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What qualities best work with being a marriage and family counselor?

I am not that great at giving people advice but I have a really strong passion for wanting to help marriages or families in trouble. I'd like to do whatever I can ( ethically) to assist these individuals, couples, and any others to be fulfilling but right now I'm just not strong in that area. counseling-psychology family-therapy marriage-therapist marriage-counselor

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Jill’s Answer

You are off to a great start! You sound passionate about helping those who need help in the area of marriage and family counseling. Next, try speaking to a family counselor about their job. Perhaps your school has a psychologist on staff. Next, I would take a psychology course to see if the subject matter is interesting to you. You might also want to take a child development class. Characteristics you will need are great listening skills, remaining neutral in a conflict, seeing both sides of a story and not making judgements. You will need an undergraduate degree in psychology and earn a certificate in Family and Marriage counseling. Go to Occupational Outlook Hand Book On line and look at what the requirements are, the specifics of the job, and the outlook for the position. Good luck.

Thanks, this really helps. Angela A.

You're quite welcome! Jill Hoff

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Nancy’s Answer


Jill gave good advice. Another way is to become a social worker or professional counselor. There are master's degrees in social work or counseling that can prepare you for similar work. A bachelor's degree in social work can help you prepare for getting a job in state and local agencies, relating to helping families, but not for doing actual marriage and family therapy.

It is good to know that what you learn in college is more than giving advice--it will teach you how and why problems develop and how to help a person or family make a change.

If you find it is not in your nature to be a patient listener or to be objective or to even handle people getting irritated with you sometimes, there are other ways to work to help families in crisis besides counseling or therapy.

Working at certain charities, such as women's shelters, human services such as food banks or community centers, or state/local government social services departments such as child and family services, also help families.

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Roland’s Answer

Being a good listener and staying impartial. You can’t add personal feels into your suggestions for others lives. Stick to the facts and remember these people are counting on your help.

Thank you, I will remember this. Angela A.