Marriage and family therapists play incredibly important roles in the lives of individuals, couples, and families experiencing relationship issues. By using their clinical and therapeutic skills, these professionals help individuals work through obstacles that hinder their interactions with others.
Whether working as part of a larger in-patient or outpatient therapeutic clinic, at a local counseling center, or in private practice, marriage and family therapy roles offer myriad benefits to those who choose to pursue this path. The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy provides a comprehensive look at what this career entails for those who want to learn more.
Marriage and family therapy careers appeal to individuals interested in managing their own schedules and controlling the type of work they do. Since these professionals often own their own practices, they can determine the patient treatment plans they want to use, set their own hours, and establish a unique place of work that fits with their sensibilities and needs. Some of these professionals work independently; others may share an office space with other therapists but set their own rules about treatment, hours, and pay structures.
Rather than focusing on a single area of therapy such as child therapy or geriatric counseling, marriage and family therapists can support diverse clientele across the human lifespan. On a standard day, they may see parents addressing their children's behavior; married, separated, or remarried partners confronting deeply rooted problems; and/or individuals embarking on difficult life transitions.
To succeed as a marriage and family therapist, you must enjoy helping others confront issues, address problems, and flourish in life. While it can be difficult to fill your days with experiences and stories that may seem sad or depressing, many individuals find this work highly rewarding: they get to help clients work through emotions and improve their relationships. For instance, they may help a couple learn how to communicate more effectively or help a child and their guardian find common ground.
The job outlook for marriage and family therapists is projected to grow by 22% between 2018 and 2028, higher than the national average for all occupations. One reason for this growth is integrated care, which addresses multiple problems simultaneously by a team of professionals rather than individually via one therapist. In this regard, marriage and family therapists today may find themselves liaising with substance abuse or addictions counselors, psychiatrists, dieticians/nutritionists, and/or other mental health counselors to ensure their clients receive comprehensive care.