"A long marriage is two people trying to dance a duet and two solos at the same time." ~Anne Taylor Fleming. This quote beautifully describes the art of multitasking involved in a marriage. Some couples can deal with this and others cannot – or at least not without help. And help comes in the form of a marriage counselor or a therapist! But, why call a therapist? Who’s to blame? Changing lifestyles, stress induced behavioural patterns, financial issues and the challenges of parenting are some of the reasons why partners need help. A major strain in relationships is caused if the pain eats the couple from inside. Now you, as a matrimonial counselor, would have to sort out a few problems that you don’t know about (keeping in mind, that you might have your own!). Other than leading a happy life, helping others have a good life is probably one of the best feelings. If you think you have good convincing and listening skills, then you also have a career path in front of you! Wondering what you need to do to be a therapist and then as a therapist? Read further to answer all your queries:
Becoming A Marriage Counselor
The correct way to go about it is to finish your 10+2 education in any field. It is preferred that you do your pre-university in ‘arts and humanities’ so that studying psychology later isn’t difficult for you. This is usually done in case if your plan includes a full-on psychology degree as against a certificate course. Obtaining a bachelor’s degree in any other field is also not an issue but, if you are still undecided as to what to do, take up gender studies, family psychology etc as your optionals. Next, get a master’s degree in ‘marriage and family counseling’ certified by the National Board of Certified Counselors. This degree is a must if you wish to enter this field. It is typically a 1, 2 or 3 year program depending on the country of study. The modules cover adolescent and teenage psychology along with theories, principles and techniques of counseling, etc.
Counseling Association – To practice any profession, you need a license. Same goes with a marriage therapist. Counselling associations give you the permission for marital counseling and any further internship. But remember, for this you might need an undergraduate/postgraduate degree depending upon the country you are operating from.
Certificate Courses – If you do not have a basic undergraduate degree, then there are various certified modules in human interaction and psychology that you can take up.. Make sure that you obtain these qualifications from a certified and accredited university.
Internships – If you want to get a hands-on experience in the field then look for internships and volunteer opportunities that work on the lines of distress, peer management and mental healthcare.
Workshops And Conferences – Attending workshops and conferences is not mandatory but it helps you stay updated with the current problems faced by married couples and their possible solutions.Such congregations also make you aware of the several questions and situations you can be posed with.
Being emotionally and mentally sound is important. Try not to get easily carried away with the problem or cry along with the couple.
Being patient and listening to the struggling couple’s problem, as if it were your own, is the key.
The ability to give morally and ethically sound suggestions and advice is another skill you can't do without. For this, you need to read up on the subject extensively.
A positive attitude and approach goes a long way too.
Having a respectful attitude towards the couple and their children, if any, is also a must.
You must neither be overly loud nor too soft – keep your modulations balanced!
Language skills – having a good command over a regional language as well as English helps.
Roles And Responsibilities
The major role of a counselor or a therapist is suggested in the name itself – to help married couples resolve their disputes using tested techniques. Emotional conflicts, child problems, domestic violence, infidelity, substance abuse and infertility issues etc need to be assessed professionally. One of the major responsibilities of a therapist is to change the couple’s perception to the problem they are facing either by communicating well or by taking charge of the crisis.
There is scope for this job as long as there are marriages! It is a very in-demand profession that has only seen a rise in the current years. Research predicts a further rise of about 30% in this field by 2016. A constant and thorough learning in this field keeps you updated with the latest methods and trends in marriage counseling. You can start as an apprentice and later join hands with any of the big psychological clinics dealing with marital problems or operate as a freelancer.
The job of a career marriage counselor is a painstaking one and requires immense mental strength. The above write-up gives you all the preparatory details in the hope that you shall benefit from it!