Marriage and Family Therapists

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About the Job

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.

It is also Called

  • Group Counselor
  • Advanced Clinical Specialist
  • Behavior Therapist
  • Behavioral Analyst
  • Behavioral Specialist
  • Behavioral Therapist
  • Child and Family Counselor
  • Clinical Services Director
  • Clinical Therapist
  • Clinician

What They Do

  • Ask questions that will help clients identify their feelings and behaviors.
  • Counsel clients on concerns, such as unsatisfactory relationships, divorce and separation, child rearing, home management, and financial difficulties.
  • 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.
  • Develop and implement individualized treatment plans addressing family relationship problems, destructive patterns of behavior, and other personal issues.
  • Collect information about clients, using techniques such as testing, interviewing, discussion, and observation.
  • Confer with clients to develop plans for posttreatment activities.
  • Confer with other counselors, doctors, and professionals to analyze individual cases and to coordinate counseling services.
  • Determine whether clients should be counseled or referred to other specialists in such fields as medicine, psychiatry, and legal aid.
  • Follow up on results of counseling programs and clients' adjustments to determine effectiveness of programs.

Interests

People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: SAI.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Social interests, but also prefer Artistic and Investigative environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Relationships, but also value Independence and Achievement in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Education Required

Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).

LMI Region

Wages

In 2013, the average annual wage in New Jersey was $71,250 with most people making between $55,510 and $87,550

Outlook

During 2008, this occupation employed approximately 5,600 people in New Jersey. It is projected that there will be 5,600 employed in 2018.

This occupation will have approximately 120 job openings annually.