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Become A Child And Family Therapist

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Working As A Child And Family Therapist

  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Stressful

  • $34,390

    Average Salary

What Does A Child And Family Therapist Do

Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists help people manage and overcome mental and emotional disorders and problems with their family and other relationships. They listen to clients and ask questions to help the clients understand their problems and develop strategies to improve their lives.

Duties

Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists typically do the following:

  • Diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, such as anxiety and depression
  • Encourage clients to discuss their emotions and experiences
  • Help clients process their reactions and adjust to difficult changes in their life, such as divorce and layoffs
  • Guide clients through the process of making decisions about their future
  • Help clients develop strategies and skills to change their behavior and to cope with difficult situations
  • Refer clients to other resources or services in the community, such as support groups or inpatient treatment facilities

Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists use a variety of techniques and tools to help their clients. Many apply cognitive behavioral therapy, a goal-oriented approach that helps clients understand harmful thoughts, feelings, and beliefs and teaches how to replace them with positive, life-enhancing ones. Furthermore, mental health counselors use cognitive behavioral therapy to teach clients to eliminate unwanted and damaging behaviors and to replace them with more productive ones.

Although some disorders can be overcome, others need to be managed. With the latter, mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists help the client develop strategies and skills to minimize the effects of their disorders or illnesses.

Many mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists work in private practice. They must spend time marketing their practice to prospective clients and working with insurance companies and clients to get payment for their services.

Mental health counselors provide treatment to individuals, families, couples, and groups. Some work with specific populations, such as the elderly, college students, or children. Mental health counselors deal with a variety of issues, including anxiety, depression, grief, low self-esteem, stress, and suicidal impulses. They also help with mental and emotional health issues and relationship problems. 

Marriage and family therapists work with individuals, couples, and families. Unlike other types of mental health professionals, they bring a family-centered perspective to treatment, even when treating individuals. They evaluate family roles and development, to understand how clients’ families affect their mental health. They treat the clients’ relationships, not just the clients themselves. They address issues, such as low self-esteem, stress, addiction, and substance abuse.

Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists coordinate patient treatment with other professionals, such as psychiatrists and social workers.

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How To Become A Child And Family Therapist

Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists are typically required to have a master’s degree and a license to practice.

Education

To become a mental health counselor or a marriage and family therapist, applicants typically need a master’s degree in psychology, clinical mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, or a related mental health field. A bachelor’s degree in most fields is acceptable to enter a master’s program.

Counseling programs prepare students to recognize symptoms of mental and emotional disorders and to use effective counseling strategies. Marriage and family therapy programs teach students about how marriages, families, and relationships function and how these relationships can affect mental and emotional disorders.

Many employers prefer to hire counselors who have graduated from programs accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs.

Training

Candidates gain hands-on experience through postdegree supervised clinical work, sometimes referred to as an internship or residency. In training, they learn to provide family therapy, group therapy, psychotherapy, and other therapeutic interventions, under the supervision of a licensed counselor.

Licenses

All states require mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists to be licensed in the state in which they practice. Licensure requires a master’s degree and 2,000 to 4,000 hours of postdegree supervised clinical experience, sometimes referred to as an internship or residency. In addition, counselors and therapists must pass a state-recognized exam and complete annual continuing education classes.

Contact information for state boards regulating mental health counselors is available through the National Board for Certified Counselors.

Contact and licensing information for marriage and family therapists is available through the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards.

Important Qualities

Compassion. Counselors and therapists often work with people who are dealing with stressful and difficult situations, so they must be compassionate and empathize with their clients.

Interpersonal skills. Being able to work with different types of people is essential for counselors and therapists. They spend most of their time working directly with clients and other professionals and must be able to encourage good relationships.

Listening skills. Good listening skills are essential for mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists, both of whom need to give their full attention to their clients to understand their problems, values, and goals.

Organizational skills. Good organizational skills are especially important for counselors and therapists in private practice, who must keep track of payments and work with insurance companies.

Speaking skills. Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists need to be able to communicate with clients effectively. They must express ideas and information in a way that clients can understand easily.

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Child And Family Therapist Jobs

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Child And Family Therapist Career Paths

