As a trained practitioner of marriage and family counseling, you can make a career out of helping individuals and families settle their differences. But more than that, your giving psychological advice to married couples! It’s a task that offers much responsibility and insight into what causes broken relationships and how to resolve difficulties in people’s lives. The black community and other communities of color tend to shun professional mental help. As an African American family therapist you have a unique opportunity to reach your community.
Take a look:
1. Consider an accredited college for psychology or social work
If your interested in family psychotherapy as a full-time career, attend a four-year university in psychology, human service or social work. Here, you will learn the basics of psychoanalysis, the mind and how the brain operates in each individual, as well as the importance of therapy sessions. You could attend a two-year school, but if you expect to make a handsome salary with a masters degree, then a bachelors is more rewarding.
2. Study clinical or counseling psychology at the graduate level
The graduate degree path will influence you to think outside the box, and into the spectrum of clinical and counseling psychology. Careers in psychotherapy can make aspiring therapists more aware of the subject matter, and how to properly treat families and couples with mental and emotional issues. At this stage, the curriculum is also structured so students can best facilitate a conversation once they start counseling sessions of their own.
3. Practice therapy advice in an individual or group setting
Therapy is a significant part to your career. As a form of treatment, you will have to divulge information in an individual or group setting. Similar to an internship, this is a more in-depth class where you will have to delegate practical advice. The more practice sessions you give in a certain period of time, the more comfortable you will feel as a graduate or doctoral student.
4. Do some internship work (or two years worth) with a few family counseling practices
After you’ve preceded to do two years of work, the practice sessions and research should make you feel more at a home and aware of the possibilities. As a key advice, you should work with a trained therapist for about two years or a supervisor who can give you constructive criticism and feedback. This is the proper way to hone in on your skills while receiving the best guidance from those who know best.
5. Form relationships with licensed family therapists
It’s a known fact that mentors, teachers, or veterans of the industry can also prepare you for the industry. Listen to their experiences, study their mannerisms, practices or knowledge of the subject. There are thought-provoking African Americans authors you can read such as “Ethnicity and Happy Family” by Monica McGoldrick, a licensed therapist or “Counseling the Culturally Diverse: Theory and Practice” by Derald Wing Sue. Refer to a national list of black professionals on blackcounselors.com.
6. Take a state license exam in your chosen field
In order to practice marriage and family therapy in your area, you must follow the state licensing requirements and take the test that is provided to most business owners, practices or professionals. Research all facets of the test, so that you can be prepared to explore this career venture!
African American mental health is an important issue and a worthwhile field to study.