The range of physical and psychological problems treated by MFT include marital and couple conflict, parent and child conflict, alcohol and drug abuse, sexual dysfunction, grief, distress, eating disorders and weight issues, children’s behavior problems, and issues with eldercare, such as coping with a parent’s or grandparent’s dementia. MFT practitioners also work with mental-health issues such as a family member’s depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia, and the impact these issues have on the rest of the family.
While traditional therapy focuses more on the individual, MFT examines how an individual’s behavior affects both the individual and their relationship as part of a couple or family. The theory behind MFT is that regardless of whether a problem appears to be within an individual or within a family, getting other family members involved in the therapeutic process will result in more effective solutions. MFT is goal-oriented and works toward an established end result. In recent years, MFT practitioners and groups have called for expanded approaches to traditional MFT training that incorporate more “real world” practices to integrate other therapies and become more inclusive of non-heterosexual couples and families.