How To Become A Marriage And Family Therapist

A marriage and family therapist 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 help couples thresh out the issues that they face in their married life. By listening to a couple’s problems, they are able to pinpoint what their problems are. Through the use of various strategies, they try to help the couples find solutions to the challenges that are preventing them from being happy in their marriage.

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

As more and more couples are showing their willingness to make their marriage work, the growth rate of marriage counselors is expected to be excellent in the next few years. As far as pay is concerned, marriage and family therapists receive decent annual wages.

Average Marriage And Family Therapist Annual Salary


The average annual salary for marriage and family therapists is $53,860 a year. Salaries start at $31,390 a year and go up to $81,760 a year.

Average Marriage And Family Therapist Hourly Wage


The average hourly wage for a marriage and family therapist is $25.89. Hourly wages are between $15.09 and $39.31 an hour.

Stats were based out of 42,880 employed marriage and family therapists in the United States.

Highest Paying States For Marriage And Family Therapists

Top Paying Cities For Marriage And Family Therapists

Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

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.

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