the mental health professionals they would most likely recommend to friends. Over 98 percent of clients of marriage and family therapists report therapy services as good or excellent.

After receiving treatment, almost 90% of clients report an improvement in their emotional health, and nearly two-thirds report an improvement in their overall physical health. A majority of clients report an improvement in their functioning at work, and over three-fourths of those receiving marital/couples or family therapy report an improvement in the couple relationship. When a child is the identified patient, parents report that their child’s behavior improved in 73.7% of the cases, their ability to get along with other children significantly improved and there was improved performance in school. Marriage and family therapy’s prominence in the mental health field has increased due to its brief, solution-focused treatment, its family-centered approach, and its demonstrated effectiveness. Marriage and family therapists are licensed in 46 states and are recognized by the federal government as members of a distinct mental health discipline.