Since divorce can be one of the most emotionally and psychologically challenging events that impacts numerous aspects of person's life, it is no surprise that the qualifications of a divorce therapist are quite involved.
When a marriage ends traumatically, a divorce therapist is usually responsible for helping an individual cope with the challenging mental, financial, emotional, and physical process of the uncoupling. Not only can divorce therapists act as an intermediary to ensure that the separation is achieved with minimal hostility, they can also equip individuals with the essential skills needed to navigate through all of the choppy waters associated with this life transition.
If you are interested in concentrating your career in helping clients through the painful process of divorce, the following are the qualifications that are expected for divorce therapists.
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Education Requirements to Become a Divorce Therapist
Similar to other mental health and therapy careers, starting a successful career as a divorce therapist involves a great deal of education beyond the baccalaureate level. Usually, individuals seeking to become a divorce therapist will start by earning a bachelor's degree in psychology, counseling, sociology, or social work with elective coursework focusing on marriage and/or family situations. Upon degree completion, most aspiring divorce therapists then go on to graduate school to earn a master's degree in marriage and family therapy, community counseling, or clinical mental health counseling. Although it is not required at this time, some divorce therapists go a step further to earn a Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy as well.
Qualifications for Becoming Licensed as a Divorce Therapist
Along with earning a master's or doctoral degree in a field closely related to marriage or couples counseling, there are a set of training requirements that are needed to obtain licensure and/or certification as a divorce therapist. According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), qualified candidates for licensure must have graduated from an accredited program and obtained at least two years of post-degree supervised clinical experience working in direct service to married couples. Once these requirements have been met, divorce therapists must then pass a state licensing examination or the national examination for marriage and family therapists conducted through the AAMFT Regulatory Boards.
Most Important Skills that Divorce Therapists Need
In addition to the extensive training and educational requirements for this vital mental health profession, it is important for divorce therapists to gather the essential skills that will enable them to succeed in the career choice. Since divorce therapists need to help their clients feel comfortable enough to share their deepest feelings, it is important that individuals possess strong interpersonal, communication, and listening skills to be compassionate in this extremely challenging transition. Divorce therapists should also develop solid organizational skills to maintain thorough case notes, keep detailed paperwork files, and manage insurance claims. Furthermore, divorce therapists often must work closely with spouses, children, family members, and other healthcare professionals, so strong collaboration skills are also a must.
Overall, recent shocking United States divorce statistics indicate that 41 percent of first marriages, 60 percent of second marriages, and 73 percent of third marriages end in divorce. As a result, the projected job growth for divorce therapists and other marriage counselors is expected to grow at a rate much faster than average at an impressive rate of 41 percent before 2020. For those who are seeking to take advantage of these plentiful job opportunities and truly make a difference in the lives of others struggling through a difficult time, it will be required that you fully complete all of the aforementioned qualifications of a divorce therapist.