Marriage and Family Counseling Degree Programs
Learn how to help couples and families in trouble by becoming a marriage and family counselor.
What Do Marriage & Family Counselors Do?
There are many problems affecting families and couples today, such as adolescent and child behavioral problems, emotional difficulties, or the acting out of past family patterns that are sometimes difficult to break.
Additionally, the support for couples and families is quite different today than it was decades ago. Families of all sizes turn to marriage and family counseling to help sort through their often overwhelming daily obstacles.
More Than Couples Therapy
Marriage and family counselors treat individuals within the context of their relationships. By dissecting the family structure, a marriage counselor or family therapist can evaluate where the difficulties lie and establish a plan for resolution.
Here is a short list of the type of issues that marriage and family counselors treat:
- Adolescent behavioral problems
- Domestic violence
- Marital difficulties
- Substance abuse
In addition, marriage and family counselors (MFCCs) treat a host of other mental health issues that affect the general public. For a more detailed list of marriage counseling and family issues, visit the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.
Also, be sure and read the interview with a marriage and family counselor for an in-depth look at what they do and who they help.
Marriage and Family Counseling Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2012-13 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for marriage and family therapists is $45,720. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors
Degrees & Curriculum
A master's degree in marriage and family counseling is a 2- to 3-year program. Marriage and family counseling courses typically cover these areas:
- Adolescent psychology
- Counseling theories
- Group therapy
- Human growth and development
- Human sexuality
- Marriage and family systems
- Principles and techniques of counseling
- Substance abuse
- Theories of psychotherapy
In addition to the core curriculum that should satisfy state licensing requirements, you will choose one or more elective courses focused on marriage and family counseling.
Finally, you will be required to complete a practical internship where you will receive hands-on experience as a marriage and family counselor. Your internship will be supervised by a professional and usually take up more than half of your final year of study.
Check your state's licensing requirements.
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