If you tend to have a love and strong belief towards the subject of marriage and family, you would probably make a wonderful marriage and family therapist. A bachelor's degree in marriage and family therapy would provide you with the expertise needed to help married couples work through problems that affect their relationships, including infidelity, infertility, domestic violence, depression, and parenting issues. If you have a desire to specialize in this area a degree would be the perfect start to a wonderful career option.
Becoming a qualified marriage and family therapist not only requires you to earn a degree in the field, pass the appropriate examinations, and meet the licensing requirements in your state, but you should also prove that you can be both firm and sensitive. A marriage and family therapist must be able to handle a lot without letting it deter or distract them; so that they can best serve and counsel their clients. One desiring to obtain a bachelor degree in this field must be prepared to deal with the most personal and important relationships between siblings, parents and their children, and spouses. A marriage and family therapist must not be sensitive to dealing with people's most graphic and personal secrets, guilt, rage, and shame.
A good marriage and family therapist carefully listens to stories that are painful to hear but has the ability to keep in mind that those such stories are always more painful to the teller than the listener. Another important quality in a person desiring to obtain a marriage and family therapy degree is to recognize the difference between advising and judging. A qualified, highly trained marriage and family therapist will lead the patients to new insights and making sensible decisions to improve their situation rather than telling the patient what choice to make based on his or her own beliefs. A therapist's job is not just to listen but also to encourage patients to take action in their own lives.
Before beginning coursework towards a bachelor's degree in this area you need to review the state license requirements for your current state to ensure that you meet their standards. As a requirement to enter such a program you must have a high school diploma or GED, have achieved a passing score on the ACT, and may need letters of recommendation. A master's degree is the traditional standard in this field. However, by earning a degree combined with substantial experience you could possibly meet requirements for licensure and employment depending on the state you live in, when you completed your degree program and whether the university or online program you completed had registered a licensure-qualifying program.
Some states allow licensure as a marriage and family therapist based upon the completion of a related bachelor's degree and supporting counseling courses. While working towards a marriage and family degree students will be exposed to courses such introduction to marriage and family therapy and human sexuality and anatomy. Students will also be required to complete a supervised internship.
If you enjoy interacting with couples and families, and like to help solve problems, you may wish to consider studying to become a Marriage and Family Counselor. As a Marriage and Family Counselor you will delve into the issues that occur with individuals, families, and couples. If you think this might be the career for you, then contact your local school for details on how to begin the program.
The History of the Marriage and Family Counselor Profession
The idea of working with a family on their interpersonal relationships did not begin until around the mid 1950s. Before this time, it was never considered that one person’s problem or problems could be a result of issues with his or her partner, sibling, parent, or other close relative. This theory changed in the mid 1950s.
Work with children in the early 1950s, led Psychologists to then consider the entire family unit. One of the first to research the family dynamics was Gregory Bateson of Palo Alto, California. He was actually looking at schizophrenia and how it impacts the family. He was running case studies and research.
Other researchers and psychologists to also look closer at the family while studying schizophrenia were Jay Haley, Don Jackson, and William Fry. Theodore Lidz then further investigated the family by exploring not just the mother, but also the father’s role in schizophrenia. Then the study began to involve the family without the schizophrenia factor.
If you think that you would like to enter the profession where these famous researchers and psychologists have studied before you, then call your nearby school for details. The school will be better able to tell you about the curriculum for a Marriage and Family Counselor.
There is an organization, which guides the field. It is called the National Board for Certified Counselors and it does offer a certificate. . It is recommended that you get a Master’s degree in Counseling or in Psychology in order to get a better and more specialized job. The requirements for a license can vary due to the different work settings and tasks.
You will take general entry-level classes in all academic areas when you study to be a Marriage and Family Counselor, with an emphasis on the humanities and social sciences. Then as you move along in your academic studies, you will take more specialized classes. Some of those classes may be:
• The Family Unit
• Blending Families
• Step Children and Step Parents
• The Dynamics of Birth Order
• When Parents Hurt
• The Careful Counselor
A full list of classes and the sequence of order for taking these classes can be obtained from the guidance counselors at your local school. Once you get enrolled and are closer to obtaining your degree, you will want to consider the possible career choices.
You could work at a variety of places. You may be employed at:
• A private practice
• A group practice
• A hospital
• A rehab unit
• A school
• Research center
• A church, temple, or religious organization
While working at one of these facilities, some of your jobs will involve case studies, research, individual counseling, group counseling, role playing, hypnotherapy, or some form of behavioral modification. You may work with one or many members of the family. This work may be as a unit, or by individual sessions, such as just working with just the child or a wife. Your task may be simple like introducing a new born to other siblings or as complex as investigating the actions of an abusive family member.
You are seeking to diagnosis the family or marriage issue, come up with a plan to solve the problem, and then to move towards making the family or marriage a happier and healthier unit. You are able, as an outsider to see what the family may not be able to see, and then offer suggestions to help heal the family.
The job can require weekend, evening, and holiday hours as you may be on call. It can also be a very sensitive or emotional profession. The rewards are amazing, as you are helping to put families back together again. Contact your local school for details about obtaining the Marriage and Family Counselor degree and certification.
If you think that being a Marriage and Family Counselor is the profession for you, pick up the phone now. Call your local school and make an appointment to get more details on this exciting and very important profession.