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Marriage and family counselors are counselors distinctively trained to work with family systems and provide therapy for people who wish to solve emotional conflicts. Their goal, with therapy, is to revise people's perceptions and behavior, expand communication, and prevent individual and family crises. Although marriage and family counseling has a broad history, formal recognition of the professional counseling specialization can be traced to the establishment in 1989 of the International Association of Marriage and Family Counseling (IAMFC), which is a division of the American Counseling Association. Requirements for marriage and family counselors typically include a master’s degree in counseling, two years or three thousand hours of supervised clinical experience, and state-recognized exams. Marriage and family counselors can work in mental health centers, clinics, hospitals, social service agencies, and private practice.
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The next phase was 1963 to 1985, at this time couples therapy was taken over by family therapy. Names such as Satir, Jackson, Bowen, and Haley start to emerge on the approaches they wanted to take in family therapy. Satir claimed naming the parts each individual played, such as the soother, the fomenter, the distractor. Satir encouraged confidence and realization in couples and families and viewed the therapist more as a supporting educator who could assist the couple in proceeding what treatment they began on their own. Haley concentrated on power and control to identify why individuals react the way they do in complex situations.
Satir step by step: A guide to creating change in families. Palo Alto, CA: Science and Behavior Books. Satir, Virginia, et. al. (1991), The Satir Model: Family Therapy and Beyond, Palo Alto, CA: Science and Behavior Books.