Have you ever had a conflict with a family member and felt that your relationship may be beyond repair?

A couple arguing with each other as they are guests on The Maury Povich Show.

This is where a family therapist comes in.

What does a family therapist do?

A family therapist works with individuals and families in the areas of communication, problem-solving, and conflict resolution in order to allow them to build and maintain healthy, fulfilling relationships.

A person lying on a couch in an office with a therapist saying,

What does a typical day as a family therapist look like?

The daily duties of a family therapist may vary depending upon their workplace, area of specialty, and client base.

Peanuts cartoon showing Snoopy the dog seeking 5 cents psychiatric help from a kid behind a makeshift booth.

Daily duties may include:

  • Meeting with prospective clients to identify their needs

  • Facilitating meetings with clients

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  • Leading discussion activities

  • Asking questions

  • Taking notes on client responses

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  • Completing session note reports

  • Researching various therapy techniques and practicing new skills

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  • Recommending psychiatrists and/or other mental health professionals as needed

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Quiz

Which item below is something that a family therapist would NOT do as part of their job?

What type of education do I need?

A classroom with a stack of books actively piling up representing education.

A licensed family therapist is required to:

  • Earn a master's degree from an institution with an accredited program related to mental health. Some practitioners continue their studies and go on to earn a doctoral degree.

  • Complete clinical hours under the direct supervision of an experienced family therapist.

  • Pass state licensing exams before starting independent practice.

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Where might a family therapist work?

A tall office building with many windows.

  • For a private practice

You'd work for an employer who would secure and distribute clients to you.

You'd likely work with a wide range of client types from individuals to couples, to families, all with a wide range of concerns.

Two people sitting in chairs talking on a rainy day. One person is holding an umbrella and taking notes.

  • As a private practitioner

You'd decide the type of clients (individuals, couples, and families, as well as types of client concerns) you'd like to work with. You'd also have the freedom to decide your work hours.

A school building.

  • For a school district

You'd work for either a public or a private school district providing family therapy support to students and their families.

A hospital with an ambulance, doctors, and patients in front of the building.

  • For a hospital or a rehabilitation facility

You'd work for a government or private facility supporting clients who are inpatients within that facility. This type of treatment would be on a short-term basis.

What can I expect to earn?

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The salary for a family therapist in the United States ranges between $39,000 to $77,000 (USD) per year.

The average salary is $51, 707 (USD) per year.

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The salary for a family therapist in Canada ranges from $45,000 to $55,000 (CAD) per year.

The average salary is $51,281 (CAD) per year.

You will love being a family therapist if you....

  • are passionate about helping other people

  • have good listening, communication, and inter-personal skills

  • are organized and good with time-management

  • see yourself as a lifelong learner

Kenan Thompson telling the audience of his show how much he loves his job.

You may want to look for a different career path if you...

  • have difficulty solving problems that don't have a clear solution

  • prefer to work alone

  • find it challenging to cope with stressful situations

  • prefer traditional work hours

Tom Goes to the Mayor gif with Tom writing

⚡Pick The Future Family Therapist

Flaticon IconLiz

  • Is an avid bookworm who loves cozying up with a good whodunnit novel

  • Is shy and doesn't enjoy being the center of attention

Flaticon IconAndy

  • Is a great listener and enjoys problem-solving

  • Volunteers at his local church with a youth mentoring group.

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Frank

  • Likes going on hikes and traveling

  • Enjoys meeting new people and being social

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Lucinda

  • Is creative and has good communication skills

  • Is absent-minded and disorganized

Quiz

Who would be the best fit for the role of a family therapist?

Take Action

Does it sound like a career as a family therapist might be the right path for you?

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If it sounds like a career as a family therapist might be the right path for you take the next steps to get started.

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This Byte has been authored by

SM

Sandi McKinney

Instructional Designer/eLearning Developer