Thomas Jefferson UniversityJefferson School of Health Professions

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Couple & Family Therapy Outlook

Most students want to know, "what can I do after I graduate from the program?" The answers might surprise you. Once an MFT degree is earned (in just two years!), you are able to:

  • practice therapy (most people assume that it takes many more years of study) and make a significant difference in people’s lives
  • join an agency, school or business-setting
  • start an independent therapy practice
  • enjoy work/life balance (many therapists create their own hours in a fashion that works for them.. and flex them up and down as their own lives change)

According to the Bureau of Labor Statics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, employment of mental health counselors is expected to grow by 36 percent from 2010 to 2020. The types of settings in which they work has grown as well. Couple and family therapists are employed in a variety of settings such as:

  • hospitals
  • schools
  • mental health and social service agencies
  • colleges and universities
  • research centers
  • courts and prisons
  • employee assistance programs
  • private practice

Couple and family therapists are highly trained mental health professionals who help clients solve a variety of relationship, emotional, behavioral, and health problems. Families turn to couple and family therapists for help in the areas of relational and marital conflict, divorce, sexuality, stepfamily development, parent-child relationships, the emotional impact of physical and mental illness, eating disorders, family violence and abuse, and many more. Couple and family therapists are trained to evaluate and treat these issues in the context of the important relationships in which they occur.

Core competencies and personal characteristics shared by successful couple and family therapists include:

  • a mastery of clinical theory
  • the ability to establish therapeutic alliances with multiple family members
  • the ability to implement a wide range of therapeutic strategies
  • personal maturity
  • strong professional ethics

As the need for mental health professionals continues to grow - as the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics suggests - couple and family therapists will enjoy increasing opportunities. According to the AAMFT’s latest survey, the average salary for couple and family therapists ranges from $33,000 for new clinicians to over $50,000 for those with more experience.