What does a Mental Health Counselor or Marriage and Family Therapist do?What does a Mental Health Counselor or Marriage and Family Therapist do?

Mental Health | Family Therapist ★ Find a College

A mental health counselor or marriage and family therapist helps individuals, couples and/or families overcome problems, such as, emotional disorders, mental disorders or relationship issues. They dialog with clients, both listening and asking questions, to proceed with strategies that will help the person or person's understand their problems and go forward with needed counseling for improvement and healing.

Become a Mental Health Counselor or Marriage and Family Therapist

A master's degree in psychology, social work, counseling or marriage and family therapy is required. Some employer's require a Ph.D, M.D., or J.D. (law degree). You would also need a license in your state of residency. Extensive skill, knowledge and experience in a related field is expected with as much as 5 years. Some places will give on-the-job training, but normally, it is assumed that the experience is already acquired.

Job Description of a Mental Health Counselor or Marriage and Family Therapist

A mental health counselor or marriage and family therapist evaluates, diagnose and treat emotional and mental disorders in individuals, families or within the context of couples. In treating diagnosed mental disorders and nervous disorders or other emotional issues, they apply family systems theories and psychotherapeutic techniques. They often confer with professionals, such as, doctors and other counselor's to help analyze the client's problems and coordinate the proper counseling service. They determine if an individual or individuals' need additional or other specialists, such as, psychiatry, legal aid or medicines.

He or she assists a client to identify their problem and deal with their behaviors or feelings. They develop techniques, like, interviewing, observation, discussion and testing to gather important information about an individual, couple or family. A treatment program is developed and applied to treat destructive behavior patterns, family relationship problems and personal issues. A mental health counselor or marriage and family therapist follows the progress of any treatment program and/or therapy by maintaining case files to determine the effectiveness and results of their programs.

A knowledge of phycology, therapy, counseling, philosophy and theology is needed in this occupation, as well as, anthropology and sociology. The knowledge of medicines to be applied to treatment and/or therapy would be needed. One would require the ability to have both oral comprehension and expression in order to understand others and to be understood. You should apply inductive and deductive reasoning to the job and have solid abilities in problem sensitivity.

A mental health counselor or marriage and family therapist would maintain interpersonal relationships and help others to improve their skills and knowledge by identifying the development needs they have and mentor, coach and encourage them. Most people in this occupation work in private practice or in mental health centers on a full-time basis.