Marriage and Family Therapist Career

Job Description: Diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, whether cognitive, affective, or behavioral, within the context of marriage and family systems. Apply psychotherapeutic and family systems theories and techniques in the delivery of services to individuals, couples, and families for the purpose of treating such diagnosed nervous and mental disorders.


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Marriage and Family Therapist Career

What Marriage and Family Therapists do:

  • Confer with other counselors, doctors, and professionals to analyze individual cases and to coordinate counseling services.
  • Encourage individuals and family members to develop and use skills and strategies for confronting their problems in a constructive manner.
  • Maintain case files that include activities, progress notes, evaluations, and recommendations.
  • Counsel clients on concerns, such as unsatisfactory relationships, divorce and separation, child rearing, home management, or financial difficulties.
  • Develop and implement individualized treatment plans addressing family relationship problems, destructive patterns of behavior, and other personal issues.
  • Ask questions that will help clients identify their feelings and behaviors.
  • Determine whether clients should be counseled or referred to other specialists in such fields as medicine, psychiatry, or legal aid.
  • Provide instructions to clients on how to obtain help with legal, financial, and other personal issues.
  • Confer with clients to develop plans for posttreatment activities.
  • Collect information about clients, using techniques such as testing, interviewing, discussion, or observation.
  • Provide public education and consultation to other professionals or groups regarding counseling services, issues, and methods.
  • Gather information from doctors, schools, social workers, juvenile counselors, law enforcement personnel, and others to make recommendations to courts for resolution of child custody or visitation disputes.
  • Follow up on results of counseling programs and clients' adjustments to determine effectiveness of programs.
  • Supervise other counselors, social service staff, and assistants.
  • Write evaluations of parents and children for use by courts deciding divorce and custody cases, testifying in court if necessary.
  • Provide family counseling and treatment services to inmates participating in substance abuse programs.

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Assisting and Caring for Others - Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.

Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others - Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Interacting With Computers - Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Developing Objectives and Strategies - Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.

Communicating with Persons Outside Organization - Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

Performing for or Working Directly with the Public - Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.

Coaching and Developing Others - Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Thinking Creatively - Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

Performing Administrative Activities - Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.

Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Provide Consultation and Advice to Others - Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

Developing and Building Teams - Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

Holland Code Chart for a Marriage and Family Therapist