Qualifications for a marriage counselor

Becoming a marriage counsellor can be a rewarding job that allows the counsellor to help people in struggling relationships rekindle their passion. Marriage counsellors are referred to as Marriage and Family Therapists. They are educated on family systems and psychotherapy and become licensed to diagnose and treat emotional and mental problems that are plaguing a marriage. People who become marriage counsellors are concerned about the well being and emotional growth of those in committed relationships. Marriage counsellors enter the field with the anticipation of helping broken marriages get pieced together again through therapeutic sessions. There are certain qualifications that must be met before a person can begin to practice as a marriage counsellor. Prospective counsellors can choose from several options that will put them on the road to marriage counselling.

Marriage Counselors and Internships

The first step in becoming a marriage counsellor is to find a great internship or volunteer opportunity. Getting pre-degree clinical experience can help the prospective marriage counsellor get into a great graduate school program. Graduate programs want to know that an individual understands how to work with people efficiently and having clinical experience beforehand will assure the program that the person has interpersonal skills. An internship will also provide a person with the research experience many programs are looking for in prospective students.

Educational Requirements For Marriage Counselors

The next step in becoming a marriage counsellor is the pursuit of a master's degree. Assuming the individual already has a four-year degree from an accredited college or university, a master's degree takes two or three years to obtain. Another option is pursuing a doctoral program for three to five years, which extends the time it takes to start practicing as a counsellor, but gives the new counsellor a more in depth knowledge of the field. A PhD is not a requirement for a marriage counsellor.

Learn About a Broad Range of Psychological Problems

The third step in becoming a marriage counsellor is to learn about different psychological problems. In order to qualify to be a marriage counsellor, an individual must be comfortable treating a broad range of problems outside of marital quarrels. Some of those problems might include substance abuse, past sexual abuse, and a broad range of emotional disorders.

Marriage Counselors Need Post-Degree Clinical Experience

The last step before a person becomes a marriage counsellor is to gain post-degree clinical experience. Every new counsellor must go through two years of post-degree supervised clinical experience before he or she can become licensed. A supervised clinical experience allows a counsellor to work one-on-one with patients and develop their own techniques for administering therapy. Once the clinical experience is complete, a licensing exam issued by the state must be taken.

Continue Professional Development

One of the best things that a new marriage counsellor can do is join a professional organisation. The Association for Marriage and Family Therapy is the most prestigious organisation in the world of marriage counselling. Joining the right organisation can increase an individual's chances for professional development. Membership in excellent organisations also increases a counsellor credibility and chances for success.

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