Families have become very dynamic in the recent years. This situation is attributed to the fact that people do not subscribe to the old traditional families only anymore. There are all kinds of families now including; blended families, single parented families and families with same-sex parents. For this reason there are all sorts of dysfunction in the families that warrant family counselors. A family counselor gives guidance and counseling to couples and families. They can also help people in groups who attend group therapy together. Some of the area of focus includes domestic violence where they help couples that are in abusive marriages. Abuse can be a cause of major problems to the people involved and they may need to be advised on how to leave the situation and adaptation required. Grieving, depression and anxiety are highly related and are a cause of disruption off healthy lives. LGBTQ problems and raised conflict with this that come out being victims of violence and stigma.
A family counselor needs to attain a degree in counseling and psychology. They can also do a certain level in sociology or social work. A masters degree is an added advantage as it gives one an edge towards being a good marriage and family therapist. The process is to start an undergraduate course and masters which takes two years to complete. Any course that deals with the well-being of human beings requires that the professional does a clinical experience that is supervised for a specified amount of time. Eventually the counselors have to take a state exam to make them legitimate in the particular area they intend to work. This certification is necessary because different states have different guidelines (Careers in Psychology, 2016)
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 36,960 therapists in the country in 2016. The increase of the employment is estimated at 3.1 percent annually. The minimum wage per hour is set to be twenty-six dollars making it $54090 per annum (2016). The rise of the salary is estimated at 1.4 percent. These estimates are for general practitioners however, the industry is large and some specific areas earn more than others and the employment trends are also different. The highest concentration of therapists is at outpatient care centers which had 6,060 therapists with the annual wage being $52,920 annually. Elementary and secondary schools are ranked as the best paying institutions with a yearly pay of $79,440 per year and only 330 therapists were employed in them in 2016.
New Jersey has the highest concentration of jobs compared to other states which is 4,080 employed therapists whereby it is estimated that for every thousand jobs available one is a therapist. The payment is $74,750 which is a relatively high pay in the profession. Alaska and Arizona also follow closely in the top paying states at $68,230 and $65,440 respectively. The metropolitan area that has a high concentration of jobs is Trento New Jersey which had a total of 360 employed therapists in 2016. They enjoy an hourly wage of approximately $36.61 that sums up to $76,150 therefore they are among the most paid counselors in the country.
The role of the counselor is to ensure a holistic approach towards wellness both mind and body. They monitor and observe the way people interact especially during group therapy. They also help to evaluate and resolve family and relationship problems. For clients that have crisis either after death of loved one or divorce from a partner it is the work of the counselor to assist them get through the transition state safely.
Some counselors work full time forty hours per week, especially those that work in public hospital and other institutions. Those with private practice work evening hours and over the weekends to accommodate the clients that could be busy during the day. Some of the patients may also require their personal therapists to travel to places that they may be and are facing challenging situations. For example a patient known to have a psychological problem that gets into problems in a different country or state.
Therapists work in different settings in mental facilities, in schools, I hospitals as well as private practice. Their work involves helping others out of intense situations. Listening to people talk about personal problems can take a toll on them as well. The environment can become toxic to them as they continue to help their patients. They spend long hours at work because some of them work in both private and public sectors. Burnout can be the resultant of this immense effort to help people. Some of the professional may become stressed and end up in similar situations as their patients. The effects of the work pressure can be depression substance abuse and some may develop suicidal tendencies. The patients therefore receive poor treatment which according to the standards of the profession it is unethical. It is therefore advisable for employers to subscribe to the employee assistance programs which are meant for counselors.
The profession is one that has enormous advantage on interpersonal relationships. The counselors meet many people who they become acquainted to even beyond the workplaces where situations allow. The provisions of work can become risky due to the fact that most of the sessions are one to one. The patients that are violent can attack the caregiver. The counselors also get the benefit of working with other therapists and general health care providers especially those that work in hospitals.
Family counseling is a good profession to take in school. I consider myself an empathetic person and listening to other individuals who have problems does not give me pleasure rather I am motivated to help them get better. I feel that I am personally gifted in interpersonal relationships. Being a problem solver gives me an advantage towards dealing with people. My friends have always said that I am a dependable person that they can rely on when they have person problems. I have been a peer counselor in my school which has given me an opportunity to work with my friends and schoolmates. Some of the issues that are dealt with during peer counseling have given me an exposure as to what to expect when I become a family counselor. A family counselor is a children advocate as well as a sounding board for the household members. They experience a variety of clients and this makes them helpers in home building and giving people positive outlook towards life.
Careers in Psychology. (2016). Marriage and Family Therapist Careers. Retrieved from http://careersinpsychology.org/marriage-and-family-therapist-careers/
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2016). Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2016. United States Department of Labor. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211013.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2016). Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists. United States Department of Labor. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm
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