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.
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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.
How to Become a Marriage Therapist
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
- 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.
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How to 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:
is to earn a master's degree in counseling. This will allow the therapist to work as a licensed counselor.
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.
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.