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Marriage and family therapists (MFT) go into the profession because they want to help people. What many don't realize is the amount of time they'll need to spend on the business side of things. Explore the business side of becoming a marriage and family therapist counselor to be prepared for your new career.

Getting a License

To obtain their license, marriage and family therapists need to attend an accredited program, then perform two years of clinical supervision. After completing supervision, therapists need to take either the state licensing exam or the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards, which is required by license in many states1.

Handling Business Expenses

Licensed family therapists need office space, a phone line or cell phone, and a website. Unless utilities are included in the office, therapists must pay these, too. To get clients, new therapists must market their business -- either through networking, self promotion and online marketing, or by hiring a marketer. These represent expenses of time and money many new therapists don't account for2.

Working With Insurers

If a client's treatment is covered by their insurance company, therapists need to submit a claim to the insurer for every visit. Therapists who stay on top of billing and working with insurers receive a steady stream of income, while those who fall behind may experience cash flow issues.

Setting Boundaries

New therapists often allow clients to contact them whenever they need help. This can lead to clients calling or email late at night or on weekends. While this might not be too bad when therapists have a handful of clients, it becomes unmanageable as the practice grows. By setting boundaries, marriage and family therapists (MFT) can separate their work life from their home life to avoid burnout (source 3).

By following these tips, new therapists can keep up with the transition from student to licensed therapist and grow their new businesses.

To learn more about becoming a marriage and family therapist, as well as California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant’s MFT programs contact an admissions counselor at 1-866-825-5426 today!


  1.  Association of Marital & Family Therapy Regulatory Boards, Your National Exam Roadmap,, accessed Nov. 29, 2021

  2. Lucille Zimmerman, Colorado Christian University, 7 Things You Need to Know When Starting a Counseling Practice,, Accessed Nov. 29, 2021

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