Many people have heard of marriage therapy, individual therapy, and even cognitive behavioral therapy. However, if you are more interested in helping families to resolve their differences and reducing the chances of poor family dynamics overall, then you are likely to want to train as a family therapist.
Family therapy aims to help the entire family unit to understand each other better and to seek to resolve conflict. What is required to help you get this role professionally?
What Do Family Therapists Do?
Family therapy is a kind of counseling psychotherapy that aims to help improve communication between family members, resolve conflict and ensure that everybody has their voices heard. A family therapist is responsible for overseeing this process and will be trained in this type of therapy specifically. They will usually have an LMFT degree or a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy qualification.
If this is an area you are interested in, you must go into it knowing exactly what is required of you. So here are some core things you will need to undertake to earn your license in family therapy.
Earn the MSc
The state you are in will have requirements relating to what you need to train as a licensed counselor or therapist. Most family therapists have a minimum of an MSc or master’s degree in either family therapy or counseling as a starting point. Before earning this, you will usually need a BSc in psychology, counseling, or family therapy.
Following this, there will be three years of supervised experience. Once again, this will depend on your state’s guidelines. During this, you will likely be shadowing a family therapist in their workplace to gain insight and experience into what is involved clinically and to become familiar with codes of practice.
Take Licensing Exam and Apply for License
A licensing exam is needed for individuals who want to train as family or marriage therapists. As mentioned earlier, your state will have its unique requirements as to what is required, so this should be researched before you apply to take the exam. The license will usually involve a written exam and an exam based on your workplace where you have been undertaking supervision.
Apply for Jobs!
Once you have passed the licensing exam and have applied for a license successfully, you can begin applying for jobs. Some people are lucky enough to gain experience in employment working where they undertook their supervision. In the majority of cases, you will likely start in private practice.
Many people who want to work as family or marriage therapists often work as self-employed therapists in their own homes. Please note that irrespective of where you work, you will still need to undertake mandatory supervision to ensure that your therapist practice is being run according to state guidelines and that your mental health is being cared for. Once you have your role as a family therapist, you are free to undertake additional training programs in this area and can expand your practice into other areas if you wish to.