AAMFT provides a unified voice for all marriage and family therapists. We believe that relationships are foundational to the health and well-being of individuals, all forms of the family, and communities. We know that family therapy is effective and that family therapy works. We also believe that consumers should have access to mental health care, including the services of marriage and family therapists.
Marriage and family therapy is one of the fastest growing mental health disciplines.
Over 25,000 family therapists, practitioners, educators, researchers, and students have made a commitment to support the AAMFT's mission through AAMFT membership. AAMFT members live in the United States and throughout the world. AAMFT members work in a variety of settings such as independent practice, academia, agencies, hospitals, EAPs, and schools. While the practices are diverse, AAMFT members share a common belief that relationships matter, and that family therapists can help strengthen relationships and individual's health and well-being.
Where do MFTs work?
Marriage and family therapists work in a variety of settings including:
• Inpatient facilities
• Employee Assistance Programs
• Health Maintenance Organizations
• Community Mental Health Centers
• Business and Consulting Companies
• Schools and Head Start Centers
• Social Service Agencies
• Universities and Research Centers
• Courts and Prisons
• Private Practice
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. MFTs are licensed or certified in all states (including the District of Columbia) and are recognized by the federal government as members of a distinct mental health discipline.
More than 50,000 MFTs treat individuals, couples, and families nationwide. Membership in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) has grown from 237 members in 1960 to 9,000 in 1982 to more than 25,000 in 2015. This growth is a result, in part, of renewed public awareness of the value of family life and concern about the increased stresses on families in a rapidly changing world.
MFTs are needed
Everyday families throughout our society are affected by mental disorders and relationship difficulties - problems that are often too large, too complex, and too destructive to handle without professional help. These situations can arise unexpectedly and can have devastating outcomes if not dealt with quickly and properly. The effects can be far-reaching, leading to further problems that hurt not only the individual and family facing the disorder, but can affect the entire community.
• Alcohol, drug abuse and mental health disorders are costly in terms of health, productivity and crime. In 1990, loss of productivity due to injury or illness cost the U.S. $108 billion; health care costs, which include the treatment of disorders and their medical consequences, cost about $81 billion; and crime, criminal justice costs, and property damage cost about $68 billion (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
• Persons with untreated mental illnesses consume almost twice as much medical care as the average individual (American Psychological Association)
MFTs are in demand
The use of marriage and family therapists has increased dramatically in recent years. Consumers increasingly seek the services of MFTs:
• Sixty-two percent of managed mental health care providers and 52 percent of employee assistance programs (EAPs) employ MFTs as staff members or contracted providers (Business Insurance. 1993).
In 1992, 91 percent of graduates from COAMFTE-accredited programs found jobs shortly after graduation.