Abraham, Lydia - Registered Marriage and Family Therapist

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[edit] Job Title (Lydia Abraham)

Registered Marriage and Family Therapist (RMFT)

[edit] General Overview

Registered Marriage and Family Therapists (RMFT) goals are to help enrich interpersonal, psychological and emotional relationships between families[1]. This includes relationships between parents, siblings, parents and children, stepparents and children, adoptive parents and children’s relationships and couples. They focus on decreasing catalysts in relationships and increasing the positive attributes of it[1]. They study individuals’ feelings, their interactions/ communication with one another and factors (e.g., friends) that contribute to their marriage or family problems. The end goal is to create a more agreeable family unit[1].

[edit] Job duties and responsibilities

Some job duties and responsibilities that RMFT have are meeting with individual people or family units to examine and discuss the issues surrounding their marriage and family problems[1]. They provide counseling and therapy, through structural therapy, strategic therapy, systematic/ milan therapy, narrative therapy, reality therapy, and transgenerational therapy. Other techniques that are used are relationship counseling and systemic coaching[1]. They also collect information about individuals, marriages, and family units through self-report questionnaires, interviews, and formal assessments[2]. Sometimes the RMFT may need to talk to individuals outside of convenient work hours if there is an emergency at work or at home. RMFTs also may develop treatment plans for individuals or a family unit during and post-therapy. The goal here is to improve interpersonal relationships, communication skills, and increase stability and happiness in marriages and families[2].

Therapy definitions:

  • Structural therapy – therapist addresses the issues within a family and reorganizes the structure of the family.[1]
  • Strategic therapy – therapist looks at how the family interacts with one another.[1]
  • Systemic/ Milan therapy – therapist looks at family members’ belief systems.[1]
  • Narrative therapy – therapist focuses and studies the dominant problem in the family, and how it can separated from the family unit.[1]
  • Reality therapy – therapists focus on realism, responsibility and right-and wrong.[1]
  • Transgenerational therapy – therapist looks at the unhealthy patterns of belief, behaviour and interactions.[1]

[edit] Typical workday

A typical day for a RMFT would start around 8-9am[3]. It would start with seeing his/ her first patient around 8:30-9:30am, giving them time to look over case files and prepare for their upcoming appointment. Usually RMFT and their patients will meet once/twice a week. This will last for several weeks or even months. The amount of time is dependent on each case, how severe it is, and what problems and improvements need to be implemented[3].

RMFTs appointments throughout the day will differ from one another but will always surround issues involving couples and families[3]. For example, an RMFTs first appointment could be about a strained parent-child relationship. The second appointment around could be about a couple who just got married and are already fighting significantly. In all of these cases, the RMFT will ask them questions that address their underlying issues. Eventually as the RMFT learns more about their problems, he or she will start to address how to resolve these problems, and maybe even discuss treatment plans. The RMFT will take a lunch around 12pm to 1pm. Around 5 or 6pm, after all of his/ her daily appointments are complete, the therapist will go home[3].

The RMFTs offices are usually very quiet[4]. This is required so that they maintain a professional work environment. It is also important so that both the RMFT and his/ her patients can communicate without increasing their voices. The therapist office will also be restrictive with the individuals that work there. This is because they are dealing with confidential information. Therefore, they will not have individuals walking in and out of their office all day. Some RMFTs will have a receptionist if they work in a private practice (separate from their home), but many therapists also have work offices attached to their homes and in their homes[4].

It is also important to note that RMFTs do not have a “busy season”[3]. RMFTs are constantly busy because there are always individuals, couples and families that need and want therapy and counseling. Therefore, there is not a particular month that is busier than the other. Therefore, RMFTs are busy year round. However, RMFTs that work in cities will be busier just because it is centered in a more hectic and chaotic environment[3].

[edit] Educational requirements and other qualifications

RMFTs are required to have an undergraduate degree related to the field of marriage and family therapy, for example, it can be psychology, social work or nursing[5]. Secondly, it is required that RMFTs complete their masters or doctoral degree in a related field, preferably in therapy. RMFTs might also take some additional courses and programs in order to become an RMFT. This depends on what they did their masters in, and how much experience they have in therapy thus far. Once this is complete, RMFTs are required to have a minimum of two years and 1000 hours of therapy that is supervised by qualified professionals. Then they will be considered a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist of Canada, and will be considered a part of the Ontario Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (OAMFT). Certain schools (such as Guelph University) also provide RMFTs with a membership to the Canadian division of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy after completing their masters in couples and family therapy (MSc)[5].

[edit] Related skills, interests, and abilities

Some skills that are extremely important for RMFTs to have are: communication, problem solving and active listening[6]. Firstly, communication is needed for RMFTs because they are interacting with many diverse people daily. These people have different backgrounds, different temperaments and different beliefs. Therefore, being able to communicate with individuals and covey information or thoughts efficiently is extremely important. What comes hand in hand with communication is being respectful. To be a RMFT, you need to be respectful of diverse other’s views.

Secondly, problem solving is required to be a RMFT. This is because RMFTs need to identify complex problems, review related information, research activities or treatments that can conclude and solve problems, and read about alternative solutions. This is because individuals are seeking the RMFTs help in order to help them with their family problem. Therefore, being skilled in problem solving is an absolute necessity for RMFTs.

