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How to Become a Family Therapist

Career News August 11, 2013

Family therapy is an incredible profession, and you are working miracles for families who are facing a dire future. You’re literally saving lives, and helping people keep the life they want by encouraging interaction. There are approximately two million people working as family therapists today, and there is always room for more, as more families are fighting against the 50/50 rule of marriage and divorce.

Family Therapy Goals

Remember, in family therapy it’s not just one person at a time, but it’s how all of these relationships interact with each other. Therapy in this context tends to be brief, specific and goal oriented. Ironically, while this job seems like the “easy job” compared to other avenues of psychology, it actually deals with some heavy-duty subjects and sciences, often found in clinical psychology. Bear in mind that families in crisis are not just squabbling and don’t need merely a counselor to say time out; these are people suffering from life-affecting conditions such as depression, anxiety, addiction, hostile feelings towards parents, and many other conditions that could rightly be considered disorders. It is not necessarily your job to “fix” these disorders, but you do have to work around them, observing how they affect the family unit, and what needs to be done in a group setting for there to be peace.

No wonder the career path is promising, since therapy has been studied to be truly effective and comparable, if not greater than individual treatment for mental health disorders. It might be encouraging for you to know that unlike other forms of psychology, family therapy tends to be short-term; sometimes with as little as twelve sessions. It is also a branch of psychology that tends to bring out more satisfied clients who accomplish their specific goals. Families are able to co-exist, and individuals within the family also report better work progress, the improvement of work relationships, increased intimacy, superior health, and even more involvement with the community. There is an amazing 98% rate for satisfied clients in regard to family therapist’s services.

Why the Profession is Booming

The high satisfaction rate is undoubtedly what is fueling this career path prominence in the psychology field. It has been proven to be effective and is now licensed in 46 states within the U.S. While people skills are definitely an asset to have, a solid education is required for employment. Usually therapists are highly educated and trained in other areas of mental health. The minimum degree required is a bachelor’s degree, and usually in some type of related field such as social work or counseling, or better yet, general psychology. Students who go onto additional training, such as a master’s degree, will typically make more money and hired for top positions.

Before licensing can be met, a certain amount of experiential hours will be required. The state will decide the exact number, though it could be as much as 1,500 hours of supervised work or more. Large states like New York and California tend to have more stringent requirements.

Make it a goal to help families surpass their communication and trust problems and learn how to work together for a peaceful solution!

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