How Do I Become a Family Consultant?

People with a sincere desire and interest to help families overcome the obstacles they face are often interested in learning how to become a family consultant. Consultants, also known as therapists, focus on improving the family dynamic by helping and guiding families toward resolving issues related to conflicts and communication. Counseling sessions typically involve all family members, although in some cases, only one or two family members may be present.

Responsibilities and Roles of a Family Consultant

A family consultant uses a number of counseling techniques in order to run a therapy session. These techniques are used to analyze and understand the dynamic among family members, stressing the relationship aspect rather than what is happening to each individual member. Family consultants analyze instances of prior or ongoing conflict to identify alternative ways that family members could have reacted and/or responded to a particular situation. They also identify patterns of interaction that may result in conflict and identify sources of conflict that appear to reoccur. Ultimately, the role of a family consultant is to guide the family and to help it stay together. The therapist uses a circular technique to look at a family’s problems instead of allocating individual causative factors or placing blame.

How to Become a Family Consultant

In order to become a family consultant, one must obtain a master’s degree in counseling or marriage and family therapy from an accredited university. Since practitioners are licensed in the state in which they practice, they must pass a state-administered examination. In order to sit for the licensure exam, aspiring counselors must complete an approved, supervised two-year clinical internship, and they must continue to take education courses in order to remain current and up-to-date on current changes within the practice and the profession.

Skills of a Family Consultant

Those who are wondering how to become a family consultant should also consider which personality traits are necessary for success in the field. Since a family consultant counsels clients who are often emotionally distraught, he or she must have high levels of compassion, empathy, and understanding. Family consultants must also have excellent people skills, communication skills, organizational skills, and listening skills. Each of these is important in order to understand the dynamic in each therapy session, and they are also vital to ensuring the success of the session for all members of the family.

Job Outlook for Family Consultants

Anyone interested in becoming a family therapist should keep in mind the job outlook for the profession. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the profession is expected to grow 23 percent between 2016 and 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. It is anticipated that 9,700 new jobs will be added during this time. Thus, the opportunity to develop and maintain a successful career in this field shows promise for the future. In 2017, the median pay for marriage and family therapists was $48,790 per year.

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Becoming a family therapist is one of the most rewarding positions in the field of counseling. By listening to a family’s problems, identifying causes of stress and other factors that could lead to a conflict, and guiding family members toward an appropriate resolution, the role of a family therapist is an important one in today’s ever-changing world. Those who are wondering how to become a family consultant should earn a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in the field of marriage and family counseling in order to secure the best possible career prospects.