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Family therapists are practitioners in family therapy.

Licensing and degreesEdit

Family therapy practitioners come from a range of professional backgrounds, and some are specifically qualified or licensed/registered in family therapy (licensing is not required in some jurisdictions and requirements vary from place to place). In the United Kingdom, family therapists are usually psychologists, nurses, psychotherapists, social workers, or counselors who have done further training in family therapy, either a diploma or an M.Sc.. However, in the United States there is a specific degree and license as a Marriage and Family therapist.

Prior to 1999 in California, counselors who specialized in this area were called Marriage, Family and Child Counselors. Today, they are known as Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT), and work variously in private practice, in clinical settings such as hospitals, institutions, or counseling organizations.

A master's degree is required to work as an MFT in some American states. Most commonly, MFTs will first earn a M.S. or M.A. degree in marriage and family therapy, psychology, family studies, or social work. After graduation, prospective MFTs work as interns under the supervision of a licensed professional and are referred to as an MFTi.[1]

Marriage and family therapists in the United States and Canada often seek degrees from accredited Masters or Doctoral programs recognized by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education(COAMFTE), a division of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy. For accredited programs, click here.

Requirements vary, but in most states about 3000 hours of supervised work as an intern are needed to sit for a licensing exam. MFTs must be licensed by the state to practice. Only after completing their education and internship and passing the state licensing exam can a person call themselves a Marital and Family Therapist and work unsupervised.

License restrictions can vary considerably from state to state. In Ohio, for example, Marriage and Family Therapists are not allowed to diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, practice independently, or bill insurance. Contact information about licensing boards in the United States are provided by the Association of Marital and Family Regulatory Boards.

There have been concerns raised within the profession about the fact that specialist training in couples therapy – as distinct from family therapy in general - is not required to gain a license as an MFT or membership of the main professional body, the AAMFT.[2]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Therapy Center:Credentials. Psychology Today. URL accessed on 2008-08-13.
  2. Doherty W (2002). Bad Couples Therapy and How to Avoid It: Getting past the myth of therapist neutrality. Psychotherapy Networker 26 (Nov-Dec): 26–33.

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