Make a Difference With an Online PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy

February 25th, 2013 by

Online PhD in Family TherapyTherapists can work in a number of different environments, but their goal is always to help others through difficult situations of life. Some therapists work primarily with young students in schools, and others work with those in the midst of an addiction. One type of therapy is marriage and family therapy. The therapists who work in this specialization typically help family members to understand one another better, communicate more efficiently and deal with tragedy. In order to work as a marriage and family therapist in a professional capacity, you will almost certainly require a PhD in the field. This guide walks interested students through the process of application, what the curriculum will be like and how they can earn their PhD in marriage & family therapy online.

Understanding the Scope of the Doctoral Program

Unlike many college degrees, the doctorate in marriage and family therapy will take upwards of five years to complete. In addition to roughly 96 credits earned through traditional classes and lectures, students will need to complete 1,000 hours of direct contact with clients. Every program has specific requirements about these contact hours, but students should expect to spend at least 500 of these hours directly with families or couples who are undergoing therapy with a licensed therapist. After completing many of the classes in the beginning portion of the PhD program, students will also need to write and orally defend a Marriage Therapy PhD Onlinethesis before moving onto the latter half of the course.

Prerequisites for Enrollment

To be considered for enrollment in most online or traditional PhD programs in marriage and family therapy, applicants will need to have a bachelor’s degree in a related subject, have the required GRE scores and have written recommendations from previous employers in the field of therapy or previous professors. Many schools will also request that applicants have completed some graduate level courses in family therapy or have a master’s degree in the field. You can expect to submit a written essay along with your application and also a small processing fee.

Traits of Successful Family and Marriage Therapists

To become a family and marriage therapist, you will need to have a formal education and licensing. To be truly successful at what you do, however, you will also need to have a few specific traits. Some of the most successful family and marriage therapists are empathetic, patient, kind and fair. They are able to be objective when hearing two sides of the story, and they are also excellent communicators.

Advantages of an Online PhD Program

Although the hands-on duration of any therapy doctorate will need to take place with physical clients, the first 96 credits can typically be earned online instead of through a traditional college campus. This allows students to study from home, care for their families or even hold down a full-time career while they advance their education.

If you are interested in pursuing a career as a marriage and family therapist, consider an online degree for convenience, affordability and flexibility. Explore your options at

About the Author:

Sandy Davis

Sandy Davis is a long-time educator who holds a Master’s Degree in Education, having taught English, writing, and communication on the secondary and college levels. With ten years of experience in blogging, social media and content management, she is a freelance writer and content marketing specialist for a diverse range of clients.

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