Marriage and Family Therapists

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Also known as:  Child and Family Counselor, Couples Therapist, Family Counselor, Family Therapist, Marriage Counselor, Marriage Therapist, Relationship Counselor

ABOUT MARRIAGE OR FAMILY THERAPIST CAREERS

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT Expand
A growing segment of the mental health profession is marriage and family therapy. Therapists with a master's or doctoral degree in this category evaluate and treat mental and emotional disorders, health and behavioral problems, and relationship issues - all within the context of the family. How does ...
that work? In a variety of ways.

Often, a patient seeing a therapist individually is referred to a marriage and family therapist when it is determined that family dynamics and family life cycle issues, such as the birth of a child or the death of a family member, are contributing to a problem.

Parents and couples struggling to make family relationships work also can benefit from this kind of therapy. The therapist most often sees couples and whole families together but may occasionally see individual family members as well. The goal is to help them find better ways to communicate and meet each other's needs.

More than 40 states currently license marriage and family therapists with state examinations or by a national examination by the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy regulatory boards. These therapists often come from the ranks of psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, nurses, pastors, and educators. Recognizing how key the family experience is to overall health and well-being, they seek additional training to specialize in this important field.
SNAPSHOT Expand
Diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, whether cognitive, affective, or behavioral, within the context of marriage and family systems. Apply psychotherapeutic and family systems theories and techniques in the delivery of services to individuals, couples, and families for the purpose of treating such diagnosed nervous and mental disorders.
Leadership
LOW
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
LOW
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
LOW
Dealing and handling conflict
HIGH
Competition for this position
LOW
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
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DAILY TASKS Expand
Gather information from doctors, schools, social workers, juvenile counselors, law enforcement personnel, and others to make recommendations to courts for resolution of child custody or visitation disputes.
Provide public education and consultation to other professionals or groups regarding counseling services, issues, and methods.
Provide instructions to clients on how to obtain help with legal, financial, and other personal issues.
Follow up on results of counseling programs and clients' adjustments to determine effectiveness of programs.
Confer with clients to develop plans for posttreatment activities.
Ask questions that will help clients identify their feelings and behaviors.
Confer with other counselors in order to analyze individual cases and to coordinate counseling services.
Maintain case files that include activities, progress notes, evaluations, and recommendations.
Develop and implement individualized treatment plans addressing family relationship problems.
Determine whether clients should be counseled or referred to other specialists in such fields as medicine, psychiatry, and legal aid.
Collect information about clients, using techniques such as testing, interviewing, discussion, and observation.
MAIN ACTIVITIES Expand
Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE Expand
Psychology Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Therapy and Counseling Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Sociology and Anthropology Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
Philosophy and Theology Knowledge of different philosophical systems and religions. This includes their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and their impact on human culture.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Personnel and Human Resources Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
KEY ABILITIES Expand
Oral Comprehension The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Inductive Reasoning The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Speech Clarity The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Problem Sensitivity The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
Speech Recognition The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
Deductive Reasoning The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Written Comprehension The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
TOP SKILLS Expand
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Service Orientation Actively looking for ways to help people.
Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
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