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Counselor family marriage

Family/marriage counsellors help individuals, couples and families understand and enhance relationships, resolve emotional issues from broken and impaired relationships, and improve personal well-being. They work collaboratively with clients to improve client strengths, resources and resilience, and develop clearer goals for the future.

In general, family/marriage counsellors:

  • determine if factors such as family violence, addictions, substance abuse or mental health problems are contributing to family or marital problems
  • ask questions that guide and direct clients' thinking and stimulate action
  • assist clients in identifying feelings and behaviour
  • help couples and families identify and use their existing skills and abilities
  • assist clients in developing healthy communication skills
  • help couples and families confront their problems in a constructive manner
  • act as coach and collaborator to develop skills and strategies for dealing with family-related concerns
  • conduct crisis counselling sessions, as required, to help clients deal with suicide, divorce, unemployment, bereavement and other life transitions
  • consult with or refer clients to other professionals when appropriate
  • maintain confidential records of clients' progress.

Working Conditions

Counsellors generally work in an office environment but also may work in residential, health care or in-home settings. They may work some evenings or weekends to accommodate client needs or work overtime when clients need immediate help. The work can be stressful, emotionally demanding and challenging.

Personal Characteristics

Family/marriage counsellors need the following characteristics:

  • a genuine interest in people
  • emotional maturity
  • excellent written and oral communication skills
  • sensitivity to cultural, religious and ethnic issues
  • the ability to listen non-judgementally and comprehend with empathy and understanding
  • the creative ability required to develop new programs or ways of doing things
  • decision-making ability.

They should enjoy counselling people, synthesizing information and helping clients find innovative solutions to problems.

An Association of Individual, Marriage, Couple
and Family Counsellors

Counselling Services:

Personal counselling and therapy to help individuals deal with challenges in physical health, emotional, interpersonal, and spiritual areas of life including self-esteem, assertiveness, anger management, panic attacks, depression, anxiety, stress management, life transitions, loss, grief and bereavement, family of origin issues. Our therapists use a broad variety of therapeutic modalities, including cognitive behavioural, family systems, psychodynamic, and brief therapy.

Pre-marital, couple, marriage and family counselling to help establish and maintain open communication, resolve conflicts, explore family of origin and inter-generational issues, and foster personal growth in relationships.

Trauma and abuse therapy to help the treatment and recovery from the effects of domestic violence, childhood traumas, emotional, sexual and physical abuse, traumatic accidents, etc. Our therapists use a variety of techniques, including focusing, relaxation, body work and EMDR.

Addiction counselling to help individuals, couples and families heal from the effects of drug and alcohol abuse, gambling, eating disorders, and sexual and work addictions. We also work collaboratively with addiction specialists and recovery programs.

Child and adolescent counselling, including psycho-educational assessments, to help children deal with learning disabilities, ADD and ADHD, trauma and abuse. This includes play therapy, strategies and techniques to assist parents in understanding and dealing with specific behavioural problems.

Child custody and access assessments to help parents determine what is in the best interest of their child(ren) at times of family breakdown, working collaboratively with family law lawyers.

Mediation services to help couples through separation and divorce, the development of parenting plans and resolution of family assets and debts, and equalization. Our comprehensive mediation consultant includes access to family law and financial advisors.

Vocational counselling to help with career transitions and changes. This includes personal counselling and may involve personality testing.

Education, Training, and Consultation Services:

For individuals in the helping professions, IFL provides professional development programs. Our AAMFT Approved Supervisors provide individual and group supervision.

For the general public, IFL provides workshops on request in assertiveness training, parenting, communication, sexuality, and other areas of current interest. Our Associates are frequent speakers at faith and community groups.

For organizations, IFL provides consultation on personnel issues to a variety of community agencies and faith communities. We also assist in developing policies, organizational structures, and training programs. We are associated with, and receive referrals from, a variety of Employee Assistance Plans.

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