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Marriage And Family Therapists picture    Marriage And Family Therapists image

Family Therapists

Family therapists provide counseling to families or couples that want help with solving conflicts, changing behavior or improving communications. They provide counseling to the entire family or sometimes with individual family members.

A family therapist uses family systems theory, principles and therapeutic techniques to improve communication and understanding among family members and to modify's client's perceptions and behavior. They try to prevent family or individual crises.

While counseling couples that are considering a divorce, marriage and family therapists strive to determine the underlying reasons for the divorce and determine if reconciliation is possible.

Marriage counselors typically provide counseling sessions that include both the husband and wife. However, sometimes they will talk with the husband and wife separately. Marriage counselors also provide counseling to groups of married couples, groups of wives and groups of husbands.

Responsibilities

  • Encourage family members to develop and use strategies and skills for dealing with problems in a constructive manner
  • Collect information about clients via interviews, tests, observations and discussions
  • Make referrals to psychiatric resources
  • Maintain case files
  • Ask appropriate questions to help clients identify their feelings and behaviors
  • Determine if clients should be referred to other specialists
  • Develop plans with clients for post-treatment activities
  • Follow up with clients to determine the effectiveness of counseling

Job Characteristics

Marriage and family therapists often have flexible hours in order to accommodate families in crisis or working couples who need evening or weekend counseling sessions. Those working for agencies, particularly marriage counselors, usually work two or three evenings per week. They provide therapy sessions which last for approximately one hour.

Family therapists need excellent interpersonal and communication skills. They need to be attentive, considerate and sometimes critical in order to accomplish objectives.

Employment Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts 30 percent growth from 2006 to 2016 for employment of marriage and family therapists which is much faster than average for all occupations. The average annual earnings for marriage and family therapists in 2008 was $44,590. Some of the highest paid marriage and family therapists are self-employed counselors with well-established practices and those employed by state government, and general medical and surgical hospitals.

Family therapists have opportunities to work as directors of agencies and departments. Some therapists advance by achieving a doctorate or by completing additional postgraduate courses. Experienced counselors have opportunities to work as teachers and trainers of new counselors.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

Educational requirements for family therapists vary depending on State licensure and certification requirements. Typically, marriage and family counselors need a master's degree in counseling or in marriage and family therapy along with two years or three thousand hours of supervised clinical experience. They also need to pass state recognized exams. Some states require counselors in public employment to have earned a master's degree and some states require a bachelor's degree with appropriate counseling courses.

Usually, coursework in a marriage and family therapy master's degree program includes counseling therapy and practice, research and evaluation in psychology, clinical applications of human development and family therapy theories.

Resources

Major Employers

The top employment sectors are individual and family services, State government, local government, outpatient care centers, health clinics, institutions, private practices and hospitals.

Schools for Marriage And Family Therapists are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Marriage and Family Therapists Skills

Below are the skills needed to be marriage and family therapists according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Skill NameImportanceCompetence
Active Listening4.755
Social Perceptiveness4.255.88
Judgment and Decision Making4.124
Speaking4.124.25
Service Orientation4.124.12

Marriage and Family Therapists Abilities

Below are the abilities needed to be marriage and family therapists according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Ability NameImportanceCompetence
Oral Comprehension4.384.38
Problem Sensitivity4.124.25
Speech Clarity4.123.75
Oral Expression4.124.75
Written Expression44

Marriage and Family Therapists Knowledge

Below are the knowledge areas needed to be marriage and family therapists according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Knowledge AreaImportanceCompetence
Therapy and Counseling56.74
Psychology4.886.4
Customer and Personal Service4.045.8
English Language3.624.52
Sociology and Anthropology3.383.81

Marriage and Family Therapists Work activities

Below are the work activities involved in being marriage and family therapists according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

   
Work ActivityImportanceCompetence
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships4.845.96
Assisting and Caring for Others4.756.09
Documenting/Recording Information4.595.37
Making Decisions and Solving Problems4.435.5
Getting Information4.334

Marriage and Family Therapists Work styles

Below are the work styles involved in being marriage and family therapists according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

   
Work StyleImportance
Concern for Others4.68
Integrity4.47
Stress Tolerance4.34
Cooperation4.32
Dependability4.2

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for
Marriage and Family Therapists

Listed below are the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in Marriage and Family Therapists jobs , as of 2017

   
Metro AreaTotal EmploymentAnnual Mean Salary
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim6,990 $48,150
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward2,170 $60,320
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach1,320 $47,580
San Diego-Carlsbad1,190 $66,230
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale950 $74,470
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson760 $49,900
Fresno680 $47,730
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara570 $51,760
Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade510 $49,820
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood510 $60,980

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Employment
Salary

Total employment and salary for professions similar to family therapists

Source : 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; O*NET® 22.1 Database, O*NET OnLine, National Center for O*NET Development, Employment & Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, onetonline.org

Click the Visit School Site buttons to go directly to a school's website and learn more about the school and programs it has to offer. School website will open in a new tab.
Click the Request Info buttons to request more information from a representative at the school.

We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Marriage and Family Therapists.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.