Marriage and Family Therapists Occupation Overview
The role of a marriage and family therapist is to provide therapy and counseling to couples and family who wish to resolve emotional conflicts within their marriage or family. They work with their clients to identify underlying issues and in turn work to modify the behaviors and outlooks of the individuals to improve communication. This in turn helps to reduce or prevent emotional crises from occurring. In the case of the marriage counselor the goal is to help the couple to reconcile their differences and avoid divorce if that is a possible outcome.
They help to facilitate conversations between partners and family members to help increase mutual understanding of their perceived fears, anger, pain and to work to help families and partners fulfill one another’s needs. Usually, there are group or couple’s sessions provided where all members of a family can have their say and also hear the feelings and views of their fellow family members and/or spouse. In some instances, individual sessions may be required or seen as helpful to the healing process.
A marriage and family therapist performs the following functions:
- Facilitates family group therapy sessions
- Documents discovered behavior patterns and relationship dynamics
- Helps clients to pinpoint underlying emotions that trigger conflict
- Helps create behavioral modification programs for the family or couple
- Helps family increase rapport and communication skills
- Works with couples to prevent divorce and facilitate reconciliation
How this Career Services Human Beings:
The marriage and family therapist works with the family or couple to resolve emotional barriers to a happy home environment. By creating a safe environment to facilitate healthy communication, the marriage and family therapist fosters rapport within the family that leads to emotional healing and reconciliation. By bringing to light misunderstandings and underlying grievances, the family or couple can begin to address these issues in order to pursue a healthy home environment and successful marriage.
Impact Marriage and Family Therapists Have on Society:
This has a tremendous impact on the individual couple and family and can also help benefit society.
- Reduction in divorce rate
- Reduction in domestic violence
- Reduction in child welfare caseload
- Improvement in test scores in schools
- Improvement in juvenile crime rate
- Improvement in drop-out rate
The Individual level:
The impact a marriage and family therapist has on society is best measured by the healing it provides for the family. For the individual, the family and marriage counselor can provide a safe haven to allow for honest communication of emotional needs and grievances. These in turn can be seen and understood by others within the family helping to build trust and harmony within the family. The individual can see how their needs and those of their family can be meet in a cohesive and supportive way.
For the family, a marriage and family therapist can be a tremendous boon. Often, a family will have come to a crisis or multiple crises before engaging with the marriage and family therapist. With the help of the therapist, the family has the ability to once again become a healthy, safe and harmonious unit driven by common goals and love for one another.
Education to join the workforce:
Becoming a family and marriage counselor requires a Master’s degree in Psychology, Social Work or Counseling. In addition, certification at the state level through passing state-recognized exams is usually required. These vary on a state-by-state basis.
Salary range Marriage and Family Therapists:
The typical salary range for marriage and family therapists is $49,610 – $87,700.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2019. National 50th – 90th percentile range for marriage and family therapists. Salaries based on national data not school specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed March 2021.
What’s next to pursue the career of a therapist:
In order to find a job as a family and marriage therapist one needs to acquire a Master’s degree is Psychology, Social Work or Counseling. You can find an education track in one of these fields at a university near you.