An Introduction to Medical Family Therapy
By A’verria Martin, MFTI
Medical family therapy (MedFT) is one of my primary areas of clinical interest and specialization during my doctoral education. MedFT is a subdivision of marital and family therapy that is practiced in medical and private practice
settings. Therapy based on a medical family therapy model can be extremely beneficial for couples and families who are experiencing chronic or terminal illness in their family, as these types of issues affect the entire family system and are best addressed as a family level obstacle in contrast to an individual problem. The goal of MedFT is to consider mental health and physical health in combination and treat the biopsychosocial-spiritual aspects of individuals and their families. When conceptualizing cases medical family therapists take into consideration biological, psychological, social and spiritual levels. Medical family therapists are characteristically interested in the intersection between family and individual physical and psychosocial functioning within their distinct contexts and generally offer family based interventions for many types of mental or physical illnesses such as: diabetes, cancer, ALS, and chronic depression.
Medical family therapists strive to work collaboratively with other health professionals such as doctors, nurses, physician assistants and residents to bridge the gap between medical and mental health care. In a private practice setting, medical releases would be signed to communicate with other medical professionals serving you in order to provide the best care possible. MedFT provides a solid foundation to process and negotiate the impact of illness on the family. If you or someone you know is living with a chronic or terminal illness please contact The Family Guidance and Therapy Center of Southern California to assist you through this transitional process.