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How do I become a successful Marriage and Family Therapist?

April 03,2010 by: Dallas Browne

To be a successful Marriage and Family Therapist, one must first understand the important role a family plays in the society and in the lives of people as a whole. This is because if one is able to see how vital a family is, then he can also see how important his role is as a marriage and family therapist.

Some of the duties and responsibilities of a marriage and family therapist will include the following:

  • Encourage family members especially the parents to develop and use strategies and skills for dealing with problems in a constructive manner and teach their children the same along the way
  • Collect information in a discreet manner about clients via interviews, tests, observations and discussions
  • Make referrals to psychiatric resources especially when the need for such is noted
  • Maintain case files and do follow ups
  • Ask appropriate and discreet questions to help clients identify their feelings and behaviors and the problem itself
  • Determine if clients should be referred to other specialists through a series of tests and observations
  • Develop and work out plans with clients for post-treatment activities
  • Follow up with clients to determine the effectiveness of counseling and if there is still a need to continue with therapy sessions 

Marriage and Family therapist provide counseling to couples or families who are seeking a way to solve their conflicts, change their behavior or improve communication between family members.  They provide counseling to individuals or to the entire family as well. A family therapist also uses family systems theory, therapeutic techniques, principles to further improve understanding and communication among family members. They try their best to aid in the prevention of family or individual crises that may arise.

Also, marriage and family therapist are known to offer counseling services to couples that are considering a divorce. They try to help couples to strive more or determine the underlying reasons for the divorce and see if there is still hope for reconciliation. These counselors provide sessions that includes both the husband and wife but may also do it separately on a case to case basis.

The future and career of a marriage and family therapist has a long way to go. As evidence, the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts 30 percent growth from 2006 to 2016 for employment of marriage and family therapists. This data just proves that the career growth for such therapists proves to be much faster than average for all occupations.

On the other hand, it is noted that the average annual earnings for marriage and family therapists in 2008 was $44,590. In addition to that, some of the highest paid marriage and family therapists are self-employed counselors with well-established practices and some are those employed by state government, and general medical and surgical hospitals.

Family therapists have opportunities to work as directors of agencies and departments in the healthcare arena. Some therapists choose to advance in their careers by achieving a doctorate or by completing additional postgraduate courses. Experienced counselors also are given the option to work as teachers and trainers of new counselors.

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