Becoming a marriage counsellor can be a highly rewarding career, so if you are interested in helping married couples with relationship issues solve their marital problems and find the way forward towards a more harmonious spirit of togetherness, learn how to become a marriage counsellor.
How to become a marriage counsellor—what personal qualities do I need?
Becoming a counsellor in any field requires a few specific qualities. You should have a desire to help people and be interested in treating emotional problems. You must also be a good listener, have a well-developed sense of diplomacy, ethics, and be able to empathise with your clients. Lastly, you should be the kind of person who finds helping others rewarding, as being the peace broker in the middle of two warring people can be highly stressful at times.
How to become a marriage counsellor—what is the education path I should follow?
Students still at college with an interest in relationship and marriage counselling should make sure they take psychology and family courses. It is also useful to gain some kind of relevant experience in the counselling sector, so look for volunteer opportunities or internships in student counselling services, or put some time in with a telephone counselling service.
The accepted starting point for most careers in counselling is an undergraduate degree in psychology, sociology, or social work, but any degree in the social sciences or humanities sector would be an acceptable starting point. The next step would be a master’s degree or a doctoral qualification in marriage and family therapy to allow you to gain more in-depth knowledge in the subject.
As part of their education on marriage and relationship problems, marriage counsellors will also need to learn about other closely related issues such as substance abuse, sexual abuse, emotional and psychological disorders.
How to become a marriage counsellor—what clinical experience will I need?
Irrespective of what educational qualifications you gain during your years of training to become a marriage counsellor, you still need clinical experience before you can start practicing in the field. All marriage counsellors in the US need at least two years of supervised clinical experience before they can gain a license to operate as a marriage counsellor. You will be allowed to work with clients and gain valuable experience, but still remain under the supervision of a more experienced colleague. At the end of your period of supervised clinical experience, you will be able to sit an exam and then apply for a licence to operate as a marriage counsellor in your state.
What are the work opportunities for a marriage counsellor?
Marriage counselling is not an easy career for anybody and like any form of counselling, it can be a very stressful job at times, although it is also undoubtedly a rewarding one. But there are plenty of job opportunities for trained marriage counsellors. Joining a professional organization such as the Association for Marriage and Family Therapy will be highly beneficial for your career and will provide you with plenty of opportunities for professional development.