How To Become A Marriage And Family Therapist
Career Video: Marriage And Family Therapist
Are you interested in a career that would put you in a position to help distressed clients who are undergoing the most difficult moments in their lives? Do you want to play a role in strengthening family relationships? If the answer to these questions is yes then you can consider becoming a marriage and family therapist, also known by its acronym MFT. In this profession, your role is to assess, diagnose and treat individuals suffering from mental health disorders, substance abuse and other psychological problems. What makes you unique from other counselors is that you believe that these issues are best approached and treated by including the family into the picture. This means that even if you will be treating individual clients—as what will happen frequently—you will be bringing a family-centered perspective into this approach.
As a marriage and family therapist, you will be looking at family dynamics and their effect on a person’s psychological health. Your view is anchored on the data from research that shows that mental disorders and psychological problems and stresses are best treated utilizing family-based interventions. These types of treatments have also been shown to provide more effective results at a lesser cost. By involving the family, MFTs have realized that individuals suffering from substance abuse, depression, marital problems, alcoholism and other problems have exhibited a better quality of life after the interventions have been given.
To succeed as a marriage and family therapist, you need to be genuinely interested in helping people. You need to be patient and compassionate about what they are going through. You also need to be a keen listener since it is only by listening that you will know what they are truly feeling and as a result, be able to come up with a treatment plan that will help your client. Interpersonal skills are also going to be a must.
Why Become A Marriage and Family Therapist
A career as a marriage and family therapist is best suited for those who want a career that would enable them to help people. This is also a fulfilling profession for those who want to strengthen the bond among family members which will be tested in times of trials. On the practical side, this profession also boasts of numerous job opportunities in the coming years due to federal health legislation that requires everyone to have insurance which will pave the way for more people to get treatment for the mental and psychological problems they may be suffering from. It is also expected that the need for MFTs will be fueled by more veterans and people seeking treatment for mental health.
Marriage and Family Therapist Work Environment
Marriage and family therapists work in firms that provide individual and family services, outpatient care centers and the government. They are also employed in the offices of health practitioners as well as in nursing homes and residential care facilities. The work is full-time although they may need to meet clients on evenings and weekends. The job can be stressful because it will require listening to the problems and issues of clients.
Marriage and Family Therapist Salary
The Occupational Employment and Wages report of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the mean annual wage of marriage and family therapists is $51,690. This is higher than the $43,700 yearly paid to mental health counselors.
Marriage and Family Therapist Career Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed a very positive job outlook for marriage and family therapists. The agency projected that in the decade covering 2012 to 2022, the employment rate of Marriage And Family Therapists is projected to grow 31 percent, a rate that is much faster than the average for all job types. Federal legislation will fuel the need for more MFTs as more people will be covered by health insurance and will thus be able to afford mental health treatment. The demand will also come from the increasing number of people and military veterans who are seeking treatment for their psychological problems.
Marriage and Family Therapist Degree
The minimum educational requirement for a career as a marriage and family therapist is a master’s degree in the field of mental health, such as marriage and family therapy, social work, psychology and counseling, among others. This is typically entered into after completion of a bachelor’s degree and typically takes a couple of years to complete. Licensure is necessary before one can practice in the profession. The requirements for licensure include a master’s degree and anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience.