Steps to Take Before Beginning Your Career in Family Counseling

If you are worried that your marriage may be at risk, a quick trip to the library may be the first step in exploring family and marriage counseling programs. Many public libraries offer counseling programs that can help couples and professionals work through these issues. This type of counseling is geared toward helping couples work through issues that are having an enormous impact on their relationship. Couples can get the help they need from professional counselors or self-help books.

Several types of family and marriage counseling programs are available at local libraries. The most popular types of these programs include relationship therapy, family and relationship counseling, conflict resolution, couples and family therapy, relationship coaching, and social influence and communication therapy. Some libraries also have doctoral degree programs that specialize in family and relationship psychology. Many libraries also offer introductory family and marriage counseling classes for students who are learning to perform these counseling duties. These classes help students learn the techniques that work best with their own individual personalities and skills.

Relationship and couples counseling usually involve interpersonal communications skills, such as how to communicate effectively with your partner, how to build closeness, making compromises, communicating joy and humor, handling criticism, and other interactions that occur naturally within relationships. A good relationship counselor will have a masterful understanding of family dynamics, including how different members interact within a family unit. Other things that will be covered in this type of marriage therapy program include how to establish healthy relationships in the workplace, how to create an effective work environment, how to create and maintain healthy close communication with co-workers, how to parent children, emotional and mental abuse, family dynamics, day-to-day conflicts, building trust and intimacy, communication and problem solving, and much more.

The requirements to become a licensed clinical mental health counseling therapist or marriage and family therapist are state-specific. To obtain your license you must complete a specific number of education courses, take a specified number of credit hours, pass a written examination, attend a board certified clinical mental health counseling exam, meet certain ethical standards, receive an endorsement from your local board of mental health, and participate in continuing education courses every two years. You will also need to complete a specific number of hours of supervised clinical practice in order to obtain your license as a family therapist. Once you have met all of these requirements and achieved certification, you will then be able to apply for state licensure. There are two different ways to do this: one is to sit for the exam that will be administered by the Board of Mental Health and Rehabilitation Services at the Department of Human Services in your state, or two is to pursue licensing through the American Association of Clinical Mental Health Counselor or AAMH certified programs.

If you are looking into becoming a family and marriage therapist, it is important to make sure that you are trained and experienced in practicing in the field of family and marriage counseling. It is recommended that you obtain a graduate degree in marriage and family counseling before beginning your career so that you can specialize in your particular area of expertise. For example, if you want to counsel couples who are having problems relating to finances or communication problems, you would be better served by pursuing a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. The same holds true for those wanting to counsel couples who are having difficulties relating to their children; you would be a better fit by pursuing a Master’s Degree in Adolescent Family Therapy.

The second step towards beginning your career as a family counselor is to acquire basic communication skills and work on mastering them. Communication skills include becoming a skilled listener, being able to accurately interpret body language and nonverbal cues, as well as good listening skills. You should also be able to effectively convey your message to others through both verbal and non-verbal communication. These skills can be developed through training and practice. Many family counseling professionals feel that learning how to overcome obstacles such as confidentiality becomes much easier when you are familiar with these techniques through formal and informal training and experience. Couples who seek the help of a family counseling professional often find that their relationship with this type of professional has improved their overall sense of trust, security and emotional well-being.