Could You Be a Marriage Counselor?
If you’re someone who likes problem solving and enjoys helping people, you might find you are a good candidate to work as a marriage counselor. Whether you decide to work from a private practice, large employer or social service agency, you may find that there many benefits to this line of work. From reasonable pay, the ability to work for yourself, or the fulfillment you find in your work, there are many reasons why you might want to consider a role as a marriage counselor.
Type of Work
As a marriage counselor, you will likely find yourself working with couples and individuals on a variety of issues. You won’t just be dealing with husbands and wives who can’t seem to get along. There is a multitude of other issues that can work themselves into the sessions of a marriage counselor. These might include the passing of a spouse, drug use or abuse, depression, and similar or related issues. This can mean that your daily or weekly schedule isn’t comprised of just listening to people complain about one another. Instead, you might find people with a variety of interesting issues that you can use your background knowledge, education, and understanding of people to help better cope with their or their spouse’s problems.
The great part, and possibly the hardest part of being a marriage counselor, is that while you are helping others with their problems, they may be depending on you to resolve these same issues. If or when you successfully guide a patient or patients to a resolution to his or her conflict, it can be a highly fulfilling experience and may cause you to remember exactly why you chose this line of work. Seeing a couple reunited after marital strife, seek substance abuse treatment, deal with the mental scars of an abusive relationship, and even part ways in an amicable manner, can be the real compensation for a career as a marriage counselor.
Fulfillment…or lack thereof
As a counselor however, you must be prepared to encounter situations that are not easily solved, may take weeks or months to work though, and may never be completely resolved. This aspect of the work however, can be the motivator to push yourself to succeed and work harder to education yourself on new and expanding methods of treatment. Not every session or even every day will be a resounding success when it comes to solving other peoples’ problems. You won’t be some kind of magical miracle worker that is able to snap his or her fingers together and create a solution to issues that may have been brewing for years.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were approximately 27,300 marriage and family counselors in the labor market as of 2008 and that “A growing number of counselors are self-employed and work in group practices or private practice…” The employment prospects for counselors are positive, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting an 18% increase in overall employment for counselors between 2008 and 2018. The median pay for marriage counselors and family therapists in May 2008 was $44,590 although pay and benefits can vary greatly between members of private practice and those working through services or institutions.
Many schools offer programs in marriage and family therapy, and it’s even possible to earn your master’s or doctorate in marriage counseling through an online college. For a list of schools, check out the Marriage Counseling Schools directory to see what’s available.