Marriage and Family Therapy.

What is Marriage and Family Therapy?

Marriage and family therapists (MFTs) are specifically trained to understand relationship dynamics and know how to help couples and families overcome challenges they face. They work with whole families, portions of families, or couples

Why would someone see a Marriage and Family Therpist?

Marriage and family therapists are trained to treat a variety of common relationship issues such as communication problems, parenting challenges, child development concerns, and couples issues. These therapists help couples identify the feelings behind harmful behaviors and emotional issues to develop strategies in improved communication and the overall relationship.

What symptoms could be addressed by a MFT?

  • Anger management
  • Antisocial personality
  • Anxiety
  • Children’s behavior problems
  • Chronic illness
  • Codependency
  • Cognitive loss due to aging
  • Communication problems
  • Death
  • Depression
  • Distress
  • Divorce
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Borderline personality
  • Eating disorders and weight issues
  • Eldercare issues,(coping with a parent’s or grandparent’s dementia)
  • Grief
  • Infidelity
  • Infertility
  • Life transitions
  • Marital and couple conflict
  • Men’s issues
  • Mental health concerns
  • Narcissistic personality
  • Oppositional defiance
  • Parent and child conflict
  • Pregnancy, prenatal, postpartum
  • Schizophrenia,
  • Self esteem
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Spirituality
  • Transgender
  • Women’s issues

Who is our Marriage and Family Therapist here at Safe Harbour?

Carmen Okhmatovski (Marriage & Family Therapist Intern, BA, BSP) is a marriage and family therapist and is an integral member of the Safe Harbour team. Click here to learn more about her and how she practices. (video and landing page)

Carmen Okhmatovski

Individual, Relational, and Trauma Therapist

What would an appointment look like?

Couples therapy begins by meeting with both partners and then one-on-one with each individual. In family therapy, the therapist will also begin by meeting with the entire family and then, when necessary, meet separately with individual family members.

The first session is generally about gathering information to learn about the problem that led you to therapy, listen to the thoughts of everyone involved, and observe the dynamics of the individual interactions during the session.

It’s also important for you to feel comfortable with your therapist and hopeful of the outcome of therapy. At the same time, you will get a clear sense of any “rules” to be followed in and out of sessions, like who attends which sessions and also about the privacy of any information shared between and among couples or family members and the MFT.

Over the course of therapy, you will identify individual family roles and behaviors that may be contributing to the conflict as well as explore ways to actively resolve them.

MFT averages around 12 sessions. More sessions may be required, however, depending on the nature and severity of the problem(s).

How does Marriage and Family Therapy work?

While traditional therapy focuses more on the individual, MFT looks at how an individual’s behavior affects their relationship as part of a couple or family. The theory behind MFT is that when loved ones are involved in the therapeutic process, it may result in a more effective outcome to the conflict. MFT is goal-oriented and includes inclusive approaches that integrates other therapies to support all couples and families.

Who developed this approach?

MFT was developed in the early 1930s to help couples having difficulty adapting to the traditional roles of the time. Modern MFT no longer acts like a referee between couples and families but rather like a teacher or coach, offering guidance to identify the conflict in a way that supports them to change behaviours and habits in order to improve their relationships.

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