There weren’t enough changes for this year to warrant a whole new edition of the book, but there are a number of new laws worth knowing if you practice in California. The update includes new rules surrounding:
California’s licensing exam restructure for marriage and family therapists (MFTs) takes effect January 1, 2016. Here’s how the new exam process will affect you.
In September 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 620, a Board of Behavioral Sciences-sponsored bill that will change how MFT intern hours are counted toward licensure. What is the new law, and why is it happening? This explainer is meant to answer the most common questions about the changes. (Ed. note: This was originally posted in November 2014 when the changes were just a proposal. It’s been updated in October 2015 to reflect the law as adopted.)
Interns and associates in the master’s level mental health professions in California will take a law and ethics exam in their first year of registration, under an exam restructure taking effect in January 2016.
The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) announced today that the membership vote on a proposed AAMFT restructure was short of the 2/3 majority needed for the restructure to take effect.
Approximately 61% of voters supported the plan, with 39% opposed.
Had the vote passed, AAMFT’s state and provincial divisions would have been dissolved in favor of a more centralized structure. Members would have been able to organize themselves into “special interest groups” based on geography, clinical focus, or other interests.
The American Psychological Association apologized on Friday for its actions that allowed psychologists to participate in the torture of military detainees. Those actions are detailed in the extensive “Independent Review Relating to APA Ethics Guidelines, National Security Interrogations, and Torture” (otherwise known simply as the Hoffman report). It is the most thorough examination to date of how APA staffers, aiming to remain in the good graces of the Central Intelligence Agency and (especially) the Department of Defense, actively sought to create ethics policies that allowed psychologists to be involved with torture and shielded them from consequences for doing so.
Note: The following is an edited excerpt from Saving Psychotherapy: How therapists can bring the talking cure back from the brink. You can buy it on Amazon.
Licensing exams do not assess your effectiveness as a therapist. They aren’t meant to. That bears repeating: License exams do not assess your effectiveness as a therapist. They are a licensing board’s best effort at assessing whether you have the minimal knowledge (not skill, knowledge) to be able to practice independently without being a danger to the public. That’s all. When therapists decry the fact that license exams are nothing like doing therapy, they’re right – and their point isn’t relevant. Exams aren’t supposed to be like therapy. If you want to know how good you are as a therapist, look elsewhere, because exams are not and are not intended to be a barometer of clinical effectiveness. They are a somewhat crude assessment of safety for independent practice.
With that aim in mind, do they work? Do licensing exams make therapists safer?
There’s remarkably little data to answer that question.
Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signed into law by Governor Mike Pence last week, has raised a great deal of controversy. In the psychotherapy community, the law could have an immediate impact in the form of professional events and conferences moving out of the state. In the longer term, the bill is likely to impact training and practice by making it harder for universities and licensing boards to discipline discriminatory behavior.
Alliant International University, which houses APA-accredited psychology programs and COAMFTE-accredited family therapy programs, announced last week that it has converted from a non-profit corporate structure to a benefit corporation, a new type of for-profit structure allowed in California and at least 26 other states.