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Marriage and Family Therapist

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Master's degree

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What They Do

Marriage and Family Therapists Career Video

About This Career

Diagnoses and treats mental and emotional disorders, whether cognitive, affective, or behavioral, within the context of marriage and family systems. Applies 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.

This career is part of the Human Services cluster Counseling and Mental Health Services pathway.

A person in this career:

  • Encourages individuals and family members to develop and use skills and strategies for confronting their problems in a constructive manner.
  • Asks questions that will help clients identify their feelings and behaviors.
  • Develops and implements individualized treatment plans addressing family relationship problems, destructive patterns of behavior, and other personal issues.
  • Maintains case files that include activities, progress notes, evaluations, and recommendations.
  • Counsels clients on concerns, such as unsatisfactory relationships, divorce and separation, child rearing, home management, or financial difficulties.
  • Collects information about clients, using techniques such as testing, interviewing, discussion, or observation.
  • Confers with clients to develop plans for posttreatment activities.
  • Confers with other counselors, doctors, and professionals to analyze individual cases and to coordinate counseling services.
  • Determines whether clients should be counseled or referred to other specialists in such fields as medicine, psychiatry, or legal aid.
  • Provides instructions to clients on how to obtain help with legal, financial, and other personal issues.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would sit most of the time. There's some walking and standing. You may have to lift and carry things like books, papers or tools weighing 10 lbs. or less.
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Clinical Therapist
  • Counselor
  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)
  • Human Relations Counselor
  • Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
  • Marriage and Family Counselor
  • Outpatient Therapist
  • Play Therapist


  • Email Support
  • 1-800-GO-TO-XAP (1-800-468-6927)
    From outside the U.S., please call +1 (424) 750-3900
  • North Dakota Career Resource Network
    ndcrn@nd.gov | (701) 328-9733