How to Get a Job as a Marriage and Family Therapist
Schooling is important, but all the training that a reputable program offers won’t compensate for interpersonal skills such as having empathy, patience and flexibility. “What I always tell people is that I am incredibly curious, which makes doing therapy wonderful,” Salinger says. “I get curious about what people say to me. I want to understand more.” Having the creativity to try various types of treatment options is also a bonus, he says. Being a good listener also helps.
But before sending out the first résumé, Salinger suggests to first “clean up your own backyard. Get your own therapy straightened out, and resolve the issues that are going to get in your way.” It’s counterproductive for a dedicated therapist to have a legion of unresolved personal issues that could block the ability to provide effective guidance.
|Upward Mobility||fair Average|
|Stress Level||poor High|
|Flexibility||good Above Average|
What is the Job Like?
Many therapists work at hospitals and outpatient care centers, but a lot of seasoned ones have entered into private practice. Salinger says a full-time therapist sees between 28 and 32 clients; he personally sees 38 for 50-minute sessions each. There is the possibility to work from home and establish your own client base. However, being your own boss means you’ll need to devise a marketing strategy to find prospective clients and handle the red tape of insurance companies and processing payment. There was a time when most of Salinger’s business came from the physician referrals. Now he says approximately 80 percent comes from Internet queries.
But both types of therapists provide a service that can translate into long hours (weekends and evenings to accommodate the schedules of working clients) and high stress (people who experience minimal to severe mental and emotional upheaval).
Last updated by Kimberly Castro.