Marriage and Family Therapists: Keeping It in the Family
Marriage and family therapists use family systems theory, principles, and techniques to treat and address mental and emotional disorders within a family. They may work with individuals, couples, families, or groups. A marriage and family therapist differs from a traditional therapist in that the focus is less on internal psychological conflict and more on viewing and understanding how clients interact with each other in their relationships.
Becoming Certified as a Marriage and Family Therapist
To become a marriage and family therapist or marriage and family counselor, you must be certified or licensed after earning a master's degree. A marriage and family counselor degree program is typically found in departments of education, psychology, or human services, and involves taking marriage and family therapy classes as well as core classes in human growth and development, social and cultural diversity, relationships, group work, career development, counseling techniques, assessment, research and program evaluation, and professional ethics and identity. Additionally, in order to obtain marriage and family therapy license or certificate, you must complete a period of supervised clinical experience in marriage and family counseling.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wages for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists was $49,020 in May 2008. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $29,270, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $73,610.
In 2008 there were about 27,300 marriage and family therapists in the U.S. The BLS expects the job market for marriage and family therapists to rise about 14 percent over the next ten years.