“At least it’s not cancer.”

Courtesy Emma JaegleI was working in a residential treatment center for teens. It was a typical mid-week day, and I was supervising “school time,” a period where clients are able to work on their treatment assignments and homework from their schools back home. Often during this hour, the primary therapists would pull the clients for individual sessions. I happened to know that today was the day that Nicole* was going to be given her diagnosis of depression, and I was prepared to help her process her emotions should she need coaching after her return from session. Sure enough, Nicole returned from her therapist’s office with a solemn look on her face. When she sat down away from her peers, I walked over to her and asked, “How did it go?”

She let out a sigh, “Well, I found out my diagnosis.”

I nodded. “I see. What’s that like for you?”

“I guess it’s better to know what’s going on and have an explanation for everything. At least it’s not like I have cancer!”

That comment gave me pause. I thought: But I have cancer.

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Agencies are now charging trainees to work there, too [Updated]

currencyIf you’ve been around this blog a while, you’ve heard me rail against unpaid internships that are often illegal. I’ve encouraged anyone who has been through such an internship to fight for their rights — including back wages. I’ve also argued that the “intern” title is part of the problem, and thankfully, it’s changing to “Associate” for California MFTs and PCCs in 2018. But interns aren’t alone in troubling and potentially exploitive work settings.

Around Los Angeles, it is increasingly common for agencies to charge significant fees to trainees — students in graduate school, doing the clinical hours they need to graduate — for the privilege of working for free.

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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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