What Type of Courses Would I Need to Take to Pursue a Family Therapy Career?

While there are many great career paths an individual could pursue, becoming a family therapist can be uniquely rewarding. This is the case for several reasons, including the fact that family therapists can play a very primary role in improving the quality of life and interaction of family members struggling with dysfunctional behaviors. If you are thinking about becoming a family therapist, you may want to obtain answers to important questions such as what type of courses you can expect to take while pursuing this vocational path. By learning the answer to this and other relevant questions, you can determine whether or not becoming a family therapist is right for you.

Family Therapy-The Basics

Although broadly defined, a family therapist is basically an individual who is trained to deal with interpersonal challenges that arise amongst families and the individuals who comprise them. Family therapists can analyze, diagnose, and treat psychological distress and mental illnesses within the family systems. Family therapists can provide counseling in a variety of areas such as premarital counseling, child counseling, separation and divorce counseling, and relationship counseling. Some of the tasks that a family therapist might be responsible for performing regularly include:

  • Diagnosing and treating mental disorders
  • Conducting psychotherapy sessions with individuals and families
  • Developing treatment plans
  • Helping clients create effective interpersonal communication skills
  • Collecting information about clients through the use of interviews, observations, and formal assessments.

Family Therapy-Educational Requirements

There are a wide range of courses that an individual who wants to pursue a family therapy career should take. The type of courses that you will take are contingent upon the educational program that you apply and gain acceptance to. In discussing the educational programs that enable one to become a marriage and family therapist, Kendra Cherry notes that “The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) suggests that the minimum training to become a marriage and family therapist includes a master’s degree plus two years of supervised clinical experience.” In general, family therapy courses will be predicated on gaining knowledge regarding families and the developmental processes which transpire within them. The courses will also place primacy on offering the student extensive supervision and training regarding how to effectively intervene in family processes.

Family Therapy Courses

There are a plethora of different courses you might take when pursuing your degree in family therapy. Some of them could include:

  • Childhood and Adolescence
  • Relationship Development and Processes In Adulthood
  • Adulthood and Aging
  • Research Methods for Human Development and Family Studies
  • Marriage and Family Therapy Theory
  • Marriage and Family Therapy Clinical Issues
  • Marriage and Family Therapy Professional Issues
  • Advanced Assessment and Diagnosis In Counseling


Irrespective of which educational program and courses you pursue on your journey to become a family therapist, you should be sure to select an institution that is accredited. By visiting the American Association For Marriage And Family Therapy website, you can view the list of educational institutions that are currently accredited.


If you are thinking about pursuing a career as a family therapist, you should know that doing so can be a personally and professionally rewarding decision. By considering the information above, you can determine whether or not pursuing this vocational path is right for you. Good luck!