Counselling Services for Eganville Families

About Family Therapy
Registered Marriage and Family Therapists (RMFTs) are mental health professionals and relationship specialists.

Marriage and family therapy is a specialized mental health profession that is an evidence-based discipline (1) and is one of the five core mental health professions, which include family therapy, psychiatry, clinical psychology, clinical social work, and psychiatric nursing.

Family Therapists are:
  • Educated with a master’s or doctoral degree
  • Trained with a minimum of two years and 1,000 hours of therapy that is supervised by qualified supervisors
  • Relationship-focused and family-friendly psychotherapists
  • Mental health professionals who work in private practice, community mental health centres, hospitals, schools, employee assistance programs, family counselling agencies, children’s health centres, universities, and research centres
Some Interesting Facts about Couple & Family Therapists in Canada (2):
  • 70% of us are female, 30% are male
  • 80% of us are over 40 years old
  • 80% of us have master’s degrees, 17 % have doctoral degrees, and 2% have medical degrees
  • We have practised an average of 14 years

What Do We Do?
As relationship specialists, RMFTs collaborate mostly with individuals, but also with families and couples to resolve issues of behaviour, relationships, and mental health. Consideration of each person’s unique social, family, and cultural context are taken into account when guiding each session.

In Canada, the most common reasons that people seek out the help of a family therapist are (2):
  • Couple/Marital Concerns
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Parent/Child Concerns
  • Parent/Adolescent Concerns
  • Trauma
  • Self-Esteem
  • Communication Concerns
  • Separation/Divorce

RMFTs use models of therapy that help people use their strengths to support growth and create effective changes in their lives. Family therapy is generally brief, results-oriented, and cost-effective. Family therapy addresses the mental, behavioural, and emotional aspects from a family-based or relationship perspective.

The Five Common Models
In Canada, the five most common models used by family therapists are (2):
  • Cognitive Behavioural
  • Solution Focused
  • Narrative
  • Emotionally Focused
  • Intergenerational

RMFTs are trained in psychotherapy and family systems, psychological and developmental theories. Therapy is based on a biopsychosocial model of mental health that includes assessments of cognitive, affective and behavioural functioning. Therapy also addresses relationship dynamics in families and couples and their influence on the mental and physical health of individuals. Relationship problems often co-occur with significant emotional, behavioural, and physical health problems (3).

RMFTs work collaboratively and liaise with physicians, social workers and other health and mental health professionals. Although therapeutic methods and interventions used by clinical psychologists and social workers may overlap at times with those used by RMFTs, these mental health professionals have their own specialities and may not have the specialized RMFT training required to effectively address family system dynamics and their impact on mental and physical health.

RMFTs are relationship specialists who work mostly with individuals, but also with couples and families. They are trained to work collaboratively to explore ways to resolve mental health, behavioural, and relationship concerns and consider each person’s unique cultural and social context.

What Research Says about Couple & Family Therapy
Substantial research has demonstrated that family therapy is an effective treatment in addressing a wide range of mental health symptoms and relationship concerns (4). Clients report high satisfaction with couple and family therapy and improvement in emotional and physical health and in relationships.

Research indicates that those who received marital and family therapy significantly reduced their use of health care services by 21.5 percent (5).

“Some experts in the field have concluded that the health effect of social relationships may be as important as established risk factors such as smoking, physical activity, obesity, and high blood pressure.” (6)

Research demonstrates that family therapy is a preferred method of treatment for depression, substance abuse, alcoholism, couple problems, child problems, and schizophrenia, to name a few (7).

Marriage and family therapy has a preventative impact. Therapeutic interventions at the family level are designed to enhance family functioning and thus disrupt potential intergenerational transmission of problems such as family violence or substance abuse.

Couples/Relationships Therapy
In helping treat issues related to couples and families, Trinity Down Counselling Services focuses on the areas of:
  • Communication Skills
  • Coping with Affairs
  • Intimacy
  • Marriage Counselling
  • Marriage Enhancement
  • Relationship Problems
  • Separation & Divorce

Works Cited
1 Sprenkle, D.H. 2003. Effectiveness research in marriage and family therapy: Introduction. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. 29: 85-96.

2 Beaton,J., Dienhart, A., Turner, J., & Schmidt, J. (In review, 2006). Canadian Clinical Practice Patterns. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy.

3 Snyder and Whisman, 2004. Treating distressed couples with co-existing mental and physical disorders: Directions for clinical training and practice. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. 30: 1-12 .

4 Pinsof, W.M., & Wynne, L.C. 1995. The efficacy of marital and family therapy: An empirical overview, conclusions and recommendations. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. 21: 585-614.

5 Law, D. D., & Crane, D. R. 2000. The influence of marital and family therapy on health care utilization in a health-maintenance organization. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. 26: 281-291.

6 Strategies for Population Health: Investing in the Health of Canadians 1994. Ottawa: Health Canada Communications Directorate Publications, page 16. Reference: Mustard, Fraser J. and Frank, John. 1991. The Determinants of Health. Toronto: Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Publication #5.

7 Marriage and Family Therapists: The family-friendly mental health professionals. Brochure published by AAMFT.