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Rhode Island Family Therapist Training

A family therapist, or marriage and family counselor, is responsible for attempting to help individuals that are going through problems (emotional, behavioral or cognitive) through using treatments geared at identifying these problems and resolving them.  These professionals can work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, clinics and social service offices but often the highest paid family therapists work in places such as private practices and may specialize in a certain type of disorder or group of disorders.  The job outlook for a family therapist is a good one with a competitive salary for those who find themselves in an entry level position, but it takes many years of training in order to get to the point where a student of marriage and family counseling can become a practitioner.  A marriage counselor or family therapist often uses techniques such as talk therapy and behavioral therapy in order to treat families and individuals with problems with these sessions lasting about an hour a piece.   The techniques that therapists use are learned in college classrooms and through doing much fieldwork in the discipline. These techniques are often a very valuable asset to the fight against mental instability in the home of an individual or family.

In order to get the training that you need in order to become a therapist it is necessary that you go through an undergraduate and graduate program and obtain a master’s degree in the field.  In addition to this it may take up to 2 years in order to finish the hands on training experience that is required of you after graduation with a master’s.  This two year training experience is referred to as the period of supervised clinical trials and this part of your training may be the most influential part of being on the path to becoming a family therapist.  During your clinical trial years you will not only be able to apply the techniques that you learned in a classroom to everyday situations and to people’s lives, you will also be able to see how being a therapist effects your life and be able to grow from the experience. 
In order to start on the path of being able to work in this field one of the first things that should be accomplished is getting into an undergraduate psychology program at a university or online.  Though both methods of getting your BA degree may be similar there is often much more flexibility involved in getting a degree online.  Many people do not have the time to devote to school full time and for this reason going to school online may be a good idea for you to pursue. In addition to this, going to school online can often be cheaper than going to an on campus university in some cases, but there are many benefits to going to school on campus as well. One reason to go to school at a university may be to enjoy the rich experience of college life and to build relationships with classmates and professors that can scarcely be achieved through going to school online.  Though going to school online is a very popular method for getting a degree the amount friendships and relationships that you miss through this method is hard to overstate.       
In addition to getting into an undergraduate degree in psychology, before graduate school it is necessary to get all of the experience that you can in your proposed field of study while in your undergraduate degree program.  Many graduate schools look to the amount of experience you have had in the field to determine whether you would be a good match for the graduate degree program that you want to get into.  When in the undergraduate stage it is necessary to get involved in research in the field through one of your professors as well.  Research can give you valuable experience in the marriage and family counseling profession just like with any other field you may want to go into and anything that improves your resume should not be taken lightly.  In fact you may want to start looking for internships and research opportunities before your junior year in college just so you can stay ahead of the curve.  More and more people try to get into graduate degree programs in this discipline every year so you should do what you can to distance yourself from other applicants.