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Flipping on the evening news or reading the morning paper is all that it takes to make it glaringly obvious that the need for good Marriage and Family Therapists is not likely to decrease any time soon. Family dynamics are changing. Situations that would have been unlikely to arise even 15 years ago are not uncommon now. The idea of a family consisting of a man, woman, and children is being constantly challenged. Parents are living longer and needing long-term care. Chronic illnesses and financial stressors strain relationships. Therapists">All of these events have a very real effect on families and individuals. Now, more than ever, it is important for MFTs to be informed and well trained to be effective in their work.

Ongoing education includes a variety of courses. There are a wide variety of beneficial ceus available. These include;

Aging and Long Term Care:

Nobody wants to think about being a burden on their children. Grown children don't want to consider the future and taking care of aged parents who are unable to care for themselves. This is happening more often, however, as medical care improves and lives are prolonged. Unfortunately, the quality of that life is not always ideal. As grown children are forced to make decisions regarding aged parents the stress on the family can prove daunting. Additionally, Alzheimer's, short term memory loss, uncontrolled diabetes, debilitating arthritis and other physical conditions can make limit the options available. Guilt about the inability to care for loved ones, frustration about expenses, sorrow over the loss of relationships...all can be overwhelming burdens. Learning the dynamics and choices that revolve around long term care for aged loved ones is important for a MFT. This will help you to offer informed suggestions to your clients. You will understand the processes and procedures that should be followed and be capable of explaining these options to your clients.

Being a Good Listener:

While it may seem obvious that to be a good Marriage and Family Therapist you need to be a good listener, this isn't always as easy as it would seem. A good listener is effective in 'reading between the lines' as it were. People generally have a hard time saying what they want to say. A good listener is able to interpret, accurately, what people are trying to say. This is only the beginning of effective listening. A good listener is able to listen to what is being said and then repeat what was said to verify that they are understanding. The key to this is that you need to be able to do this without sounding patronizing or redundant. Repeating everything someone says to you is going to get really annoying very quickly. You need to learn to repeat it is a manner that comes across as attentive, not annoying.

Behavioral Problems and Disabilities in Children:

Parents never plan to have a disabled or problem child. Generally they are excited about the upcoming birth and the joys and challenges surrounding parenthood. When reality hits, however, and a child with mental, emotional, or physical disabilities becomes part of the family, outside help may be needed to offer suggestions, options, and emotional support. A MFT may be just the person for this job. In order to be effective as this, however, the MFT needs to be up to date on the latest medical treatment options, organizations, support groups, etc. available for a wide variety of situations. Dealing with a child with autism, for example, is going to be much different than dealing with a child with Attention Deficit Disorder. Dealing with a child with a physical handicap is going to take a different set of skill than dealing with a child with a learning disability. Ongoing education in these areas keeps you up to date on the latest techniques in a variety of settings. As you increase your knowledge, your ability to be a great MFT will also increase.

Assessment of and Treatment for Child Abuse or Neglect:

Knowing what to look for and how to respond to possible child abuse or neglect situations is imperative. You need to be in a position that you can protect the child, teach the parents, and assess the situation. You may find yourself in a situation where the parents are unaware that their child has been abused. Being able to look at the bigger picture and then explain this horrible reality to the parents is very important. Ceus in this area are designed to arm you with information, laws, and options for abuse and neglect situations. Additionally, as a MFT you will need to be sensitive to the home situation for the child. You need to understanding the myriad of emotions that a child experiences when the abuse or neglect comes from someone who is supposed to protect them. Ongoing education is critical for providing the best care and support to these children that is possible.

Substance Abuse and Addiction:

Often substance abuse is the cause of family strife. Addiction will destroy not only the individual who is addicted, but the stability of the entire family. Financial stability is affected as jobs are lost and savings are spent to feed addictions. Ceus in this area educate you on the latest threats in addictive substances. You will also be informed as to the options available for medical treatment. You will learn techniques for helping families adjust, quit focusing on blame and start focusing on solutions.


Pornography can be an addiction. People can feel a sense of shame and betrayal. Spouses may feel anger, frustration and embarrassment. A MFT can help the family evaluate their feelings and provide possible solutions. With technology advancing at such a rapid pace, ongoing education keeps the MFT abreast of the latest threats to family stability in regards to pornography that is accessible via the Internet.

Suicide Intervention:

Often suicide attempts are a cry for help from individuals trying to find peace in their life. Families of suicidal people feel anger that the person would threaten such drastic measures. They may also feel guilt that they are not able to 'make their loved one happy'. The MFT needs to be able to offer treatment options for suicidal ideation. There are many medications available to assist therapists in their treatment of suicidal individuals. They also need to be able to reassure family members that they are not to blame for the suicidal thoughts of their loved one. Ceus in suicide intervention will teach you current techniques for treating both the suicidal individual as well as helping strengthen the family structure.

The classes mentioned above are just a small sampling of the types of courses available for Marriage and Family Therapists to continue their education. The critical issue is not which classes are taken, but that you maintain the highest standards of care for your clients. The only way to ensure this is to be vigilant in researching and taking ceus that would be beneficial to your practice.

Submitted by:

Eric Morgan

Visit SpeedyCEUS MFT CE's for more information.



Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).


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