What is the difference between social work and marriage and family therapy?

Social work is a behavioral health profession that focuses on services for individuals, families, groups, and communities. Marriage and family therapy is a clinical mental health profession centered on the well-being of individuals and families within the context of relationships.

Both social workers and marriage and family therapists concerned with the mental health and well-being of their clients. And both professions require licensure. But there are distinct differences between the two.

This guide helps to identify the differences between and career opportunities within each field.


Capella University offers master’s programs in Marriage and Family Therapy and Social Work.