Joanna morse, mfT

“What is an MFT?”
     Marriage and Family Therapists are psychotherapists and healing 
arts practitioners licensed by the State of California pursuant to the 
Healing Arts Division of the California Business and Professions Code 
(beginning with Section 4980). The Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) is the licensing and regulatory body for MFTs as well as for clinical social workers and educational psychologists. An emphasis of the marriage and family therapist's training is diagnosis and treatment of psycho-pathology from a family system and relationship perspective. They are trained to assess, diagnose and treat individuals, couples, families and groups to achieve more adequate, satisfying and productive marriage, family and social adjustment. The practice also includes premarital counseling, child counseling, divorce or separation counseling and other relationship counseling. The MFT licensing exams, which are occupationally-oriented competency-based tests, are a challenging undertaking. Applicants for the license must also complete 3,000 hours of supervised experience.

     The practice of Marriage Family Therapy is related to but distinct from the following fields, but each discipline has its own unique set of training requirements, specialties and practice focus.  Though there are variations in the scope of practice of each discipline, all may practice counseling and may use the title “Psychotherapist”. An LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker who holds an advanced degree and specialization in social work. A Psychologist has a doctoral degree such as a PhD or PsyD and has specialized training in evaluating psychological data. A Psychiatrist is a medical doctor who performs medical evaluations and procedures.  Of all mental health licenses generally, only a psychiatrist can prescribe any psychiatric medication.

“What are the Benefits & Risks of therapy?”

Potential Benefits & Risks of Psychotherapy

Like any healthcare service or treatment, there are both risks and benefits associated with mental health services. Clients have the right to be informed of such possible risks and benefits before giving their consent for treatment.


There are a number of possible positive outcomes of psychotherapy. 

1. Your general mood. If you often feel sad you may feel more hopeful and positive; If often nervous or won edge," you may feel more relaxed; if often angry, you may feel less irritable or frustrated.
2. Your self esteem and self confidence. You may feel better able to accept personal limitations and recognize your strengths.
3. Your ability to set realistic goals and accomplish them.
4. Your ability to manage stressful life circumstances.
5. Your ability to manage strong emotional reactions such as anger, fear, or sadness.
6. Your ability to trust, feel dose to, and communicate your feelings, thoughts, and needs more openly to others.
7. Your ability to stop "problem behaviors" such as excessive drinking, eating, gambling, smoking, using drugs, unsafe sexual behavior, aggressive behavior, or other behaviors with which you may have been having difficulty.
8. Your ability to engage in healthier behaviors (changes you have wanted to make but felt unmotivated or unable to begin or continue) such as exercising regularly, following a more balanced diet, spending more time with family and friends, and just relaxing a bit more.

Potential risks of psychotherapy  MAY include:

1. You may not experience improvement or movement toward achieving your goals. 
  2. In the beginning some feelings or behaviors may get worse. 
3. Important people in your life may not support your decision to be in therapy.
4. If you expect to use your health insurance benefits to pay for therapy at some point in the future, you may want to find out if your insurance has a pre existing condition clause. Some health insurance companies deny coverage for the treatment of "pre existing conditions".
5. If you apply for a job that requires a security clearance, an in depth background check may be conducted. You and/or your therapist will probably be asked to provide information about your therapy. Your psychological treatment history may be cited as grounds for denying you employment.
6. If you are a member of the United States military forces, your Commanding Officer may require that you obtain approval for any civilian psychological services. 
7. You may develop strong positive feelings for your therapist and feel sad or distressed when therapy ends.
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©2012 AV Family Connections


JoAnna Morse, MFT

(661) 965-6455

AV Family Connections 44709 Date Avenue, Lancaster, CA 93534