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Marriage and Family Counseling Degree Concentration

Students in the Marriage and Family Counseling Concentration will receive specialized training in treating the family unit or an individual through the lens of the relationships they hold with others.

Marriage and Family Counseling Student Learning Objectives

  1. Develop and demonstrate understanding of the major models used in couples and family counseling and applying systems thinking in case formulation.
  2. Develop proficiency in the skills and techniques of systems-oriented counseling approaches and their use in work with couples and families.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to assess a client system’s resources and constraints through the various perspectives including organization, sequences, development, multicultural, gender, and internal family system and select appropriate intervention strategies.

What is a marriage and family counselor?

Counselors trained in marriage and family therapy are licensed mental health professionals who are trained in psychotherapy and family systems to treat mental, behavioral and emotional disorders within the context of marriage, couples, and family systems—even if only a single person is a client. Counselors trained in marriage and family therapy adopt the belief that in order for an individual to change, their system must change.

What courses are required for the marriage and family counseling degree concentration?

The Marriage and Family Counseling Concentration requires 60 credit hours of coursework. In addition to the core counseling curriculum, students in this concentration take the following courses:

  • Child, Adolescent and Family Issues in Substance Use Disorders*
  • Advanced Interventions in Marriage, Couples and Family Counseling*
  • Psychotherapeutic Aspects of Human Sexuality*
  • Introduction to Marriage and Family Counseling (core course)
  • A specialized field experience at a site that services marriage, children, families, and/or couples

*Required course for marriage and family therapy counselors.

What topics do counselors trained in marriage and family therapy address?

Counselors trained in marriage and family therapy often address the following topics:

  • Communication skills in relationships
  • LGBTGEQIAP+ (SAIGE) issues
  • Parental concerns
  • Marital or couple conflicts or discord
  • Sexual-related issues, concerns and disorders
  • Feelings of depression, anxiety or loneliness
  • Domestic and intimate partner violence (IPV)
  • Child and adolescent behavioral problems
  • Grieving
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Substance abuse

For more information about pay, job outlook and work environment, visit the Marriage and Family Therapists section of the Occupational Outlook Handbook.