What Is Marriage and Family Therapy: How to Step into the Profession

By  //  May 23, 2023

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A therapist plays an integral role in the lives of families and couples struggling to move forward from past trauma or difficult circumstance.

Marriage and family therapy sessions encompass a variety of methods based on mental health and scientific research, and these are always carried out by a trained psychiatrist or therapist. Stepping into this role is rewarding, but it is sensible to understand the obligations before committing to this path. 

Typical Responsibilities

A therapist in this role will create a bespoke program of therapeutic interventions for the situation at hand. They will face a range of problems in their time in the role, and these could be anything from addressing deep-set problems within a marriage to repairing the attachment between a parent and child. The first step will be to respond to an inquiry, and this is when an overview of why the person seeking therapy needs support. From there, a decision can be made about the best way to proceed with treatment. While a lot of therapy is based around talking and discussion tasks, if children are a part of the session, there will also be a more integrated approach with play techniques in the mix.

What Skills Do I Need?

If you are considering this as a career path, there are certain skills you must possess. It demands an intuitive mind that is capable of deciphering fact from fiction and mapping out constructive routes toward healing. There are three noticeable skills that determine the success of a therapist in training.


A large part of the therapy process focuses on establishing positive communication models; therefore, you must set the bar and exhibit these skills during every session. 


Effective communication practices depend on the ability to listen and absorb information. A great listener hears the words, but also reads the nuances of a conversation and hears the things that people are not saying too. 


People come to therapy to find resolution and neutrality. Therefore, during the time you spend meeting families and people, the main agenda will always return to finding ways forward. This means you must be adept at solving ‘problems’ in this context. 

Routes of Access

Finding the most suitable route for therapist training requires research. Typically, therapists and similar professions will be required to hold at least a Master’s level qualification like an lmft degree. This is to ensure they have sufficient experience, knowledge, and introspection capacity to successfully respect the responsibilities of the role. Paths like this will provide you with sufficient experience to explore your unique skillsets and are also a fantastic way to get to know the most up-to-date techniques. You won’t be able to legitimately practice without this type of qualification, so pick your path and get engaged if this is the career that you want. 

Marriage and family therapy is a safe space for couples and families to discuss barriers to mental well-being in their homes. There are lots of reasons they may come to your door, from divorce to grief, and all they will be searching for is help, support, and neutrality.