Determining the primary mechanisms contributing to therapeutic change is a central topic within marriage and family therapy (MFT), and psychotherapy literature. The MFT concept of therapeutic change is the transition from a pathological to a functional family system through the therapist’s interventions. Research studies show virtually every type of psychotherapy, including MFT, has proven to be more effective than no treatment. Efficacy research demonstrates that although MFT works, we know little about why it is effective.
In the current era of accountability, an adequate explanation of the process and mechanisms that contribute to the complex process of change is particularly relevant. A main component of accountability in MFT practice is unification within the field on the fundamental question of how the therapy MFTs provide leads to client change. Determining a common set of factors to explain successful therapy would be a major breakthrough; serving to simplify and focus practice, training and research. Identifying common ingredients to explain the complexity of MFT practice holds potential to unify competing theoretical schools.
Carissa D’Aniello is a graduate of Fairfield’s Marriage and Family Therapy Program.