Marriage and family therapists address and treat mental and emotional disorders. In doing so, they improve communication and understanding among family members, and help to prevent family and individual crises. They may work with individuals, families, couples, and groups. Marriage and family therapy is different from traditional therapy because the focus is on viewing and understanding their clients’ symptoms and interactions within their existing environment. Marriage and family therapists are also trained to make referrals to psychiatric resources, perform research, and teach courses in human development and interpersonal relationships. Job settings typically include private practices, courts, offices, hospitals, community centers, businesses, and homes.
To become a marriage and family therapist, requirements vary significantly by state. Successful students typically complete the following steps:
Professionals in the field should consider membership with the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). The AAMFT offers membership at various levels, including the student level. Membership benefits include an online job search and career directory, networking opportunities, a database of magazine and journal articles dating back to 1960, and discounted liability insurance.
A degree in family counseling gives you the opportunity to help families through crises, such as the death of a loved one, or through regular conflict arising from the stresses of marriage and family life. A marriage and family therapist’s job requires them to:
Annual salary varies within the profession based on specific type of job, location, and experience. For more on your earning potential in the field of marriage and family therapy, please visit our salary outlook for counselors page.
The following degrees are closely related to a master’s degree program in marriage/family therapy, often allowing you to pursue a career in this field or others:
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