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Relationships First

Relationships  First

Gauri Chhabra

All human relationships experience stress and conflict and couple relationships are no exception to this rule. When couples experience relationship problems, many seek professional help through counseling and therapy services. Couples counselor evaluates relationship problems and offers strategies for resolving them using psychotherapy (also called “talk therapy”).

Couple’s therapy (or relationship therapy) is a subset of relationship counseling. It may differ from other forms of relationship counseling in various regards including its duration. Short term counseling may be between 1 and 3 sessions whereas long term couples therapy may be between 12 and 24 sessions. An exception is brief or solution focused couples therapy. In addition, counseling tends to be more ‘here and now’ and new coping strategies the outcome.
Marriage counseling is a fast emerging field and taking into consideration the lack of certified, educated professionals available in the city, we thought of coming up with this course. Marriage is one of the most important event in one’s life and in India, counseling is looked upon as a domain that can be taken up by anybody without prior education and understanding of the topic.
Marriage counselors are licensed therapists who treat couples and families. Also known as marriage and family therapists, or MFTs, they may provide counseling to adults, teenagers, and children in group or individual settings. To become licensed, MFTs must have master’s degrees in marriage and family therapy, psychology, or related mental health fields; however, some marriage counselors also pursue doctorates. Schools offering Marriage & Family Therapy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Getting in
The first step toward becoming a marriage counselor is to earn a bachelor’s degree with coursework in behavioral sciences. A marriage and family therapist career generally involves a good deal of education, much like other mental health and therapy careers. Individuals interested in pursuing marriage and family counseling careers will typically start by earning bachelor’s degrees in areas such as psychology, social work, or counseling. While earning this degree, students should focus taking courses on marriages and family situations.
Prerequisite classes in statistical analysis are also required for admission to many psychology and marriage counseling master’s degree programs. After earning a graduate degree, licensure is required. Marriage and family therapists help people work through various relationship issues and clinical problems, such as mood disorders, depression, and anxiety.
Though a master’s degree is the minimum educational requirement for licensure, some MFTs also pursue a Doctor of Psychology. Most master’s degree programs take 2-3 years to complete; doctoral programs may take 3-5 years or longer. Master’s-level coursework often includes Interview and research techniques, Principles of parent-child counseling, Couples therapy and Chemical dependency and substance abuse.
Commonly, there are three options available for those who wish to enter the field as a marriage and family therapist:
* Master’s degree: 2-3 years to complete
* Doctoral program: 3-5 years to complete
* Postgraduate clinical training programs: 3-4 years to complete
Post Graduate Diploma in Counseling and Family Therapy (PGDCFT)
Minimum Duration: 1 Year
Maximum Duration: 4 Years
Eligibility:
Bachelor’s degree with specialization in subjects like Human Development and Family Studies, Child Development, Human Development and Childhood Studies, Child Development and Family Relationships, Home Science, Psychology, Social Work, Medicine or other allied disciplines. “Allied disciplines” include Anthropology, Sociology, Education, Philosophy, MBBS or equivalent qualification in Ayurveda, Unani, Sidha or Homeopathy Medicines, Nursing etc. from a recognized University.
Or
Bachelor’s degree with a higher degree in any of the above mentioned subjects or Bachelor’s Degree along with a Post Graduate Diploma in Guidance and Counselling from a recognized University.
Master of Science in Counseling and Family Therapy (MSCCFT)
Minimum Duration: 2 Years
Maximum Duration: 5 Years
Eligibility:
Bachelor’s degree with specialization in subjects like Human Development and Family Studies, Child Development, Human Development and Childhood Studies, Child Development and Family Relationships, Home Science, Psychology, Social Work, Medicine or other allied disciplines. “Allied disciplines” include Anthropology, Sociology, Education, Philosophy, MBBS or equivalent qualification in Ayurveda, Unani, Sidha or Homeopathy Medicines, Nursing etc. from a recognized University.
Or
Bachelor’s degree with a higher degree in any of the above mentioned subjects or Bachelor’s e along with a Post Graduate Diploma in Guidance and Counselling from a recognized University.
Medium: English
Institutes offering online degree program in US:
* Walden University offers online master’s (MS) in Marriage, couple and family counseling.
* Regent University offers online master’s (M.A.) in Marriage, couple & Family counseling.
* Capella University offers MS in marriage & Family counseling / therapy degree program
* Amridge University offers an online program in Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy
* Touro University Worldwide (TUW) offers an online graduate degree in marriage and family therapy
* Northcentral University offers a COAMFTE accredited Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy
Institutes offering online degree program in India:
* Royale Institute, Pondicherry offering online certificate in Marriage and Family Counseling for 3 months duration
* Tata Institute of Social Sciences Mumbai offers Certificate Programme in Couple and Family Therapy
* Urban India Ministries Bangalore offers post Graduate one-year Post-Graduate Diploma course in Family & Marriage Counseling and 6-months certificate program in family and marriage counseling
* Indira Gandhi National Open University Delhi offers Master of Science in Counselling and Family Therapy (MSCCFT)
* Pune City-based Baya Karve Women’s Study Centre (BKWSC) has introduced a certificate course in marriage counseling.
What Does a Marriage and Family Therapist Do?
Although most families have problems and many of them have frequent arguments, it can often be hard to pinpoint the underlying causes of these arguments. This, however, is often one of the first duties of a marriage and family therapist. In order to do so, a marriage and family therapist will first need to meet and talk with all members of a family involved in the therapy. Most of the time, the therapist will meet with the couple or family together. Depending on the nature of the problem and the family situation, they may meet just with a married couple or with the family as a whole. This can help them see how each family member reacts to the others. In some circumstances, however, a therapist may choose to meet with members of a family separately.
During therapy sessions, talking is usually the job of the family members rather than the therapist. A marriage and family therapist will often do more listening than talking during these meetings. The therapist will also watch the members of a family closely for non-verbal body language, or clues to where certain problems may lie. For instance, a marriage and family therapist that witnesses a teenager rolling her eyes might deduce that actions such as these might make her parents feel disrespected.
After discovering some possible underlying causes of major problems in a family, a marriage and family therapist can then help the family as a whole work through their issues. The therapist will often offer guidance and advice to frustrated family members, for instance, or he might teach them how to communicate more effectively.
If you’re looking to become a marriage and family therapist, keep in mind that you won’t be the magic cure that ends all arguments in a household. Arguing is part of being in a family; it just comes with the territory. Instead of teaching families how to stop arguing, as a marriage and family therapist, you’ll help them learn to communicate more effectively, work through their differences, and become a stronger family unit – even if that does involve an occasional argument.
Where would you work?
Marriage and family therapists might work in a number of different settings. This might include social service offices, or community and mental health facilities.Many marriage and family therapists, however, choose to open their own private practices. In doing so, married couples and families can seek out their services and meet in the therapists’ offices. A few marriage and family therapists might even make house calls, which involve visiting a household to observe the living situation.
The Road Ahead:
It is being predicted that career employment for marriage and family therapists is expected to grow much faster than average as more people turn to professionals to help them cope with relationship and family issues and the stress of daily obstacles such as depression, substance abuse, behavioral problems and infidelity, among others.Employment of marriage and family therapists is expected to grow 20 percent through 2026, which is much faster than the national average for all occupations. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.
Therefore, if you are interested in helping couples and families strengthen their bonds and build healthier relationships with each other, a career in marriage and family therapy may be the right choice for you. So, step up and make the choice to build relationships.

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