International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors
A division of the American Counseling Association.

Professional Development
The Family Journal
The Family Digest
Mailing Lists
Related Organizations


You may need a marriage and family counselor if you or your family has experienced difficulties such as:

  • communication problems
  • infidelity
  • balancing the demands of home and work
  • misbehavior or school problems in a child
  • the loss of a family member
  • childhood traumas
  • conflicts in blended or remarriage families
  • step-parenting problems
  • family violence, or
  • substance abuse

You may also want to see a family and couples counselor to enhance your family relationships by learning such skills as effective communication, conflict resolution, assertiveness, and time management.

Marriage and Family Counselors practice in a variety of settings, including independent practice, community mental health agencies, managed care organizations, hospitals, employee assistance programs, and houses of worship. They may provide the following services:

  • assessment and diagnosis
  • individual, couples, & family counseling
  • prevention programs & parent education programs
  • crisis management
  • multi-couple or multi-family groups

If you need a marriage and family counselor:

  1. Get a referral from someone you trust.
  2. Check out the counselor's credentials. Marriage and family counselors have at least a master's degree, receive supervised experience following graduation, are licensed or certified in 40 states, may be certified by such organizations as the National Academy of Certified Family Therapists and follow ethical codes.
  3. Make sure the counselor has experience in working with the difficulties you are encountering.
  4. Ask about payment options.
  5. Consider interviewing more than one counselor to find a good fit for yourself and your family.

During the first visit counselor should discuss the following:

  • inform you about what to expect from counseling
  • inform you about their credentials and experience
  • discuss treatment methods
  • discuss fees and scheduling

Most importantly, you should feel as though the counselor is someone you can trust, someone who respects you. You should feel safe and be able to talk about what bothers you most. Feeling respected and safe may include receiving a prompt return phone call when you first contact the counselor. You should also feel that the counselor has time for you, is able to schedule appointments when you feel the need for them, and is on time for sessions. Sexual intimacy between counselor and client is never appropriate.

Your counselor should respond to your concerns in a caring and helpful way. This includes careful listening and working together to set reasonable goals. You should feel hopeful about the counselor's ideas about how to help you and your family.

Payment options include direct payment, reimbursement by an insurance company, or participation in a managed care plan. Ask your counselor about the advantages and disadvantages of each payment plan.

Additional information regarding how to find a counselor and ethical practices of counselors can be found on the American Counseling Association's web site: http://www.counseling.org/consumers_media/ .

Proudly engaged our marketing team through:
Great Agencies - Marketplace for Search Engine Optimization and Digital Marketing Agencies
(888) 222-8311
Located in the Sunnyvale City Center

Copyright © 1998-2002 IAMFC. All rights reserved.