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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

  • $50,000

    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 Career Paths

Child And Family Therapist
Therapist Massage Therapist Registered Nurse
Case Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Clinical Supervisor Nurse Manager Case Manager
Case Manager/Program Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Clinical Director Family Consultant Clinical Social Worker
Chief Of Service
7 Yearsyrs
Therapist Family Counselor Case Manager
Clinical Case Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Practitioner Communications Manager Communications Project Manager
Communications Program Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Clinician School Social Worker Medical Social Worker
Director Of Social Work
6 Yearsyrs
Clinician Program Manager
Director, Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
School Counselor Mental Health Specialist Child Protective Investigator
Family Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Clinical Social Worker Clinical Supervisor Nursing Director
Health Director
9 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Instructor Respiratory Therapist Health Care Specialist
Health Unit Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Clinical Director Managed Care Director Residence Director
Housing Director
6 Yearsyrs
Mental Health Therapist Clinical Supervisor Physical Therapist
Rehab Director
6 Yearsyrs
Outpatient Physical Therapist Clinical Therapist Program Supervisor
Residential Program Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Clinical Supervisor Nursing Director Case Manager
Senior Case Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Mental Health Therapist Clinical Social Worker
Senior Social Worker
6 Yearsyrs
Mental Health Clinician Treatment Coordinator Medicaid Service Coordinator
Service Coordinator/Case Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Clinical Social Worker Director Of Social Services Therapist
Therapist And Program Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Outpatient Physical Therapist Clinical Coordinator Registered Nurse Case Manager
Utilities Manager
8 Yearsyrs
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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 Careers Before Child And Family Therapist
Internship 16.3%
Therapist 8.9%
Clinician 5.7%
Counselor 4.6%
Teacher 3.7%
Volunteer 3.4%
Top Careers After Child And Family Therapist
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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Foreign 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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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

AVERAGE SALARY FOR A Child And Family Therapist

Average Yearly Salary
$50,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$36,000
Min 10%
$50,000
Median 50%
$50,000
Median 50%
$50,000
Median 50%
$50,000
Median 50%
$50,000
Median 50%
$50,000
Median 50%
$50,000
Median 50%
$70,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
PeaceHealth
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
Oregon
Avg Experience Level
2.5 years
How much does a Child And Family Therapist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Child And Family Therapist in the United States is $50,617 per year or $24 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $36,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $70,000.

How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Child And Family Therapist?

Have you worked as a Child And Family Therapist? Help other job seekers by rating your experience as a Child And Family Therapist.

Top Skills for A Child And Family Therapist

  1. Individual Therapy
  2. Treatment Plans
  3. Mental Health
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Conducted ongoing individual therapy sessions with residents as well as biweekly therapy groups with residents.
  • Developed and implemented effective individual treatment plans for youth with emotional and behavior problems.
  • Coordinated integrated mental health care including case management, comprehensive evaluations/ assessments, and individualized treatment plans.
  • Investigated family conflicts and developed and implemented practical solutions, decreasing calls for after-hours crisis intervention.
  • Conducted group therapy sessions that focused on positive character development.

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Top 10 Best States for Child And Family Therapists

  1. Maine
  2. Alaska
  3. Pennsylvania
  4. Idaho
  5. Colorado
  6. Hawaii
  7. Utah
  8. Minnesota
  9. Rhode Island
  10. New Jersey
  • (43 jobs)
  • (25 jobs)
  • (447 jobs)
  • (45 jobs)
  • (140 jobs)
  • (15 jobs)
  • (55 jobs)
  • (198 jobs)
  • (40 jobs)
  • (122 jobs)

Top Child And Family Therapist Employers

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