Fitzpatrick, Ryan - Family Counsellor

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[edit] Job Title (Ryan Fitzpatrick)

Family Counsellor

[edit] General Overview

The Family Counsellor provides support and assistance to individuals or groups by helping them deal with personal issues and helping them achieve desired objectives[1]. Family counsellors are also responsible for providing clients with recommendations for seeking further assistance through referrals to professionals if necessary. The Family Counsellor provides a comforting and welcoming environment encouraging their clients to engage in open discussions.A Family Counsellor is a very important and useful resource for members of the community. This role requires the individual to be able to adapt to the needs and situations of each client, as they will vary.

[edit] Job Duties and Responsibilities

The role of a Family Counsellor is to interact with clients and promote positive behaviour through interventions and suggesting actions that promote behaviour change when necessary[2]. A family counsellor is expected to build and create a relationship with their clients based on trust and confidentiality in order to provide the best possible service to the client. Given that every client’s situation will vary the Family Counsellor is required to use their array of knowledge in various areas of psychology and other disciplines to tailor to each clients needs.

[edit] Typical Workday

Family counsellors typically work 40 hour weeks, however some, especially those who work in private practice, may work on weekends and/or evenings to suit the needs of their clients. Some counsellors may choose to offer their clients the opportunity to contact them after hours in the event of an emergency[2].

[edit] Educational Requirements and Other Qualifications

Although the requirements for this position vary depending on job location (i.e.. region, province) and company, below are some requirements and qualifications obtained from job postings[3]:

  • Bachelor’s Degree (BA or BSc) in Psychology or Social Work required
  • Master’s Degree or PhD in Psychology or Social Work is an asset
  • Previous experience in a similar role is an asset but not required
  • Previous volunteer work with children or youths is an asset
  • Previous internship as a social worker, counsellor or similar position is an asset
  • Previous experience as a researcher or research assistant in Psychology is an asset
  • Must have minimum of intermediate knowledge of personality traits, personality theories, child attachment styles, parenting styles, drugs and behaviour, stress management, and development theories
  • Must have knowledge of resources and interventions available for children, youth and adults
  • Letter(s) of recommendation from previous employer(s) is an asset
  • Ability to illustrate that the candidate is an active member of their community (ie. extra curricular activities, camp counsellor) is an asset
  • Must have understanding of DSM-IV diagnoses
  • Basic computer knowledge required (ie. word processing, spreadsheets)

Some of the educational institutions in Ontario that offer programs related to this field are:

For a full list see

[edit] Related Skills, Interests, and Abilities

A Family Counsellor is required to have excellent communication skills both written and oral including listening, in order to provide the client with efficient assistance and support. This role also requires that the individual is able to ignore any personal biases when helping clients[2]. Critical thinking is imperative in this role as the individual must be able to assess situations and issues, use their resources to determine a solution for the client and provide the client with a solution that pertains to their specific situation. The Family Counsellor role requires that the individual has excellent interpersonal skills and team work skills as they will need to provide clear, accurate and knowledgeable advice to clients and may require assistance from colleagues to assess a client’s situation.

[edit] Relevance of Psychology Undergraduate Degree

A Psychology degree provides the individual with the tools necessary to begin a career as a Family Counsellor[2]. Through an array of knowledge and skills learned while pursuing their degree the individual is not expected to have expert knowledge in all areas of Psychology but rather intermediate knowledge in different areas of Psychology. This knowledge and these skills provide a base from which the individual can draw from and pursue furthering their knowledge through more education and resources available at their disposal.

[edit] Salary Potential

Salary ranges from $20,000 to $80,000 per year depending on education and experience, with the average salary being $55,000. Individuals with limited experience and a BA or BSc can expect to be on the lower end of pay scale whereas those with a Master’s Degree or PhD or more experienced can expect to be at the top of the pay scale[4]. (see for more information on salary ranges for similar positions).

[edit] Job Outlook

Due to the growing number of mental health issues in society today and the increase in the amount of individuals seeking support, the number of professionals required to provide assistance is on the rise and expected to trend in this manner. This need for more mental health professionals can be attributed to factors such as increases in gambling addiction, violence, and stress[5].

[edit] To Know More

For information on the role of a Family Counsellor see the following websites:

[edit] Notes and References

  1. Family, Marriage and Other Related Counsellors. (n.d.). Retrieved March 27, 2015, from
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Jeffress, D., & Harris, B. (n.d.). Retrieved March 27, 2015, from
  3. Family Counsellor Jobs | Workopolis. (n.d.). Retrieved March 27, 2015, from
  4. PayScale Salary Reports. (n.d.). Retrieved March 27, 2015, from
  5. Psychologists. (n.d.). Retrieved March 27, 2015, from
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