Day in the life of
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist – Kimberly Panganiban
My Typical Day
My work day consists of coming into the office in the morning, checking a few emails, and then seeing couples (mostly via telehealth at this time due to COVID). My sessions with couples are 75-minutes in length. I see anywhere from 3-7 couples/day. In between sessions I am taking notes and following up with more emails that have come through during the day. When I have a break (i.e. one of my slots doesn’t get booked) I am working on writing articles, completing assessments for couples, or conducting other various business tasks (completing CEU’s, updating paperwork, marketing, etc.). I complete a thorough assessment on every couple that I see, which takes some time. I have to review their questionnaires and create a treatment plan so anytime I get a new couple there is at least an hour’s worth of work outside of the session. Every day is a little different but these are the primary tasks that I am completing throughout my day.
I am in private practice so I set my own schedule. I have made my schedule such that I try to balance personal time, family time, and career. In order to do this in a way that works best for me, each day is a little different.
I am off on Monday’s which allows time for self-care, family time, and catching up on business-related items as needed.
Tuesday and Wednesday
I work longer days on Tuesday and Wednesday because we have childcare those days but I make sure my first client starts well after my kids are in school so the mornings are not rushed and I can connect with them a bit before being away most of the day.
Thursday and Friday
Thursday and Friday I work half days so that I can be with my family in the afternoons and participate in sporting events, etc.
During my working hours, I am seeing clients, following up with notes and billing, returning new client calls performing, and other various practice management tasks.
The largest pro is that my job is very rewarding. I love knowing that I have helped save marriages and keep families together. I am extremely passionate about helping others achieve happiness and satisfaction in their relationships as this is such a crucial part of all of our lives. The work I do has also helped me create stronger bonds with the important people in my own life.
The other pro is that I get to set my own schedule and run my business in any way I see fit. This provides a lot of flexibility and opportunities for growth and change. As a Certified Gottman Therapist, I am part of a wonderful community and there are constant opportunities such as participating in research studies, training other clinicians, supervising, and writing. I love the variation in my job as it keeps me on my toes and I am never bored.
The main con about my job is that I do not have vacation time or sick time. If I have to take time off, I do not get paid. I have figured out how to build time off into my annual schedule/income needs but when unexpected time off pops up, it can be a financial hit.
One other con is that I do not like having to write notes 🙂 I suppose there always has to be at least one aspect of a job though that isn’t the best. Notes are definitely mine. Additionally, it can take a while to build up a practice (just as with any business) so there may be some time in the beginning of your career that you are not making as much. However, if you invest the time, success will come.
Overall, I would say that being a Marriage and Family Therapist has been a wonderful experience for me and I have never regretted my choice in career.
Advice to aspiring Marriage and Family Therapists
If you are passionate about helping people improve their relationships, this would be a good career choice. Becoming a Marriage & Family Therapist requires that you go to school to get a Master’s in Marital and Family Therapy. The program is usually 2 years long and requires that you complete a practicum (internship). After you have graduated, you will need to complete 3,000 hours of therapy time before being able to sit for your license. It is a lengthy process because there is a lot to learn in this field. Before choosing this path, I would encourage you to consider the time and money that it takes before even being licensed. However, once you are licensed, there are lots of opportunities for work in various settings. Some people work in clinics, hospitals, with veterans or active military, at schools, or in their own private practice. There are a lot of options for you to find your niche. Once you do, it is a job I find most of my colleagues enjoy very much because of the reward of being able to help others.
diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, whether cognitive, affective, or behavioral, within the context of marriage and family systems. Apply psychotherapeutic and family systems theories and techniques in the delivery of services to individuals, couples, and families for the purpose of treating such diagnosed nervous and mental disorders.