Some MFT & MSW Licensing Questions

Discussion in 'Mental Health and Social Welfare' started by neutralpalatte, 09.28.14.

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  1. neutralpalatte

    neutralpalatte

    Joined:
    08.18.14
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    Location:
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    Okay I'd like some clarifications of a few things I've heard opposing things about:

    1.) Can a LCSW actually call themselves a "therapist"? Yes I know a LCSW (also LMFT and LPC) can provide therapy services, I've seen some people on forums state that you cannot call yourself a therapist with LCSW. I'm 99.99% sure you can call yourself a psychotherapist as a LCSW, but its weird people keep saying you can't. I mean, I know the coursework of a MSW doesn't really train you to be a therapist very well (its usually not clinical-based), but that is a different issue.

    2.) How long do you have to get licensed as a LMFT after you complete your MFT degree? Obviously you still need more clinical hours after you finish your degree, but I'm just wondering if there is a maximum number of years you have before your clinical hours are voided or before you can apply for a license? Or does this heavily vary by state and area? If so, give me examples please. I can't find this information anywhere. I am in California.

    3.) What are the defining characteristics that allow you to get licensed in another state after getting licensed in the state where you completed your masters program? Or is it just random? I'm talking about at a masters level, and obviously the APA is not involved with masters level programs. I can't figure out why people are saying its soooooo hard to transfer a MFT license out of state. It can't just be due to CACREP/COAMFTE accredited programs, because I've seen many people without either get licensed pretty quickly.
     
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  3. wesleysmith

    wesleysmith LLMSW 2+ Year Member

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    Sorry, no time for the last two questions, but; yes, you can call yourself a therapist, or psychotherapist if you are a clinical social worker. I wasn't even aware anybody was on the fence about this. I've heard people get cranky if someone refers to an LCSW as a "clinician" for whatever reason (ego), but never deny them the title "therapist", that's new. Opinions on whether or not they are competently trained are for a different discussion (or apparently, 99% of discussions that ever mention lcsw/msw/social worker).
     
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  4. Goobernut

    Goobernut LMSW 2+ Year Member

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    1. I think wesley is right, most LCSW can refer to themselves as therapists. It may vary by state. I tried to check it out on California State's licensing website, but it's not loading. Not that it would be spelled out there in black and white.. but hey it's worth a try haha.

    2. This varies by state. Most states require enough hours post graduation (usually around 3000 for LMFT) that it's going to take minimum 2-3 years to finish. In my state you have to turn in hours quarterly and the licensing board will approve/deny if those hours count for your LMFT licensure. I tried to do a brief search in my state and the only thing I can find is that they either allow for full-time or part-time "accruing" of hours. I'll have to ask my newly minted LMFT friend if there was a limit on time to accrue her hours. For LCSW in my state there does appear to be a "half-time" limit. I had to dig deep into our state's laws to find this stuff. That may be where you will have to look for CA's -- the actual state laws (statutes?) concerning the governance of the license. The cool thing I did find out about Cali is that you can count clinical hours while getting your degree. The internet seems to think CA is the only state that allows this for LMFTs. There were warnings that if you move to another state, the new state board will most likely make you make up for the "perceived" deficiency. Also, California is the only state with their own MFT exam. All other 49 states take a national LMFT exam. There was an article that said some other states might not even recognize the Ca MFT exam. They might choose to make you take the national exam...

    http://mftprogress.blogspot.com/2012/03/how-long-does-it-take-to-get-mft.html

    3. From what I read on the internet, it's mostly about miles and miles of red-tape. I tried to research this pretty throughly as I was concerned with having to move with a license. Every state seems to be very different concerning their policy toward reciprocity. For LMFTs (and several other licenses), you are right, it's not just about COAMFTE, but it's about the states individual requirements. They are all so very different, and it's up to each board to decide if they want to take you or not. Mostly, you are at the whim of the state that you want to move to. If you move from a state with minimal standards, the state with high standards is most likely not going to license someone unless they make up those deficits. And even if you move to a state with lax standards, the standards could be so off the wall that you are still going to end up taking classes/getting more supervision hours to meet the standards. My state even has a different application process for people with 5 years clinical practice vs less than 5 years clinical practice..

    I found this article, and this kinda exemplifies/summarizes most of what I read when researching reciprocity issues.

    http://ct.counseling.org/2012/01/li...al-public-protection-issue-that-needs-action/

    Sorry for not having anything directly from CA. I'm going to have to go back and try the CA licensing website again.
     
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  5. submarine1991

    submarine1991 2+ Year Member

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    Depends on the license. WesleySmith, Goobernut, and I are all MSW students and like Goobernut, I am concerned about moving and licensing issues. I am well versed in the MSW requirements and there is a website that tells you the deal with all of the states. I'm not as informed with the counseling programs. Goobernut and WesleySmith covered all that I know
     
  6. socwrkr

    socwrkr 2+ Year Member

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    In California, LCSW's can call themselves therapists or psychotherapists.

    There was a law passed in 2013 regarding LCSW's in California calling themselves psychotherapists; it relates to business cards and advertisements. See here:

    http://www.bbs.ca.gov/pdf/publications/advertising.pdf

    When I was in social work grad school, my social work professor stated that the terms psychotherapy and psychotherapist were reserved only for clinical psychologists. I believe this has changed, as LCSW's, LMFT's, and LPCC's are now allowed to use the terms.
     
  7. neutralpalatte

    neutralpalatte

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    Can anyone answer #2?
     
  8. socwrkr

    socwrkr 2+ Year Member

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    I'm an LCSW in California, but I work with lots of LMFT's and I often hear them discuss their licensing requirements. You must obtain your 3000 hours in no less than two years as an MFT Intern. Regarding the age of clinical experience that may qualify for the exam, there is a six-year rule for MFT Interns; there is however an exception. See here:

    http://www.camft.org/ScriptContent/CAMFTarticles/Interns/CriticalRemind.htm

    Hope this helps.
     
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  9. neutralpalatte

    neutralpalatte

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    Okay, and what about if you go into a PsyD or PhD program in clinical psychology before you finish your hours? I know this is possible because I've seen so many people go from MFT to PsyD/PhD. Are the rules still the same (2 years) or is it extended while you're in school? Obviously you cannot intern 40 hours/week toward your 3000 LMFT hours when you're in a full-time PsyD/PhD program.
     
  10. Goobernut

    Goobernut LMSW 2+ Year Member

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    The people who I know that have gone from MFT (and LPC) to a PHD/PsyD program finished their licensing hours first, then started the new program. In Cali it will take less than 2 full years to gain your 3000 hours because you get to use the 500 or so hours from your Practicum/internship .. Or what do MFT programs call it?
     
  11. CaliMac

    CaliMac

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    02.08.14
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    You got it: practicum :)

    Internship is used to refer to the 3000 hours and practicum to the placements during school.
     

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