Contemporary Family Therapy

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 348–363 | Cite as

Clinical Intuition: A Qualitative Study of Its Use and Experience Among Marriage and Family Therapists

  • Aaron J. Jeffrey
  • Linda Stone Fish
Original paper


Clinical intuition has been a topic of interest in the mental health literature for years. However, while literature on intuition from various other helping professions exists, little has been researched or written about marriage and family therapists’ (MFTs’) experiences and views. In this qualitative phenomenological study we explored how MFTs view and experience intuition in clinical work. Eight MFTs were interviewed and answered questions regarding their views and use of intuition in therapy. We present findings through participants’ descriptions of intuition, its function in clinical work, and how it is experienced. We found that these MFTs value and use intuition in therapy, and that it may be a unique source of relationally based information and guidance. Implications for clinical practice and training are discussed, along with directions for future research.


Clinical intuition MFT ways of knowing 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Counseling and Student PersonnelMinnesota State University, MankatoMankatoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Marriage and Family TherapySyracuse UniversitySyracuseUSA

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