Studying for MFT licensing exams

If you are soon to be taking your state’s MFT licensing exams, congratulations! Here are five tips on how to study and prepare.

[Ed. note: This post initially published October 27, 2010. Updated in November 2016 to update the list of companies offering test prep products and services.]

Licensing exams are a major milestone in the professional development of a marriage and family therapist (MFT). While there are differences from state to state, every state except California uses the National MFT Exam, and most states require that exams be taken at the completion of at least two years of full-time, post-masters experience in supervised practice. (California uses exclusively its own exams.) As you approach completion of the supervised experience necessary to take the exams, how can you best prepare? Here are five things that can help:

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How President Trump will impact US mental health care

Future President Trump // Photo credit: Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsDonald Trump was elected President of the United States yesterday in what has been labeled a stunning upset. While much of the broader social discussion today will focus on how Trump’s victory happened, as psychotherapists we now must consider how President Trump will impact our profession.

Mental health is not mentioned in Trump’s health care reform paper or on the health care page of his campaign web site. So for this post, we look to his other stated policy goals to see how mental health care would be impacted.

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The problem with life coaching

wooden-chestBecoming a therapist isn’t the only way you can put a psychology or counseling degree to work. You can also become a “life coach,” a growing profession that involves helping people come closer to reaching their life goals. Some clients who would resist going to therapy will happily visit with a life coach, as receiving coaching does not carry the same implications that going to therapy might. And some therapists see coaching as a way to diversify their practice, allowing them to market to clients who simply wouldn’t attend counseling or therapy.

Life coaching is a perfectly respectable and well-defined profession. The problem with life coaching isn’t the work itself, for which there clearly is a market. It’s with the people providing it.

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Texas Supreme Court to hear appeal on MFT diagnosis

Texas CapitolEarlier this year, the Texas Supreme Court refused to hear a case about marriage and family therapists’ (MFTs’) ability to independently diagnose mental illness. While MFTs are trained in diagnosis, a lower court ruled that the state’s licensing board overstepped its authority in an attempt to add the word “diagnosis” to the MFT scope of practice. Going further, the court ruling determined that MFTs should not have been independently diagnosing in the first place. (Though the word “diagnose” was not previously in the scope language, MFTs diagnosing mental illness was common practice, as it is around the country.) The state Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case meant that the lower ruling stood, and MFTs could not diagnose.

Court procedures in Texas allow for one final appeal of the court’s decision not to hear a case. The AAMFT filed an appeal on June 13. In a rare move, the court granted that appeal. Later this year, the Texas Supreme Court will hear arguments about whether MFTs should be allowed to independently diagnose mental illness.

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See me at the 2016 AAMFT Annual Conference

I’ll be presenting multiple times at this year’s AAMFT Annual Conference in Indianapolis. Come see me at any of the following:

Networking Luncheon for 2016 AAMFT Annual ConferenceNetworking Luncheon

Friday, 12:30p-2:00p
Benjamin Caldwell

We have decades of data proving that psychotherapy works. But data also shows that spending on therapy is rapidly declining — fewer people are coming — as training costs and requirements increase. MFTs at all career levels are impacted by these trends, which are already pushing some well-qualified therapists out of the field. Ben Caldwell hosts this fast-paced, data-driven, and ultimately optimistic presentation that will outline the specific steps MFTs can take on an individual basis to improve their own practices, while saving our field from becoming one by and for the wealthy.

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