Child And Family Therapist
Medical Social Worker Clinical Social Worker Clinical Director
Administrative Director, Behavioral Health Services
11 Yearsyrs
Clinical Social Worker Director Of Social Services Therapist
Career Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Mental Health Therapist Clinical Supervisor Nursing Director
Case Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Clinical Director Adjunct Instructor Clinical Social Worker
Clinical Care Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Therapist Program Director
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Psychotherapist Psychologist Clinical Supervisor
Clinical Program Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Therapist Clinician
Clinical Supervisor
8 Yearsyrs
Clinical Supervisor Physical Therapist Case Manager
Director Of Case Management
11 Yearsyrs
Clinical Social Worker Program Director Service Director
Director Of Social Services
6 Yearsyrs
Mental Health Therapist Mental Health Counselor Social Worker
Director Of Social Work
7 Yearsyrs
Clinical Director Nurse Practitioner Nurse Manager
Emergency Services Director
8 Yearsyrs
Clinical Supervisor Nursing Director Case Manager
Family Case Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Psychotherapist Clinical Director Career Manager
Health Care Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Outpatient Physical Therapist Clinician Clinical Director
Health Director
9 Yearsyrs
Medical Social Worker Registered Nurse Occupational Health Nurse
Health Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Outpatient Physical Therapist Clinical Supervisor Clinical Director
Outpatient Services Director
9 Yearsyrs
Clinician Assistant Director Social Worker
Social Services Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Clinician Clinical Social Worker
Social Work Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Child And Family Therapist?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Clinical Therapist 2.9 years
Lead Therapist 2.9 years
Family Therapist 2.8 years
Therapist 2.7 years
Clinical Counselor 2.6 years
Family Counselor 2.3 years
Health Therapist 2.3 years
In Home Therapist 2.1 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 16.3%
Therapist 8.9%
Clinician 5.7%
Counselor 4.6%
Teacher 3.7%
Volunteer 3.4%
Top Employers After
Therapist 14.6%
Clinician 8.0%
Counselor 5.7%
Internship 2.6%

Do you work as a Child And Family Therapist?

Child And Family Therapist Demographics

Gender

Female

79.8%

Male

17.6%

Unknown

2.7%
Ethnicity

White

65.6%

Hispanic or Latino

13.1%

Black or African American

9.8%

Asian

7.7%

Unknown

3.8%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

57.4%

French

12.8%

Portuguese

6.4%

Italian

6.4%

Swedish

4.3%

Danish

2.1%

German

2.1%

Malay

2.1%

Tigrinya

2.1%

Mandarin

2.1%

Arabic

2.1%
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Child And Family Therapist Education

Schools

Arizona State University

10.9%

Portland State University

9.0%

Boston College

5.8%

Capella University

5.8%

Barry University

5.1%

Smith College

5.1%

University of Phoenix

5.1%

New York University

4.5%

University of Southern California

4.5%

Northern Arizona University

4.5%

University of Washington

4.5%

Seattle University

4.5%

University of Louisville

4.5%

Naropa University

4.5%

University of Wisconsin Extension

3.8%

Florida State University

3.8%

University of Central Florida

3.8%

Lesley University

3.8%

George Fox University

3.2%

Walla Walla University

3.2%
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Majors

Social Work

30.8%

Counseling Psychology

13.0%

School Counseling

12.1%

Mental Health Counseling

10.5%

Family Therapy

7.3%

Psychology

6.3%

Clinical Psychology

5.5%

Rehabilitation Science

3.0%

Education

1.7%

Sociology

1.2%

Nursing

1.1%

Human Services

1.1%

Elementary Education

0.9%

Human Development

0.9%

Educational Leadership

0.9%

Public Health

0.8%

Business

0.8%

Physical Therapy

0.8%

Criminal Justice

0.7%

General Education, Specific Areas

0.5%
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Degrees

Masters

75.8%

Other

7.2%

Bachelors

6.6%

Doctorate

6.4%

Certificate

3.0%

Associate

0.7%

License

0.2%
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Internship
Temporary

Real Child And Family Therapist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Bilingual Individual, Child & Family Therapist Lucrecia V. Suarez G, LCSW PC, DBA Conexiones Portland, OR Oct 01, 2013 $48,606
Individual, Child and Family Therapist Lucrecia V. Suarez G. LCSW P.C. DBA Conexiones Portland, OR Oct 02, 2009 $42,241
Individual, Child and Family Therapist Lucrecia V. Suarez G., LCSW, P.C. DBA Conexiones Portland, OR Oct 02, 2009 $42,241
Bilingual Individual, Child & Family Therapist Lucrecia V. Suarez G, LCSW PC, DBA Conexiones Portland, OR Oct 01, 2012 $41,197
Child and Family Therapist Child and Adolescent Treatment Services Inc. Cheektowaga, NY Dec 09, 2016 $37,230
Child and Family Therapist Child and Adolescent Treatment Services Inc. Buffalo, NY Dec 09, 2016 $37,230
Bilingual Child & Family Therapist Child and Adolescent Treatment Services Buffalo, NY Nov 23, 2016 $36,500
Child and Family Therapist Child and Adolescent Treatment Services Buffalo, NY Sep 12, 2011 $36,075

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Top Skills for A Child And Family Therapist

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  1. Treatment Plans
  2. Intake Assessments
  3. Mental Health
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Developed and implemented effective individual treatment plans for youth with emotional and behavior problems.
  • Provided psycho diagnostic evaluation and intake assessments to children in office, community-based, and educational settings.
  • Coordinated integrated mental health care including case management, comprehensive evaluations/ assessments, and individualized treatment plans.
  • Sponsored ongoing training for TFC parents, engaged in clinical assessments for program placements and offered crisis intervention and clinical consultation/oversight.
  • Conducted group therapy sessions that focused on positive character development.

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Top Child And Family Therapist Employers

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