Marriage and family counseling, also known as marriage and family treatment, marriage counseling, and domestic or family treatment, is a field of psychology that seeks to understand and help families and couples struggling with relationship problems within the family. This type of counseling may seek to identify the roots of family conflict; identify potential conflicts and personality disorders; evaluate the effectiveness of marriage and family treatment; and recommend practical changes in marriage and family behavior and attitudes. Marriage and family counseling can be offered by a therapist who specializes in this field, by school psychologists, and by other professionals such as teachers, therapists, and social workers.
There are a variety of programs available for marriage family and school counseling concentration. Some programs require at least a master’s degree; some require only a bachelor’s degree. The programs may be university-based or school-based. Some programs are residential, meaning that the student attends a specific physical location on campus instead of learning in an academic setting. Others are hands-on, meaning that the student works one-on-one with a psychologist or counselor.
The first step in a marriage and/or family counseling program is the student’s application for admission. Usually there will be an application form that needs to be filled out in detail and submitted along with other relevant application materials. These materials may include personal statements, references, work samples, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, original research and literature, and financial information. Counselors are not required to request these items; however it is helpful if they do.
Most schools conducting marriage and/or family counseling programs have a written procedure for admit decision. Students must complete the application forms and submit them along with other relevant application materials in order to be admitted into the program. The student’s application is reviewed by a faculty member who will make a decision as to whether or not the student is eligible for admission. If the student is not eligible, he or she will be denied admission; in this case they will have to reapply for admission at another time or be referred to another program.
A Master’s degree is usually required prior to entering into either a marriage couple and family counseling concentration or a master’s degree in psychology. Those who are unable to achieve this degree can still be successful if they choose a different marriage counseling concentration or another type of graduate school counseling program. There are a number of programs online today that cater to those with master’s degrees in different areas of psychology.
Marriage and family counseling is usually offered by either a public or private institution. Public education is usually more expensive than private education, but may be of greater value to some in terms of what is needed in their counseling experience. Private institutions may be able to provide more personalized education and may require more of an effort on the part of the student or his or her spouse in order to achieve their candidacy. If you are interested in marriage couple and family counseling, it is best to begin your research by selecting the institution that seems to suit your needs the best. After choosing which institution to attend, you can then begin your studies with your education, preparation, and certification in place.