Helping Couples and Families Work Through Their Problems: Marriage And Family Therapy Degree

Do you care about the relationships between people? Are you passionate about the field of mental health? Would you enjoy working in an environment where you get to assist families on a daily basis with a variety of issues. If the answer is yes, then the best way to turn your interests into a career is with a marriage and family therapy degree. This type of degree teaches you what skills are needed to assist people with solving problems and overcoming issues such as mental or even emotional disorders. The knowledge gained by completing a marriage and family therapy degree can help you with providing the type of treatments that are needed for assisting with clinical conditions within families. With your support and guidance, family units and people in relationships can work towards better futures.

Marriage And Family Therapy Degree Information

Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy

The Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy degree is a two year program that can, in conjunction with post-graduate supervised practice, lead to employment as a licensed marriage and family therapist. This type of degree program may include a combination of curriculum based courses along with intensive clinical internship. Core courses that may form part of this degree usually include Methods of Systems Therapy, Systemic Assessment, Special Problems and Populations, Human Development and The Life Cycle, Sex Therapy, Family Therapy Treatment Models and Intimate Relations. In addition, this type of degree usually requires a specific amount of hours dedicated to contact with clients as well as group and individual supervision.

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

This type of degree is also available as a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy. The minimum program length for this type of degree is usually two years, but it can take up to four years to complete. Students who enroll in this type of degree program can typically choose a specialization, such as Master’s in Military Family Therapy, Master’s in Medical Family Therapy, Master’s in LGBTQ Couple and Family Therapy and more.

Doctor of Philosophy in Marriage and Family Therapy

For students who are interested in the further development of their critical thinking and research skills in this field, the Doctor of Philosophy in Marriage and Family Therapy is an option. This type of degree program often offers a number of professionally relevant specializations to choose from and can be completed in four to five years. This type of degree is suitable for students who are interested in following research, clinician, administrator or academic career paths in the field of marriage and family therapy.

Licensing

In order to work as a marriage and family therapist you must first become licensed. The minimum requirement for licensure is typically a master’s degree along with a certain amount of supervised clinical experience. State-organized exams and annual continuing education classes also form part of licensure for this industry. Courses may include Family Therapy with Children, Couple and Sex Therapy, Treatment Planning and Traditional Family Therapy, Legal, Ethical and Professional Development in MFT as well as Psychopathology, Diagnosis and Systemic Intervention. Practicum and internship also usually form part of this degree.

Marriage And Family Therapy Degree FAQ

Can This Type Of Degree Be Obtained Online?

Because a marriage and family therapy degree requires a certain number of hours that is spent on face-to-face contact with clients, most programs are either campus based or hybrid in nature. Online courses do exist, especially at a master’s degree level. These types of courses still require students to participate in direct client contact as well as supervision in their local area. However, students can also take part in online practicum sessions that are done with internet video conferencing. Some institutions also assist students with finding a local practicum or internship site, along with a qualified local supervisor in order to fulfill the degree requirements.

Who Is An Ideal Candidate For Studying Marriage and Family Therapy?

One of the most important traits for anyone interested in studying for this type of degree is a commitment to helping others. Since you will end up working in a field where you have to help people who are facing difficult circumstances, it is also vital to have a strong sense of compassion. You should also be able to always act in an ethical and culturally sensitive manner when dealing with people. Being a good listener will be an advantage as well as great speaking skills. In addition, this is the type of career path where organizational skills are very beneficial. Furthermore, family therapy sessions can often cause emotions to flare up in clients, so being able to remain composed and take charge of these types of situations are essential. Finally, because of the emotionally difficult situations that marriage and family therapist often encounter, it is a career path that requires a lot of resilience.

What Type of Career Paths Might Be Available After Completing This Type Of Degree?

After completing a marriage and therapy degree there are a number of places where you might be able to find employment. Typically, marriage and family therapists go on to work at practitioner offices, outpatient care centers, nursing and residential care facilities, hospitals or outpatient mental health and substance abuse centers. Employment options may also be available at facilities that deal with issues such as developmental disabilities, substance abuse or mental health. Opting for additional post-master’s education can also open further career opportunities.

What Type Of Duties Might I Have When Employed In This Field?

When employed as a marriage and family therapist, your primary duty will be to offer guidance to families or couples in order that they may overcome whatever issues are having a negative impact on their health or well-being. There are a variety of issues, such as marital conflict, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, infertility, and much more that could be causing issues. You may need to observe the interaction between people within units and then evaluate the options available to resolve whatever problems need to be addressed. Diagnosing and treating disorders of a psychological nature may also be required as well as guiding your clients through divorce, death or other transitional crises. In addition, you will typically need to assist clients with replacing any dysfunctional behaviors that they may have with alternatives that are healthy. It is also not uncommon for marriage and family therapists to coordinate treatments for their patients with social workers, psychologists and other professionals.

How Much Can I Potentially Earn When Employed As a Marriage and Family Therapist?

According to information published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2016 median pay for marriage and family therapists is about $49,170 per year. They also indicate that a projected growth of 20 percent is expected until 2026 for the employment of marriage and family therapists. This is much faster than the average of what is expected from all occupations and can be attributed to the increasing use of integrated care.

What Are The Other Advantages To Studying Marriage And Family Therapy?

Like any career where your actions have a positive impact on the lives or relationships of others, working in the field of couple and family therapy can be very rewarding and meaningful. The knowledge and skills gained through this type of degree can also have a positive impact on your own life and your relationships.

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