The Relationship between Marriage and Family Therapists and Complementary and Alternative Medicine Approaches: A National Survey

By Caldwell, Karen L.; Winek, Jon L. et al. | Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, January 2006 | Go to article overview

The Relationship between Marriage and Family Therapists and Complementary and Alternative Medicine Approaches: A National Survey


Caldwell, Karen L., Winek, Jon L., Becvar, Dorothy S., Journal of Marital and Family Therapy


Respondents to a mail survey of a random sample (N = 424) of Clinical Members of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy provided information about their contexts of practice, use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), and relationships with CAM providers. Consistent with both national trends and the experience of psychologists as reported in a similar survey, the results of this survey suggest that marriage and family therapists have been affected significantly by and have a growing awareness of CAM practices. Limitations of the study and implications for the field are discussed.

INTRODUCTION

It has been more than 10 years since marriage and family therapists (MFTs) were urged to overcome their ambivalence about the notion of illness and to "conceptualize and differentiate the varieties of illness/ distress from one another in order to clarify, strengthen, and broaden the scope of family therapy, theory, and clinical practice" (Wynne, Shields, & Sirkin, 1992, p. 16). Since then, the overlap between family therapy and family medicine (Doherty & Baird, 1983) has been acknowledged, and collaborative family health care has emerged as a distinct paradigm (Nichols & Schwartz, 2004). Given an approach to health that is based on both a systemic perspective and an awareness of the fundamental connection between mind and body, one that is shared by family medicine practitioners, it is not surprising that many MFTs accepted the challenge to create models for collaborative practice (e.g., Cohen & Milberg, 1992; Larivaara, Vaisanen, & Kiuttu, 1994; Leff & Walizer, 1992; McDaniel, Hepworth, & Doherty, 1992; Miller, 1992; Rolland, 1994; Seaburn, Lorenz, Gunn, Gawinski, & Mauksch, 1996; Stein, 1992; Wright, Watson, & Bell, 1996). And over time, family therapists have become essential members of many medical contexts.

Today, both within and outside of medical settings, there also is increasing acknowledgment of the mind/body connection. An important manifestation of this shift is represented by expanding awareness and greater utilization of complementary alternative medicine (CAM). It thus seems appropriate to consider the extent to which MFTs have been affected by and/or are having an impact on this shift, including the degree to which they once again may be expanding their scope of interest and practice. We begin this consideration with a review of the literature related to CAM practices and their use in general. We then describe a survey of a random sample of Clinical Members of The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) regarding their relationship with CAM practices. This is followed by a discussion of the results of a mail survey and subsequent data analysis. We conclude with some thoughts about implications and ramifications for the profession and the future.

LITERATURE REVIEW

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM; 2002), established in 1998 as a component of the National Institutes of Health, defines CAM as "a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine" (p. 1). Complementary and Alternative Medicine therapies, which are subject to frequent change as various approaches are adopted into conventional health care, currently are classified into five categories: (1) Alternative Medical Systems, (e.g., Ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine); (2) Mind-Body Interventions, (e.g., meditation, prayer); (3) Biologically Based Therapies (e.g., herbs, vitamins); (4) Manipulative and Body-Based methods (e.g., chiropractic, massage); and (5) Energy Therapies, either biofield therapies (e.g., qi gong, therapeutic touch), or bioelectromagnetic-based therapies (e.g., blue light treatment, electroacupuncture).

The results of several surveys indicated significant increases in the use of CAM in the United States during the decade of the nineties (cf, Astin, 1998; Eisenberg et al. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Relationship between Marriage and Family Therapists and Complementary and Alternative Medicine Approaches: A National Survey
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.