We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Marriage and Family Therapy?

By B. Miller
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGEEK is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGEEK, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Marriage and family therapy is a type of counseling offered by psychologists to help couples or families overcome difficulties in relationships. It may also be referred to as marriage counseling or family counseling. In general, the point of marriage and family therapy is to identify both the cause of any problems among members of the family, and then identify specific changes or strategies that can be employed to help resolve these problems. Often, communication issues are some of the most commonly discussed problems in this type of therapy, but obviously the focus of the therapy can vary depending on the specific needs of the people there.

The defining aspect of marriage and family therapy is that it is usually a group effort. In marriage therapy, the couple will generally come in together and discuss problems with each other and with the therapist. Family therapy will function the same way, with all members of the family participating at once. In some instances, the counselor will also be willing to meet with people individually, but in most cases all of the therapy happens as a group. If a person feels he or she would benefit more from more intensive, individualized therapy, such as for dealing with a traumatic event, this might be helpful in addition to marriage and family therapy.

In general, marriage and family therapy will begin in the same way, with the therapist asking a few questions about what brings people to therapy and what they hope to accomplish. A discussion asking people to identify what they see as the problem will usually follow. Rather than a simple interaction between the client and the therapist, marriage and family therapy encourages interactions between the patients as well as with the therapist. The therapist is not intended to act as a mediator between fights, but may be able to help facilitate more productive discussions between couples or family members.

As part of these conversations, the therapist will help individuals to begin identifying where changes can be made, and what strategies can be used to solve problems or improve communication. Counselors will often give "homework" to their clients, which may include specific tasks to work on during the time between sessions, ideally to help begin resolving the issues. It is important for every member of the family to take the therapy seriously in order for it to be effective. Generally, this type of therapy is not a very long-term prospect, but may be able to be helpful in just a few sessions or a few months.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.