If you seek to help others achieve personal fulfillment, you’ll enjoy a career in marriage and family therapy. Your role will involve strengthening relationships, fostering interpersonal harmony, and helping clients to be their best selves. Here are the benefits you’ll reap through this meaningful profession.
Personality Traits and Skill Sets
Before exploring the rewards of a career in marriage and family therapy, you should assess your personality traits. Specific qualities and abilities are needed to help clients overcome challenges. Ask yourself if you are:
Then consider whether you can:
- listen attentively
- maintain confidentiality
- demonstrate integrity
- analyze information
- derive conclusions
- develop solutions
The most successful therapists have genuine interest in their clients’ well-being. They naturally perceive the great qualities in others and build on those attributes. While training will equip you with analytical skills, you need the above characteristics as a foundation for this profession.
Marriage and family therapists (MFTs) receive education in family systems and psychotherapy. You’ll need to earn a master’s degree from an accredited program and acquire at least two years of postgraduate clinical experience. You must also pass a licensing exam. You may wish to pursue a doctoral degree toward upward mobility.
At this point, while considering this career, you should be aware of the diagnoses MFTs encounter. These include conduct disorder, delinquency, substance abuse, child behavioral and emotional disorders, relationship and marital discord, domestic violence, alcoholism, anxiety, depression, and severe mental illness.
As a therapist, you’ll identify and treat these conditions, using customized care plans. You’ll offer psychotherapy to couples and families in both individual and group sessions. You’ll also have the opportunity to provide premarital education and life coaching.
Your goals with clients will be to:
- understand symptoms and behaviors
- promote communication
- teach coping skills and strategies
- offer encouragement and support
- guide decision-making
- help manage challenges
- assist in improving relationships
With this understanding of the job requirements, here are the merits of a career in marriage and family therapy.
1. Job and Financial Security
The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predict that employment of MFTs will increase by 19 percent over the next seven years. This growth rate is much faster than average for all professions.
There are several reasons for this swift growth. More people are seeking therapy since it’s increasingly covered by insurance. There’s now less stigma associated with treatment. Also, insurers are referring more people to MFTs versus psychiatrists since it’s more cost-effective.
As an MFT, you’ll receive medical and life insurance and a retirement plan, such as a 401(k). You’ll also enjoy financial security. The latest BLS reports a median annual salary of $48,600.
With a doctorate degree, you’ll gain upward mobility and a higher salary, possibly to $70,000. You can teach at a university. In a practice setting, you’ll be eligible for a supervisory position by virtue of your broader clinical knowledge and expertise.
2. Job Flexibility
With the high demand for MFTs, you’ll have the flexibility to choose from various practice settings. Here are your exciting options:
- business and consulting firms
- residential treatment facilities
- outpatient clinics
- community and government agencies
- faith-based agencies
- Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs)
- Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
- Veterans Administration Centers
- research centers
- social service agencies
- private practice
3. Work Satisfaction
US News ranks MFT as #2 among the best social service jobs. The publisher bases its scores on seven measures:
- median salary
- employment rate
- 10-year growth forecast
- 10-year growth percentage
- job prospects
- stress level
- work-life balance
As a catalyst for relieving mental and emotional pain, you’ll decrease human suffering. You’ll have the keys that open the door to happier life for clients!
With couples therapy, you’ll save marriages from crumbling. For those planning weddings, you’ll help them avoid future pitfalls and failure. As a result of family therapy, parents and children will coexist with less strife.
Here you can read earnest accounts by successful MFTs on why they treasure this profession.
4. Low to Moderate Stress
Despite the severity of some diagnoses, you’ll have a lower stress level than other social service jobs. One reason is that you won’t have to multitask as much. Working individually with clients, you can easily focus your attention.
You’ll enjoy the benefit of having a regular schedule and routine, promoting work-life balance. The work environment for most MFTs lacks the hectic pace and competitiveness of the business industry.
In a survey of MFTs, 75 percent reported job satisfaction, and 86 percent believe they’re helping to improve others’ lives.
5. Personal Growth
This is probably the most rewarding aspect of a career in marriage and family therapy. While helping to transform others’ lives, you’ll grow personally. This results from gaining greater insight into the human condition. By focusing on the “big picture” in conflict situations, you come to recognize patterns. Then, perceiving these habits within your own life, you can better handle problems and resolve them.
Working with people who are severely hurting increases appreciation for your family, colleagues, and friends. You develop greater awareness of your good fortune. If you become a parent, you gain inside knowledge for raising children.
Your Rewarding Role
The five assets of this profession are:
- job and financial security
- low to moderate stress
- personal growth
Just picture the positive outcomes ahead! See the grateful smiles on the faces of future clients. As an MFT, you’ll make this world a happier place to be. Above all, you’ll love your job. A career in marriage and family therapy is self-fulfilling!