What Do Marriage and Family Therapists Do?
Marriage and family therapists diagnose and treat emotional and mental disorders within the context of marriage and family systems. Those disorders may be affective, cognitive, or behavioral. Therapists apply psychotherapeutic and family systems techniques and theories to deliver services to individuals, couples, and families to treat mental or nervous disorders.Marriage and family therapists should have psychology knowledge and research methods. They should understand human behavior and performance as well as be able to assess and treat affective and behavioral disorders. Therapists should also be familiar with the knowledge of methods, principles, and procedures in diagnosing, treating, and rehabilitating mental and physical dysfunctions. They may also provide career counseling and guidance.Between 2012 and 2022, the annual growth rate trend for marriage and family therapist occupations is projected at 31% throughout the country. This results in about 1,960 job openings each year.
Marriage and Family Therapists Skills and Abilities
Marriage and family therapists should have good communication skills, particularly in listening, speaking, and writing. They need to be active learners so that they understand what their patients are saying and be able to perceive why they are having reactions. Therapists should be customer service-oriented and be able to make good judgments and decisions. Problem sensitivity is important, as therapists will need to recognize when something is wrong and when there is a problem.
Marriage and Family Therapists Duties
Marriage and family therapists are there to care for and assist others who need medical attention or emotional support. They develop working relationships and must establish and maintain interpersonal relationships. They must be adept at getting information, and then documenting and recording the information in written or electronic form. Decision-making and problem-solving are very important in this profession, as therapists often need to analyze the information they receive, evaluate the results, and choose a solution that should solve the patients’ problems. They should be comfortable asking their patients questions to identify their feelings and behaviors and be able to counsel them about their concerns, as well as teach them to develop coping skills and strategies. Maintaining case files and collecting information are important tasks in this job.
Marriage and Family Therapists Tools and Technology
People in this field should be able to use various software for accounting, database inquiries, email, browsing the Internet, and medical databases. Therapists often work with various tools which include computers and printers for record keeping and retrieval and toys, such as building blocks, dolls, and doll houses, when working with children who may have communication issues.
Education and Training for Marriage and Family Therapists
Most people who are marriage and family therapists typically have a Master’s degree. There is no work experience needed for this occupation, but an internship or residency is usually required for on-the-job training. Most therapists have completed relevant coursework in their studies, such as patient counseling, social work, and marriage and family therapy and counseling.
Marriage and Family Therapists Salary
The pay varies, depending upon the nature of the job. The lowest 10% make approximately $30,500 per year while the median annual salary is $48,000. The top 10% of therapists earn at least $78,900 every year.
Marriage and Family Therapists Jobs by Geography
By population, Utah, Kentucky, and Florida have the highest concentration of marriage and family therapists. However, the states that have the highest median wages for these positions are New Jersey, Wyoming, and Alaska. State governments, excluding educational institutions and hospitals, have the highest demand for marriage and family therapists, followed by outpatient mental health and substance abuse centers. Bear these statistics in mind when deciding on where to begin your career as a marriage and family therapist.