All online marriage and family therapy programs include a curriculum that incorporates practical counseling and therapy. Students take courses that prepare them to work with individuals who have therapy needs; the courses also train them to assess and treat mental issues.
In addition to online courses, students also participate in clinical experiences, in which they interact with patients under supervision of a licensed therapist. Before students can begin an online master's degree program in marriage and family therapy, they must complete a bachelor's degree program, preferably in counseling or a related subject matter.
Online courses cover specific issues faced by married couples and families, such as divorce, sexual problems, trust issues and working with children. Students also take counseling courses that provide specific training in how to counsel clients. Some sample online courses include the following:
- Human behavior and development research
- Scientific and professional ethics
- Adolescent counseling
- Sex therapy for couples
- Marriage and family counseling
- Chemical dependency
- Psychotherapy issues and theories
Clinical Training Requirements
Throughout an online master's degree program, students must complete a certain amount of supervised clinical training in marriage and family therapy. Students already working as counselors can usually count some of their regularly-scheduled hours towards the completion of their online master's degree. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), graduates of master's degree programs must also complete an additional 2,000-4,000 hours of supervised experience in order to be eligible for licensure.
Online master's degrees in marriage and family therapy are only partially available online; the field requires extensive practical training in counseling and therapy.