According to MastersinPsychologyguide.com those who graduate with a Masters in Counseling Psychology may find employment in an array of different settings, from working in their own private practice to assessing mental disorders out in social care settings. They may specialize in subcategories such as health psychology, transpersonal psychology, or learning disabilities, which could also influence their chances of finding employment in a certain specialty area.
Many of our counseling psychology program students focus their interest in the following areas of this unique helping profession:
Private Practice Counselor or Therapist (LPCC/LMFT)
The primary role of a counselor or therapist is to assess, diagnose, and treat client mental and emotional disorders. Most counselors and therapists desire to work in a private practice so they can set their own hours while working with as many or as few patients as they prefer.
Alumna Crystal Stokes is a great example of a graduate of the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology program who also works in private practice. Crystal is a Consciousness Coach at Crystal Stokes Coaching. She combines eastern and western approaches towards psychotherapy, in conjunction with functional fitness, holistic nutrition, consciousness, and mindfulness.
Substance Abuse Counselor
Some counselors and therapists specialize in helping individuals and families who struggle with addiction. These therapists may work with groups or individuals as part of an outpatient program, or within a hospital setting. Sometimes additional certification is required to serve this population.
While some addiction therapists work in hospitals, others work in rehabilitation facilities.
Alumna Holly Daniels, is another example of a Sofia graduate who has become a successful licensed marriage and family therapist. Holly works as a substance abuse and rehabilitation counselor and also serves as a meditation teacher, mental health advocate, and most recently as the Clinical Outreach Director at Sober College.
In her role as Clinical Outreach Director at Sober College, Holly is able to integrate her complex clinical expertise with her passions for connecting people and spreading the word that the path of recovery, health and wholeness can be both exciting and fulfilling.
Geriatric Counseling Therapist
With more and more people living well into their 80’s and 90’s, there is a growing need for counselors who can work with the elderly, especially those who suffer from mental illnesses as a result of the aging process.
Learning Disabilities Specialist
Some counselors work in elementary or high schools to provide support to students with learning disabilities. These counselors and therapists may also help diagnose disorders such as ADD and Autism, which can affect a student’s ability to learn.
Child Mental Health Specialist
Those who enjoy working with children may wish to specialize in child development and work as a child counselor or therapist. Becoming a child mental health specialist is a way to help children work through problems at school and at home, and to diagnose mental health issues early enough in life to make a difference.
Adult Mental Health Counselor
While some mental health counselors choose to work with children, others specialize in adult mental disorders. This generalized position is usually available in hospital settings or a private clinic.
Below are more job options for MFT’s or LPCC licensed professionals.
MFT’s work at all levels of the school system – from treating families with troubled elementary school students to counseling parents on how to understand and cope with an out-of-control teenager.
Social Service Agencies
MFT’s are hired to work for government, non-profit, and for-profit agencies that provide social services to children, youth, families, seniors, and communities. Sometimes, marriage and family therapists are hired to take on administration roles, such as supervising other counselors and social service staff.
From conducting psychosocial assessments to making resource referrals for patients in need of outpatient assistance, therapists also work at a medical centers and collaborate with other team members to ensure patients receive and maintain adequate treatment. They may provide both clinical and therapeutic services to patients on an individual basis and/or within a group setting.
In addition, there are other career opportunities for MFT’s that help counselors obtain success and professional growth such as:
Nursing and Residential Care Facilities.
Marriage and family therapists are hired by nursing homes and residential care facilities to diagnose and treat mental and emotional issues related to married couples and families. Oftentimes, therapists provide counseling related to coping with a spouse’s or family member’s illness.
Legal and Correctional Systems
MFT’s also help families and couples in legal crisis, and with those who are working through issues in the correctional system. Sometimes therapists work are called upon to make recommendations to courts regarding the outcome of child custody cases or visitation disputes. To make a fair determination, the therapist often contacts doctors, schools, social staff, juvenile counselors, and law enforcement personnel. It is also not uncommon to see therapists testify in court.
In regards to correctional system work, therapists may assume the role of counselor for families of spouses who are newly released from prison. Therapists may also hold therapy sessions for incarcerated individuals to address issues concerning their family ties or spouses before gaining reentry into society. Other cases may involve sexual abuse victims and perpetrators, as well as juvenile offenders, and mental health cases found in the criminal justice system.
Health Maintenance Organizations – HMO’s
Health maintenance organizations provide or make managed care arrangements for health insurance, self-funded health care benefit plans, and individual patients. They work with a range of health care providers (such as hospitals and doctors) on a prepaid basis, hiring MFT’s to treat clients.
For example, Kaiser Permanente, the largest not-for-profit health maintenance organization in the U.S, hires marriage and family therapists to work in their related behavioral health centers, chemical dependency treatment programs, and mental health facilities.
MFT’s employed by the government assume roles that can influence decision-making on a government and political level. According to the BLS, therapists working with the government on both the state and local level, are typically paid the highest salaries for this occupation in the U.S.
Marriage and family therapists are employed at clinical resource centers dedicated to assisting and supporting current service members, veterans, and their families. Often providing PTSD and TBI counseling to Active Duty, Reserve, and National Guard servicemen, therapists typically complete additional coursework or training, or experience assuming a role with the military, such as the Therapy with Military Families Specialization.
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Facilities
It wasn’t too long ago that Marriage and Family Therapists were not eligible to be hired by the Department of Veterans Affairs to work in VA facilities, but the Department has since expanded access to such mental health services. Now therapists working in VA facilities conduct screenings and assessments; develop treatment plans and goals for patients; provide crisis intervention; and offer individual, conjoint, family and group therapy.
Industrial-Organizational Psychologists are human efficiency experts who specialize in working with companies and corporations to keep employees efficient, healthy, and working hard. The majority of industrial-organizational psychologists enter their careers with a master’s in I/O psychology, but salaries increase substantially with doctoral education. The industry for this career is one of the most stable and expanding on this list. Companies around the world are dedicating time and money to making their employees more efficient and happier, and are hiring I/O psychologists right out of school to make this happen.
Churches and Religious Settings
According to American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT), 25% of specialty family therapists work in faith-based settings.
Although they receive the same training as secular family therapists, MFT’s who complete additional coursework in religion and counseling can become a faith-based therapy provider, such as a Christian family therapist. This kind of therapist provides counsel to married couples and families regarding mental health problems, relationship issues, and parenting concerns – all while following a treatment and counseling approach that falls in line with the Christian faith.
In conclusion, this is not an exhaustive list of all the places that people with MFT or LPCC degrees can work, but aims to highlight some of the employment opportunities offering the highest number of available possibilities.
From working as case managers for insurance companies to negotiating psychiatric care for employees of large corporations, the number of job positions that marriage and family therapy professionals qualify for continues to increase with experience, further training, and education.