Marriage and family therapy is a distinct field of therapeutic practice that is focused on the resolution of relationship breakdown. Postgraduate degrees in the area are extremely popular. Students working towards one of these degrees typically pick up plenty of transferrable skills. Here is a quick guide to the most important transferrable skills learned as part of these programs. 

Conflict Resolution

Studying for an MA in marriage and family therapy equips a student with a great many conflict resolution skills. Conflict resolution is one of the key roles of the family therapist, and courses typically cover specialist skills related to narrative or expeditionary resolution. All fields within family and marriage therapy have distinct approaches toward conflict resolution. 


Perhaps the most obvious transferrable skill practiced during marriage and family therapy education relates to the counseling of clients. Counseling needs to be undertaken carefully, empathically, and with a firm relationship to established therapeutic protocol. Although the training received in a marriage and family therapy degree is related specifically to couples and familial clients, the counseling skills learned will be transferrable to other areas of therapeutic practice. 

Graduates in marriage and family therapy will be able to extend their education without much hassle if they want to retrain in a different area of therapeutic practice. They are especially suited to the counseling of children – a complex and highly specialized field. 

Freelance Business Strategy 

Marriage and family therapy programs often contain modules related to the running of a private therapeutic practice. Private therapeutic practices are one of the most common ways for family therapists to find work. As part of a private practice arrangement, a therapist will need to find their own space, find their own clients and deal with their own payments and taxes. In the United States, therapists also need to handle their own licensing as a freelancer – something that requires considerable administrative skill. 

This training is crucial for work in therapy but also for work in a variety of other freelance roles. Freelance business strategy is an immensely transferable skill. Founding your own freelance or limited business takes a great deal of strategic acumen. 

Professional Detachment 

Although not all therapeutic practice involves complete professional detachment, most forms of marriage and family therapy training help professionals to create strong boundaries between their private and working lives. As well as boundaries between professional and personal lives, therapists are expected to develop strong boundary-based relationships with their clients. Boundaries that need to be established cover physical contact, self-disclosure, the exchange of gifts, and the degree of communication that a client couple will have with their therapist. 

The development of healthy and intentional boundaries takes a great deal of practice. A degree in marriage and family counseling can help a student to develop the ability to form these crucial boundaries in any future work – no matter what the field is. In the age of mobile and remote work, boundaries are becoming ever more important in every field of work.


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