Thirdly, active listening is also required to be a RMFT. Being able to communicate and solve patient’s problems all stem from being an active listener. An RMFT cannot do their job if they do not listen to family members speak and listen to how they communicate with one other. An RMFT needs to give their patients their full attention to understand what is trying to be communicated, to ask appropriate questions and to take efficient notes so they can review them later. It is also important to actively listen and not interrupt at inappropriate times. Sometimes the strongest thing an RMFT can do is just actively listen and observe what the family dynamic is like.


[edit] Relevance of Psychology undergraduate degree

Psychology is a fundamental field in therapy. Firstly, therapy in general was invented by one of the founding fathers of Psychology, Mr. Sigmund Freud. He specifically developed therapeutic techniques like free association. There are many different fields of therapy in psychology. Marriage and family therapy specifically, is a type of psychological counseling. To be more specific though, in psychology you learn about theories such as attachment security (which is related to felt security and the exploratory behaviour system), personality characteristics (being more shy versus being more outgoing), the Big Five factors (e.g., extraversion versus introversion), classical and operant conditioning, parenting styles (e.g., authoritarian, authoritative and permissive), Erikson’s psychological development theory and much more. Therefore, an individual’s behaviour is not the result of one influence, but is a combination of many influences.

For example, a newlywed couple wants help from an RMFT because they have been fighting significantly. The husband says that when his wife is stressed or angry with other people she takes her frustration out on him. The wife behaving this way, could be a result individual characteristics, what she observed while growing up with her parents, her attachment style (is she insecurely attached?) and/ or her temperament. There are many social, developmental and personality characteristics that can contribute to this behaviour. This is why it is extremely important for RMFT to have a background in psychology, because it is the foundation of everything they are trying to help their patients with. They have to be familiar with psychological research to know and help their parents. Going back to the newlywed couple, the RMFT might suggest different tactics regarding her attachment style or her temperament to change her behaviour. Therefore, in order to do this properly, he/ she will need to know the psychological literature extremely well.

[edit] Salary potential

The data for RMFTs salaries was last updated in 2013. The salary ranges from low, median, to high wage[7]. In Ontario, specifically Toronto, low wages for RMFTs are $17.35, median= $27.78, and high= $38.81 per hour. In a smaller city like Ottawa the salaries are: low= $16.00, median= $23.69 and high= $33.19 per hour. In cities like Kitchener, Waterloo and Barrie the salaries are: low= $16.66, median= $25.59 and high= $35.95 per hour. In cities outside of Ontario like Edmonton salaries for RMFTs are: low= $18.00, median= $30.57 and high= $41.54 per hour. In Vancouver and Lower Mainland Southwest salaries are: low= $18.00, median= $32.31 and high= $40.87 per hour. This, therefore, shows us that the salaries do change depending on the city that you live in. The RMFTs in bigger cities seem to have a slight pay increase (e.g. Toronto, Edmonton, and Vancouver). However, the smaller cities and towns seem to be getting slightly less e.g. Kitchener, Waterloo and Barrie[7].

[edit] Job outlook

Trinity Western University in British Columbia stated that marriage and family therapists are going to be more in demand and the salary for this profession will continue to grow[8]. As per their data, this profession is expected to rise 14% from 2008 to 2018. They discovered that 1.8 million people receive therapy for marriage and family problems in 2011 and this number is supposed to increase [8]. The YMCA of Hamilton, Burlington and Brantford, however, stated in 2014 that marriage and family therapists will rise 40% through 2020[9]. This is because mental health is starting to be recognized as a field of importance.

Therefore, even though the data comes from different provinces, they still support the idea that marriage and family therapists are going to be more in demand in the future[9]. The YMCA predicted a 40% increase compared to the 14% increase the British Columbia, because the Hamilton, Burlington and Brantford are all closer to Toronto. This would support the idea that marriage and family therapists in bigger cities will make more money than therapists smaller cities.

[edit] To know more

This is a link for the Ontario Association for Marriage and Family Therapists (OAMFT) website. It provides information about what they do, who they are, and the names and numbers of the closest therapists.

This is a link for the Registry of the Marriage and Family Therapists in Canada. This provides the names of individuals who are part of the registry. It provides information about what RMFTs do, and how to become an RMFT.

--La10vg 19:57, 19 March 2015 (EDT)

[edit] Notes and References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Family Therapy. (2015). In Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_therapy.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Educational Portal. (n.d.). Family therapist: Job description, duties, and requirements. Retrieved from http://educationportal.com/article/Family_Therapist_Job_Description_Duties_Requirements.html.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Shmoop. (n.d.). Marriage and family therapist. Retrieved from http://www.shmoop.com/careers/marriage-and-family-therapist/typical-day.html.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Florida Health Careers. (2009). Mental Health Professionals. Retrieved from http://www.flahec.org/hlthcareers/MARRIAGE.HTM.
  5. 5.0 5.1 OAMFT. (n.d.). Professional Training. Retrieved from http://www.oamft.com/professional-training.
  6. My Majors. (n.d.). Marriage and family therapist career. Retrieved from https://www.mymajors.com/career/marriage-and-family-therapists/skills/
  7. 7.0 7.1 Living in Canada. (2013). Family, marriage and other related counselors salary canada. Retrieved from http://www.livingin-canada.com/salaries-for-family-marriage-and-other-related-counsellors.html.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Trinity Western University. (2011). Marriage and family therapist reported one of best careers for 2011. Retrieved from http://twu.ca/news/2011/006-best-careers.html.
  9. 9.0 9.1 My Dream Life. (2014). Where will jobs be in 2020?. Retrieved from http://mydreamlife.ca/news.
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