What's the Job Description for Marriage and Family Counselors?
Do you want to have a positive impact on people's lives? Would you like to help people improve their relationships with others? Read on to learn how you can utilize your skills and talents to become a marriage and family counselor. Schools offering Marriage & Family Therapy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Marriage and Family Counselors Overview
As a marriage and family counselor, you will counsel individuals, couples and families who experience problems and conflict in their interpersonal relationships. You will apply your knowledge of the family systems theory, psychotherapy and other therapeutic techniques to diagnose and treat your clients' emotional, behavioral and mental disorders. These disorders can have a negative impact on the individual and their family and social relationships.
Although you may advise individuals independent of the larger group or family dynamic, you will place more emphasis on exploring how each individual's attitudes, behaviors and actions impact the interactions with other family or group members. You will help your clients develop more effective listening, conflict-resolution and communication skills, which can lead to mutual respect and healthier relationships. You will work with a variety of clients, such as families dealing with a loved one's terminal illness, married couples transitioning from separation to divorce or families facing any type of crisis situation.
Tasks and Responsibilities
Your location, agency or practice specializations will determine your specific job duties. However, your daily tasks will include counseling, where you will provide short-term, solution-focused therapy to help your clients identify and modify problematic behaviors, which can lead to more positive interpersonal relationships with others. You will also create treatment plans after reviewing the group's personal history. This may include analyzing data gathered from psychosocial, behavioral and other appropriate assessments, to create a treatment plan. You may maintain accurate progress notes according to guidelines and standards established by your agency and professional accreditation, since this documentation tracks your treatment and is part of your clients' health records.
You may also work collaboratively. Maintaining an open dialogue between yourself and other professionals who also work with your clients allows you to provide better treatment to your patients. Your position may also require you to teach courses in human development, research and interpersonal relationships within an academic setting.
Career Information and Outlook
Marriage and family counselors have several employment options. You might find work in a university or college as an educator, or you may choose to open a private practice. In private practice, you might affiliate with an employee assistance program, court system or prison as a source of clients. Mental health centers, inpatient treatment facilities and family service organizations may also hire marriage and family counselors.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that openings for all counselors were expected to grow faster than average, at a rate of 18%, between 2008-2018 (www.bls.gov). Marriage and family counselors were expected to see a growth of 14% during that period. Marriage and family counselors earned $47,530 in average annual salaries in May 2010, the BLS noted.
To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below: