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licensed marriage and family therapist questions

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by PizzaButt, Apr 25, 2007.

  1. PizzaButt

    PizzaButt New Member
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    Hello,

    I'm a non-traditional applicant--I'm 30, married, did not major in psych, and have a law degree, so I am changing careers. I am very interested in the psychology field, and am considering applying to PhD and PsyD programs in clinical psych, but find the low acceptance rates rather discouraging.

    I am starting to look into getting a master's instead and becoming a marriage and family therapist.

    Can anyone point me in the direction of some info on this? What does one need to get licensed in this field? Would I be applying to counseling psych master's programs?

    I'd love to learn about how this works.

    Thanks!
     
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  3. pingouin

    pingouin just chillin'
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    everything you want to know and probably then some.

    if you look a little bit down on the left, there are links to approved MFT programs and MFT state licensing boards. the board links will be able to tell you what your state licensing requirements are.
     
  4. PizzaButt

    PizzaButt New Member
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    Thanks for the link. I actually read everything on that site a few weeks ago, but I'm still confused.

    Specifically, my quesiton is: in order to be a licensed marriage and family therapist, must you attend a master's or PhD program in marriage and family therapy--or can you get a master's or PhD in counseling or clinical psych and then get licensed in marriage and family therapy? Meaning, is there only one route to being a licensed marriage and family therapist?

    Also, I'm confused on what happens after you complete a MA in marriage and family therapy. It sounds like you have to be supervised for two years and then take a licensing exam. Is that true--that's what I garnered from reading programs' web sites. If that's the case, how does the supervision work? In what kind of settings would you be working during the supervision time?

    Also, I read on the site about the average salaries, but what have people seen/heard in terms of average starting salaries? Are they in the 30's?

    Is a career as a licensed marriage and family therapist one of the more lucrative areas to practice in with a master's? Are LMFTs the only master's people who can practice independently? I was under the impression that in most states, people with master's can't practice independently in private practice settings--that they must be supervised by PhDs.

    Thanks!
     
  5. pingouin

    pingouin just chillin'
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    I'm not very well-versed on the MFT stuff, but I'll give it my best shot..

    In looking at the school links from the AAMFT website, it listed both MA and PhD programs, so it would appear that there are two levels of MFT education. Most MSW and MA Counseling programs offer at least a few electives in MFT, and some offer post-masters certificate programs. Therefore there are a lot of routes to doing marriage and family therapy which do not involve getting a MFT degree or license. I'll let someone more familiar with PhD/PsyD programs answer what MFT training may be available at that level.

    That's almost exactly the procedure for getting a LCSW/LPC/LMHC, so it makes sense.

    Supervision is provided by a licensed clinician (state regulations will tell you who qualifies to provide supervision) over a period of probably no less than two and no more than four years. It is roughly one hour per week for the length of the supervision, and there may be some flexibility in that. As an example, the MSW I'm supervising for her LCSW missed this week due to a funeral, so we'll meet for two hours next week to compensate. We could also do a four-hour block once a month, but I would never recommend that. Supervisors can be found through an employer, or within the community (ie, private practitioner). Licensing boards are starting to keep lists of qualified and willing supervisors. Some may charge, some may not. Supervision may be permitted to be done in a group setting, but usually that can only be a percentage of total supervision. A good supervisor should be knowledgeable about the field in which the supervisee is practicing. Again, social work example, but I supervise folks who are in mental health settings. I would not supervise someone who does school social work because I am not familiar with that system. The relationship is essentially that of mentor/teacher to learner.

    that's location-dependent

    LCSWs and LPC/LMHCs are able to practice independently as long as they have gone through the designated licensing hoops. I have a private practice, and I have no supervisor. My clinical decisions are my own. I consult with other therapists in my practice (all LCSWs and LPCs) when I need to, but I have no affiliation with any psychologists. I also do a lot of care coordination with my patients' psychiatrists, because that's good care, but technically that's not a requirement. As far as being lucrative, if LMFT is similar to the other masters-level licenses, then it can be. One has to pay their dues first, getting experience and building a reputation and networking system... but it can be done.

    And it IS nice to take a vacation day whenever the hell you want. ;)
     
  6. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
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    You can do marriage and family counseling as a PhD in clinical, as long as you have proper training in the area.

    -t
     
  7. rtrkrswfe

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    I have an MA in Marriage and Family therapy from a medical school here in GA. Check www.aamft.org for rules regarding your state's rules but here in GA, once you finish your MA, you can sit for the Licensure exam. If you pass, you are known as a Licensed ASSOCIATE Marriage and Family Therapy (LAMFT). You are required here to get 2500 hours of direct clinical experience to become fully licensed (you already have 500 hours from your practicum). 250 hours of the 2500 is clinical supervision. I pay $40 per hour for clinical supervision. I get my hours by contracting with local agencies to provide in-home wrap around services (therapy) to foster children, foster parents, and birth parents when applicable. If you are an LAMFT, once you have completed your hours, you submit your records to the Board and after review, you become a Licensed Marriage and Family therapist. You can only bill insurance companies after you are licensed.
     
  8. rtrkrswfe

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    I got an MA in Marriage and Family Therapy, Pizzabutt. I have provided in-home therapy to foster children, foster parents, and birth parents when applicable. I don't know what State you are in but I got my Masters from Mercer University Schoolf of Medicine in Macon, GA. You complete a 500 hour practicum while in the 2-year program, along with supervision. Once you graduate, you can take the MFT Exam immediately but you cannot be licensed until you have completed a total of 2500 hours, plus 250 hours of supervision. While you continue to work under supervision until you have met the hours requirement, if you have passed the exam, upon completion of those hours, you will be an LMFT. You can choose to wait until you have completed all the hours to sit for your exam (which is what I did because I also obtained my State Certification as a Special Education Teacher) but you can provide therapy as long as you are under supervision. Here's a link about the rules for GA http://www.gamft.org/MFT%20rules.html Remember that States differ in their requirements. Best wishes!
     
  9. KimJ

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    If I were to go to school for a master's in marriage and family therapy, would I need to attend a program accredited by the COAMFTE in order to become a licensed therapist? I found this website with a list of accredited programs, but unfortunately there's only 1 listed in my state so I'm hoping these aren't all the programs that are available for what I am interested in.
     
  10. sadodt

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    With a masters in LMFT and a LMFT license, can you still counsel individuals for issues unrelated to marriage/family issues?
     
  11. Grenth

    Grenth Clinical Psychology PhD Student
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    Yes, I am an MFT intern (almost done with my MA-MFT) and my case load is nearly a 50/50 split between individual hours and what's called relational hours (couples, families, siblings, etc.). I am just being trained theoretically to approach things from a family systems perspective which I like but I am not even close to a purist about. The clinic I intern at has marriage and family in the name I often need to reassure clients who are worried they can't be seen there because they have some issue that is not relational on its face. Be aware though that at least in my state to get licensed as an MFT you must have a certain number of relational hours after that though it doesn't matter who you see. I know several LMFTs who see individuals exclusively and don't focus on relational issues.
    Similarly, LMHCs, LCMSWs, and psychologists are free to see couples or families if they choose to do so.
     
  12. sadodt

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    Great news. Thank you so much!
     

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