Summary Report for:
21-1013.00 - Marriage and Family Therapists
Diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, whether cognitive, affective, or behavioral, within the context of marriage and family systems. Apply psychotherapeutic and family systems theories and techniques in the delivery of services to individuals, couples, and families for the purpose of treating such diagnosed nervous and mental disorders.
Sample of reported job titles: Advanced Clinical Specialist, Clinical Services Director, Clinical Therapist, Clinician, Counselor, Family Therapist, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT), Psychotherapist, Therapist
Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Ask questions that will help clients identify their feelings and behaviors.
- Counsel clients on concerns, such as unsatisfactory relationships, divorce and separation, child rearing, home management, or financial difficulties.
- Encourage individuals and family members to develop and use skills and strategies for confronting their problems in a constructive manner.
- Maintain case files that include activities, progress notes, evaluations, and recommendations.
- Develop and implement individualized treatment plans addressing family relationship problems, destructive patterns of behavior, and other personal issues.
- Collect information about clients, using techniques such as testing, interviewing, discussion, or observation.
- Confer with clients to develop plans for posttreatment activities.
- Confer with other counselors, doctors, and professionals to analyze individual cases and to coordinate counseling services.
- Determine whether clients should be counseled or referred to other specialists in such fields as medicine, psychiatry, or legal aid.
- Follow up on results of counseling programs and clients' adjustments to determine effectiveness of programs.
- Write evaluations of parents and children for use by courts deciding divorce and custody cases, testifying in court if necessary.
- Provide instructions to clients on how to obtain help with legal, financial, and other personal issues.
- Provide public education and consultation to other professionals or groups regarding counseling services, issues, and methods.
- Gather information from doctors, schools, social workers, juvenile counselors, law enforcement personnel, and others to make recommendations to courts for resolution of child custody or visitation disputes.
- Supervise other counselors, social service staff, and assistants.
- Provide family counseling and treatment services to inmates participating in substance abuse programs.
- Accounting software — Intuit QuickBooks
- Data base user interface and query software — Microsoft Access
- Electronic mail software — Microsoft Outlook
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Medical software — Anasazi Software Client Data System; Blueberry Harbor Software Clinical Record Keeper; SumTime Software SumTime; Synergistic Office Solutions SOS Case Manager (see all 20 examples)
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
- Building blocks — Toy block sets
- Desktop computers
- Doll houses
- Laser printers — Computer laser printers
- Notebook computers — Laptop computers
- Personal computers
- Personal digital assistant PDAs or organizers — Personal digital assistants PDA
- Photocopiers — Photocopying equipment
- Special purpose telephones — Multi-line telephone systems
- Stuffed animals or puppets — Hand puppets
- Videoconferencing systems — Videoconferencing equipment
- Therapy and Counseling — Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
- Psychology — Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Sociology and Anthropology — Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
- Philosophy and Theology — Knowledge of different philosophical systems and religions. This includes their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and their impact on human culture.
- Medicine and Dentistry — Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
- Operations Analysis — Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Management of Personnel Resources — Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Speed of Closure — The ability to quickly make sense of, combine, and organize information into meaningful patterns.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
Detailed Work Activities
- Counsel clients or patients regarding personal issues.
- Counsel clients regarding interpersonal issues.
- Teach life skills or strategies to clients or their families.
- Maintain client records.
- Develop treatment plans for patients or clients.
- Collect information about clients.
- Interview clients to gather information about their backgrounds, needs, or progress.
- Confer with clients to discuss treatment plans or progress.
- Collaborate with other professionals to assess client needs or plan treatments.
- Supervise workers providing client or patient services.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of counseling or educational programs.
- Monitor clients to evaluate treatment progress.
- Write reports or evaluations.
- Help clients get needed services or resources.
- Advise others on social or educational issues.
- Lead classes or community events.
- Present social services program information to the public.
- Counsel clients or patients with substance abuse issues.
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 99% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 99% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 84% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Electronic Mail — 86% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 30% responded “More than half the time.”
- Time Pressure — 35% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 14% responded “Important.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 44% responded “Every day.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 53% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 44% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 44% responded “Some freedom.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 34% responded “Important results.”
- Letters and Memos — 60% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Deal With External Customers — 39% responded “Extremely important.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 62% responded “Very important.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 53% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 23% responded “Limited responsibility.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 46% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Physical Proximity — 53% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 25% responded “Fairly important.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 48% responded “Limited responsibility.”
- Deal With Physically Aggressive People — 32% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
|Title||Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).|
|Related Experience||Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.|
|Job Training||Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Examples include librarians, lawyers, astronomers, biologists, clergy, surgeons, and veterinarians.|
|SVP Range||(8.0 and above)|
Interest code: SAI Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
- Artistic — Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2018)||$24.08 hourly, $50,090 annual|
|Employment (2016)||42,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2016-2026)||Much faster than average (15% or higher)|
|Projected job openings (2016-2026)||5,700|
|Top industries (2016)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018 wage data and 2016-2026 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2016-2026). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
- American Association of Pastoral Counselors
- American Counseling Association
- American Family Therapy Academy
- American Psychological Association
- Association for Play Therapy
- EMDR International Association
- National Association of Forensic Counselors
- National Association of Social Workers
- National Board for Certified Counselors
- National Council on Family Relations
- National Register of Health Service Psychologists
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists