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What is a Marriage Therapist?

A Marriage Therapist is a specialized type of Counselor. Also known as: Couples Therapist, Family Systems Therapist, Couple and Family Therapist, Family Counselor, Marriage Counselor, Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Family Therapist.

A marriage therapist (or marriage counselor) is someone who helps couples who are either engaged to be married and would like advice, or who are already married and are experiencing issues that need to be resolved. These therapists work extensively with couples on an individual basis and/or in group settings. A marriage therapist can also be a psychologist.

What does a Marriage Therapist do?

Most of a marriage counselor's clients are already married and are experiencing problems in their relationship. Many couples consider marriage therapy to be a last resort before considering divorce. Some of the most common problems marriage therapists see clients for are:

  • extramarital affairs
  • jealousy
  • intimacy/sexual issues
  • communication breakdown
  • financial issues
  • child-rearing conflict

Sometimes, engaged couples seek out a marriage therapist. These couples are interested in getting advice or working through any issues they may have before they get married. Some people think this makes for higher chances of having a successful marriage. The therapist will talk to these clients individually and in group settings, trying to identify any problems that may only get worse with marriage. For example, if the bride-to-be has past issues with a relationship that she has not gotten over, the marriage counselor will try to address these issues and resolve them before the wedding takes place.

What is the workplace of a Marriage Therapist like?

Most marriage therapists are self-employed and own their own practice. Others are partners with other therapists in a combined practice. Others work for the government, non-profit organizations, local school districts, and universities. The office of a marriage therapist is typically a private office with comfortable surroundings in order to make clients feel at ease.

Marriage therapists act mostly on an individual basis, and in conjunction with their clients. Occasionally they may interact with office staff or other therapists. However, all of the information released during a therapy session is extremely confidential. As such, marriage therapists do not share much information with those around them. This means that most marriage therapists work in very independent and private workplaces.

How can I become a Marriage Therapist?

A marriage therapist needs to have attained a bachelor's degree from a four-year university. Most aspiring marriage therapists major in fields like psychology, philosophy, humanities, liberal arts, sociology, anthropology, social work, and family and child sciences.

After getting a bachelor's degree, there are four paths that a potential marriage therapist has available to them:

Option #1-
is to earn a master's degree in counseling. This will allow the therapist to work as a licensed counselor.

Option #2-
is to earn a master's degree in psychology. This degree, plus a state certification, will allow the therapist to practice as a counselor as well.

Option #3 -
is to earn a master's degree in social work. This degree will allow the therapist to practice as a licensed clinical social worker, or LCSW.

Option #4 -
is to continue on and earn a Ph.D. in psychology, which will allow the therapist to practice as a psychologist/marriage therapist.

  • American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy

  • The Requirements to Be a Relationship Counselor

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    Further Reading

    • What Skills Do I Need to Become a Marriage Counselor?

      You might know that a master’s degree in marriage and family counseling is required to become a marriage counselor. However, only fulfilling the educational requirements is not enough to achieve professional success in the field marriage or family counseling.

    • What is Marriage and Family Therapy?

      Becoming a marriage and family counselor does require a few particular characteristics. Aside from a genuine interest in helping families, marriage and family therapists must be excellent listeners and communicators.

    • What to Expect from Couples Therapy

      The idea of counseling is often pretty frightening to people, and the idea of doing those sessions with another person can be downright terrifying.

    • What Does a Marriage Counselor Do?

      A certified marriage counselor's job is to guide a couple in determining what the real issues are, how to better solve differences and how to judge whether the marriage is salvageable.

    • Marriage Counselor - Right For You?

      Marriage Counselor is just one of the many options available when it comes to deciding which area of psychology that you would like to focus on. Before deciding that you would like to become a marriage counselor there are a number of things that you need to consider.

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