Marriage and Family Therapy (MS)
What is A Marriage and Family Therapy (MS) Degree?
Psychology is the scientific study of human behavior and mental processing. Counseling Psychology focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of healthy people who are suffering from psychological problems—problems of adjustment in life, loss of a job, spouse, loved one, difficulties with a relationship, substance abuse, etc.—that are less serious than a psychosis or severe mental disorder. Marriage and family therapists treat some of the same problems as Counseling Psychologists and Counselors, however, their perspective is that of the family. These therapists look at family dynamics and how individual members of the family act and interact with other family members. Many times, if there is one family member who is struggling with a life issue, the whole family is playing some kind of role in reinforcing the family member’s problem—they’re rewarding the bad behavior. This can cause the whole family to be in uproar.
To apply to an MS degree program in Marriage and Family Therapy you’ll need to have a Bachelor’s degree in psychology or another social science, although promising candidates in other fields may be accepted. You’ll study research and statistics, psychopathology, child psychopathology, psychological testing, systems of psychotherapy, and specialized marriage and family course subjects like therapy for couples and families, social justice, parenting education, and culture and diversity in family therapy. Depending on where you are located, you’ll probably need to do supervised work for a prescribed amount of time and sit for a licensure exam to be a licensed therapist.
The video below discusses a “typical” program, so it should help regardless of which school you are considering.